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a guest Jun 14th, 2016 91 Never
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  1. Saishuko saw the sky open, east to west, and accept one hundred thousand souls into its schism. He reflected briefly before the black cloud of earth and vapour came rolling into the V of the mountain, riding behind the flattening trees, during which he rose to his feet and opened his mouth in shock.
  2.  
  3. A moment later he was against the opposite wall, his mouth and body cut with glass, the floor giving way underneath. His riverside house had an extension that had been built over the water itself that gave a cool space to sit in the summer months. It was this platform that collapsed underneath Saishuko, dropping him into the wetness below.
  4.  
  5. Saishuko was tossed and turned by the current; first head up, then head down. He was eventually expelled from the water and was pushed onto the bank. His body was sticky with mud and sludge, and it was some time before he could breathe.
  6.  
  7. His home was now timber being carried by the water, which swelled and churned. Saishuko turned and walked towards the city; he followed the path that lead through the valley, walking against the pines that tried to dissuade him with their gesture.
  8.  
  9. *
  10.  
  11. The path he walked had been swept clean by the wave of heat and pressure; the ground was smooth and new, and covered in the dry remains of plants that had been uprooted. His feet raised small clouds of dust, as if this were a place of calm, and he were the first to disturb it.
  12.  
  13. It was a two mile walk into the city. At about two thirds of the way, Saishuko met a creature. It was black from head to toe, and though it stood upright on legs that supported a torso with limbs and a bulb at the top, it could not be called a person. It had no face; no eyes, or nose, or ears or lips. Its lower jaw shook open with its shambles, and the space above it was missing.
  14.  
  15. Saishuko stood for a moment in fear. It was a few moments before his rational aspect could override the visual information he was receiving, but he began to act as if this thing were a human being. He approached it, but didn't touch it. Standing in front of it he asked it if it was okay, but the thing did not understand him. It dragged itself forward, slowly, jauntily, and pressed itself into Saishuko, but didn't let up the automatic motor commands that allowed it to move. It simply began to howl. Low at first, and building. This thing had lost the capacity for expression of anything but pain in being denied its nature.
  16.  
  17. Saishuko began to speak, and he grabbed the creature. He noticed that over its black skin there were the black remains of a cotton shirt. Grabbing it from there, he thrust it off himself, shouting at it. The thing only screamed in reply.
  18.  
  19. Saishuko was  frightened and disgusted. What agent had caused this transformation? What can make a thing out of a person? He felt as though he had fallen through a reflection, into a world where men didn't exist.
  20.  
  21. The black horror was on the ground now, and clearly in pain; Saishuko felt no sympathy for it. He was glad when its cries started to die out, and its disgusting wriggling ceased, and he continued to walk along the path, his wet shirt darkened with red and black.
  22.  
  23. *
  24.  
  25. Entering the outskirts of the city, Saishuko started to see dusty figures ambling around the debris. They were moving in a confused state, with no clear intention, not understanding what was happening or what they needed. There were bundles of scorched rags and dirt lying here and there against the structures; some were still moving, mouthing pleas to those that passed them or simply letting those around them know that they were still alive to some extent.
  26.  
  27. Among the movers were some soldiers, who had been shielded from the fire in their barracks. Each soldier carried a flask of water on his hip; the forms on the ground were begging for a taste, rasping out the word as if they weren't in the habit of speaking. The soldiers ignored them; Saishuko knew this was because the soldiers had been instructed not to give water to burn victims. He could not feel sympathy for these dying things; they still held on to the ideas of solidarity and kindness, and the water would only have killed them faster.
  28.  
  29. Further towards the centre of the city, Saisuko saw many buildings that were still alight, and many people that were burning. Soon, he thought, there would be none alive, and only the ones that were walking silently would be left.
  30.  
  31. On the porch of one building he saw a woman sitting in a blanket. From the fiery timbers behind her he could hear the cries of a young girl screaming for her mother. He turned towards the woman and looked at her dark face; its cheeks were shiny with dried tears and grime. He asked her why didn't she help her child. The woman looked at him and replied with a deliberate voice that she had tried to pull her child from the wreckage, but she did not have the strength to lift the wood and the fire was closing in on her. She had ran out into the street, crying out for help, but no one had come. All the men she saw walked past her, and none would help. Saisuko nodded his head. As he turned away, he noticed by its cessation that the little girl's screaming had stopped. He continued on his way.
  32.  
  33. *
  34.  
  35. When Saishuko came to the middle of the destruction, he saw others that had come. Two of them stood over a dark shadow spread over a staircase, wordlessly and unthinkingly staring at it. There were other small groups and individuals scattered around, moving some debris or rock, investigating with disinterest the carnage. Saishuko understood without the need of thought that these men had come for the same reason he had. They looked at him, and understood that he understood. No one spoke.
  36.  
  37. The sky above had been darkening the closer Saishuko got to the centre, and now it was dark as night, but very warm. He felt a drop of rain against his nose, and looked up. The sky was spilling black rain in large droplets that clumped heavily against the ground. The other men looked up at it also, and soon it was a deluge of blackness coming down on all of them. Though they were thirsty, none of the men opened their mouths to drink the water.
  38.  
  39. The black rain spread itself in sheets over the dust and the shadows. It came down on the darkened white of the skeletons and on the black of the skinless hunks of flesh, and on the infinite disgusting inbetweens. It fell on the were-people, who turned their faces towards it and opened their mouths to receive it, and it fell on the dying, who couldn't understand what was happening. It fell on the dusty earth, that drank it as its first taste, and spread it to the roots of the trees and plants that were dry and thirsting.  
  40.  
  41. Saishuko understood what this was. Having found what he came for, he turned away from the men that were here with him and made his way back to his home. He felt the cloud part behind him, and the sun flood in from the east, and he could see the black things around him rejoice in the glow of the sun and the glow of the schisms of the nuclei of the water with which they baptised themselves. This first batch of the new human race ointed themselves  in martyrdom, one hundred thousand strong, and spread their understanding to the world.
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