Disclaimer: The Chronicles of Narnia is the intellectual property of C. S. Lewis and his estate. No money is being made from this story, and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Author's Note: "Prayers to Broken Stone" was inspired by the 9/21/09 word #123 on the 15_minute_fic livejournal community, and probably subconsciously influenced by the passage in H. G. Wells's The Time Machine wherein the Time Traveler visits the desolate end of the world. The title is a quote from T. S. Eliot's The Hollow Men.
This story has been altered slightly from its livejournal form. I am still not quite happy with the ending, but it's now closer to what I was aiming for.
Summary: This is Charn, after Jadis and the children leave. This is the grave of a universe.
Prayers to Broken Stone
This is Charn, after Jadis and the children leave.
The disenchanted palace wavers, small cracks splintering through the façade. Paint chips and flakes off the statues. A thousand years of rain and sand and wind wreak havoc in accelerated madness.
The palace sinks in on itself with a thunderous roar of stone. The earth shakes as it falls.
The city is precariously balanced, preserved only through the lack of bacteria and plants to aid its decay, and the sheer age of the world. Charn is long past seismic tremors, long past earthquakes and volcanoes. Nothing but rain and wind have touched these bricks and stones, eating away at them year after mindless year until every structure is as delicate as a house of cards, ready to fall at the merest nudge.
The palace dies and brings the city with it into ruin.
For a time dust obscures the darkening air. When it clears, the sun is gone. The cold eye of the Watcher hangs alone in the heavens, limping toward the weary horizon, until the moon's bilious edge peers over the distant hills on the opposite edge of the sky.
This would be the time for monsters to wake, to hunt, but no monsters live.
Nothing lives. Nothing changes.
Only the unwinding clockwork march of sun and moon and star, alone in the endless, unrelieved black of the heavens. Only the winter rains, lighter each year, as the atmosphere bleeds into the gaping maw of the sky. Only the restless wind carrying its stinging freight of sand, but quieter each year, falling slowly into sleep. Into stillness. Into death.
Look at the ruins of Charn, a heap of shattered stones and broken dreams. Once this world was joyful. Even at the end, even in its monstrousness, it was beautiful. It was alive. It could have been saved.
It was not.
This is what Jadis wrought. This is what no one prevented.
Digory and Polly will bury this taste of entropy triumphant. They will seize the distraction of Narnia. They will forget Charn.
Do not join them. Touch the stones, cut yourself on their edges. Watch your blood mix with the dust, the only sign of life in all the world.
This is Charn, after the end. Remember it. Remember the desolation, the creeping chill, the gnawing silence.
This is the grave of a universe. Mourn its death.
Fear your own.
AN: Thanks for reading, and please review! I appreciate all comments, but I'm particularly interested in knowing what parts of the story worked for you, what parts didn't, and why.