Monday, July 30, 2012

Until the Rainbow, Part Five

Among the things the old man left behind, I found some paper. I've been writing this while the others work -- and despite my expectations, they've encouraged it. I thought someone would rebuke me for not helping out, but no one did. Part of that, I'm sure, was because I'd made the climb into the boat... but I think that another part of it is a desire to be remembered, to have some record of who we were, and what we did when the waters rose. Our final project is as simple to describe as it is difficult to complete: to rip the roof off the old man's house, whole and intact, and invert it. With any luck, and a lot of work, we can make an impromptu boat and put the children inside. When the old man and his sons lowered me out of their boat, they gave me a length of rope. Once our own boat is ready, I'll make that climb again, and tie that rope to his ship. The other end will be attached to our boat, the life raft we're crafting from his roof, tying it to his floating barn. I doubt the raft will last long. It might not even survive the arrival of the waters, but there's nothing I can do about that. Still, if it lasts until daylight... my last, great, burning hope is that the old man and his family will be forced to choose between bringing the children aboard, and watching them drown. I hope -- and, yes, even pray -- that they'll choose the latter. But if they don't, let them have my curse: let their descendents be just as we are now. Just as varied, just as selfish, just as petty and greedy and warlike. If God can curse the world to death by water, surely I can curse the old man's descendents to be human and imperfect. And if my curse has any power, then you -- eventual reader, the person who finds this record -- will know how the old man chose. None of the adults will go with the raft. There's only barely room for the children, and the old man will absolutely ignore any vessel with any of us in it. We've resigned ourselves to dying, to give them a better chance to live. If we are truly part of the sin and iniquity that brought about the end of the world, then we'll pay for it now. I have an empty bottle here beside me: dry, discarded. When I finish, I'll put these papers inside and seal the top as best I can. If there's any justice in the world, someday someone will find them and learn what we did. And if there isn't, you can at least consider this my last defiant act: spitting in the eye of a god who would wipe us all from the face of the Earth for being what he made, rather than what he hoped for.

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