I do vaguely remember writing this. I had been wound up with the idea of a post-apocalyptic story - something which contrasted high and low technology. I was also obsessed with a city called Asylum, and a couple of character names - Paige and Lowe.
I had had an idea of ancient machines which were now millennia old, and had kinda lost their minds.
Anyway - I can't remember where exactly the story was going to head after this. I like some of the imagery here. There's probably something salvageable somewhere !
'System' ( 3rd start )
Lowe sat uncomfortably on a lump of fused, twisted steel on the edges of the Cathedral Plains, watching the Artists in their endless circle of creation and destruction. The plains were dangerous – but during the day most of the more lethal inhabitants of the rad-scapes kept to the shadows and the cool dark of the subterrainian ruins. He absently turned the key on his clockwork invenio, winding the fly-wheel. The semi-rhythmic clicks softly echoing from it’s brass housing were a mild comfort.
His attention is almost fully captivated by the Artists. He’d heard of them, naturally, back in Asylum. In his lessons, and from Scythmen and there stories of their time on border-culls. While he knew in his mind that the stories were true – he’d never quite been able to truly believe in them.
They were remnants of the old world, from before the Resource Wars. Theories held that once they had been soldiers, considering the obvious power and strength they had at their command. Others asserted that they must have been miners, the beams of searing white light they used to melt the sand into glass must surely been able to slice and carve though rock. They definitely filled some purpose that required many limbs – but their arachnid bodies were reinforced with what appeared to be amour. Whatever their original purpose was, it was now lost in the eddies of time. No person knew how long they had been here in their hive collective. Possibly centuries. Probably longer.
Now they created massive sheets and sails of colored glass strung between the pitted skeleton of the Old World city. They webbed delicate ropes and braids of glass the thickness of a man in intricate loops and whorls, almost as if they were trying to pen amorous notes to the past in some long forgotten language. Sometimes two or more would collaborate in their fluid sculptures. They would fuse the sands, and work the molten goo with their extended fore claws and mandibles, then scuttle and scurry around the desolate boulevards and streets, up the exposed girders and devastated walls – tenderly pushing, molding, stretching and shaping the glass. At other times they would stand or hang inactive for days, watching the work of their robotic brethren. And at other times they would blunder around the domain in a kind of absent frenzy – reducing their labor and that of other members of the hive in flailing range to shards and splinters with their spindly limbs.
Some of the citizenry of Asylum had raised the idea of putting the Artists ‘out of their misery’ but their campaign hadn’t got far. System reminded them that, as old-tech constructs, they were virtually invulnerable to any kind of weaponry they had that was easily transportable to the Cathedral Plains. Also that the prospect of their photonic lances being turned on them would be an exquisitely painful ( if quick ) death. System was most insistent for the Artists being left alone. “They’re happy now. Far happier than they ever were before. Leave them be.”
That's where it finished. Hope you enjoyed it vaguely.