The five million of us sat in the same place at the same time, awaiting the meteor strike. We thought we could last through it. There was not much grass around us, just sand and time, which aren’t entirely different, but we didn’t let it dirty our hands.
We amateur astronomied, I stabbed two sharp telescopes into the backs of our heads. There was hindsight to be had, and there we saw the meteor strike.
This is where we point out that that was a million years ago and sand and grass have taken the place of the bones and neverending ashes that ended. The fire had shadowed itself, masked to something more devious.
The four million and nine hundred ninety nine thousand nine hundred ninety nine of us waited for the meteor strike. One of us took up studying the way the comet’s surface crackellated from the heat. “Perhaps,” you (I) said, “we can learn from this.”
There was another one who wasn’t us who tried to drag us away, but provided corners when the meteor struck, this other one I don’t know where they are now.
We didn’t learn from your crackellology. Out of the four million and three thousand five hundred sixty eight that are left one grabs a shovel. One – still the same – fills himself with water and walks wobbly to the hole he just dug, to where the meteor landed a million and nine hundred and ninety six thousand four hundred thirty one years ago (back when we wasn’t sick, or so many).
He lets the water fill up the hole and waits for the meteor to strike. He (I) waves at it with flags that mean come, come, I sigh and watch another one of me wiped out. Unless you’re counting like I am you could not have known how many me have gone up from the spot where I’m sitting.
“Why do you need to stop the meteor?” I ask myself.
“Look, it’s a bit less now? Do you see? There is a town” (two million and five hundred thousand eight hundred fifty two years ago) “that now has one house standing.”
“That is a new house, not an old house,” says a version of myself which has a number that is five million, minus the number of years since the meteor strike, plus one. I think that’s it.
Timestorm, I get dust in my eyes.
A pebble lands by my feet.