Sunset in 2058
The glowing wound of golden sun bleeds into the evening as the city of London slowly turns away from it. The sky is a soft pink, streaked with burning amber as the last light of the summer day fades. Total silence befalls every house, every street. The grey, crumbling dome of the once great cathedral pierces the sunset from the West, as, by the water, the twisted metal skeleton of the Ferris-wheel soars up, its crippled spine deformed, rusted against the dusk.
Thick golden light is daubed, paint-like on the shards of broken glass still hanging in the windows of the highest flat blocks, whilst behind the glass the gilded picture frames that decorate the walls glimmer under years of dust. The faces of their deceased occupants awake as the evening light graces them, before falling back into the shadows once more.
Nature has crept, silent and insidious into the city, its green tendrils expanding over everything. The buildings are smothered in a deadly caress as vines slowly drag them to ruin. The most beautiful flowers bloom through cracks in walls; their soft silken petals fall to the pavement and are caught on the summer’s evening breeze. They dance through the streets, spreading life into every dirty corner. It is as if nature is reclaiming her Earth, after decades of pollution and destruction at the hands of man.
Beneath lush green trees which canopy the streets, the pavement lies like a dried river; its dusty banks cracked and fractured. Small ravines have ripped through its tarred black surface, and damp green vegetation crawls up from far below the ground to catch a glimpse of the summer sun.
Deep below the ground the intricate system of tunnels are spread like veins through the body of the city which breathes no more. Miles upon miles of sooty chambers lay under the concrete, a labyrinth of darkness. Somewhere, in the empty maze, a red emergency light flashes, briefly illuminating a few hungry rats as they scale a putrid mountain. Their hearts are some of the only still beating for miles and miles…by some strange genetic deformity, they are immune. These dirty creatures are set to be the basis for millions of years of future evolution. On the platforms, behind sheets of tainted glass, packaged foods turn slowly to dust. Green tendrils crawl from the light of the evening into the tunnels of the underground station, wrapping themselves along handrails and escalators, billboards and ticket machines. Slowly smothering.
In the playgrounds across town, the breeze jostles swings to and fro on rusting chains, it is almost as if a small child has just leaped free and has run off to some other innocent pursuit. The sun spreads its fading glow down the framework, as the paint peels and flakes to the ground in curls, revealing the dull black metal hiding underneath.
On street corners, bolted to the darkening brickwork, those strange, rectangular boxes watch the world fall apart stone by stone through their singular glass eyes. They no longer serve a purpose, their mission of surveillance now useless. They see the sun set; it glints off their eyes and blinds their frozen vision for a moment, glaring off their lenses. They see but one image, one tiny snapshot of the world. They have seen the collapse of humanity as it flitted across their viewpoints. They are the only remaining witnesses. And they will be silent forever.
As the final slice of sun disappears below the horizon, a complete stillness echoes over the streets. The soft wind is now edged with cool, a sign of the approaching purple dusk. It buffers along the leaves that carpet the pavement, twisting them into tiny fleets of coloured butterflies dancing a foot from the ground. Every day, over this empty city, the sun will continue to rise. Nature will continue to take hold. Dusty streets are the only remaining monument of an entire race; for the city has a new Queen. She needs no palace, for she is everywhere. She is the desolation, the desertion, working hand in hand with her sister of Nature to eradicate the dirty traces of man on what was once a perfect world. Her face is carved not on coins but on every blackened wall which hold up the crippled buildings. Your eyes cannot escape her reign. She is the smashed fragments of glass that lie on the ground, she is the soft creaking of a door as it swings from its hinges. She is the heart of darkness, corrupting the artificial beauty of a material world. She is the black spots of mould slowly spreading over the pristine glass surface of a hundred thousand mirrors…for there is no one left to gaze into them any longer.
This city was once a hive of swarming people, a blind race who believed they could play the creators, believed their existence to be of a higher significance than the planet’s other inhabitants. They crushed the life from their own lungs, choked thick their organic masses with tar and pollution. Their desperate hunger for knowledge, for power over nature only proved to be deadly. And they paid the price.