Author’s Note: Carol Forrester has a new speculative fiction writing prompt for this month. It’s a picture of a ruined church and it inspired me to write this story.
The cathedral stood before her — defiant to time’s ravaging claws. The stained glass windows were shattered and half-way gone, but their emptied arches still remained in perfect arch shape. Some of the building’s corners were gnawed away by windstorms and earthquakes. Yet, other corners were still pinpoint sharp.
A modest fence-line of gravestones stood a certain amount of space from the cathedral, but just on the far left side. The gravestones that had formerly stood on the far right side were long gone, buried deep under the soot and the purple-hued ash.
Jinnea Si Dinque had been sent to destroy this last outpost of humanity. This one last symbol of humanity’s strength and resilience. All of the other ones were long gone.
All of those landmarks that humanity had looked up to and treasured as monuments were all laid to waste.
Yet, this one cathedral still stood. A proud, stubborn testament to who had come before.
To what used to be.
Jinnea shifted her weight. Her orders had been to throw the Ie-V.2-Q/q detonator at the building. The impact would surely bring it all down. If it didn’t, she had plenty more detonators to throw.
She removed an Ie-V.2-Q/q detonator from her weapon belt. She just had to push the button and throw it. Nothing complicated. Nothing difficult. Just push and throw.
There was a strange, sad grandeur to the ruined building. A silent, stalwart beauty.
She rolled the weapon in between her fifteen extremity villi.
It wasn’t her position to question the commands given to her. It was her responsibility to bow and obey.
Yet, she wondered.
Could this one ruined building really make that much of a difference? Whether it stood or fell, did it really matter?
It mattered to the remnant humans.
It mattered to her superiors.
It wasn’t in her nature to question orders. It wasn’t her place to disobey.
The sun rose behind the cathedral. It shined through what remained of the stained glass windows. Shattered fragments of red and blue recolored the purple dust.
Jinnea Si Dinque removed her weapon belt.
Maybe they would send someone else to destroy it. Someone who would obey the orders without question.
Jinnea buried the belt under the purple dust.
The cathedral would be destroyed. The arches would fall. Shattered fragments of red and blue would never again recolor the purple dust.
Jinnea strode towards the building. Her extremity villi rippled anxiously with every step, but she did not back down.
The last outpost for humanity…their last monument of who they used to be…
Jinnea Si Dinque stopped in the doorway.
It would be lost forever.
The door was gone, blown apart long ago.
She craned her long neck through the doorway. The building was dark, yet it was full of daylight.
It would be lost just like the gravestones that used to stand on the right side of the cathedral.
It was so quiet inside. But it wasn’t the silence of death. It was something so much more.
Yet, people would still remember it. Jinnea had no doubts about it. They would remember it as the building that lasted to the very end.
Jinnea’s extremity villi calmed down. She had no doubts anymore.
She entered the ruined cathedral and left her world behind.