Ruminations about Death

From the Story Arc: Battle Stations: Aftermath

Previous Story in the Arc: Stoic by Krasniy Zakat (Saturday, April 15, 2006)

Next Story in the Arc: Bad News by Soviet Winter (Tuesday, April 18, 2006)

(posted Sunday, April 16, 2006)

It had been, finally, a quiet evening. A rare moment of silence within the constant roar that their lives seemed to wear like a shroud. The quiet after the storm. It had been a great storm, and it was now very, very quiet. She loved these still, small moments, though they seemed to come each time at a greater and greater price.

Behind her back the television set murmured softly and she could just barely make out the purr of the kitchen fridge. Squirming uncomfortably in the living room chair, Sofia realized that she had never grown quite used to the so-American custom of living your life anywhere but the kitchen. Sasha, however, took to living rooms with prodigious enthusiasm and, showing his inherently lazy nature was now sprawled on the couch, resembling a content cat. The feline equivalent was pretending to be a blanket on his feet. They both snored.

How... domestic. she thought ironically, suppressing a sudden, overwhelming urge to poke a toe into this dreamy idyll. Normally, she would give in. Then the living room would momentarily fill with angry cats and husbands, both puffed up, the hair of both standing on edge. Both the husband and the cat pulled it off quite spectacularly. Normally everything would calm down in just a short while. Normally, but not now.

This had not been an easy day. Hard, first of all, physically. Long and draining and endless. Harder for most, much harder, in proving that Man is not the immortal being it was pretending to be. Man had done his pretending well; man had equipped himself with teleporters that would bring him from the brink of the abyss and to the trained hands of capable personnel. Man had created machines to sustain him until he could, once again, stand on his own two feet. Sometimes, when all hope was lost, man prayed for miracles. And sometimes, very rarely, man got miracles.

She had found it amusing, watching as she was the illusory idyll of a home, the flimsy cover up for all that death that lurked underneath, just how convinced the world has become of its own invincibility. And if you are invincible then nothing bad can happen. Surely, surely.

But these immortals now had their proof. Unequivocal proof of the possibility of failure. The flimsy fabric of creation tore, and suddenly all man's might was not enough. Just as all man's foresight had not been enough one spring evening, a long time ago. Just as it had not been enough many millions of times, many thousands of years.

Crying was simply not enough to express the sadness of this.

Sofia wanted to laugh.