To those who had seen it at its height, the Center was dead. The halls devoid of bustle, the sterility now serving as Mausoleum. Those would had seen it then wouldn’t recognise it now. Their memories too big for the small structure to hold – they would question if what they saw – what they lived through happened.
If there was anyone left, of course.
Not so for us who are seeing it for the first time. Though it is painfully apparent that the building is empty – devoid of even dust as a tale tale sign of habitation.
Well – habitation by something that shed.
But we hear the noises – the constant exhalation of a system funneling air through its old ducts. And the whites of the walls – so blank and clean to those who know it for the works carried out there – to us seem stained – holding a promise of history – a tale that could be read.
But walking through the halls, from tile to carpet, from brick to papered walls, the lack of any sign of anything – no clothing, no food, no everyday item just casually left, not even any paper – or what passes for it. No writing, no symbols.
What did happen here? Why?
But – more importantly – what is that noise?
A slow tick. Irregular, but constant. The sound echoing through the ducts.
You walk through doors until you find an approach you’ve never seen before.
The noise is coming from a room at the end of … hall. “Corridor” is the wrong word. This is used – was..used. This is familiar, but not comforting.
You strain, struggle. You don’t want to see what’s in there.
But the doorway comes closer all the same. Turn you head – fight if you have to. But you will end up in there.
In the room with the banks of equipment. And the ticking, as loud as a tombstones. The infernal ticking – checking off morality.
A meaningless count in an empty place far, far from home.
And the good keeps getting lower.
What gifts come then?