The Decay

November 10, 2008
The boy wandered through the forest. His ragged, but not yet tattered clothing waved about, as did his long, thick, greasy hair. He pushed it out of his eyes as his bare feet (he preferred them that way) made their way up and over the familiar jutting rocks and roots. He was unaware of where or why he was going. Perhaps, in an odd sort of way, he was saying goodbye. He wasn’t so attached to the place, he only wanted to see it a final time.

Thinking about life made him wonder, why now? It had been, as they told him, at least 100 years since the people had moved, and now it was finally just time for them to find a new place for themselves. But what had kept them so long? Then he realized that fear of the unknown was enough to keep anyone rooted in a single place.

It was mid-afternoon as he trudged through the trees, pushing away branches and brush to continue on. Finally, he halted in his tracks. In front of him, a large form leered. It was a huge dome, overgrown, that towered upward. Going up, it was straight sided, but then suddenly rounded at the top. Though grey stone showed through in some places, most of it had been covered in a casing of plants, a scaly green monolith. It’s leafy exterior provided no opening other than directly in front of the boy, where a small, man-sized hole remained. He cautiously stepped towards it. He had never seen the structure before, but somehow that didn’t surprise him; there were many things he had never seen.

Stepping up to the entrance, he stuck his head in, peering through the darkness. His first step brought him a few feet in. The ground was spongy, and squished with each step. Unable to see anything, he stuck his arms out, feeling for something. As he brought himself in deeper, a sudden, rushing flutter of wings from within the dark startled the boy, sending him backwards, flinging his arms to find a handhold. Only a small, heavy object was grabbed and brought down along as he hit the ground. Still clutching it, he pulled himself up, trying to catch his breath. For some reason, the place unsettled him, so as his eyes finally adjusted, he took a final look in the room, making out shelf-like forms, but which had long been marred by plant growth. He took note, and backed out of the opening, into the day.

Holding the object absent mindedly, he looked back up to the top of the dome. He needed to get his bearings, and tucking the thing under his arm, he gripped the vines growing up the building and slowly began to scale it, the going was easy for him. Finally pulling himself onto the top, he sat down to look at what he had snatched from the inside. It was a foreign thing, to him at least, and he turned it over and over, slowly studying it. Such an action might seem strange to many, as what he held in his hands was a book. Though molded and colored with age, it was obviously a book. But maybe, even like human characteristics, such common things are lost in time. He treated it as an interrogation, and soon tossed it down, feeling it was useless.

Standing up, he looked to all sides around him. At some 35 feet up, he was hardly level with the trees, but he could clearly see smoke curling up through the growth above them. That was his home, that was where he was going, and that was where he was leaving. But the boy’s main attention was directed in front of him, miles past, soaring up past the trees. It was the forbidden place; it’s tall, think buildings stretching towards the sky. Now they stood ominously wraith-like in ruin, their spires like fingers, reaching. It covered a huge area, much farther than he could seen, but he knew it went a long way. He had never been there himself of course, people often made clear of its dangers; they were always talking about it. But these precautions had been handed down for so long, he wondered how long it had been since anyone had entered the place. Now, it was only a metal graveyard of 100’s of buildings, long uninhabited. He often imagined of what it was once like, but had stopped asking questions; nobody knew anymore about it than he.

Finally, he looked once again, and crawled back down to the ground level. He looked at the only somewhat visible black paved path leading to the ominous, forbidden place, but turned and headed home. Maybe he would tell them about what he had found there.

The book that the boy had cast off sat limply, entangled in the creeping vine on the dome. It lay open to a page that, though smeared and splotchy still read a passage…

“… ‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings, look
on my work ye mighty and despair!’ Nothing beside
remains; round the decay of that colossal wreck,
boundless and bare, the lone and level sands
stretch far away”

And the buildings far off in the distance stood lonely, as if to remind that all good things must come to an end.

Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

Site Feedback