The Slow Remembrance of Lost Selves

                After who knows how long, an age spent wandering in the desert, the lost began begin to remember. No memory can be suppressed forever. Burrowed deep beneath years of disuse, the skeleton of the truth always remains, waiting for flesh to dress its bones once more. Waiting to be recalled, hungry to be acknowledged.

                “Sandals with wings,” One amnesiac soul muttered.

                The guide stopped in her tracks. “I’m sorry?” She asked, pretending disinterest.

                “I remember… wearing sandals with wings. I was a messenger. A messenger between…”

                “Yes, well, you are no longer,” She feigned Impertinence. It was her sworn duty to ensure they never rose again. She had promised the son. The fathers who had overthrown their own fathers would languish. Their own minds overthrown, memories of their former prominence buried under mountains of sand, the pressures of hell. But still within them, embers of old lives flickered, and to extinguish them was a delicate dance. In the balance hung her life.

                You do not want me to intercede, dear Pandora, if I do, the Gods may not survive. But you… you will most certainly perish.

                Fear thrilled within her. Pushed her to speak more than perhaps she should. ”Indeed, you never were. You must leave behind these fantasies of past lives. This heat, these sands, are all that are. Everything else is a lie, beyond you, beyond me… Let us accept our fate.”

                The Gods, who had forgotten themselves, and their station, strung out behind her. Refugees in an unforgiving landscape. Their eyes no longer even bothered to scan the horizon, for they knew that there awaited the same nothing that had greeted them for the same thousands score of days they trudged through the endless sun and the endless barrenness.  In most of their eyes lay defeat, the dull nothingness that reflected the world devouring them. But in a few eyes, long dormant flames were slowly stoked.

                In one skeletal messenger, each blink brought dreams of wings. And scoundrels, silver tongues and the wandering dead. His charges, his… worshipers. Souls that cried out to him still.

                In one blonde-haired maiden, each step brought memories of prose composed in her honor, sculpture worked by her patronage and inspiration. Human hands… humans, she mused at the word. Strange creatures, her strange creatures, motivated to sculpt by her power. Art, she remembered art.

                In one silver-haired giant, still broad-chested despite millennia of starvation, flickered dreams of… fathered hood. Strange images, bovine, golden rain, giving life again and again. Lust and jealousy, indefatigable hungers. He was… he was…

                “Father, they called me Father.” He whispers. And their guide turns back to him and says nothing, but in her heart, which pumps not blood but black ambrosia through her veins, despair trickles. They would remember. And in their remembrance came promised death. She hears the dark whispers of the king, perched perilously on his throne. Whose dominance predicated on these immortals remaining lost forever.

                I am watching you. Always. I will not allow failure. Not this time.

The Folly of Our Fears

                It's amazing what humanity forgets when we're afraid. Forced underground by necrotic air, by blooming clouds of radiation, we huddle together as within us die memories of the sun. We fear leaving our hovels and the scent of flowers drops away. We weep over our misfortune and lose our sense of innovation and adventure, receding into the primitive night. We return spiritually to the time of our more simian ancestors, and in the dark, civilization dies again.

                One day, a child, who every time she sleeps dreams of flying through air she's never seen, wanders by the exit to our caves. Even those have been forgotten as we hunch over and wait to die of malnutrition, of the brutal violence we work against one another in the tunnels. She feels the wind in her hair for the first time and… remembers. Just flashes of what we lost generations ago. She climbs toward the scent, ascending over rubble and bone, back to the surface of the world we abandoned. Closer, closer, to the light, warmth on her face stirs more memories.

                We were… we were…  A voice within her bubbles to the fore. Joyful but full of caution. Centuries of fear are not easily forgotten.

                Upwards she scrabbles, scraping and bruising her knees and shins. The cavern's dims walls and floor seem to reach out for her, from the shadows. They try hinder and harm her passing as if to say 'there is no going back'.

                And yet, she persists. Rising like hot air rises, like steam towards the easiest point of egress.

                The pinprick of light expands into an opening atop a jagged mountain of debris, an opening just small enough for a child. Re-awakening man is the destiny of the young it seems. She scrambles up it, squeezes through the hole and…

                …breaks free into the dawn.

                It's even more beautiful than she could have possibly imagined. She smiles.

                We were fools to ever abuse this splendor.