He held his breath as he opened his eyes, subconsciously aware that his prayers were not to be answered. Not this time.
Sigh And yet still, nothing had changed. The old house site, and the sight of no old house, confirmed his more realistic expectations. The town had never been a place people wanted to return to after they had left. I guess the test of time had proved no different. Just one long, concrete slab, as far as the eye could see.
Underneath the slab, he knew there was a bustling "community". But that word was not what he deemed fitting for the stealing of his home. Why people wanted to live without exposure to the environment was beyond him. And why they had not let people who did want to live in the real world be.
But I guess that was part of their solution. They traded in poverty for peril; imperfection for imprisonment. That was how he saw it, anyway. Not them.
As for what remained of society's home, there wasn't much. The buildings had been knocked down, which once had shown a sign of prospect; yet afterwards, unbeknownst to the public, thousands of square miles of land was excavated; the dust of which was piled high around in the distance to serve as a "new horizon".
But there was no horizon. For there was no one to see it; the above. What once was his world. And he knew his children were down below, living their lives under the controlling arm of the New One. And they knew no better. Not anymore.
He had seen the signs of what was to come but he knew not of the extent of it's success. He began searching hopelessly for a way in; a hatch, a door, anything that might open. A weak spot maybe. But no, he found nothing. Everything was bolted tight. Of course, he was well aware that he was most certainly being watched. A disturbance from the above must surely warrant some sort of alarm somewhere down there; the new world.
He looked around for signs of a watchtower but found nothing. He was running out of time; for his time here was not in his hands any longer. Not that it ever really was. Not knowing what else to do, he began to scream into the distance. Gaahhhvannniaah! he screamed, a feeble attempt for finding a word for his feeling.
No response. He had to get his children. Just then, in the distance, somewhere in the right hand quadrant of his vision, he saw a light flicker on, then off. He took off running.
Giving the vast outlay of the slab, he had no idea what a run he was in for. When he finally reached the area the light had come from, the sun was beginning to go down, and he knew his time was running out. And when he got to the light, he saw the faces of his children, looking out throw a hatch window. They were much older now; but they were indisputably his own. He saw the look of relief on their faces when he got there.
He frantically clammered at the hatch, assuring himself that his children must have opened it for him. But they sat there, crying, smiling, simply shaking their heads, "no". He didn't understand. His looked to his daughter for explanation, but she could only shrug and point all around her. There was nothing they could do.
He knew his time was running out, and soon his journey would continue. But he wanted them to come with them. He realized though, that there was really nothing he could do. If the system wasn't foolproof; well, there would be some other evidence of it. To his knowledge he had been the only one to walk on the above in decades.
Just as he was beginning to slip away, and he was giving his goodbyes to his children, he saw a withered old hand waving to him from behind his son. Squinting, as so he could see through the shadows, he saw himself; aged 25 years. An old man in bed, hand in hand with his son and daughter. As he slipped away, he realized that he was yet to find his children, and that although he had just experienced an agonizing failure, he saw proof of his future success. And with that, he let go.