Though many of you likely weren’t readers when it came out, this post is loosely based on an older one dealing with similar themes. It can be found here.
The silence over the misty jungle is broken only by the scraping, lurching tread of the giant mechanical colossus known as Creativity. Its steps thunder down the long valley with a slow and pained gait, the sound reflected off the mountainous cliffs, echoing into the distance. No birds grace the sky, no other creatures are heard or seen, the only motion comes from Creativity as he lumbers throughout his domain. Despite his hunched and haggard appearance he still towers a hundred feet and more above the jungle canopy.
The jungle seems to reflect the ragged appearance of its champion. The sun is a dark red in a sky filled with haze. The leaves of the trees sag and show spots of brown abound in their wilting. There are no cries of living beings reaching up through the canopy, no signs of life at all.
Slipping beneath the canopy the decay is much more obvious, the weak, blood-red sun barely penetrates the dying foliage, casting the lower boughs and jungle floor into a sort of apocalyptic twilight. Here too there are but few signs of life. A group of sickened primates cling meekly to the branches, their skin bespeckled with oozing pustules, their gazes distant in bloodshot eyes. They seem to have resigned themselves to their fate and sit motionless.
Smaller movements can also be picked out amongst the trees, the movement of insects. There are, however, no signs of bright and colourful critters, no cicadas calling. Instead there are but creatures of rot and decay, long crawling things of muted browns silently slithering around the debris, detritus, and the corpses of fallen animals caught up in the canopy. They make their way towards these pockets of rot, drawn by the thick, sickly-sweet scent of death.
The jungle floor itself seems to writhe and heave like waves on the sea. Great swells of maggots, larvae, and slugs, cresting waves of centipedes, darting splashes of cockroaches, and amongst it all, the ocean spray of flies and other winged insects. Together they form an ocean of decay as they sweep across the uneven ground in search of the newly fallen dead and dying.
And above this scene of decay and rot towers Creativity, he rests on his haunches surveying what remains of his domain. Rust cakes the gears and seams of his joints, his panels are dull and tarnished, showing none of their former lustre. Even his eyes appear foggy, their green light dim and weak. He surveys his realm and knows within himself that he is defeated.
The colossus feels weak, weak and meagre in the face of the titan Rot who came to assault his realm. He has fought tooth and nail, but how does one fight something so amorphous, so insidious? It never was a simple battle; it was a war of attrition from the start. Rot took his lands, he poisoned them, turning them into a valley of death and decay. Rot took the sun from him, blotting it from the sky and casting his world into a crimson hazed nightmare. And lastly, Rot took his body, infecting him with the rust and degeneration of his namesake.
Creativity could think of only one last thing he could do to defeat Rot, he had to outlast him. Kingdoms, domains, these things could be rebuilt and reforged, but Creativity himself must not be allowed to die. With laboured breaths he makes his way to the cliffs hedging the valley, rotting trees cracking and disintegrating under his tread. He rips and scrapes at the land at the base of the cliffs, tearing great furrows into the loamy soil. He hits hard rock and clay, but still he digs.
Time has little meaning for the great forces, but the red sun rises and sets over the dying valley many times before Creativity slows his labours. He hauls himself out of the hole he has dug, a great chasm in the earth running alongside the cliff face, and he surveys his domain one final time. It is the land he created, cultivated with his attention and love, his paradise in a once barren corner of the world.
He lets out a sigh, a deep grinding thing which reverberates down the length of the valley, “I’m sorry. I have failed you.”
With a final look he throws his great form down into the chasm and begins to thrash. The mountain cliffs shudder, throwing up a massive cloud of dust as cracks lace through the cliff side. With a thunderous roar the cliffs collapse down atop Creativity, filling the chasm, dust blotting out the meagre sun.
After the din there is only silence. Dust settles on a grim and twisted landscape. In the distance a dark mass pulls together, hordes of insects, rotting trees and corpses, great mounds of loam and moss, they form together into a gargantuan humanoid bulk, towering over the landscape.
The titan Rot surveys his domain.