By Jacob Zaccaria
Soaring crystal spires of the metropolis gleamed in the sun’s first light as it’s inhabitants bustled like a million bees in a concrete hive. One could feel the buzz of the City all around them even now — if they took the time to shrug off their mindless march at all. A motley mix of vacant faces, one could argue that if you knocked off each and every last soul save one, they probably wouldn’t even notice a thing.
There were at least some folk who showed some excitement, because today, the Museum was opening their much-hyped exhibit, “Mysteries of the Old Ones!” So of course, hundreds were in attendance: the place was so packed, you’d have a hard time reaching speeds greater than drying paint. Other than the occasional scuffle over stubbed toes or rubbed elbows, it was an orderly affair.
Children and their parents, eager to witness the thrills and latest archeological discoveries detailing the life & times of the Old Ones: the ancients who prepared the way and, through their eventual demise, founded the world as it was today. As one entered the exhibit hall, in the glass cabinets all around, visions of rusty & polished trinkets enticed the eye. Hanging on the whitewashed walls were framed images — some small, some incredibly large — taken by historians, or found on-site and cleaned up for the show.
But the best was saved for last: in the back of the hall, behind bright crimson curtains, was the greatest find of all. It was kept hush-hush — only hinted at by the newsletters and Museum staff — but even that was enough to cause a tremor of excitation in the crowd. As the bulk of them amassed in the rear of the hall, the lights dimmed, and all eyes were glued to those curtains.
With a brief announcement and a drum roll, the room was thick with anticipation! And as the curtains fell back, the gasps and awe filled the room.
Two full figures were mounted in contraposto, accompanied by a third, smaller form. They were nude, sparsely haired, similar in overall appearance save for a few small anatomical differences, particularly between their thighs. These, the Announcer declared, were the finest, most perfectly-preserved remains of the Old Ones ever found, saved by a freak chemical spill which seems to have rendered their flesh and organs immutable.
Of course, everyone knows that the Old Ones died out before our ancestors arrived. Of all of Earths creatures, this one was the most remarkable — and most deadly: Human.