When did my youth slip away from me? I suddenly thought. It was over, wasn't it? Seemed just like yesterday I was still only half grown up. Huey Lewis and the News had a couple of hit songs then. Not so many years ago. And now here I was, inside a closed circuit, spinning my wheels. Knowing I wasn't getting anywhere but spinning just the same. I had to. Had to keep that up or I wouldn't be able to survive.
We lay there with our bodies touching, and as I shook, a powerful knowledge took hold. He had done this thing to me and I had lived. That was all. I was still breathing. I heard his heart. I smelled his breath. The dark earth around us smelled like what it was, moist dirt where animals lived their daily lives. I could have yelled for hours.
I took to the Kingswood the midsummer after the Dame died. I did not swear a vow, but I kept to myself just as strictly, living like a beast in the forest from one midsummer to the next, without fire or iron or the taste of meat. I lived as prey, and I learned from the dogs how to run, from the hare how to hide in the bracken, and from the deer how to go hungry.In sorrow and pride I exiled myself to Kingswood. I shunned fire for I feared the kingsmen would hunt me down, and so by the way of cold and hunger I came near to refusing life itself. I never thought to anger or please a god by it.
I do care. That's why I hunt them. But if you've seen what I have, then you learn to deal with the murders and disappearances. You learn to push it aside and move on. The other life isn't here anymore. This new world has its own rules. Survival of the fittest is one of them. If you're hoping for kindness and pity, don't hold your breath.
Outside he hurried again, for he had several blocks to walk and the beer turned out to be no more than cool. He told himself he would remember next time to deal from the bottom - but the civil sirens sounded, surprising him with his silly private thought. That's what they blow them for. Thought is a national product, issued, like survival, on a day to day basis. There you go. Until tomorrow. When he understood this would be a long one today, he hurried on.
We are snared into doing things for which we get called names, and things for which we get hanged, and yet the spirit may well survive - survive the condemnations, survive the halter, by Jove! And there are things - they look small enough sometimes too - by which some of us are totally and completely undone.
I can't believe that we have reached the end of everything. The red dust is frightening. The carbon dioxide is real. Water is expensive. Bio-tech has created as many problems as it has fixed, but we're here, we're alive, we're the human race, we have survived wars and terrorism and scarcity and global famine, and we have made it back from the brink, not once but many times. History is not a suicide note - it's a record of our survival.