by Everett A Warren
A new world is rising in the ashes of the old. Time immortal reborn. Upon darkened battlements, I watch the spires of gleaming gold arise. And a tear trickles down my cheek.
Power and might, crumbling the foundations that have been set in stone. Across the blasted land, I hear the church bells tolling. Solemn callings of the faithful. I know – without knowing – that the bells ring far and wide, beyond my sight. All the churches I have seen, all in simultaneous orchestration. All the churches I have not seen, throughout the land, the continent, the continents. Together.
It is an omen. Who rings those bells? Do they communicate to one another, to arrange such a bizarre occurrence? Language barriers broken, a network of party lines spread like a web around the globe: now, on four, we ring. And a one and a two... No one rings the bells, yet they ring. Dawn is not hinted at on the horizon, although it is dawn and it is noon and it is every other time in one place or another, yet still the bells ring. Awakening from sleep, awakening those going about their day from a state worse than the comfort of the dreaming.
Lights, now, flare out. Sleepers fumbling from bed, to the window. Fists raised, perhaps. Complaints issued to the proper authorities. What answer? Permits to ring at certain times, so as not to interfere with another aural-neighbouring bell tower, permits broken. Ruffled politicians baffled at the nerve of the religions breaking the law, ringing their bells in the pre-dawn gloom. Leave it to the politicians not to sense that all the churches are acting in perfect harmony, all the faiths, even the secular bells, be they in the town halls or fire stations or wherever, all ringing. Set in stone, settled on the ground, handbells on shelves, bells tuned far and wide across the spectrum of sound, all echoing the identical pitch. What can it be, but an omen?
A dirge. Slow. I think it not a peaceful omen. Some will say God, some Jehovah, some Allah, some Jesus, and some Mary. Some will know it is an alien race announcing their arrival on Planet Earth. Smaller numbers will profess it to be gods from ancient pantheons, Odin, Zeus, and all the others. Some will say it is the leaders of their mind-numbing cults. Is it?
If they ask me, I could tell them, but they will not ask. They awaken. It is an awesome sight, for those of us who can see it. Throngs fill the street, curious or angry, cursing the gods or praising them. Together, like the bells. All the world stirred. Bells ringing in the remote locations, where no bells have travelled. It is time now.
Copyright (c) 1994 Everett A Warren
You can read the complete story in my collection, Cautionary Fables: Warts & All, available on Amazon.com or by order from your local bookseller.