Homecoming

Necropolis. The city loomed out before him, a vast maze of towering metal and flashing neon. The night’s air, filled with the cacophony of sirens and street noise was almost stifling. The canopy above him, dark with clouds blackened by chemicals pouring forth from the smoke-stacks of companies whose sole interest is profit. The man rested his manicured hands lightly upon the stone railing of his balcony, to look below at the street where people milled to and fro, each intent on his or her own purposes, never meeting each other’s gaze unless they wanted to sell you something. A slow smile played upon his lips.

“I’m home.”

His footsteps echo hollowly upon the pavement. This is a place of disease – another failure of modern medicine. The spirits of desperate men and women seductively press themselves into the hands of fat, greedy consumers, growing more miserable with each passing hour. This is an electric Sodom – the players merely pillars of salt blowing around in the breath of the glowing dragons of the street signs – the floating traffic lights. Stories pour out of the building frameworks. These people are stained…these streets are stained, and all the while the glowing signs mock their pain. They have no desire to be free – no individual will, for they move as one, each breath belonging to someone else. He turns, heading down a side street. Necropolis. In the window above him a woman sits, lighting a candle for a god long since dead. Below her, tubes that spell out ‘Sex’ and ‘XTC-Rave’. There are dark, sweaty figures gushing in and out…beneath these signs like plasma from a wound in a man’s chest prodded with the foot that made it. Further on, a mangy dog slinks across the road, as steam bellows out from a rip in the steel. The people passing through it seem as if in some bad vampire movie – enveloped by the fog. The light always remains slight – just enough to see by – the blue pyramid lamps set in vacant locations around the neighborhood cast no light, but they fill the space around them with a robotic hum, that drones in one’s head and won’t leave a man alone at night. The sort of drone that stays with a person in their sleep and slowly drives one to madness. A soft mewing draws his attention to an alleyway. The sound reminds him of the kind of noise a Mongoloid baby would make, it’s misshapen head anchoring it in it’s own cradle. A prisoner of it’s own mind. The man’s gaze flirted with the shadows, searching for the source of the pitiful wail. There. Just behind that trash can. The mother had recently given birth to her litter, but the elements hadn’t dealt her a kind hand. Her body was stiff, fur matted down by the light drizzle that had begun just moments ago. The children she had brought into this world lay scattered around her like playing cards. All dead bur for one, vainly tugging at a nipple that would never yield milk. The kitten turned it’s head at the man’s approach, and again the melancholic wail arose from it’s weak lungs. The man stooped and lifted the frail creature, cradling it in his arms and offering it some protection from a world that would only turn an unblinking eye in the other direction.

“Welcome to my Kingdom, little one.”

On he walks. Icy charcoal towers of beryllium alloy, which occupy the city scum and its’ provincial buyers, are surfaced with streaks of neon pink, gold and orange. It’s tall figures cast shadows in alleys where all shadows have lives of their own. These vestiges of human collaboration with the night of automation remain constantly alive – always vividly existent. Thick air swims with a thousand sounds echoed, ricocheting off of the glacial avenues. It is difficult to breathe this mixture of oxygen, machine exhaust, dripping moist smog, and human voices. Walking step by step down this metal river, he could taste the air – and all who occupy it. By this building the erotic sound of a woman, searching for misinterpreted romance tastes bittersweet – by this doorway, the festering of the sore-swollen man, clutching desperately to the shiny flask, produces the salty flavor of filth – and between these narrow statues of housing, the thick iron of blood as it drains down into the cracks of the old and broken asphalt street surface below the mangled body. Looking up at the ceiling of the city, the constant drizzle produced by the atmospheric toxins stung his eyes and brought another smile to the man’s face. The cold gray of night remains. He can’t see the top of the towers, but they are there just the same…waiting for another soul to leap off the edges only to be enveloped by the green fog below. There are no birds – no robins of spring – not one feather falls from the sky. Instead, mold covered rats seem to grow out of the doors and windows – always searching for another fallen one – another nose to nibble at, or perhaps an eye. Nothing is pure in Necropolis. Nothing is sacred. The old gods have fled, to be replaced by the new order. Gods of blood, sweat, steel and neon. The man frowned, gently stroking the head of the small kitten curled up contentedly in his arms. Where was God in all of this madness? Had he forsaken mankind? Realized that his grand experiment was a failure, and had simply moved on, to try again elsewhere? He chuckled. Mankind had ideas of it’s own. Ideas that had far surpassed anything he could have imagined. His work here…was finished. Everything that he had hoped for, everything that he had planned. Mankind had beaten him to the punch. The machine-like drone of the kittens purr vibrated softly against his chest. He brought the tiny creature out from under his jacket and raised it so it was at face level, peering into it’s overly large eyes.

“I vaguely remember a time when there was a hiearchal order to everything, but even that is now gone. I serve no more purpose.”

He waited a moment, as if waiting for some type of response. Nothing came. The man nodded, thoughtful, and nestled the kitten back in the crook of his arm, stroking it’s head with one hand. His gaze moved upwards again and allowed himself one last look at the steel army of Babel that surrounded him. His wrist twisted quickly, and a soft sigh escaped his lips.

“I deliver you, unto Him…wherever He may be.”

The small, limp body fell to the earth, settling in an oily puddle of water by the curb of the street. The man’s footsteps echoed hollowly upon the pavement again…as he began his search once more, for the one person who could justify the only thing left to him. His own existence.