In the distance looms a colossal structure. It is madness trying to grasp its full stature. Marching ever toward it, my tribe has not witnessed any more than the tiniest increase in its size on the horizon. Employing the technological marvels left by our forerunners we were able to discern that within a few thousand generations we must be able to reach it. The magnitude of that claim instilled insanity into more than one member of our tribe. Ever moving, every moment of our existence, we cross the endless desert to reach the structure. It has many names, even more names than we have for the ever-present sand, or even for the food we scavenge from these eternal plains of oblivion.
We spend most waking moments in awe of the structure; the long hours of the morning when it devours the sun, as if the sun itself should shiver and bow before the terror its very presence instills on all around me. The freezing noon when its shadow casts its peak, and lastly the warm, indulgent nights we spend facing the sun. The moment we leave the structure’s shadow spells the time of our recurring ritual. We march ever faster, every day. We leave behind all who keep us from approaching the structure, shed all who are afraid, who doubt, who refuse to stay vigilant. I have lost more than I can recount.
I do not think we will be ourselves still when we reach the structure, for everything we have lost cannot be recovered. We have not only discarded our weak, our old. What we have become is little more than the creatures we hunt for sustenance. Being born into this world, being part of this tribe, where being relentless and vigorous are the only values of any importance, I ask myself what is to happen when our task is fulfilled. What will be left of us? I do not think me capable of marching fast enough not to be left behind after the ritual. I am old, have sired many, and hope to have passed some of what was onto the generations to come. For they would have forgotten long ago, if not for the perseverance of my clan. We may be loathed and ridiculed, but we will never succumb to the lunacy the other clans have embraced aeons ago.
The structure’s gravity exerts its force on us, and we have all but given in. I am told that its colour shifted to a more darkish hue, but who can tell from the distance. None of the fabled forerunner technology could tell us any more about the structure, other than the horror of its presence. It does something to our minds, to our bodies even. In the last generation alone, the size of our feet and the muscular mass of our legs has increased at a frightening rate. I fear that the current generation will leave their forebears behind long before we can imprint our knowledge onto them. The increased prevalence of such processes despairs me greatly.
By now our clan has become one of the smallest congregations in the tribe, and I fear we are to be purged from existence. Some clan’s sons and daughters have been born with bodies closer to the species we prey upon, with monstrous claws and abnormal legs. But they march always first, ever forward, ever vigilant, shedding more and more baggage with each ritual. Some of them were born unable to speak, most of their kin shun the sunlight and its warmth.
I am the last member of my clan. I was exiled, after the ritual. There is nothing left to forsake, no one to succeed to. I am alone in the desert, marching, never to face the structure again.