Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Seti's Chronicles 2012 – Touch and Go.

Excerpt from Work in Progress: Seti's Chronicles - Surviving 2012

It’s still touch and go, we couldn’t and still can’t save everyone. To try would doom us all. Now the work begins. Little by little, we have to go out into what remains of our world; make contact and piece by piece reassemble society. The old refrain is true, united we stand, divided we fall. Will I live to see it done? Perhaps, some. My calling was scribe, and now we’ve come through the most perilous part of this journey, I can resume that mantle.

Where do I begin, for begin I must, to put our story in some order for the future, for our children, for posterity. I want them to know what it took to bring us through the Fall to here.

The ‘Fall’, so simple a word for that day – so trite. That crisp crystal afternoon just ten days ago stands out in high relief. A winter’s solstice unlike any before and hopefully any to come. The trees whispered to me as I left the park and crossed the busy street to meet Kiri for lunch. Seated at our regular window table with view of Layton Park my inner ear listened to the conversations here and there at the tables around the room.

"Those damn witches" whispered the perfectly coifed blond to her clone companion, "It's all their fault. Everyone at the meeting Sunday agreed." Her friend, her mirror, nodded solemnly as her eyes darted around the room.

"I tell you" the rest dwindled to indecipherable whispers, but I heard the words in my mind’s eye, the thoughts so thick with fear and anger and more. The more was an overwhelming helplessness.

I listened and wondered at the women at the table behind me. I wondered how many like her there were, who never saw the larger picture, and rather than own their part in disaster would rather kill the messenger for the news she bore somehow thinking it would save them.

Sad and wearied by the waves of negative thoughts, I sent out calming emanations throughout the room, wanting a peaceful atmosphere for this last visit to a treasured place. I lifted their fear with soothing thoughts of reassurance tugging pleasant memories to the fore of love and children and happy times. A mind joined me in the task, and I looked across to the hostess station to see Kiri approaching. Our eyes met as Kiri waved the hostess away, and gestured in my direction.

As she joined me, we mused mind to mind, "It seems many of us are loathe to think of losing all the familiar places, and so we lunch and have tea and dinner, first here, then there. "Oh, Kiri, I'm not ready to see it end; I'm just not ready."

"No one is, no one ever is ready to let go of what we know. You are not alone in that, Seti."

“Kiri, even some friends will die in the coming Storm. The ‘coming Storm’ – ‘Mother Storm’. How trite. I can hardly stand it sometimes. Damn it! It is the end of our lives, as we now know them. We plunge into the abyss. We glimpse hell. And the hardest part of all is I know I will survive. Am I really up to it? gods'us, grant it."

"Yes, you are. You are stronger than all of us - stronger than you know. And for what it's worth, I like Mother Storm best. Even now, she groans here and there; small lava flows have been sighted in unlikely places; migration patterns have become erratic - aberrant, to those who don't know. The birds know North and South are no longer constant, so they wait. They may not have far to go. They only have to stay airborne when the time comes. Will the poles shift or have we done enough to defray it?”

"Well, we’ll know soon. We've known it was soon for some time, but I want it done – I want to fast-forward to the other side. It’s been 27 years, 27 years of meticulous planning.”

"That long? By the Powers, when you put a real number on the years, it makes me feel so old. Yet, this is barely the beginning; I have a very long way to go. Kiri, I'm afraid sometimes, that I won't have the strength for the long haul."

"Of course you will. You really are stronger than you know, and we've prepared so well. Everything is in place now: the Schools, stores of food, knowledge archives, seeds and all the other sundry things to rebuild a civilization with a memory of who they are intact.

Our waitress came with tea and saké. We watched respectfully. In two small hands, with a pristine clean white cloth, she held the pot and poured first the steaming green tea then the warmed saké, pale Citroen into the small white bowls of blue porcelain cups trimmed in slightly faded gilt. With utmost attention to each small task she returned the teapot to its cozy and the saké flask to its hot water bath with no water spilt, then neatly folding the white cloth, placed just so to complete the still life before us. With a bow she departed on the cat's feet that brought her leaving us to contemplate the curls of steam.

"Oh, Kiri! I'll miss this. I have memorized every moment, the tilt of head and preciseness of movement; the curling tendrils of steam lifting the fragrance of the tea; the hot silk taste of the saké sliding down to merge with my very blood and sending warmth and well-being coursing through veins that run so cold with foreboding."

Thus warmed, we crossed to the park where the trees' song hummed in our minds: a song so old - of life and death and forever and I remembered a line from childhood, " ‘...touch a leaf and the stars vibrate…’.Leaves die and the barren trees sleep through Winter and dream of Spring. How many of us will really survive this bleakest Winter. How many of us will reach Spring?" I stopped short and looked at Kiri.

"I felt it too." she almost shouted.

For one frozen moment etched forever into my being, it was as if the Earth caught her breath. No wind stirred the trees, no bird sang, people everywhere stopped and looked around. Then it came, the birds as one lifted to the sky and the earth heaved. The day rent asunder and terror ran cold then hot on the heels of frightened people running to they knew not where.

The street rippled gray waves beneath their feet, breaking into rubbled surf pounding them into the gaping maws of asphalt caves. Buildings fell into themselves and spewed life and death onto unsuspecting heads.

© Perle Champion
Next: The Fall

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