The miller’s draymen saw the ghost of something inhuman by the remains of the grist wheel. They did not get a good look at it, but they say it was far too tall.
We must leave, as soon as possible.
I had a dream that the light of a comet plagued the earth. Wherever its light fell things grew unnaturally, twisted, yet strong in their deformity. I fled with my family to the south to escape its diseased light, and there I met a man made of darkness. Just before he ate up my life he told me:
like calls to like
Our fields have long lain fallow, now they take to the air and blind us in their fury. We all eat dust, breath dust, and cry dust. The children cannot walk upright under the weight of the dust in their bodies. Were my wife capable of rising from her bed, she would lament the state of her small garden. We are a dead country. Even the crows mourn us, they refuse to pick us as carrion meat.
There is a sickness among those left in the valley, a kind of malignant echolalia. They repeat first the words of others, then the words of themselves, then the words no one has said yet. They all die screaming.
My father was a soldier in the war. He often spoke of “trying times,” of surviving that which defeated the spirit and laid siege to the body. If he had not died a poor man I would ask him here, today, whether life after such times would be worth living. Every day is simply another notch on the calendar-stick, nothing more. We move as ghosts, white shadows in the unblinking day. There are no people left.
The sun burns red at all times. Occasionally a shadow will cross its eye, but it is never a cloud as we eternally hope. Those that gaze up as it passes end up trying to scratch the image from their eyes.
A group of enemy soldiers passed through. We were guarded, following every precaution mandated by the fathers even though they were long fallen. Those who still had them donned their iron shell shirts. They beheld us almost with pity. There is nothing for them to take here. I wanted to cry, beg them to drag me with them, but I remained silent. In the night the innkeeper’s imbecile son disemboweled one of them with his teeth and nails. We erected his cruciform body to watch them leave the valley.
Some men take small comfort in knowing that this is the end of all days. I cannot. We are too small for this to be the absolute end, this is merely the closing of a chapter of a single book in the vast library of history. That anything could live on through this is both heartening and despairing, for I know it will not be us. We are the first bread, baked too little on the coals and crumbling in the mouth of god. The men that rise from our bones will be hard-lived, they will not know beauty as we have. Still, I find solace in oblivion, and the fact that my weaknesses die with me.
In extant—[the rest of the fragment has disintegrated with age.]