Drunkard's Walk: A Brush With The Past

A DW Spamfic by Sam Ashley (aka The Evil Midnight Lurker)

Doug had been trekking through a combined rain forest, jungle, and swamp for nearly a month now. Was this one of those cliched, unlikely Hollywood worlds with only one terrain type? He'd run across stranger places, but few this boring.

No large dangerous wildlife, no swarms of biting insects -- there were creatures here, yes, but none of them seemed the least bit interested in him. The mangrove-like trees were spread out just far enough that gravbike travel was practical, not far enough to see any great distance ahead.

Nothing to do but travel and try for a gatesong.

It was just as he began to consider abandoning travel for a permanent campsite that he ran into the City.

It lay on a low island in the middle of the largest lake he'd found yet: a natural moat surrounding a fortified complex the size of ancient Babylon or Troy, like them fallen into ruin. The city was lifeless, and had been so probably for centuries; judging by the state of the buildings and city walls, it had fallen to a siege.

Those walls were very strange indeed. Even in their current state of advanced decay, it was clear what they had been. Why the city's builders had relied on such an oddity... well, who could say now? Certainly not Doug.

Not in the absence of any information -- the city had evidently possessed a high level of technology, but everything was gone or smashed to bits now. Bookshelves lay empty, computer casings were stripped of their contents; the inhabitants must have taken nearly everything with them when they abandoned this place. The inhabitants, or the besiegers?

Whatever had happened here so long ago, it would remain a mystery; Doug found his exit less than two weeks after discovering the ruins, and elected to use it a few days later. In all that time he'd found only one cryptic message, a graffito presumably left by the conquering army, carved so deeply into one of the larger buildings that it had survived long years of weathering. It was simple, straightforward, and said nothing but what was already obvious about the city's fall.

Given his new understanding of World-As-Myth, Doug mused, perhaps he'd find out someday just what had happened here. Or perhaps not. Whatever happened, that last sinister message would remain in his thoughts for a long time to come. Five words that somehow chilled him to the bone:


This page was created on July 31, 2003.
Last modified March 12, 2011.