I never knew the day they left us to die.
There must not have been one moment, one single, gasping instant when the final Watchtower fell, but it made the news. The death I mean. Bleached and barren, the shivering images of the vast underwater fields of bone made CNN, BBC, CBC, all the click-and-know feeds: Coral Reefs Dead and Gone Forever
I think it was the first day that the rest of the world knew that we were in deep trouble. It was already far, far too late.
I remember the day my Watchtower died. It was forty years after I noticed that the dreams had left us, for although the entire universe was lost, it takes time for it to die completely. I had withered since, bearing gray shoots and wrinkles, quick darts that etched across my skin; my spine had began to crack and sag in strange and aching ways long ago. I went to visit the Tower, the last that I could find in the land: it was a crumbling castle resting above the banks of the River Aber, cosseted by the eternal winds that inflates the lungs of Wales. The tower walls, slick with slate, a gossamer skin that lay beneath the coating of grit and sand, shimmered in the morning sun, should it ever be graced by such a rare, golden touch. I had brought an offering of a box of wine and assorted cheeses. As always, even near death, the castle had no use of such trifles, so I tucked in, huddled beneath a thick woollen blanket that I wrapped beneath my knees and clutched about my shoulders.
It was then that I felt the solid wall behind me sigh. It was so much like a breath, the gentle shudder that passed against my back, that I started for a moment. Extending a hand damp from rain and grasping a sliver of limp Edam, my fingers touched the familiar platy rock… and felt the grains shift and slough beneath my skin.
I had enough sense to run.
Standing at a distance, I watched the darken slabs of the jagged and contemplative ruins slide into the earth. My eyes stung from the dust and the resounding echo tugged trembling tears from my eyes. I blinked, eventually, setting the drops free, to slide down my cheeks, edging a salty path to my lips
The box of wine was still clutched under my my arm, the pounding of my heart drumming against its laminated skin, but my glass was lost. I still drank, but it got messy. I’m not so great with spouts and taps. It couldn’t have looked pretty. I wasn’t proud, but I sure as hell wasn’t sober.
That was when I truly knew: the gods had left. The great battle that all legends, every legend, either in the future or the past, ever spoke of had finally been lost. The losers, and the winners... they had all left us on our own. We were the sinking ship, the broken horse, the poisoned sea… the goldfish choking stale bubbles as it floats in its small, cloudy bowl in the warm sun, left carelessly behind by a child that has long since moved on to other toys.
That was the day I began to grieve.
But it wasn’t until I heard that the reefs had died, that their decrepit skeletons clawed at the dark ocean waves, haunted talons that clawed at the depths as if for a lost lover, that I got angry.
That was the day that I learnt who I really was.
For as the final Watchtower fell into the earth, so did the knowledge of my creation fill my mind. I knew who I had to thank for my life and who was responsible for the death of my world.
And I was going to make him pay for it.