IntoThinAir

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Ye all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind.

 

Day of Destruction +1
Adaman family home, Caprica City, Caprica

 

Once a great city had stood at a river mouth, ancient and beautiful, all white marble and broad streets, with columns and soaring towers whose feet were rooted in flower gardens and parks and wide, gracious spaces.

Stark desolation stood there now

There was nothing left. The city looked small and broken. The Kobolian was roofless, its great dome collapsed into itself, cracked open like an empty eggshell; the Praesidium ruinous in the central square, roof and walls gone. The destruction stretched to the horizon, spewing smoke and steam into a dark sky, and even the river had boiled away. Probably the fires would burn for days.

The city was no more. Its people had perished in fire.

 

Ila had perished with them.

 

It took Adama several centons to work his way through the ruined house to where his study had once overlooked the western sea. The outer glass wall was gone, shattered, and the roof sagged in one corner, the beams buckled from the heat. His desk was ashes, not so much as matchstick of charred wood left. The fire had been too intense. He could still feel the heat through the thick soles of his boots. The air was thick with dust and ash, and everything stank of burning.

He kicked the ashes aside to reach the fire-proof floor cavity in the floor. Ila's treasure box was safe, warped by heat but still there. The lock was broken. He didn't even have to lever off the lid. It opened in his hands.

Holopics spilled out over the rubble, a little scorched at the edges, but they'd survived. Cases of Ila's jewellery, covered in green or red or blue velvet. Papers and parchments: their wedding vows, the children's baptismal certificates, homemade cards and childish drawings, a huge red star crayoned onto a piece of paper by one of them… Adama shifted the torch beam until he could read Apollo's name in wobbly capitals. Other things that Ila loved, as precious as the wedding tiara in its velvet box that she'd wanted to see Athena wear one day and now never would: a baby's shoe, a scarf of gossamer silk caught with semi-precious stones, locks of hair set in crystal blocks, all dark but for the tawny golden-brown curl that was Ila's own, a doll, a miniature silver cup won by Zac at Triad when he was eight.

Adama picked up the holopics, holding them in his hands like a deck of cards, shuffling through them. Lots of the children, two from his and Ila's wedding that she'd particularly liked. He paused at one of Apollo and Zac, both in dress uniform. He'd taken this one himself at Zac's graduation, not even a sectar ago. Zac's arm was around his big brother's shoulders and Apollo, Adama's brooding and intense and moody Apollo, was smiling with sheer joy. Adama smiled back.

Now Zac, too young, was gone in a flash of fire and light, blood and bone. And Ila, so beautiful, gone too. Adama looked for a long time at the holopic taken at her fiftieth birthday, at the image that glowed on the card.

It seemed a lifetime before he straightened and closed the box, fingers gentle with remembrance. It wasn't but a few centons, really. Duty and honour and service crowded in with demands he had to answer.

After all, the past is only a box of dust.

And in the blade of light from the flashlight, Ila's ashes sifted and floated, filming over his face and hair and hands.

 

 

591 words

(Header image under creative commons Attribution 2.0 Generic CCBY2.0, taken by Joseph Vasquez on Flickr)