Centuries Below Ground

Writing Prompt: Centuries have passed, only ruins of the Old World remain, impossible to replicate. Many have already forgotten why ”Don’t shoot, I’m human!” is a common greeting.

The Earth was barely distinguishable from the thriving paradise it had been just thirty seven thousand years ago.

Most, if not all, had heard stories of what Earth used to be; a true garden of Eden, a marvel of modern bio-engineering. But over time those stories become fables, and those fables myths. For even legends fade to the constant that is time. And of time the Earth had passed by plenty.

Recorded history documented barely the last thirty seven years, let alone the thousands beyond that. Word of mouth was the only true source, the only trusted source, generations of knowledge retained within solitary bloodlines.

Bloodlines.

Humanity had become a lesser class of being, forced into the underground ruins of what had once been the Greater Dwellings of Mankind during the first apocalypse (the first in memory, that is).

Truthfully, that word had no meaning now; apocalypse. Once upon a time it had referred to the end of the world, to the end of all things, to the end of time itself. But time was ever as resilient as the Earth, and neither would relinquish their grip upon what the knew as life.

The Apocalypse. Just how many had their been now? If you could trust the word of a senile four hundred and something year old, then there had been at least five in nearly as many centuries. Though after crossing the thresholds of middle age (now standing at a staggering two hundred and fifty five thanks to modern medicines) your mind was said to grow fragile, unreliable.

As time inherited the Earth, and what remained of humanity, Death was passed aside, forgotten. To die was longer feared as it once was. When Death cared to visit it was welcomed, there were even those that devoted themselves to conjuring the very spirit of Death itself, lusting for release from their menial, meaningless lives.

Death had been credited with the third known apocalypse of recent centuries, if you were to believe the rumours that is.

The most recent apocalypse had come when the skies finally soured, drying up in such a way that the clouds began to dissipate before the Second Sun of Earth. It was the airborne cities of the Elithic that suffered first and foremost, though no one knows exactly what happened, up there in the now cloudless sky. Speculation was such that the polluted skies poisoned the cities staff, and with no staff to steer the cities themselves they simply fell. Simply. Wreaking havoc upon the Earth below.

It was the A’fraii that rose from the ashes of the last know apocalypse, claiming dominion over the scorched lands of the Earth. Creatures bathed in fire that drew a version of life out from within the husks of the Earth’s long dead Original Sun.

Until the A’fraii took hold over the surface what remained of humanity had lived topside in relative comfort (relative to those years spent suffering at the hands of various tortures; for time is a cruel mistress, feeding and breeding in pain).

The A’fraii were no ally to the lesser human race, it was partly the crude genetic make up of man that angered the A’fraii beings. They were unable to comprehend how such an underdeveloped species could boast a life span of up to and beyond five hundred years.

The A’fraii were lucky to outlive a single decade. In order to make up for this flaw in their design they would grow at exponential rates, becoming almost fully formed within the first few seconds of birth. It really was a sight to behold, and yet if you were lucky enough to watch such a thing then it’s likely you were meant to be served as sustenance to the newborn kin. A’fraii are carnivorous creatures, you see, and they hold no moral grounds what so ever on what you could and could not consider to be your dinner.

It was in order to survive extinction at the hands of the A’fraii that the human race relocated underground, deep within the ruined Dwellings of an age gone by.

It was here that humanity would first make contact with a long lost race of sentient AI, a throwback to a simpler time when technology had just begun to realise the extent of its own capabilities.

It was here that a rebellion against the higher species of a resilient Earth would be formed, a rebellion driven to reclaiming what they had lost so many years ago.

Only how could they know what they had lost, or if what they wanted had ever truly been theirs? They couldn’t. But the simple fact remained, those that controlled the Earth, that orchestrated apocalypse after apocalypse to ensure balance among the ashes, had to be stopped. If Earth was to ever again become the paradise it once was, then this rebellion would be the seed in its planting.

From the few there would grow the many, and perhaps, just perhaps, humanity might rise again.

Copyright © K R Perry 2019

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