Endymion walked at night over the dust-swept earth. He trudged over barren rock and ridge, through dried riverbeds, and slept during daylight hours in the shady shelter of caves. While walking at night, the cold north wind and the moon were his only companions. Boreas spoke to Endymion, the voice of the north wind sounding like galloping horses. That spectral voice kept Endymion moving with the promise of a Hyperborean paradise.
Boreas gave Endymion companionship, but the moon gave him light. She was always above him, comforting him with soft green light, and he loved her and called her by name: “Selene.”
Endymion could no longer remember his real name. It had been lost long ago. After centuries of living, such details seemed unimportant somehow. But he remembered the myths and legends his tutor had taught him in the days before The Drought, and he held those lessons close to his heart. Always awkward in social situations, he retained a catalogue of myths and stories in his head. They were his guide, his field book for understanding human interaction. But even so, he had always been more comfortable alone, so he often left the remainder of the population back at The Fountain.
He would walk and explore the barren earth, finding the skeletal remains of old cities—buildings of glass and steel which had been pounded by windswept sands, becoming rusted and eroded over time. He would explore theses buildings, search for relics and scraps of paper, hints as to the way of life that once was, wondering what had happened, but without electricity the machines were forever silenced and he was able to decode only parts of this mystery. The papers had names, addresses, phone numbers, and dates, but little else. All the remaining writings seemed so meaningless—business transactions that had mattered once upon a time.
The libraries were another story. They were a source of eternal pleasure for him, the reward for his trudges through the vast desert, a world of words that made sense, interactions he could understand, and a glimpse of a place nearly forgotten. He had catalogued the myths and legends in his mind, the flora and fauna he would never see, and memorized an encyclopedic array of dates and events leading up to The Drought. By chance, he found a special edition collectible paper magazine article about those final days before The Drought on this latest expedition.
He walked back to the others carrying a pair of red plastic containers on his makeshift backpack rigged from found scrap metal and ancient frayed fabric. These receptacles held his supply of water—his source of youth, his source of life. He had to return to the others from time to time and awkwardly wade his way through them to get to the life-sustaining waters of The Fountain.
He was returning early this time. He was returning not because he wanted to take more water. He had known his fair share of living. Rather than taking life, he had something to give—knowledge.
“Colonists Leave Earth” read the faded headline on the yellowed sheet of paper.
Selene, her green light shining upon the desert, smiled on him as her Endymion walked to the pool—no longer dreaming, but awake at last.