Ikki Ni

by Monte Burrows

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As far as we knew, we were the first human beings to explore those ruins in over six-thousand years. To this day, I remember the pungent remains of the wine fountains, the faceless statues of tree-headed gods, and the pyramids of raw quartz that lined the causeways; but mostly, I remember the oddity of wandering through an underground city with no windows or doors to be seen.

The truth behind this strangeness was engraved into a wall of black marble, translated into languages both living and dead: “In an age before our own, there existed a city in which all of mankind dwelled. Before it crumbled, two maps were created: one of all the city’s structures, and another, of all their shadows. Only the second of these survived to our age, and we used it to build this replica. Now, there are no maps; only our work remains.”

The ruins were never a city to begin with- only the memory of another preserved in stone. From the map of shadows, its outline could be restored, but never the city itself. I sometimes swear that I can see things as they once were in my dreams, but I know that, in truth, these visions are futile. Anything that I can imagine is nothing more than the silhouette of a silhouette.
— UEL ARAMCHEK

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Monte Burrows Los Angeles, California

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