Flip on your speakers: The Rose - “Laughing Lights of Plenty”
They call it the Night of the Silver Sun because the days before the flash were so dark, the clouds so dusty, that it felt as if the night had descended forever. Later, what looked like a lunar eclipse seemed to part the clouds and fill the sky with a brilliant display of color, an orgy of pastels and neons. A reveling burst of inexplicable sound echoed as the entire world swelled and seemed to pause. A quiet rain fell for a while, and a silence spread across the land. Then the moon was sucked into the sun, sending down a flash of glowing silver.
On that night, this side of the earth was incinerated in the moon’s last long stare; the other side was broken by the shockwaves. And that’s the night Georgie was born. Most of the population had gone into government shelters, but those who could afford it simply went to sleep. They planted the microbial seeds to make the Earth inhabitable once again and built domes to protect them through a long, cryogenic patience.
While the moon’s last silver rain still fell, Georgie was abandoned by his parents on the tungsten steps of a cryo-dome. They probably thought it was his best chance, but for his entire life, Georgie never believed it. The steps belonged to the Edwards family. Georgie was found out there by a Dominican maid who worked for them.
They say that Georgie survived the flash encased in crystallized liquid that had leaked out of the heart of the moon, a new life frozen as if nature had kept him safe to rebuild the world. Just before their dome was sealed, the maid saw Georgie crawling toward her on the steps of the dome, She reached for him, but in the final moments the heat was too great and she she had to seal the dome. She was the last to bed. When the Edwards family woke up to a re-terraformed, terrified Earth, the baby was still at the front of her mind even though thousands of years had passed. Still dazed from sleep, she went outside where she had seen the boy at the top of the dome stairs. There, underneath the thin layer of algae that now covered the blackened rubble, she saw a crystal. She cleared away the whorl of root systems and saw underneath the face of a baby boy.
“My baby, my love, God has kept you wrapped in a diamond and now you will be my child.”
She called him Georgie, and he grew up with the Edward family, sharing in the experiences of both the servants’ hard labor and the relaxed, luxurious lifestyle of the Edward boys. Though they shared the Edward name, the boys always called him the help’s son.
Melinda grew up in a dome a lot like the Edwards’; she was the end of an imperial line. But everybody remembers money like it was yesterday.
Cory was a golden boy, before Georgie turned him into cobalt.
And me, I’m nobody. But, Georgie named me Johnny Tung. That’s short for Tungsten, like those steps they left him on. I was born before the silver sun hit, but I can’t remember what it was like when the nights were just half the day and there were waves on the water. I can’t remember the moon. Even Georgie, who never knew another world, thought the nights were too quiet. He said we made the night’s noise for it with our bikes. He’s the one who spent all his mornings before we went to school scrounging around the scrap yards for parts. We thought he was crazy, but when he came rolling up on his golden wheels, we believed in him. And he helped me and Cory build our own. Most of the older people had lost their taste for burning petroleum, because they saw in it the buried wick and human face of a world they still remembered. But soon, kids we didn’t even know were riding around the edges of town in their own gangs. Georgie called us The Teds. He said, “I wasn’t born, I was found by the Edward family. And for that I owe them my life and belong to the Edward name. But you are my real brothers. You belong to me, as I belong to you. So we are the Teds. We are hard boys, stronger when we’re in the heat. Johnny, you’re just like me. I’m Wolfram, you’re Tungsten. And Corry, with those blue eyes, you are Cobalt.”
Just like the crashing waves we had seen in movies, we would dive and swerve down hills like we were carving out paths in the old blue and white surface. We cried out like dogs. And the boy with the loneliest howl, the most gut-turning call was Georgie. When he called out, it was like he was begging the night to return his parents and all in the same breath damning them to the depths of Hell. That molten cry was born with the Silver Sun, cooled in hundreds of hours of destitute night, and hardened into Tungsten, Cobalt, and Wolfram.
Check out part 3: 100MPH - The Imperial Way exclusively in OUR SHOW with Elliot Aronow issue 2. Available now.