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The End of the Beginning

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We are in the 167th floor of Building 331 in Province 86 on the planet Epsilon 9 of the third system. From out the window, I can hear the thrum of police drones making their rounds through City 92 and the tell-tale click-clacking of the mechanical spiders that crawl up and down the Buildings, listening for any sound of disobedience and disloyalty. I am thankful now that my father is asleep and his usual rants are unable to be uttered.
There was a time when he was more cautious, but he has been growing ill of late. It is a sickness not of the body, but of the mind, and so severe in its onslaught that at times he is incoherent and at others, at times that I dread, he is openly disloyal. But these fits of madness wear him down and so much of his time is spent sleeping these days. I fear his rest shall be a relief for both of us.
The others came today. They say he is a liability and sadly I cannot disagree for he is a danger to us all and it has been only sheer luck that they have not discovered us yet. We know all too well that we have no choice: we must go through with it. But there isn’t one among them that doesn’t remember how great he was. Even I remember, young as I was, how life was before. What would the world say if they could see my father now?
But those times are gone. And now? Well. They say it’s for our own good, for our protection, and there are some who believe them. And then there are others. If the greatest has been driven mad then what are they now but a hollow shell an empty echo of a dream whispered in contempt of the raging force of a hurricane—what are they now and what—what will they be? What will be left of us?
He stirs in his sleep, years etched in his face—a map of madness. The recent years have not been kind to him, nor he to them. What will they do? What will we do? No longer “they”: I have been included.
I cross to the window and look out, craning my neck to catch any glimpse of sky. But only the top floors can ever see through the dark clouds—or even above the Buildings—and we are so far below. They say the top floors are empty, and who’s to say they aren’t? Epsilon 9 has been cut off from the sky for so long.
They’re here now. They want to take him but I can’t—I can’t! Not after what happened. He was great! Don’t they know? Has their hatred clogged their memories? He was great and good and they can’t take him—they can’t!
But they do. And after all, it’s all that can be done. He’s a liability now. In the morning I’ll report his disappearance to the police drones and he’ll become just one of hundreds—some ours and some theirs. Because that’s the way of this world. Everyone fights and everyone loses and in the end it starts again.



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