The slab of stone has been touted as the greatest archaeological find of his generation.
Sure, Fru finds the markings on it especially fascinating, showing what could well be the oldest writing system known to date. Some over-thinkers and creative minds have even suggested the possibility of a secret message–a prophecy, a warning–hidden behind the squiggles and shapes of black, white and green, framed by a broken layer of ancient glass, too thick and too solid to be of any use today.
Half the world is already neck-deep in unraveling the mysteries of this latest historical enigma. And Fru’s just here wondering why their ancestors, who lived in a supposedly advanced society some 100,00 years ago, were still writing on walls.
The path is paved in rainbow colors, the symbol of hope. At one end of which stands a pale blue structure– pristine and untouched by the devastation that swept through the rest of what was once a lively town. The Girl takes one last look at it and for the first time sees it for what it really is–four walls and a roof.
Turning on legs already wobbled by the plague that killed her community, she catches sight of a faint dash of rainbow in the sky. No pot of gold or empty promises of eternal salvation at the end of it. Just plain hope for another day.
For the first time in centuries, the Elf Queen sits on the grass.
Being here, away from the chaos of her kingdom, gives her pause to remember the young, idealistic ruler she once was before power, ambition and the court’s dirty politics corrupted her compassionate heart.
She sighs after a while, giving the executioner her sincerest, most benevolent smile, “I’m ready.”
Tim was just about to nod off into oblivion when Mrs. Lu, their usually uninspired science professor, brought out a photo of the alleged alien species that was photographed millions of light years ago on some primitive planetary system in some faraway galaxy that had yet to learn the wonders of a synthetic sun—no wonder this one looked so strange with its fluffy white skin and faceless bubble head.
“What’s it called?” he asked, his four hands and five feet already fidgeting in anticipation.
Three of Mrs. Lu’s eyes took on a pensive gleam, the other three fixing themselves on Tim, only one of which glinted with certainty, “I believe they call themselves ‘mankind’…”
“Where’s Steve?!” Hans screamed, barely maneuvering his jet off the path of a fidgeting tentacle. They had not counted on the alien bug blowing up into an abomination the size of ten cruise ships (maybe more… they had only been around to see it swallow that much) and throwing a fit like a roomful of teenage hormones (drunk on booze, privilege, and not much else), in under an hour like it’s on a tight schedule to cause as much nuisance as it could wreck. And all this while their Captain (that perpetually stoned donkey!) was holed up somewhere else in a mood of his own.
“He’s on the way!” Barry gasped, caught in a battle with one of the bug’s four wailing heads. “Said we should start bolting in together so he could just snap right on when he arrives!”
Hans blurted out a string of what-the-fuckeries echoed by the other three (yes, even Barry)—knowing their captain too well to believe that nonsense and already seeing tomorrow’s front page feature on the infamous headless robot who came within an inch of its life, but (thankfully and by some flukish miracle) still managed to save the day.
The sandcastle begins to crumble as Georgie grapples for the right words to say. Warren doesn’t even bother looking at him this time.
“It’s okay…” The sigh that finally escapes the ageless boy’s throat sounds resigned, grinding the very grains of Georgie’s soul just as a tower collapses. “We both knew this was bound to happen anyway. So it’s okay, Georgie. Don’t sweat it. I’ll tend to our castle until you return.”
Georgie lets out a chuckle, more breath than delight. But when Warren finally glances back at him, apathy breaking into a smile, his own anxieties begin to melt. He wraps his arms around his twin, marveling at how familiar this feels even after a decade and six. “I’ll see you soon, Warren…”
“Warren, what’s a paradise?” one boy asks his brother, eyes and hands otherwise fixed on fortifying the grainy walls of their sandcastle.
“This…” Warren taps a handful of sand on a crumbling tower. “You, me and our sandy monarchy. With nothing but the sea around us, the wind within us, and the sun rising before us… This, Georgie, is our paradise…”
Georgie smiles, tearful and bittersweet. For sunrise always reminds him of the morning that’s about to come. One where the dream ends and his twin brother is dead again.