The world is burning.
Sometimes I dream of an alternate version of that sweltering July afternoon, the day our lives ended, but we didn’t know it at the time. Sometimes I dream of growing up, traveling the world and finding Jack again, the one mystery I can’t solve. Sometimes I dream of home. The scenes are constantly changing, but I know it’s the same dream, over and over again, looking through different windows. I dream of what could’ve been and never will be, the fabric of reality I can never weave.
The first few days, we were oblivious, completely blinded by the thrill of seeking the unknown, living the unknown. Our world’s visitors were works of wonder, terrifying and fantastic beings, an abstract copy of our own lonely race. We were old enough to be afraid yet too young to be shrewd, and so we ventured too close to the fire. It branded us with a bitter truth; from that day we ran, but we knew one day we would come back to where we started again.
Still, even after weeks had passed, we continued to journey into the depths of the ultimate conundrum, the final mystery: who were these magnificent creatures, beings so similar to ourselves? Funny, how overpowering the curiosity of three teens can be, even when their world is crumbling around them.
We didn’t like what we found.
The knowledge we acquired, however devastating, was powerful and awe-inspiring. Like the fools we were, we thought we could save the world. And so, full of bravado and a sense of heroism, three imprudent children stepped onto the battlefield.
Curiosity does not kill the cat. It burns and wrecks and tears the cat to pieces, until nothing is left but a shadow of what it used to be. But the worst part of our pointless efforts was the despair that hung over all of us, of the doom that was yet to come.
Now I write these words in memory and regret, as a lesson that will never be told. I sit by Evelyn's grave everyday and wonder to myself: when we've all left, will our existence even be remembered? Maybe one day, a trillion years into the future, someone will come across this broken universe and find our ghosts. We'll become a tragic fairy tale, a twisted parody of our story of triumph.
I suppose all symphonies must end, even the songs of the greatest civilizations. It doesn’t matter when, or how; the curtains always close. But on quiet days, when the sky weeps for the bleeding earth, I allow myself to believe in Noel. Believe that even though he hasn’t come back for over a month, he’s still fighting. Believe that he is right; the dawn will come again.
Believe that he can save her.
My name is Alice. It’s the only thing I have left, and the only thing that keeps me from forgetting who I was. I keep it as an empty promise to myself that someday, I’ll look into the sun and find answers, even though they’ve already been given to me. I keep it as a false prophecy, that the clock will freeze like a picture, and we will be freed. What kind of fool places her bets on time?
On and on the pendulum swings, counting the seconds to our free fall.
© Copyright 2016 Whitlinger. All rights reserved.
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