We’re giving you a free ticket to the period and place of your choice: where do you go? Do you stay where you are, or venture somewhere far away? Do you go all the way back to prehistoric times, or relive a fun moment you just had last year?
I recognise the mountain, the light, the immense sky above the vertical cliffs. Below the small craft, the road seems intact, but there is no traffic. Closer to the village I see the eagles. I have never seen them so low, and so close to civilisation.
But of course I don’t know about “civilisation”, I am just assuming that hundred years from when I left, this site of universal culture and beauty is still populated.
The village is intact, the houses as they used to be, but there is no human around. Now I see more clearly that small stones have accumulated here and there on the road, and vegetation has started invading the surface: there has been no traffic and no snow-plough for years.
I decide to climb up to the ancient valley, the place where we often met, in our now defunct time. But this is different. In several places the road has collapsed, I guess under the weight of the snow, and perhaps rock falls. Here too the houses along the way are intact, but look empty.
Then I see her: a tall young woman, who sees the craft and follows me until I land silently in a small field. The woman is walking now towards me. I unstrap my parachute, walks to meet her.
She’s blond, her skin a healthy suntanned colour. She wears a short suit that reveals her beauty. But it is her eyes that capture my attention: blue on blue. She speaks, and I reply, for I know her tongue: it is Ladin, the ancestral language of those valleys. The year is 2114, and here, in this haven, I am meeting the survivors of Armageddon.
“Come now,” she says calmly, “you should know that we have killed the few others who came before you. We don’t want to have anything to do with the likes of you. But we let you tell us why we should not, first.”
Her smile is beautiful, she reminds me of you. Only the color of her eyes tells me that she belongs to the successors: not homo-sapiens, but the race that will replace us on Earth. I follow her, smiling, to meet my fate.