Darkness from Above

Inspired by Pompeii (Bastille)


1. The Miller's Town

They called it the Miller’s Town.  Nobody was sure why, not anymore. It wasn’t as though the place had any  functioning mills anymore, much less millers. The biggest things alive in Miller’s Town were rodents, red-eyed, oversized ones…it was a wonder how they survived, without the human population around. But pests survived in ruins, and if anything could be called a ruin, it was this place, air filled with the stench of dry decay, of waste…

A lone figure stood on the balcony of what had once been the clock tower. It was the highest point of the town, and a person could see for miles around from there.  Something that the man standing on the balcony clearly wanted to do. He surveyed the landscape around him, taking in everything…the bleakness, the rubble, the wilderness that had taken over, almost completely.

A well. We lived in a well, all our lives. A well with no light shining from above, because the clouds were too thick to let any sunlight or warmth creep through. All we knew was darkness, the dry cold, and the relentless rhythm that our lives ran on, the never-ceasing thud-thud-thud of the flour mills. A noise that blocked out everything else, and the darkness that ensured that it stayed that way.

A distant building caught his eye. The years of being abandoned had clearly taken their toll, but he could still see the grandeur that the building had once possessed, feel the fearful  awe that it used to inspire in every one of their hearts. Even back then,  stories were whispered, of what went on behind those magnificent oak doors, stories of how the blood of the beheaded, as it gushed out, ran through marble drains. He wondered blankly if the drains still had traces of bloodstains on them.

 And yet, we had never known discontent, never felt the need to break away from the  painful monotony…in some strange way, we were at peace with the circumstances, dismal as they were. Never question the way it all worked, never think of anything but the turning wheels of the ancient mill, live in acceptance. Acceptance of everything. The work, the punishments, the deaths. Accept, and move on.

His gaze wandered to the sky above it. It was grey and ominous, like it had always been.  The twinge of nostalgia he felt at that moment was imperceptible, almost…but it struck him hard, the thought of what might have been…

I remember the day all of that changed. I remember feeling warmth for the first time, deep down, inside me. It was more than just warmth. It was fire –burning, scalding, wearing away all those layers of ignorance I wore over my heart. I remember her tossing her hair back, hair as red as fire…and turning around, to fix her green eyes on me. And in that moment, everything changed, forever.

“You almost want it back, don’t you?”

He turned around. A young woman stood before him, attired in black from head to toe. Her  ebony hair gleamed and rippled, like oil in water.  He smiled.

“I do.”

“I do, too.” she confessed. He looked at her, and felt the same twinge of warmth he had felt, so many years ago. A warmth that started out as gentle, and then intensified in slow degrees, till it burnt away his insides. 

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