I stand on my balcony behind my mirrors in the long sunset and I gaze upon the empty city. The air is cool here on the shores of the sea of dust, and I might be the last one left.
What began as fashion has become, over long years, a prophecy and will become before too much longer truth. We are the last, survivors of the cold marriages and the joyful death. Even now the air grows thin, the carefully crafted trees and woven grass have no power to refresh the atmosphere.
The length of my forearm above the horizon our sister world, Tellus, hangs like an unsupported jewel. The contours of the continents have changed since I was young, broken by our own actions. The war with Mu is over and I wonder if those new lands are peopled or if they are as barren as our own world. One continent has come seven, shattered when politics took science as an unwilling bride.
I wish I could claim that it was guilt that has led us to decimate our own numbers, but we started the war with ourselves before the war with the Tellurians. Now, and only now, can I see that it was our conceit that we could improve upon nature that has brought us to this point. I stand in a city that lusted for the illusion of solitude, and I do not know if that illusion has become reality.
Those cunning mirrors, set to reflect back emptiness. Once they were a comfort, a hedge against the stench and din of my own kind. Once a million souls could walk this city, each wrapped in the vision of loneliness, each secure in the knowledge that unseen kin walked close beside.
Now I fear to break our accustomed silence. What if I cry out, step out from behind my concealment, announce my existence, and no one answers me?
Across the city empty streets stretch in pristine perfection. The stone trees will never shed a single carved leaf, each blade of manufactured grass stands at motionless attention, waiting for a stirring breeze that will never come.
What food I have–assembled in a factory by machines now stilled–will last me, I suppose, until the end. I no longer bother to provide a portion for the telefactor of my wife, which sits still and gathering dust at my table. I assume that she is dead, wherever her fleshy body might reside, although it might be that she simply ceased to activate the machine. I, myself, can not abide the thought of submitting to my own telefactor’s electromechanical embrace.
What then shall I do to fill the days and nights while waiting for our attenuated atmosphere to become too thin to breathe? How shall I await my inevitable and choking end? I could choose the joyous death. While the sun shines there will be enough current to power those insidious electrodes. They are said to stimulate pleasure, to burn out the brain from the inside, giving us, who eschewed reality in all of its forms, one last dream of all that we have set aside.
It is not morality but rather fastidiousness that keeps me from that path. It appeals to my last vestige of the perversity that has doomed our world to record the end, writing words that no one will ever read. In this act shall I drink the wine of our arrogance to its final dregs.
And so to you, you gods that we have ceased to worship, you demons that we have ceased to fear, I address the words. I, the last or perhaps the last of the Selenites, stand on my balcony in the city of emptiness on the shores of the sea of dust and I tell you:
We have done this. You lack the power to either damn or save us. We came to this place on our own and I, perhaps I alone, will see the journey on to the bitter end.
The long night is beginning. I will, perhaps, see you in the morning.