Okay. this is quite a departure for me. I don’t normally get the urge to write these days and when I do I don’t feel it’s good enough to share publically but this… well, it just felt like it wanted to get out.
So please enjoy. Comments welcome (be gentle) – hopefully they will inspire some improvements (but I probably won’t be giving up my day job any time soon).
Image credit: Amy Kane
As I move slowly along the beach I can feel the wind from the sea trying to blow me from my path. The gusts are sometimes forceful and I have to lean into them, often glancing out over the water as I do so. At my age I try and stay away from the water.
Despite the incessant wind I continue on my patrol looking, as I do every day, for signs that others have been this way. Today, as yesterday and for many days before, the only marks on the sand are from the crabs and the birds that prey on them, and the traces of my previous passages.
The wind whips up a flurry of sand and, momentarily blinded, I turn away from the sea towards the dunes. The spare grass that helps keep them in place is fighting a losing battle. Over the years the sand has moved further up the rise and is piling up against the low wall that separates the beach from the tended land beyond. I wonder how long until the wall, and then the pristine lawn, succumbs.
I reach the limit of my endurance and turn to seek refuge, and as I do I catch sight of a a stick embedded in the sand. No. Not a stick. The color of an old tea stain and long scoured and polished smooth by the action of wind and water, it stands both as memorial to my charges and testament to my failure.
Rotors tilting into the wind I return to my roost to recharge, pondering the irony of an airborne autonomous sentinel defeated by a virus borne over the sea on the very winds that outlasted mankind.
I have to add a note of thanks to Robin Sloan and Hugh Macleod for inspiring me with their daily creativity. I suspect growing up reading books by William Gibson, Iain M Banks, Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams probably had something to do with it as well.
Updated: Just for fun I published this as a Kindle eBook … I will be very confused if anyone actually buys a copy…