Roz Clarke — Last Flight To West Bay

The flight had brought Polly halfway around the world and imprinted visions into her mind of the sort that always made her think of those lines from Bladerunner: All those moments will be lost, like tears in rain. Breathtaking sights that few eyes would see, and no photograph would capture; they blazed so brightly in her memory, these few hours later, that she couldn’t help but be aware of their fragility. So much awful beauty and meaning to be trusted to unreliable, temporary, meat-based storage.

It had started to rain as they dropped down over the Alps, and had rained ever since. Superimposed on the wet grey blobs obscuring the dawn, Polly’s mind scrolled endlessly through sandstorms blowing where Amazonian jungle used to grow, abandoned buildings and the bleached bones of animals. She
saw great dark towers rising up from the ocean, the water rolling through broken windows, dead cars tangled in the tops of streetlights. As they’d passed between two abandoned skyscrapers on the submerged island of Singapore, she’d waved at a huge seabird standing atop the wreck of a photocopier, its nearby nest constructed from plastic coffee cartons and fragments of furniture. It had eyed the tiny aircraft, mean and hungry. Gulls inheriting the Earth. Not the meek, after all.

She tried to resolve the images into a decision: just who would inherit the Earth, in the end?

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