Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Dirge for Tellus

Looking northward from the sea-baths, the setting sun in the southwest behind her lighting the land to beauty, Helen wept that it was a beauty that must perish. And she chided herself inwardly, for after all she herself must leave this world much sooner; so what business of hers was the far-distant fate of the world?

And as she stood thus in doubt and dark thought her eyes lighted on the smoke of London on the horizon. And, as they had never done so directly before, her dreams irrupted into her waking mind; and she saw not a smoky patch in the sky, but a great shadow that expanded, to fill the sky and darken the earth. She saw great machines of gleaming metals take shape where Brighton and London stood, tearing the earth open, and from the wound that was now Britain raising eerie towers and spires like strange corals and fungi, things whose lineaments no human mind ever designed. The darkness grew deep, as if the very Sun was mined for light; and as the world grew cold she saw the sea sink behind her, drawing back from the coast and exposing the dry bones of the continental shelf. Heavy snows fell, and flowers that had sprouted were buried, now never to bloom, in the last spring of the world.

She saw the last cities exploding in riots of madness, crazed from hunger and plague and cold; saw the sick turning in desperate anger on those who could have saved them; saw the roads outside the dying cities lined with gibbets hung with skeletons; saw the cold cover all, and the final snows fall.

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