And not one will know of war, not one
will care at last when it is done.
Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly.
And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,
would scarcely know that we are gone.

--Sara Teasdale.

World Was Still

Lauren Kimberly

It had been a wrongful death. And if such a thing had never existed, it certainly did then.

A hand, feminine and fragile inside of crimson-leather glove, lay the bouquet tenderly to the ground.
The world had felt so empty lately, or more precisely, these past million years.

The wind came in thick gusts, piercing through the translucent fabrics of her waist-down attire. She closed her eyes. And then, for one brief instant, the world was still.

One might never have guessed, today, just how dreadfully loud that entire place had once been. Seldom remembered the tears, frantic screams as mothers cradled fussing infants, pleading. And all of the men had fought in rebellious herds, both weak and strong colliding until they were sent to the dirt, gasping and writhing for mercy.
Some beginning that had turned out to be...
All of those horrible humans were gone, dead, and cast to sea with disgusted languages...

All except for two, that is. They, tragically, were gone and buried: vivacious blonde thief, and blue-haired protagonist, perfectly preserved beneath this secret soil.

Of course, only one individual knew of their final resting: The red-eyed jester whom was known, fondly, as Harlequin.
Cheerful, feminine, and bright.
She spoke, thickly, of foreign accent with French quality. And, beneath the surface of elegantly applied make-up of pearl, she wasn't any different.

Time, however, had opened her heart to much fantastic emotion that was both radical and pained. Everybody learned like such. Yet her form, sheik and girlish, had remained lithe and un-aged. Even as her eyes had grown in further exposure to life, to the wonders, to the horrors, the disappointments, hello's and good-bye's, this individual had managed to remain as she chose: fond, graceful.

Oblivious sunlight rose cheerfully on the morning of it's happenstance: the cruel twist of fate.
Six of the elements had merged in their dragon-bodies to become one: The Time Keeper. The grounds shook violently, and winds threw a frenzy over the seas which nearly drowned the shores of Opassa Beach.

Yellow, red, green, blue, black, and white: Earth, flame, vegetation, water, darkness and light.

Perhaps the being, this Time Keeper, had been too powerful. Humans, Harle supposed, were mere specs to fate. Yet, in numbers and years, they had become the sole destroyers of each element. Trees had fallen, oceans, lakes and streams were overflowing with filth if not dried to stone. And there was more.. All because of these sons on man: humanity...

And yet, knowing each of these things, they persisted as though this planet and it's moons were theirs for the taking...

Crimson-eyed Harlequin had watched, head nodding left and right with sullen frowning, as these beings scrambled and tripped over themselves. Yet, they, as well as Harle, knew that there was nobody to care, and no place to go.
It had been so sad... And awful, simply awful.

Through the slashing, mankind shouting, infants crying and children whimpering, red eyes had scanned desperately through calm composure.
That blue-haired one would have been positively hideous in the form of Monsieur Lynx. But, in the least, he would have been safe.
And that blonde girl, persistently tomboyish, fighting alongside him... She had been improper, vulgar, ill mannered. But even Kid couldn't have deserved this...

Moments passed, hours had died into those awful sounds before a gloved hand grasped at Harle's shoulder and a choked whisper came, tomboyishly accented:

"H.. Harle."

In a single turn, red eyes met with dying blue oculars. There was a frantic desperation about the blonde's face, salty rivers gushing down the paled face.
Kid's vulnerability at that moment was quite possibly as rare as her chance for survival. Taking advantage, however, would have been unwordably cruel.

Apparently, the unusual was popular when generations ended. With a dutiful sigh, a graceful arm folded around the blonde's shoulder, and quick steps guided the two, ducking, elsewhere...

"It iz unsafe out here for you. Letz see if we can get you to safety, non?"

Though, she hadn't been entirely sure what or where 'safe' was for a human.

Half thinking, Harle raced Kid through Termina in a fevered daze. By some un-thanked-for miracle, the two of them made their destination the docks of the less-crowded town.
Stealing a boat was a gift. Nobody noticed. And that fussy human-lady that had always been full of her lectures on harbor space lay dead by a pile of crates.

"We did all of this," Kid murmured into the haze of ocean mist after the hours had passed on to evening. The waves sloshed solemnly against either side of the tiny wooden structure where the two of them sat, sullen faced.

