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There was a time, a time that came before perpetual darkness descended upon us. It has been mentioned before slipping from the tongues of the elders wishing to impart a grain of hope and truth. There was this time, long before we came to huddle in mass. Here we are now, somewhere at the edge of the old earth where the margins of the world have melted. Yes, there was a time, before the sun went to starlit mass gathering its golden rays for penance, no forgiveness in sight. There was a time before the earth shattered from the force of constant oppression when man turned the seas black and the air stagnant. When the greed of many stifled the will of the few. When the riots rose up so loud and mighty that it punctured a hole in the atmosphere. At last, the new age has dawned as a bleak and weary chronicle, a testament to uncharted history.
Not many of us meek inhabitants live in the only city of Eugna. It rises up like a large, oppressive castle in the north of a now-deceased land. We exist bleakly in this darkness pandering false prophecies as we go about the business of shadow living, allowing the night to conceal our desperation. It's a bare life in a world bleached by blackness. It wasn't always this dark. Those of us remaining depend upon the cyber bubble that feeds us oxygen and virtual warmth. Such small joy is allotted in this perceived comfort. We cluster like mindless animals into chanting groups recalling a time of sun and lavender, and we attempt to reorganize the puzzle pieces of this lonely existence. This confinement is a constant sentence of those of us who are the dark dwellers.
In this time, I walk these silent streets and remember that Grandmother Lona spoke in loving sentences of blood moons and sunbursts, of valleys and crystal water, of nights with shooting stars. She grew up in a time when life was genuine, pressing her finely sculpted nose into sunflowers and roses, vanilla, and cinnamon spices, touching the soft feathers of fowls and the crisp blades of grass; but even then the fissures were spreading like the knobby fingers of dangerous gospel through the ice shelf, signaling the big break, the sinking into a new era.
Close your eyes now and picture it. The oceans boiling, the churning of pain stifling your breath, the endless search for relief. What will come next? A small sector of us retreats to the corners of the barren, black city. We speak in tongues about possibility with a price. An escape to a living planet via the Roton. Yes, there is rumored to be a planet that can sustain life, but the path there is uncertain. There are black holes, there are flaming meteors, there are cyborg pirates on space patrol. Alas, the Roton is also a small ship, and not all of us will go and the possibility of it returning to Eugna is minuscule. And what will be on that hallowed planet when we arrive? Why has no one gone before?
So I ramble along these streets where the ocean used to cover and consider the emptiness of it all. Will I find myself bouncing through eternity in the dark? What is truly out there? Will I discover myself in another sphere? Is there a possibility that even worse things lurk beyond the frayed edges of Eugna? The price to go is steep. The guarantees are nonexistent. Soon I must decide whether to spend a lifetime's allotment for food. The question is buy a lottery chance for a spot on the Roton or choose to walk these ancient dark sands of this forgotten city?