What day is this? The sun is gone, swept up like a mote behind black clouds bleeding gold; all things falling down. They are a smoked mirror for the acres of fires on the earth below. A rain of fire ends in rivers of blood, flowing and charring in streaked patterns on the ground, and above the pendulous sky so full of ash there is no room left for the stars.
Where are your heroes, and prophets, and statesmen? They are the ones who made it, and now the bunkers fill up like bracken hides with them, watching wild life burn out of the world. Oh, what they have left behind them.
Who will answer? If there is a throne with a God left on it somewhere in the unilluminated dark, will you stand before it and answer? Out on the burned wastegrounds, there is a litter of foundations from the city gone, ground down and blown away, a generation across; they teeter crumbling in the dirt like broken teeth in a yard of jawbones, and Death sits on each one in turn and takes nine parts in ten. What is left wonders if it is still human.
Where are the families, and children, and shopkeepers? Panic is gone, and in his absence and wake Havoc spreads bat-wings under the invisible moon; we finish each other off in the darkness where the alleyways were, wailing, and all wails ending one after another in wet stains in the dry-burned rivers.
Who will answer?
I’m not sure what this is — short story or prose poem? Maybe it’s a monologue. I’ve been thinking about what life is like for the worst-off. The title is Latin; it’s from a tradition of classical and early mediaeval poetry in which the narrator reflects on the ruin of a former magnificence, and I wondered if anyone will be left wondering where we all went, when we’re gone.