The Last – Inspired by the Work of Jose Ramirez
It was warm. And it was night, somewhere. Small flakes of gold drifted unsteadily – as if second-guessing themselves – to the ground, blanketing the pavement in shimmering freckles of light that glowed ominously with every pulse of fire. Cuticle-sized bombs the color of crimson flew negligently over fields, illuminating the wheat, the weeds, the willows, grown and tended to by old men in farmhouses somewhere. Small ranches, family-owned, passed down from generation to generation since the early ages. Picket fences laced mild acres of green land, prolific with full trees and braying animals. Tranquil women in soft dresses called to husbands from shaded porches, offering a glass of freshly-squeezed something, cool with condensation. Long gone, now; a part of the wilted earth that now scorched with the heat of armageddon. The smoke curling betwixt the metal towers looming overhead made the air thick, nearly opaque. Stray tendrils grasped at the throats of useless bipeds, crumpled their nozzles, turned them to dust. A wind was blowing somewhere far off. Fiery throbs of amber danced like meteorites from one idle skull to another; the world was falling silent, and the rule of the dead was coming to an end. Gray, spherical bodies grimaced as they entered the boneless, the bloodless, tore the gluttony from their skin, mutilated the last remains of judgement, turned what was once considered beautiful to bone meal. Rancid scents wafted into the fields, killed the wheat. The grass was growing decrepit, poisoned by the fluids flowing evermore from the battlefields. The clacking of metal against craniums; something collapses to the ground. A collection of cartilage and plasma has returned to the earth, the ethereal being from whence these resources rose long ago. An amorphous silhouette standing against a crepuscular horizon succumbs to the same fate. The night grows darker. Another formless phantom sinks to the ground. Another. Another. The shells of fire continue to exterminate the only deadly creatures to have ever roamed this planet, these visceral sacks of skin. And the night grows darker. And another. And another. The air grows still at last. A noiselessness envelopes the whole of the land; something has hushed the gallant fire bombs. A chilled breeze sweeps down from the hillside, bringing the bloody, brilliant scene into focus. Esophagi plucked from the necks of the spineless disintegrate to soil, give birth to tiny stalks of green. Once-flippant and offensive tongues have been pulverized to seeds the size of river pebbles. A stream of water whispers softly to the earth’s surface. A sparrow murmurs from the darkness somewhere. The trees sigh in response, send a gentle caress to the scene of the battle. All is calm. And all is quiet.
The only necessary genocide to have taken place in the earth’s long history is the one that wiped out the entire human race; the most powerful species to have inhabited this planet, and the most intelligent. The grains of this species lie still imbued within the depths of the earth. And maybe, once the planet’s scars have healed and long faded away, a new species will rise. Somewhere.