As Sirk staggered through the sadness of the forest, his eyes fell onto the ground below. Muddy and melancholy, like the dirt of a funeral excavation, the forest floor had the strange effect of pulling you towards it, almost as though it was a hidden black hole about to devour you in its watery clutches.
Sirk was a sad creature. Reborn in a world where the great pavement slab of reality chiseled colour into graphite, he’d been eternally unwelcome, an alien in his own world – the round peg in a quadrilateral reality. In many ways, the forest mirrored Sirk’s personality and, as he tripped through the dense undergrowth, he thought back to the day when the world had changed forever. Back before the ‘Great Linear Movement’ he’d been happy, well more happy at least, and had forged a future far removed from the world which he now found himself lost within, drowned in bitter despair like a rosebud destroyed by the rain. He’d seen it all happen of course, watching from the rebels’ airship as the entire human race was simultaneously re-programmed, switched off in a global Mexican wave of dystopian progress. Everyone, everywhere had been re-wired with linear thinking patterns, not unlike the binary of a computer, and, as Sirk stopped to look up at a forlorn oak tree, recalled his past life before humans had lost their ability to dream.
Although he’d escaped the re-programming by fleeing with thirty other rebels, when Sirk had returned to Earth a month after the event, he’d found himself lost within a reality taken straight from the pages of a dystopian novel. The re-programming, although designed to obliterate the seven deadly sins of humanity, had gone too far and now, where there had been freedom, there was left only sameness. Every home, from Scotland to New Zealand was inhabited by the same zombified human lifeforms, devoid of creativity and lost within a systemised existence where greyness permeated the colour of happiness.
As Sirk continued to look up at the dismal graphite sky, he heard a faint rustle in the bushes and with it came a noise which sounded very much like a small child crying out for a parent. Curious, he moved towards the noise and, parting the bushes to see what was inside, saw a large black dog lying on the muddy ground. Although its fur was tangled and coat matted with dirt, Sirk instantly noticed the canine’s eyes, which glowed chestnut brown under the weak wintry light. As he moved closer, the dog let out a comforted sigh and gently moved his nose towards Sirk’s cold outstretched hand. The instant union of these two souls was evident as human and canine felt each other’s warmth, joined for a moment in universal ecstasy. Although the cold continued to bite and the sadness persisted with its hold on humanity, for a perfect instant, Sirk recalled the happiness he hadn’t felt since the great re-programming of humanity.
Moving away from the creature, Sirk felt the warmth of a tear painting its emotion on his solemn cheek and he smiled as the ragged creature found the strength to join him on the path which led nowhere. Letting out another human-like cry, the canine looked up at Sirk with eyes of pure empathy, blinked slowly and then rested its head on his thigh, clearly desperate for the warmth from a un-programmed soul. Signing with untouched human emotion, Sirk ran his hands through the animal’s thick black fur and traced the perfect white diamond on its weary chest. He knew this solemn creature had no home and had probably been left behind by a once loving owner who’d chased the synthetic promise of progress, but been left a zombie at the mercy of a corrupt corporation.
The first drop of icy rain stung Sirk’s face and he decided it was time to continue walking the path to nowhere, through the forest which seemed eternal in this forever altered reality. As his feet staggered through landscape forgotten by progress, four legs walked alongside in rhythmic motion, navigating bushes and brambles with perfect dexterity as they carried their companion through the wild landscape to a place not yet known.
On the edge of the forest, next to a docked rebel airship, a young woman stood staring up at the moon as the sky finally cleared and a velvety blackness painted the horizon. She knew one of the divergents was only a mile away and hoped she’d meet him if she waited in this location, on the edge of the treescape, illuminated by the silvery moon. Time had flowed so slowly since the Great Linear Movement and Louise knew this man held the final secret to bring back true humanity. As two silhouettes finally appeared on the horizon, a smile crept onto her hopeful face and she gave thanks to the sky as she waited for the diamond hope of a better future.