Author : Rab Ferguson

Here at the end, there’s the last of everything. The last boiling kettle, the last ringing of guitar strings, the last letting go of hands. This is the last writing.

It’s hard to know what to say. I could make something from the end of us. Draw some blood and irony out of man finally falling to his own devices. We gave it plenty of foreshadowing. Printable diseases, drones that assassinate from the sky, scattered shadows across Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Like Antony, man fell on his own sword. We were Hamlet. We were Romeo. We were Lady Macbeth. Yet there’s little point in irony and Shakespeare references, with no-one left to understand.

Maybe what’s needed is a tribute. I should sing a song of us. Tell a tale of all we were and all we did. Born without wings, we built planes and flew. Without gills, we dove to the bottom of the ocean and searched the seafloor. We went to the Moon, and almost to Mars. We sung, acted and danced. We even loved sometimes. Every art gallery in this world gone blind, every mile of film reel that won’t be spun, every hard drive of silent music, is a monument to humanity. The gods died with us. Our cathedrals, mosques and temples no longer stand for them, but as testament to what we could build with our little hands. An eulogy would be nothing more than grain of sand added to the beach.

I and we will not be remembered. The skyscrapers serve as gravestones, but there’ll be no flowers left at their bases. The patterns of roads across the land are the flicks and curls of our handwriting, but no-one will recognise our hearts and minds in the shapes we left behind. The landfills, the whiskey and wine distilleries, and the leaking petrol stations bear our scent like the clothes we once wore. They’ll never be lifted to a tear-streaked nose, to bring us back for a moment.

I say we and us. There’s only I. These words are trappings for my thoughts on the page, never sparking and crackling in your mind. They’re a message in a bottle, in a language that’s no longer read. They’re a lighthouse flashing out signals to a sea bereft of ships. They’re a phone call to the answering machine of a long passed-away lover. Without you reader, the words are half-alive. They’re an obsolete relic. A tool with no purpose in the modern age, which tells us something about how the world was when it was needed. As the last writer, in the act of the last writing, there’s only one dedication that’s fitting. Reader, I miss you. It was good when it meant something.