There are no more sunsets. You must get used to this first, and the pain it causes is a sour thing. They used to be like baths: rare quiet moments where the water did not ripple, noises could be ignored, the taste of the air could be savored for promising scents before. A sunset was a pause in the long, intense fierce living of the day. You will miss the sunsets. Remember that, and treasure a few more before you leave.

There are no more goats. It has been years since I have seen one; I hear sheep and goats and cows still roam in tame flocks in other parts of the world. I would laugh if laughter still meant humor. Children go to see the herds of placid animals, penned in their grids and mazes, their metal cages. They feed the food and don't see the circles, the knots, the things you laugh at in your world with its sunsets still.

Do you remember stories? Their food, their fires, the talking and laughter, all pulled in toward the smoke and light against the dark, the treeline breathing quietly in the night? They told the stories and it made them strong, smart, quick: they learned to sharpen a stick. They told stories and they learned to make promises. They told stories and it made them dream of escaping the wild, and now there is no more wild.

Do you remember stories? I remember one: a king, a beast, a prison--they learned the word "maze" and made promises. They learned the word "monster" and promised they'd never make another one, they'd never need a maze. They learned the word "progress" and sharpened more sticks and piled their rocks high. It was like watching a mountain rise from the dust. They carried light with them into the darkness, and it stayed light: can dust keep rain away? Can a leaf hold back the wind? You stayed safe, though, and so did I. They made up that word, "safe", because there wasn't a name for it; there was nothing that lived long enough to name it.

Do you remember their words, their learning? Circles, large circles, the same words over and over, and they'd walk away mumbling the words so they would remember. They learned too many words, and forgot their promises: the words they learned were "village" and "town", "fortress" and "city", "aqueduct" and "sewer," and that was when I came to live with them.

Leave behind your sunsets and your goats: now there is no more wild! They told stories and learned promises, learned words and forgot stories, learned cities and forgot promises they made, and now they have their maze. And now they have their monster. And now, they have children, who have finally forgotten the stories. Come join me in the city! I will show you goats that walk on two feet, and sunsets that swirl in rivers of underground bathwater: red, redder, reddest.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.