Farewell to Elysium

He looked around him.

Moments halted their daily stride.

He could see a woman, carrying a child on her back and belongings over her head, struggling to walk. Stopping erratically. Knees wobbling, arms shaking, chest heaving. Her eyes seemed to ask a question, in their teary-eyed innocence, “Why us?”

He noticed the shopkeepers with their wares all wrapped up, droplets streaming down their faces as they said farewell to the place they’d sat at for years. Their eyes held no questions. A meek acceptance for their present, and a prayer for their future was all they could manage.

He saw soldiers, displaying their stoic heroism: Gently guiding citizens towards the gates of Elysium. A heavy silence hung in the air. The silence that spoke of an unsaid farewell. One of last goodbyes’ and unfulfilled potential.

In that moment he saw the world around him as it was. He breathed in it’s futility. He felt the hopelessness in the soil crushed by his sandals. He sensed the despair in the tears that streamed continuously down his face.

This had been his home.

This was where he’d learnt to hold a sword and ride a horse for the first time. This was where he’d learnt to wear a toga, and where he’d tripped over that toga and nearly set the house ablaze. This had been his home. And now… he no longer knew what was.

He watched as people streamed out the gates of Elysium. Like the lava that would soon stream from the violent mountain that watched over them all.

He could hear the wailing of the women. They were crying for all of them. Everyone was leaving a piece of themselves behind. Inside their own mighty four-walled houses.

The ghosts of his friends and family floated across his vision. People, loved ones, who had died because of the uncontrollable roars of the mighty mountain.

He turned away from the mighty gates, his vision blurry, and looked at that majestic city one last time. Drinking in the images of : it’s sweeping arches, and oddly shaped houses. He saw the abandoned fruit-seller’s cart, and paid a silent homage to his old school, he noticed hiding in the corner of his eye-sight. Forgotten experiences rushed over him, enveloping him in their warm embrace.

He struggled. He cried. He cried while he struggled. He fought to let go. To push the past away and grab the future with both hands. But as he watched his city being abandoned and his people fleeing, he could only think to himself, “This was not the world I imagined.”

His head hung in futility. His clothes drenched in the tears that wouldn’t stop. His belongings bearing scorch marks, showing signs of the war that humanity lost.

Picking up his belongings, he slung them over his back, and walked out of the gates of Elysium.

The worst part about Elysium, was knowing that it had once existed.