"We've been killin' forever, Harle," blue eyes watched the lucidity in all directions, terrified to make visual contact. Gloved hands were slowly running the length of either arm as she trembled in a manner that was slight and hard to trace. "And I don't think I noticed till' now.."

The sheet-white quality painting the blonde's face had re-shaded to it's natural ivory blush. Her body was slowly finding relief. And, in a strange way, it broke Harlequin's heart to know that, soon enough, this would all be in vain.

"It is non all your fault, Kid," her head shook slowly with the sway of a blood-red jesters hat. "You, alone, are non exactlèment responsible for ze damage to ze elementz.."

The blonde sniffled, broken. Her eyes were holding strength over tears that had passed, even after witnessing the final punishment of her kind.

"But.. It was tough, ya know?" She was apparently ignoring Harle's words "Wakin' up wherever I fell asleep, and not knowin' if I was gonna live or die.

"But, even then, I fought, ya know. I did what I bloody had to. I ain't sorry for that." She drew a harsh breath and stared at the scenery from the opposing angle. "I was abandoned when I was born. guess it made me.. feel insignificant." There was nothing vulgar about her voice. For the very first time, fluency was eloquent in Kid's voice.

"I built a life anyway," she continued "even though I ain't sure that I was wanted. And then, after I lost... Sis.... I got stronger. No matter how much you love someone, no amount of happiness can keep em' by ya'...

"I took care of myself, and I just realized, today, that I ain't any different, any stronger. Cause, in the end, we're all just the same. Nobody's gonna remember who I was, what I fought for.."

Silence came after that.

Into the night, as they drifted back to the shores of Opassa without sleep, Harle couldn't remove Kid's words from her mind. All of mankind was, possibly, gone. The demi-humans such as Harle were now free to live life as they so chose. And it appeared to be the beginning for her kind, life without fear was dawning with beautiful dreams for tomorrow.

Yet, across from this demi-human with chances and life, Kid was trying to swallow the bitter taste of her fate: the end of her world, the end of herself.

It saddened her, honestly. Because, in time, there humans, yes, even the strongest, would perish into the pages of unwritten history. And, although it should have been wonderful for Harle, it broke her heart to watch this girl's fate slip away. Yet, for such an unmannered human-daughter, Kid was taking it gracefully.

Dawn rose gray and silent as a tiny wooden structure hit the soft white sand. The morning was pale, solemn and silent, as though it ere paying it's respects to what had been lost.

Harle's limbs found themselves to be stiff and uncomfortable from the awkward night. Yet, nobody complained.
The two of them walked in quiet as the chickadees chattered among treetops and evening insects chirped their good-byes in a conspiracy of song.
None of these creatures, silly in their own accord, seemed to take note of the defeated lives beneath their frightful wing.
Kid, however, avoided what she could of the ground with a risen jaw. And her eyes scanned the wildlife despairingly in silent good-bye. And Harle's sudden halt distracted the unspoken missive.
When blue eyes dropped with the red gaze, it was all suddenly so offending: tousled blue hair coming out of a torn red bandana atop the head of it's wearer. He lay sprawled, weapon in hand, and motionless.

A gloved hand cupped across the blonde's mouth as her blood went cold, locked in emotion. Harle knelt at the fallen warriors side for a closer study: dead. And as her head shook, Kid could only nod slowly in acceptance.

For a select pattern of moments, there was silence. And then Harlequin whispered a feeble "Au revoir, Mon cheri.."

This hadn't processed in Kid's mind, judging by her behavior. Silent, she removed either glove and then pried each red binding from her braid. She tossed them aside, until her hair was down and coiling both shoulders. "See ya, Harle."

And, without a word or breath of objection from either, she was swallowed into the haze of dawn as shaking legs carried her away.

Harlequin found her later into the mourning dawn, curled into a fetal position and breathing heavily. Blood tattered her chest, and the cold had begun to seep it's way past pale skin.
The jester, for her own reasons, did not try to awaken the blonde from her soft state of fleeting consciousness. Rather, she positioned herself beside the girl, and gently smoothed at sun-streaked locks with piteous expression.

Blue eyes fluttered open and watched the red pair warmly to both thank and leave her. For the final moments, neither spoke a word as Kid lay still. After the long dreaded moment ended, the blue eyes of the final human slid closed. And then, for one brief instant.. the world was still.