Tonight, I fully intended to settle down and write some more meat to this story that is hammering to get out. Instead, after a long day, I lazed about the living room and watched science shows on television.
I had, after all, just pumped out 50,000 words over the weekend. I could give myself a break!
Except not. Not intending to write, I paced around the living room seeing so clearly in my head a carrion crow facing against a ruined Humanity. It is no secret that this story is set in a dystopian world, where people tell themselves they are upholding ideological beliefs. So while walking the strange pathways of my foyer, an origin proverb emerged.
It is rough. And it might or might not make it into the actual book, but I enjoyed the act of writing it. Of exploring what I viewed in my mind’s eye of how a group of people could subjugate themselves to what amounts to emotional enslavement.
A little light is shed tonight. A light I share.
Someday, Humanity will be forced to look back,
At the origin of all things.
“Where is everyone?” they cry.
Only the carrion crow answers. “Consumed!”
Humanity stares in shock at glossy feathers,
“Say it isn’t so! The world was full! The world was young!”
Humanity’s cries pierce up to the sky.
“Even the young suffer the pestilence to live,” the carrion crow barks.
“We were not sick!” Humanity cries.
“Did you not disdain compassion for the poor?”
The carrion crow pecks at the nails of Humanity’s unhelpful hands.
“Did you not disdain the value of life?”
Humanity wails in agony.
The carrion crow plucks out the plump, juicy orbs of Humanity’s eyes.
“Did you not fail to steward the environment?”
Gone, gone; Humanity’s lungs are pecked free!
The bird’s iridescent feathers thicken with gore.
“Did you not fail to love each other in spite of your differences?”
“Wait!” Humanity cries.
Always on the brink of death, hands grasp for absolution.
“Yes?” The carrion crow’s beak gleams
As nuclear sun lights its wicked sharpness.
The bird poises over the heart.
“We were doing what they told us to do! We didn’t mean it!”
The remains of Humanity thrash.
“It wasn’t our fault! It was their fault! They told us not to help the poor!
They told us to hate those different from us! They said that they had all of the answers!
They promised us safety and a life free of hardship!”
The carrion crow pauses and Humanity weeps in relief.
“Did you not disdain knowledge?”
The skull cracks like a cracker and the carrion crow feasts on the brain.
Blinded and helpless, Humanity is without even the hands to lift itself.
The plumpest bit is last. Humanity doesn’t fight the carrion crow
When the bird’s beak plunges into the cavity that protects emotion.
“Please…” Humanity begs.
“To live without compassion, to live without valuing all life,
To live in your own polluted filth, to fail to love,
To blatantly disdain knowledge.”
The carrion crow consumes the fattest of Humanity’s organs.
It is filled with tainted sorrow.
And yet. The bird cocks its head at the corpse of Humanity.
“Do you wish for a second chance?”
Humanity has no eyes to see, no brain to process, no fingers to feel, and no heart to love.
But the power of the tongue still rests within a dying soul.
The carrion crow, big and fat now, glossy and layered in visceral remains, flaps its wings.
It leaves behind Humanity.
There’s nothing but bones and putrefying flesh.
It soars over the ruined planet.
Until it finds a spot to regurgitate the Eyes of Humanity.
“Here, you will flourish as the eyes to value life.
Let none wander through who seek to make lesser another creature before themselves.”
The carrion crow flies off, leaving behind the origin seed of life.
From high above, it finds the next spot, sheltered from the Eyes.
The carrion crow spews up the Lungs of Humanity in an enormous crater in the middle of the world.
“Let none wander who seek to taint the air and water,
Ruin the plants and animals that might yet return. Death be upon them,
He that wants to subjugate the land.”
Flying away, the carrion crow finds the gnarled branches of a copse of dead trees.
There it regurgitates the Fingers of Humanity.
“Let none wander who seek to refuse aid to those lesser than themselves.”
Nestled in the bedrock of a cracked ravine,
It digs a hole and coughs up the Brains of Humanity.
“Knowledge is power. Let he who wields it be apart from the masses.
Let none wander who seek to follow in the footsteps of the Fool.”
At the highest point, the carrion crow pauses.
The earth is blackened and scorched by Humanity’s hubris.
It nestles the Heart of Humanity into the mountain.
To this, the bird says.
“Let none wander who gives in too freely to emotion. Those who kill in the name of love and hate
Shall be forever damned.”
The bird returns to Humanity.
Nudges the body to see if life still sparks.
“I have spread your legacy throughout the land.”
“Thank you,” Humanity rasps.
Death is close. The carrion crow is surprised it has not come yet.
“Why?” Humanity questions. It is the last question Humanity asks.
“Because good exists in your heart. Your eyes are blind.
Your brain is easily swayed by the will of others.
Your hands are numb, and your lungs breathe the harvest you’ve sown.”
Sharp talons of the crow’s feet pace across the ruined corpse.
“But your heart has a vast capacity for good. If you had listened, had loved, had thought,
And had protected what was yours to treasure, you would still be here.”
The bones of civilization will long be covered in dust.
But the crow’s work will live on in those who remain.
Much time passes, and another carrion crow lands next to the first.
“What did humanity taste like?” it asks.
The carrion crow thinks for a moment. “Like all things, like flesh.”
“I wanted to taste Humanity.” The second bird is regretful.
“You will have a chance again.”
“Will I?” Now, the second bird is curious, beady eyes resting on the larger crow.
“Humanity always repeats their mistake. I did not take the lying tongue.”
Atop their Kingdom of Rust, Humanity’s descendants build and build.
Until the land is warped and savaged.
Soon, they will cry again.
“What happened to us?”
And the carrion crow will answer.
“You, you happened to you.”
And that will be the end.
— An old City proverb