display | more...
To a dog, you are family. To a cat, you are staff.

When we were children, we threw airplanes off the edges of our balcony to see how long it took them to be eaten by the smog monsters in the slums far below. Circling like the backup gulls, they soared without the seabird's chattering on errant winds between the towers before they spiraled downwards into the grey.

When we were years older, we threw half a bottle of fine Bordeaux into the sea. It was the last of a vintage, we would learn later, from the end of the strap and the majordomo robot's stern, flicking manipulator arm. We filled it up with precious seeds saved from our marigolds, the remnants of Gramma's aloe plant, the ashes of the cat that might have carried nanobots or the plagues that ate our smoggy birthplace. The crashing of the waves consumed the glass, and it must, surely, have shattered on the rocks.

When we were grown, there were all ten of us left from the skimmer bot, and we cannibalized it to make a few things: a fire starter, cutting tools to bring down bamboo, weapons to defend ourselves against boars. No Lords of the Flies amongst us: camaraderie of children united against our bitter, absent parents and the uncompromising steel of nanny bots made us smarter than that.

Now, the waves have rolled in from the sea, fresh with foam and flecked with nanobots that might one day give us back our world. As this nearbook takes down my swirling dictation, my voice eddying into the fine calligraphy I have sleep-learned, Krista brings me the remnants of golden marigolds, the DNA of aloe, the remains of poor Spot.

Soon, eternal and hungry, cats will creep through our fallen Rome and the futurestruck world we gave over to our own machinations. Caring as little for our affairs as we for those of our parents, they bear the last, the best of these nanobots we've played with. Immortal, they will hunt the remnants of mice. Their nose will twitch, smelling not only rodents, but the density of the things inimical to human life. Purring softly, Spot's children will populate the world we have left behind.

Then, we, their servants, will return.