(*trigger warning – depicts a dystopian future)
Do not ask where the ancestors are in this great, lonely city, for they are all around. Do not ask where the guardians of this lone child are, for they are with her every step. They go before her and follow after. They raise her up though she is alone. The last one here it seems, though the wind tells otherwise. We are her neighbours, her teachers, her ancestors, those who have paved her path. Do not ask where we are, for we are the sands beneath her feet. Outlasted by our towers, like Ozymandias and his ‘vast and trunkless legs of stone’ of which the poet Percy Shelley wrote, these empty skyscrapers watch an eclipse of the sun. Their hollowed windows absorbing the shadows like unblinking eyes.
The beautiful scene almost unseen, except by that lone girl. The dust had spread for generations as the deserts grew. The privileged born to once soft climates did not care. It was not them but black children. It was not here but ‘there’, until it was not. Until it came too close to they who sent their dust into the air and made of life more dust, until they too were dust; white sands under the shadow of a vengeful moon. We, the ancestors, in our nihilism, and apathy, have become the unmeasured sands and stretching hands of poisoned oceans. The clocks have stilled their hands as the child seeks with her honed skill for water and food, hearing our whispers around her in the silent, wind-stirred air.
“Oh, my mothers!” she whispers. No one is there.
by Antonia Sara Zenkevitch
(With much thanks to D. Wallace Peach’s March Speculative Fiction Prompt available through her blog ‘Myths of the Mirror’.)