"The streets are empty now. Any human beings remaining in the towns and cities shelter like me, amidst the corpses, the bones, of human industry.
Its flesh, composed of window-glass and roof shingles, paving stones, all of it returns now to the earth. Those few people who remain, they will be gone soon like the rest, herded, like obedient cattle that follow a scattering of mown hay, into one of the borderlands the Fair have prepared for us.
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There is something in the air that has caused all objects made of iron or steel to oxidize dramatically over these past few months. The machines and weaponry in which we had invested so much confidence and treasure, decompose into powder at the barest touch.
And the ancient forests are returning so quickly. Growing at the pace of a year in a single day, the great trees push through once level floors, weakening foundations, slowly scattering walls, rooftops, entire buildings, into so much rubble.
This broken dross of what was our civilization is so quickly overgrown by ivy and thistles, wildflowers, raspberry canes and the like, that entire city-scapes disappear in a matter of weeks, retained now only in memory. And one begins to question memory, as if the tangled ivy growing everywhere has forced its tendrils into our skulls, strangling thought.
The rats are leaving too, now that we, their benefactors, have gone. Wolves and foxes roam the cities. They pose no danger to us. In fact, they ignore us, as if we represent not even a footnote on a page of this world's history, and are no longer of consequence, not even as food.
They treat us much as the Fair did when they first returned, appearing suddenly from amidst the trees and brambles of tame woods and copses. They did not even meet our eyes as they went about their business. So graceful, like deer at a meadow stream, so terrible and unstoppable, ever in bands of eight, gathering to dance, and to sing the forest back. They filled the air with magic so thick it closed the throat as we looked on, powerless, gasping our sudden, amazed breaths.
It was the war between the great nations, I think, that roused them. That mindless, bitter, conflict seemed certain to rain the blood of our children down upon us all. It was as if the First People, the Fair Folk, knew the world had finally endured enough of us. How certain of ourselves we were, of our place, our primacy, our gods. We are cast out now. I cannot even remember what it felt like then, what it meant to feel that I belonged, that this world was mine."
Now you tell one :)
A really remarkable image, contrasting a stark, empty, perhaps industrial landscape with this lovely, fragile, and yet strong, circle of young dancers.
It is unfortunate that the printer offset the image on the printing paper by a bit. You will notice, by looking at the back of the card, that it was not poorly trimmed, just misprinted by a little. And speaking of the printer, an interesting point! This card was printed in "Angleterre," England. This is interesting because so much photo printing was done in Germany, the European center of that industry during the early years of the photo image postcard, so it seems very likely that this photograph was taken by Monsieur, or Mme., Breuly in France, but sent for printing in England. Why? Because this was probably during the great war, WWI, during which so much of Germany's industry which had depended on trade with countries that were now its enemies, either lay idle, or was diverted to the war effort. And, of course, this clue allows us to date this precious gem with reasonable accuracy, to sometime in the mid, to late, 1910s.