The last known Christian had been put to death. He had been found living in a lower level of an abandoned mine in South Africa. He was ferreted out and brought to trial. He had professed Christ. There was no tumult or clamor. He had been locked in a lethal chamber. The gas was admitted. In a few minutes he was dead. He was found lying forward on his face where he had fallen from his knees.

The International Government of the World announced the capture and execution. “The work of a thousand years is now at an end,” it declared in its exultant bulletin. The day of the announcement was a day of great rejoicing all over the earth. The IGW—as the International Government of the World was known—declared a half holiday for all workers. Great effigies of Christ on the Cross were burned at all the sub-capitals of the world. While the crosses flamed, the multitudes paraded and sang. It was the first time in a century that singing had been allowed. The work of extermination was over.

It was a strange world that witnessed this day of jubilation. The peoples of the whole earth had become slaves of a few masters. They had been herded into vast industrial centers, great mountains of stone and steel, banding the round earth like mountain chains, rising like huge wens on the face of the globe. But these men and women were not ordinary slaves. They were creatures of the machinery of a mechanical life, inferiors of the machines they operated, subsidiary attachments to the monsters of a new age. The fantasy of the philosopher had come true: machines had become superior to men. Men were not mere automatons; they were minor automatons, servants of a mechanical state.

The few thousand inhabitants of the world who had not been corralled into the huge black industrial fortresses came across the dusty levels and valleys seeking admittance. They were counted, given numbers, and assigned residential vaults. At first, people stared at these sun-browned slaves from the fields. They ill-matched the white faces of the vault-dwellers. But soon they lost their sunlight and became white as their fellows and as characterless as the numbers on their backs.

Like all mundane achievements the IGW had an imperfection. Even this kingdom of the Anti-Christ, perfect as it was, had a weak point. And so like all things mundane it came to an end.

The weak point in the IGW was a small, thin-faced wiry man who lived in a vault in New York. His number was 2,757,311. Let us call him White, for Christian reasons. White was one of the last of the sun-browned country dwellers to come in after all vegetative life on the earth had been destroyed. He had come with a strange group of people from the outermost places. The examiners at the gate had hesitated to let him enter. He had a light in his eyes and it was well known that no genuine IGW slaves had light in their eyes. They thought at first that he might have been a throw-back to some destroyed race, but he had the proper credentials. They watched him carefully. In a few months he began to look like his fellow slaves. But the resemblance was only on the surface, for his brain was afire and his heart bled.

At night he would look out of the ventilator at the stars. On Restday afternoon, he would go over to the hills across the western river. His fellow slaves could not understand his trips.

White had a purpose in the hills. He liked the open and the sunlight, though none of his fellows could believe it. But he had his eyes out for something. One warm afternoon he found it in a distant valley miles from men: a small patch of brown moist earth. He knelt down reverently by it, and made a sign of a cross on himself, touching his forehead and breast and shoulders with the first two fingers of his right hand. After a long while on his knees, he arose and made a sign of a cross in the air over the plot, murmuring as he did so. Then, with a glance at the airplanes that hummed by high over head, he took a little sack quickly from his breast and sprinkled its contents over the moist earth.

“I shall bring God back to the earth,” White told the silences beyond the western river.

Then, he returned to Vault No. 2,757,311.

from Mr. Blue, by Myles Connolly – CLICK HERE FOR PART II

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