Shadows and Dust

Dust. Dust is the ever-present, ever penetrating reality of this world. It’s all covered in dust: the old buildings, the old cars, the old, dead forests. All of it, just dust. On a good day, there are a couple of sunny hours, maybe in the morning, sometimes in the afternoon. There was a totem, up on the hill where Akari's tribe lived now. When the sun would finally shine it would collect the beams reflected towards it by the ever dusty Holy Glass. Every day the elders would clean and polish the glass shapes singing the old prayer: "here comes the sun".

Akari wiped the dust off her goggles with a piece of dusty wool. Her world was cold and dusty and sepia coloured. There were storms, not the kind you and I know, but the kind that strip paint off of vehicles, the kind that will get dust and sand in every nook and cranny. The kind that could kill you, simply by suffocation, the kind that would turn sand into the glass by strikes of light. This was Akari's world, all that she knew since she was a child.

***

“The Ancients had all kinds of magic. They had fire magic. They had a liquid flame they used to pour into their machines to make them work”. Akari listened to the old doctor very carefully, he used to tell her these amazing stories during the dark hours of the day. She knew they depended on the Sun totem for heat, life and light. She devoured the stories about the ancient people who shaped her world. There were hardly any words left describing their lives, it seemed very unusual as in Akari's tribe many had diaries. Only a few of the Ancients knew how to write, and these people were celebrated in something called Magazines. But Akari had the feeling that there was much more to the ancients, maybe all their records disappeared in the Great Sunstorm of year -74. In Akari's dry world, glossy magazine paper was perfectly conserved in once transparent plastic boxes. They all belonged to someone named IKEA. He had his name stamped on all of them.

***

Akari and her people went out often to the valley below to search for sun boxes in the ruins of an enormous ancient village. Some sun boxes were hidden inside big trunks with shelves and bottles in them, this was always strange. Other sun boxes were in the 4 wheeled “cars” but they weren't at all useful for powering them up. Akari heard a visitor to the village once say that they have found such one car that could be moved with just sun boxes. Since then she was obsessed with finding such a thing. Maybe even one of the Ancients crazy ritual-vehicles, the ones with two wheels. The old Doctor said that the ancients were obsessed with speed. They'd built huge road-temples for the competitions where the winners would dress in elaborate armour and race each other. You couldn't just use the road in these places, the roads were a closed course that didn't lead anywhere. She's seen the photos in Ikea's magazines.

*** 

Today, everything changed for Akari. She almost couldn't believe her eyes when she found it. After an enormous dust storm. On the old road on the side of the hill, there it was. The two-wheeled thing with its rider, perfect mummified by the dust. Akari wiped the tears from her cheeks before they could turn into mud. This wasn't one of the fire magic ones. This one had a huge sun box in the middle. She looked at the rider, long dead now, but she could tell it was a woman. Her name was probably Dainese. They put their names on everything, these people were so fascinating and strange. Akari grabbed the helmet and emptied the dust out of it. It needed new fabrics, but she'll take care of that later. It was a long, hard push to the top of the hill.

 

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