Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Memory (07/10/08)
TITLE: Scent of the "Other Time"
By Tim George
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Please forgive this rather cold and unceremonious manner of saying goodbye. By the time you read this letter I will be far away and yet hopefully closer than I have ever been. Would you believe I found that manual writing machine you bought from the museum years ago! I couldn’t believe it still works. Please forgive the <..> but the key for the … the last letter in the alphabet doesn’t work.
The world we were born to is falling apart. Not with some grand and tearful curtain call but rather in bits and pieces. There will be no flowers thrown or hurrah's when the last act ends. All will have slipped from their seats long before such a time. It is like a child’s block house abandoned for newer and more interesting toys. The heavy footsteps of time are shaking its foundations and every block vibrates with the inevitability of it all.
We will see no invading hoards of barbarians, no raucous rebellions led by bare-breasted idealistic revolutionaries, no statesmen proposing noble experiments … not even any slogan shouting anarchists. One day, one unlikely and yet necessary day, this thing we call civili<..>ation will simply cease.
The irony of it all is that few will even notice. To put it better; few that matter will notice. The architects of our crumbling house will join the dust long before the blocks of our carefully designed society fall silently beside them. Tombstones of their own making which no one will bother to visit. Those with enough years and maturity to understand are too busy striving to extend their own meaningless lives. Too intent on convincing themselves one hundred fifty years on this planet is any closer to immortality than one hundred twenty. And, in their selfish haste to see one more sunrise they have forgotten to show those younger and more vital what can be done about it. And so, nothing is done.
Who will save us from this madness? Will it be those who tinker with our DNA or those who claim to understand our souls? Who are we to blame … the government? Some shake there fists in a sudden display of concern they never bothered to muster before. Only now, when their lives are inconvenienced do they speak out. They remind me of Cousin Otto; angrily cursing his cancer rather than himself for filling his body with carcinogens. Who will save us from the darkness that has swallowed our world? Honestly, I question whether there is such a savior. Whether we even deserve to be saved.
But take heart Uncle. Even as I opened the case of this ancient machine a tiny light penetrated my darkness. A small card fell from it into my lap. It was yellowed and the words mostly beyond reading. Something about light coming into the world and the light being life. The words meant little but something else marvelously strange happened. The faint scent of a vaguely familiar “other-time” was on that card. It was the scent of that powder great-grandmother always wore. All these year and the aroma of her presence is still with us.
Her kind is all but gone now. They … we made sure of that. At first we tolerated them, then we ignored them, and finally we simply forgot about them. How foolish I must look; a grown man sniffing a card and shedding tears at the memories it invokes. So many years ago (at least seventy-five). So much has changed.
Since you are reading this you now know I am long gone from here. Where am I headed? To a place the scent of a long dead woman and living words takes me. Rumor has it there are those who still have all the words. As dark as this world is their light must surely be discernible somewhere!
Great-grandmother used to tell us to never forget. Funny; I thought I had. Perhaps she was right. The light IS greater than the darkness.
Your Loving Nephew
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