“It is a new day with a new sheriff in town and you have to be crazy not to act so because life is what you yourself personally make it and no one else is going to pick up your toys for you anymore! No sense talking about the past and resting your arm against it as if it was a bench rest. I’m here to sell the future and cash in heroic quantities is your best bet on the present. Avarice is the new beach ball that so many have joined together in communal circles to observe. Many reaching and grabbing for its illusory self as it tumbles aimlessly through space. More and much more apparently beautiful in its slowly diminishing distance than it might ever have been close up lodged between your fingertips . . . . (blankness)”
The campfire was a lonely place providing desolation from the surrounding detritus of a broken culture now humbled and on its knees. Its center had at one time been the center of a single story structure which had been leveled by the event. Those gathered around it’s flickering luminance were a disparate collection of strangers that had vague knowledge of each other’s comings and goings but could not have said that any were aware of the other’s existence before. Maybe there had been a museum focused on Egyptian artifacts in the vicinity for there were examples of several pieces of statuary of varying sizes that lay about like discarded child’s toys. The implements that had a more utilitarian purpose were indistinguishable from their fractured modern counterpoints from a distance. The area was a maze of shadows from small sections of walls still upright and the ledgers of furniture treated haphazardly.
The Jones man walked from the periphery passed one low wall and picked up a small statue of a boy shepherding and ass. He gazed at its rudely painted surface and then put it up upon the dusty wooden cap of a low partition just below eye level. At once everyone else seemed to shudder. “You must be the one!”, a voice rang out. “That evil one whom the Gods of the ancient pharaohs sought to punish for stealing from his storehouse and cheating his punishment!”, rang out another unobserved. A chorus of eyes glared in unison at the man as he approached the hearth. “Well, if you are so knowledgeable as to the identity of the killer of worlds then believe what you will and perhaps it will come true?, the man’s figure replied. Jones man treadled past all of them veering off wondering to himself about his own immediate problems. He had been followed by something utterly evil it was true. He couldn’t help not shaking his pursuer who seemed ever behind him several paces back just out of sight. He could hear the cries of fear as the terrible thing brushed close to the group of his accusers. One or two would pay the price as a groan and sigh signified another soul or two lost to this world. He knew that he would be damned because of it. Those who sought to avoid judgement guilty or not had to pay for all the sinful others.
Why these dark age old gods had sprung from their caskets no one could say for sure? Maybe in the light of the current blanketed path destruction that had hot been expected they had sensed that the living had grown so morally weak that their souls had become empty and powerless? Simple faintly glowing bags of luminous gas that barely elevated a polyethylene bag a foot or two off the ground. None of them were capable of ascending any higher skyward that the detritus of the material world that lay all about them. It seemed funny to Jones man how an obsession starting as a thought could manifest itself as a material thing. There was so much fiction about the past that most thought these artifacts surrounding them had been manufactured by the collective efforts of the ingenuity of the former society when in fact it had been through the fallacy of their own imaginations. But now all was torn apart and scattered by the equally potent mental fiction of singular weapons of mass destruction. The moldy skeletons underfoot over distant pathways could attest to that. All he could do is glean what he could from what was left and keep a lookout for the dark powers that were emptying this dimension of the life energies of latent souls.
The impulse to turn about in his tracks and re-address the small group in a circle around the flames. The murmur rose as he grew distinct to all yes from the maze of criss-crossed play of the fire’s light. “It is true that I am not innocent and I proclaim that I am as capable of bringing evil with me!” he declared to the group. “My crime states that all will eventually suffer as I have suffered for that is now our lot.” “As one shall wither and succumb so shall the rest as some power greater than all our own has deemed it shall be so!” “That is my adopted curse and now one by one you shall all suffer it.” The Jones man went back to the low wall and picked up the little statue and inspected its crudeness. He took it with him as he passed the inert forms of what appeared to be cloth mannequins of raw burlap leaking sand from their threadbare exteriors. He walked back off into the dark thinking about the invocation that he had heard before. That strange message that the television moderator unexpectedly broke into an instant before all the screens in the entire world went blank in unison. Perhaps it had been the result of an unprecedented solar outburst? Perhaps some undisclosed secret device purported to have been debuted in reaction to another equally unexpected means of unspecified attack? This end that they now each suffered had not come by virtue of a physical device but of a universal frustration of absence. With no more active screens to guide their lives, everyone had simply gone crazy and torn their own entire worlds completely apart. There were so many like himself still walking about that had to bear this guilt.