City of the Dead – In The Beginning
City of the Dead – In The Beginning By Francis Marion
Dakota Free State July 17th, 2074
In the beginning, there was war and the nations of the world and their armies descended upon the people of the Dakotas. But they were God’s people and he loved them so he smote their enemies, burned them to ash, and scattered them in the wind to the four corners of the world.1
Paul the Chronicler, The Scrolls of Rebirth in the 7th Saeculum of The Great Year
Joseph stood in front of the casket with his hands clasped together in front of him. He thought Artie’s corpse looked peaceful. Like he had died satisfied that he had accomplished something important.
“He respected you. You know that don’t you?”
Annabelle’s voice was soft, dignified and sweet. As she put her hand on Joseph’s shoulder and moved in closer he realized he could smell her hair. It carried the sweet scent of lilacs. Artie had married above himself thought Joseph.
And Joesph took a wife and her name was Angela. And she bore two sons and a daughter, Morgan, Nathaniel and Ashley.2
“Artie was a good husband and father, Annabelle. I didn’t always understand him but he loved you and Michael. He was right about Michael and Sarah too. He knew they would leave. He knew that they would be angry with me and turn their backs on all of us. I’m sorry for that. I wish I’d listened to him. I could have done something about it if I’d just listened.”
And Morgan took a wife, her name was Roxanne. And she bore two sons, Scott and Paul. Ashley married Timothy and they had one son. His name was Thomas.3
“Joesph. Don’t do that to yourself. Michael was a restless spirit and Sarah was in love with him. They did what they did because they chose to, not because they had to or because we drove them to it. They could come back now if they wished, so stop it,” Annabelle rested her head on his shoulder and held his hand. It was rough and dark, its creases stained with the soil and toil of a lifetime spent in the fields, pastures, and hills of the great plains.
Nathaniel took a wife and her name was Melissa. She gave him three children Jason, David, and Sarah.4
Joseph shook his head, “Arthur told me all of this would happen. Why did I ignore him?”
“Artie had good intuition, Joseph. He knew things would happen before they did. It’s just that we couldn’t see what he saw. Did you know that a year ago, I think almost to this day, about the time Michael and Sarah were married, he told me he was going to die? I told him to quit being silly but he went about setting all of his affairs in order in the most ‘matter of fact’ way. The strange thing is he never seemed ill. Can you imagine? If I had known this was actually going to happen,” Annabelle paused to catch her breath and Joseph put his arm around her, “if I’d known, well, I guess I would have spent my time differently.”