Author’s Note: This one wrote itself in a way. The sing-song rhythm that I invariably fall into when I read it wasn’t planned at all. I think with a bit of massaging, it could probably be a great poem, but I really like it as it is. Which, now that I think of it, is pretty meta in this case.
For Jameson Crowe’s entire life, The Movement had grown.
The wars, the plague, the fury of nature, the hate, the bile, the ice, the flames, the guns, the machines, the killing, the dying, the struggle to hold on to a ruthless existence for fear of trading it in for nothing — all these things and many more had kicked and stomped and rained upon and spit upon the dying ember of the human spirit for far too long. Until one day every day meant that ten or a hundred or a thousand more people gave up the struggle and gave up the glow of that part of the ember they’d been given to guard.
And out of the charred and blistered ground of the death of the human spirit sprang the spring of the stream of The Movement. And as each man and woman and child gave up the glow of their part of the ember, The Movement gathered them in and made them its own, until the stream of The Movement swelled into a river that rushed across the barren lands.
And The Movement answered questions asked and unasked and questioned the answers that had always been given. It explained the inexplicable and achieved the impossible and cured and stopped the things that were wrong.
So Jameson Crowe only knew war from the books he’d read in school. And he knew nothing of plague and disease. And knew famine and drought and the fury of nature only from pictures of times before his.
And The Movement grew in the course of his life from the river It was on the day of his birth to a storm-engorged torrent that spilled over Its banks and flooded the world like a forty-day rain. It flowed into the hearts and minds and lives of the lost and hurt and exhausted. And gathered them all into Itself and made them a part of a greater whole.
All of them, except Jameson Crowe.
For all of his life, while the Movement grew, Jameson chose to stand apart. Earlier on, near the start of his life, Jameson stood like an island — one among many with not a few friends to share in his sense of old-fashioned self. Gradually, though, through his two-score years, Jameson saw the tireless tides eating away at his comrade isles. And he watched as they melted slowly away until each of the isles succumbed in the end and joined with the force that had broken them down. Until, at last, Jameson looked, but for all of his searching failed to find even one other island in the whole of the churning and ravenous sea that the once humble Movement had finally become.
And The Movement battered and washed him over until Jameson Crowe no longer felt so much like an island in a storm-fevered sea as one grain of sand in the grip of a flood that tossed and threw and pushed it about and squeezed and crushed and cramped all the time from every direction in every way.
But Jameson held to his old-fashioned self in spite of the flood and the sea and the tide. And the sea of The Movement tossed him about more strongly still as the winds of a change gathered above and moved the sea with hurricane force until every part was a whitecap wave.
The wind of change that blew so strong was a promise made so long ago by The Movement to those that It called Its own. The promise was a Rapture of immediate grace and the wind revealed that the promise was near.
But Jameson held to his old-fashioned self as the squeeze and crush and cramp increased in the churn of excitement of the glory at hand. Until one day Jameson woke to the light and the breeze of a new summer day in a world of silence broken but little by the chirp and the song of the birds of the land.
While he’d slept the sleep of the non-believer The Rapture had come and The Movement had gone. And Jameson looked but for all his searching failed to find even one other person left in the place that he called his home.
Jameson searched the land all around for signs that he wasn’t alone, for one other soul left behind in the whole of the man-scarred world. But the world, like the men that had afflicted it, had been cured of the blight that had festered upon it when The Rapture had come and The Movement had gone.
Yet Jameson searched, until one day he came to a tower that reached to the sky. And Jameson climbed to the tip of the tower and fearful and anxious looked out on the land that stretched away in every direction, showing itself to his dark, searching eye.
And gazing down on the empty land, Jameson finally accepted the truth. He was the last of a vanished race, a man without a people.
Jameson Crowe was completely alone.
And tears welled up in Jameson’s eyes. And tears streamed down his softening face. And his body shook as never before with the racking violence of unhindered sobs.
The Movement’s Rapture had finally come and left Jameson Crowe to the world alone. And with It had gone all the crush and the pressure and the tossing and throwing and pushing about and the spring and the flood and the sea and the tide and everything else that had ever stopped him from being the man that he wanted to be.
And the freedom and peace of a life without the crush of the tireless tide flowed into his body and mind and heart. And Jameson smiled for the first time in years, and yelled and danced at the tip of the tower. And Jameson knew what he was never to know and felt what he was never to feel — the joy and the bliss and the simple beauty of a rapture all his own.