1 - Roen
P.S. - Post Singularity
by Matthew G. RoenMildred knelt on the uppermost tier of the stepped plaza, facing a shattered display case forMacy's on Main Street. The mannequins that remained had obviously been defiled; dark stains rottingthrough the crotches of their already ratty thermware, bruised display screens bashed against the fragilesheet-rock sides separating the displays from the (plundered) overstock storage areas. All of them wereheadless. None of them were upright.Behind her, in the plaza below, the midday breeze played out over the cool flagstones, andthrough the glimmering shadow of high-noon, Mildred continued picking her way up the stairs. The skywas clicking, as millions of microscopic mirrors quivered and turned over in their low-atmospheric ballet,causing brief rays of sunlight to fall to the ground.
Almost like angels, falling
, she thought, then chuckled.Mildred's shroud of garments bustled as she crawled, their many colors sometimes glimmering orcoming to life in the sun-beams. An umber scarf in the dark would flash and spit out Comic Sans stringsof sales, mostly for Macy's, given her proximity. As the light would fade, the scarf would again becomestatic and umber, pulled tight around her midsection, and the layers of rags and skeins of fabric she waswrapped in. Nestled under the folds of cloth, she could feel the heavy weight of her mother's rosarybanging against her chest - the shunting movement she'd adopted was steady, but hardly smooth, as shepicked her way past fallen reactive columns and broken centurlions.The plaza was littered with hex-grid displays, warped and leaking; glass-spun legs shattered andcrumpled beneath their massive stone-lion bodies. Occasionally, clouds of mirror would drift down likesequined silt, lightly dusting everything in a coat of broken glass. Fortunately, the many layers of clothand reactive-hex she'd wrapped herself in, protected her hands and knees from the worst, and the windwas slowly sweeping the rest away.Mildred pulled herself up onto the back of one of the centurlions, and lay there for a moment,breathing quietly. As a woman of seventy years (thirty of those spent in offices and cubicles) she was notoften prone to venturing out in the day
but the nagging sense of frustration that had been bothering hersince last week's excursion would not be assuaged in the usual ways. A homeopathic foot-bath, hours inher zen garden, even rereading Grey's Anatomy by moon-light on the grassy hill near her home would notsate:Someone else was in the city. And she was afraid it was a Singularitarian.She watched the mannequins in the display of Macy's; one's outstretched arm resolutely pointingthrough the shattered window, across the street at a reactive white wall, featuring only a spray-painted tag
that might have said “NOT NAC” or maybe “NUT VAC,” once. Mildred fingered open the jacket hoods
around her neck, and lightly traced the rosary's wooden beads.A sneeze echoed across the plaza, startling her out of her reverie. She swept the hoods off of herhead, snapping around to try to see ...In a beam of light, a young man stood. Possibly early thirties, late twenties, arms hanging looselyat his sides, black business attire flecked with glistening saliva down his front, head still bent post-sternutation. Mildred heaved herself over the centurlion, scrambling out of sight, knowing she'd probablyalready been seen. She eyed the man through the glass optic of the centurlion, his figure distorted andbent, but represented well enough for her to see him look up at the sky, sneeze again in the light, and wait