Aha, writing, my old nemesis! We meet again!
To clarify: I love writing, but sometimes it feels like hitting my head against a solid tungsten wall. So, less of a nemesis, more of a... frenemy?
Anyway, something I wrote on a nation I designed.
They called it "The Beautiful Plague". All very secret, of course, they didn't want The High Council hearing how their words, their propaganda, had been twisted. If you were talking to anybody influential, they were "The Broken". But they had been described as a plague, a disease, an infection. So, of course, somebody pointed out the irony of a plague making something as beautiful as what they had. He was executed three days later, but it was too late. So now the streets call them "The Beautiful Plague", often with a glance over their backs at the edifices of wealth protruding from the archipelago of rooftops, tips far, far above the endless smog that drifted across the sky like a layer of gaseous grease. And, for all the irony, The Beautiful Plague was a fitting name for them. Because they were beautiful. What they created was beautiful. But there was no denying that they were a shattered relic of a time when the leaders had hoped for colonization and expansion before retreating above the constant chaos of the world below their gilded towers. The whole incident would have been glossed over, had it not been for The Bea- The Broken attacking manufacturing facilities, remote mining facilities, slowly shutting down our economical base. Soldiers had been dispatched. There was no response after they'd jumped. Perhaps they'd been taken prisoner. Perhaps they'd just been slaughtered mercilessly. If you talked to anybody wielding the slightest piece of power then The Broken needed to be destroyed. If you talked to anybody on the streets, not everybody was so sure.
After all, The Beautiful Plague were our own creations. Perhaps they were also our angels of judgement.
And because A: I'm feeling generous and B: I'm inordinately proud of this one, have another!
Sunshine broke once more through the ruined steel and glass monoliths, edifices to bygone ages, a testament, a warning, a foreboding symbol of humanity’s thirst, need, want for destruction. The reclamation and reconstruction squadrons hadn’t yet reached this area, hadn’t yet torn down the leaning towers, leering like crooked teeth in an old man’s mouth. Green tendrils climbed the buildings, lush trees doing their best to obscure the foundations, their scraggly variants clinging to whatever threshold they could find higher in the skyscrapers. If you looked carefully, you could spot features on the buildings – shuttle gates, cracked holographic projectors, broken antennas, a few remnants of a massive screen that had fallen from its supports decades ago.
The rising sun painted everything shades of reds, oranges, yellows – from the forest canopy, a green carpet under the towering monoliths, to the towers themselves, their blacks and greys softened as the star edged itself over the horizon. Sounds of life drifted up from the forest floor – the calls of birds, a secret language, hidden gems of knowledge called out in crystal clear notes. The distant star caught the reflection of a distant river, the silvery string in the distance gleaming brightly, a shining crystal ornament, more delicate than any found in the penthouse of one of the arcologies that housed the remnants of humanity, those not destroyed by the near-total destruction of the climate just a few decades ago.
Although you could hardly see it now, what with life teeming, growing, living, spreading. It had highlighted the importance of conservation, and had thrown the delicate balance of Earth’s ecosystem into sharp contrast. The atmosphere was now cold enough to offer rain – real snow was still a daydream, one not to be realised for many decades. Humanity had changed for the better, now a perfect society in the arcologies, the vertical cities that rose into the skyline, green paradises overseen by the Terra Coalition. Of course, people still lived in the old, spread-out cities, barely clinging onto existence. It wasn’t a harsh price to pay, if it kept Earth sustained, healthy – living.
Alone at sunset... And there the sea I found,
Calm as a cradled child in dreamless slumber bound.