Author : Douglas Kissack

Every day I am losing more of my sight. Every night, the edge of the moon blurs a little more. I can no longer see the stars. In its way, this slow drift into obscurity comforts me. It reminds me of my mortality.

The city streams by several thousand feet below as the zeppelin glides through still night. Rock and metal flow together, a light-specked river, as above a cold wind snaps through the zeppelin’s mainsail. I lean over the railing, straining to make out individual buildings, and try my best to ignore the scraping of talons against the elevator wing. There is a thunk as Aryan lands on the deck.

The HARPY joins me at the rail, c-fiber wings retracting silently into his back. For a few minutes we stand and say nothing. I can hear his eye shutters irising as he tries to infer my line of sight.

“I don’t understand,” he says at last, rotating his head toward me. “Every night you come out here. What do you expect to see?”

“Nothing,” I reply, trying to keep everything out of my voice. My hand rises, almost unconsciously, to feel the silver cross that rests beneath my shirt. Aryan knows about it. I know it irritates him, but he sees no harm in me keeping it.

“Your body is failing. We offer you treatment.”

“I’m not interested.”

“You would let yourself die?”

“Death is natural,” I say, smiling.

In the ensuing silence I can feel him contemplating forcing the surgery upon me. But he knows that I would escape it afterwards. At least that much humanity tends to remain after the procedure. “I see,” he says. “Why do you wear that cross?”

“Who are you?” I ask, ignoring the question he has asked me a hundred times and more. “I mean, who were you before?”

For a moment, I think he is going to respond. Perhaps this time I have caught him off guard. Perhaps, somewhere within that network of wires and nano-tech, he has a vague recollection of his past. “I don’t remember,” Aryan finally says. “It is not important.”

“It’s the most important thing there is,” I respond. “It’s why you will never understand.”

Something changes about him. Aryan shifts his weight from talon to talon, then, without warning, throws himself over the railing. I watch moonlight spark from his body as he plummets towards the earth. He fades from sight before I can see him protract his wings. Maybe this time he won’t bother.

Below, the city streams by. Through this final journey, I have kept track of the latitudes and longitudes. Somewhere ahead of us is the Dead Sea. Below the ruins of Jerusalem lie, sinking slowly beneath waves of metal.


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