Future Imperfect

For Wednesday Write-in

“Which way?” they would ask.

“Travel east. Travel east. It is there,” always came the reply, “It is there.”

And so towards the east they would travel, across, through, over, under the mighty cities, the mighty metropolises, the places of concrete and glass, never grass, never trees, never soil.

How long ago had they finally built over the last fields, they wondered, how long ago had they slaughtered the last beast?

Onwards they journeyed towards the east, always the east, always knowing that at the end they would find the lighthouse, find the truth.

And while they travelled they were watched. Watched by machines, watched by people. Lenses of all materials, shapes and sizes swiveled, dilated, focused, following their progress, recording their progress, reporting their progress, reporting their location, reporting their co-ordinates.


In the Centre, at the very centre, neither east nor west nor north nor south, but at the very centre, in a concrete building, on the sixteenth floor, a man wearing a trilby hat remarked, “And still they travel. And still they move eastwards. We know. We know where they are and where they are headed.”

And another man, hatless, and a woman, also hatless, nodded, “We know where they are.”

“They seek the truth.”

“They seek the lighthouse.”

“Ought we to stop them?”

“Should we stop them?”

“Stop them?”

“From reaching the lighthouse?”

“From reaching the truth?”

He lifted his hat. Scratched. “Those are questions. The questions.”

“They could be there soon.”

“Within months?”

“Or years.”

“Five years.”

“Or more?”

“Or less?”

“Perhaps we should … ?”


“Well, maybe.”

“Can we do that?”

“Should we?”

“Perhaps we should let them be?”

“Let them be?”

“To find the truth?”

“Is that permissible?”

“Is that acceptable?”


And meanwhile the travellers continued their quest, moving steadily towards where in the olden days you could see the rising of the sun.

“Will we be there soon?” they asked themselves.

“Will we find the truth?” they asked themselves.

“Will we like the truth?” they asked themselves.

And they would hold hands and journey on. Towards the lighthouse, towards the truth.


And in the Centre, at the very centre, in a concrete building, on the sixteenth floor, two men, one wearing a trilby hat, the other hatless, and one woman, also hatless, would watch and wait and soon decide when to decide.




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6 Responses to Future Imperfect

  1. Elaine McKay says:

    I very much liked this. I think it is compelling and thought provoking. I love the pace and the concrete building at the centre of it all. The hat and the hatless is a great touch. I’ll be reading this again. Well done.

  2. SJ O'Hart says:

    I really liked this – it reminds me of the pointlessness of bureaucracy and ‘talking shops’, and the endless human struggle for meaning. It had such a great voice, and wonderful settings, despite (or maybe because of?) the scarcity of description. In short, a really intriguing read.

  3. Tessa Sheppard says:

    There’s a lot of build up to ‘the truth’. Makes we wonder what it is. Good job!

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