For months there was no communication between the survivors. No whispered words, no furtive glances, no secret nods, no handshakes, nothing. Each was woefully unaware of the others existence. Until the night of the beacon. It drew them together.
The surrounding countryside was lit up for miles. Every hunger worn straggler ceased whatever they were doing for a moment and gazed up at the indigo flare as it fell back toward the earth.
An urchin nibbled nervously at his thumbnail as the light diminished and night reclaimed Her throne. He ducked back into his filthy corner and tried to sleep, but the blue flash burned in his dreams.
A young lady fell to her knees touching her forehead to the dirt. 'Thank you!Thank you! Thank you!' she prayed. This was her sign. Rising to her feet, for the first time since the attack, she smiled. It would be a long walk. There was no time to waste. Her first step is full of joy.
When the spark disappeared below the horizon an old man died. His death was peaceful and easy, blissful even. Do not mourn. He merely closed his eyes and was gone. There was no pain, no suffering. We should all should go the same way. Before he died he spoke a single word. What did he say? I don’t think you’re ready to know yet. . . .
The survivors emerge on the following day. Encounters are filled with hopeful trepidation. Like animals they stalk uncertainly closer. At times it’s a group of wanderers who spot a lone traveler and immediately surround them. No blood is spilt. No harshness or cruelty is echoed, instead it’s only curiosity that lords over their feelings.
What’s your name? Where were you when the firebombs fell? Where have you been? I thought I was alone. Do you have any water? Any food? Are there others? Did you see the blue light, too? Yes, I know. Come, let us make the way together.
And in the breach where the signal emanated sits Knowledge. He doesn’t know how long he’s been waiting. Doesn’t know how he knows all the things he knows. Like which night would be clear enough to launch the flare or where to aim in the velvet gloaming to ensure optimum trajectory and altitude. All that he knows has no memory and he can’t remember a time before the waiting. So Knowledge sits, waiting for the survivors.