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Sad face with sorry heavy upon their lips

Sorrow flowing, bitter internalised pain

Watching the joy of a thousand pleasant dreamers walking by,

But, someone’s got to have the nightmares

So haunted and restless here I will lie

 

The words of the song drifted without melody through her mind. Calming, relaxing. The song came as a pleasing distraction, trigged by nothing more than a random phrase upon the page in front of her.

She silently mused to herself; ‘This is a curious book!’ She had come across it on a second hand book stall. Its cover worn and tattered like so many others around it, showing the familiar signs of being read over and over, some better treated than others. She too was on the point of overlooking it but her hand had reached down and instead of picking up the one next it, her intended choice, she had picked this up instead.

And so now here she sat, book in hand, its words filling her mind with song. She closed it. Marking her place by keeping one of her pale fingers in between the yellowing pages, she looked out of her window and into the clear, sunny, blue sky of another day whilst a large screen upon the wall was displaying a varying selection of forest images, softly filling what would have otherwise been a silent background with the sounds of bird song.  It was a peaceful calming selection and she had much need of its sounds, its imagery and above all, she had needed the book.

Standing she walked over to the window and lowered her eyes, taking in the vista that surround. Concrete and glass stretched out, broken in very few places by patches of pale greenery. Planted zones there to break the sameness of the city, welcome oasis’s to promote calm.

There came a gentle chime the bird song faded replaced by a soft, well-spoken androgynous voice; ‘Todays weather will be clear and sunny, 25 degrees with 30 percent humidity. Sunset will be at 20:45. Tonight shall be clear with moderate cloud; sunrise will be at 5:05. Weather Central wishes all citizens a happy and peaceful day.’

The chime issued again, birdsong once more filled the air.

Everything was continuing as it should be, yet she felt uneasy knowing that things were so out of place. She placed a hand upon the glass before her and a split appeared down its centre. Slowly opening, she stepped out onto her balcony. As soon as it did she walked out into the sunlight and looked about her into the streets below.  Life below continuing as it had always done so, peacefully, with disruption, at odds with the sentiments, the behaviour of their leaders who had brought them now to the brink of . . .

. . .  the crowds moved below her in silence, dressed alike in white and grey, only the occasional speck of dark almost black, navy robed Keepers of the Peace betrayed the only presence of a division within the system.  They faltered, stopped, looked about them in puzzlement, confusion, the muted stillness disrupted by a distant howling whine.

Her heart sank. Bitter fear rose within her.

The noise grew closer, louder, and the crowds below her now began to make noise, moving slowly, but gathering in an ever quicker pace. Tears formed at the edge of her eyes and she looked away, into the bright blue of the sky and she saw then, on plumes of smoke and fire, the rising distant rockets, missiles, projectiles of mass death heading for their targets unknown, one after the other, climbing, climbing.

She watched, seeing the sights hidden from the now panicking crowds below. Watched so many silver birds flying, she swallowed, a bitter taste filling her mouth, her eyes now finding, now watching, the incoming vapour trails. The once blue sky now crisscrossed with man-made clouds and her ears became deaf to the screaming below, the wailing of the sirens.

She fell into a strange silence. Became wrapped in her own world, locked into this moment.

On the Horizon.

Growing larger.

Ever closer.

Plumes of fire.

Red and black.

Gold and glowing.

Rolling, boiling, rising.

A wind was rising, growing ever hotter.

She closed her eyes, the book slipping from her fingers.

The noise was deafening.

 

 

Machines recorded the events unfolding below. Sending images down to a world that turned, revolving steadily around its star, sending images down to a screaming, dying, planet, now pocked with cloud formations disrupting and banishing other clouds that surrounded them.

The machines did not think, did not care, did not know, if anyone below would receive their data, view their images, they carried on, remote obedient servants to masters that, below them, wrought their own destruction with ruthless efficiency.

The satellites witnessed the terror by daylight and by night capturing events unfolding, events that within hours quietened and began to show, even from so far above, the terrible effects of what had been unleashed.  Such couch be seen even clearer on the worlds night side, firestorms raged and the network of lights, pretty patterns, delicate and beguiling so clearly showing signs of life on the world below, no longer appeared as the planet revolved, its sun dutifully turning night to day, day to night. Only the raging fires lit the night and as time progressed, the world below became consumed and seemed to languish in and eternal darkness, wrapped heavily in a shroud dark and disturbing that, even from the eyes of the watchers above it, hiding the surface and the pain that crawled across it.

 

The pages of the book fluttered in the heat. The air was nothing but smoke, ash and dust. Once beautiful, now a ruin, the city crumbled, burned. A pale hand cut and bloodied reached down, picked it up.

Fires raged, the sky now cast a sickly orange colour, if there was any sound to accompany the nightmare that surrounded them, the reader could not say.

But within, the words of a song filled her mind;

 

Sad face with sorry heavy upon their lips

Sorrow flowing, bitter internalised pain

Watching the joy of a thousand pleasant dreamers walking by,

But, someone’s got to have the nightmares

So haunted and restless here I will lie

 

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