2017-10-18 13:49 fiction short-story science-fiction return-to-ebyx


When we began building we thought we could build forever. The stones and the trees, they used to go on and on. This island of ours kept us afloat in the middle of what we assumed was an endless ocean, and ours the only island. Since our ancestors, pilgrims, came here hundreds of seasons ago, this was the only place we'd known. And we built because we wanted the towers and we wanted the avenues, we wanted courtyards and we wanted the balustrades and foyers and the anterooms. The thought of living in the jungle was abhorrent to us likewise the thought of small individual domiciles for entire families, that barbarity of living in close quarters.

Soon the building became so large maps were cumbersome to carry. A system of coordinates was created. At every important corner you would find your position. The nature of what rooms held what, or which services were where was another matter. Only locals really understood this. You may understand where you are, but you may not understand what that means.

We continued to build unaware that other pilgrims had landed in other places, that they were not constrained strictly by surrounding water. We must build until there is no room left to build, every inch of the island will be a series of hallways, roads, routes, porches, atriums. Towers will look out onto other towers. As it should be.

The other pilgrims, in their own places, can build anywhere with no boundaries and until they made contact with us we could not have imagined such a luxury. It was exhilarating to consider. Once exposed to this idea, it caught like a fire in the minds of our carpenters, stone masons, architects. Reaching the edges of the land, we then built upwards. The sky is for building.

We used to throw our dead into the center, for a long time, that was the tradition. But as building supplies dwindled, we converted these husks of ourselves into the right materials. We shaped them to make the building better, going upwards. And as the land disappeared, there was nowhere to grow food and build into, so too did our efficiency using the trellises and rooftops and courtyards. Hard though, when you are in areas of the building with little light. Little food grows. When we met the others, the other pilgrims, we wanted to trade for food. But we had nothing to trade. The building is everything. As we dwindle, still, we know the building will be here, it will somehow be built.