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I've been leaving notes for them, and gifts.
They like the books. Started with stories but moved on to weapons manuals, medical books, practical stuff.
In the notes, well it's embarrassing, almost like those cards people used to give to each other, everything sweet and loving. I tell them to read and to learn and to make the most of their new home. I tell them that I'm giving them Zion as a gift to make up for all the sorrows of their lives so far and all the sorrows man has visited on man. I tell them to be kind to each other and modest. I tell them never to hurt each other but that if someone else comes along and tries to hurt them to strike back with righteous anger. Stuff like that. I sign every note "The Father," because well, just because.
Have I mentioned that I'm dying?
Mind's still sharp. Lungs are the problem. Might be cancer. Cough's been getting worse for months, finally there's blood in it. Getting harder to visit my little friends, breath's so short.
I've given away most of what I own. They'll find the rest in the caves when they get a little older.
I don't want them to find me though. “The Father" is a broke-down old man? Disappointment.
It's time. I don't want another birthday.
It's cold enough that I won't last long on the high mound up next to Red Gate. I think I've got enough breath left in me to make it. I'll just lie down and stare at the sky. Feels right.
I hope they'll do well. I hope no harm comes to them, from within or without. Did my best to prepare them with the last few notes. Said something kind about each one of them, what makes each one special. Told them The Father was pleased by their kind natures and that it would be up to them to handle things on their own from now on, that I'd be silent but still watching and still caring.
Lying, then. Oh yes.
Lied to you, Char. And Alex. And Sylvie. Told you I'd be with you forever. But I wouldn't go back and unsay it once if I could.
What was the point of it all? So many failures.
But I never forgot your face. Or Little Nut's. Or (sorry) Sylvie's. They used to say that happened after a while but it never did for me.
Maybe the only point of all this living was to keep those pictures in my head going for as long as I could. It was the only life I could give you. Not a day went by without.
It wasn't choice. I chose to die again and again. Just never did. Body had its own drive.
Well, the little ones will need it. Species will need it if it's to continue. That blind drive onward.
I wish them well. It's been a gift to me, at the end of it all, to behold innocence.
Randall Dean Clark
Feb 5th, 2053 - Jan 2124