Through mountain passes, attached to ropes between mountain peeks, from poles in gardens and roofs the coloured flags fluttered in the breeze. The flags came to be placed in order – blue, white, red, green and yellow. Each one signified an element and a family.

They carried prayers of peace, compassion, strength and wisdom, not up to heaven to a God who might hear them, but to spread those feelings across the world.

But that was pre-Collapse.

Which showed how well that worked.

***

The listening post went deaf soon after The Collapse. As the power started to be restored, the ears of the old powers were low on the list of of things to get started.

So it stood, a gun-metal giant, pointing its radared finger across the land.

During windy days the structure sung. It was a low, mournful sound cut with creaks of moving parts.

It had stood ignored for 2 generations. People were too busy surviving for duing the first, and it wasn’t on the map for the second to find it. When it was stumbled across it became a way point – a method of navigation. No one thought to ask if it listened or spoke. Or what it listened, or spoke, to. Or even who it told what it heard. And so, still, it’s control room ran on emergency power waiting for a sign that it needed to wake up.

***

“It looks sad. We should cheer it up.”

Out of the mouths of babes – as they say.

Over the years, kids scaled the metal giant – for dares, for the view, for a kiss – and sometimes more.

It started out with kites being attached – but either the stronger winds ripped them away, or the sheer lack of a breeze left them listlessly bouncing against the frame.

No one knew who put the first one up – but flags started appearing.

There were some casualties but on the whole they were secured. Some were solid colours, some were mixed. Most were the symbols of long gone countries. But they fluttered in the wind.

And, maybe, the wind took some of the good will they were hung with and spread it around the world.

Let’s see how that works out this time.