Work Header

An Incomplete History Of History, As Written For Yuletide, In Five Acts And An Epilogue.

Work Text:

You are the man who arranges the blocks.

You are building a future on the back of the past. You are burying the past beneath the walls of the future. You guide your blocks carefully; some of them slip away from you, like rain between your cupped palms, but not all. There is enough to go on. There is enough to build from.

You can see your future; you are building it. Every day, every block, is part of the chain. You are building the future. Your future. Everyone's future. It is your dream, it is your goal; you see it in your mind's eye spread out before you: a collective regime of peace and love, built on the ashes of the past. It is your utopian future, and you are building it. It is all around you. It is real.

There's no such thing as a bloodless revolution. Your mistakes are regrettable, understandable, pardonable; the revolution is more important than your ego, the needs of the group are more important than your own. You came to Moscow to seek a future, to create, to build, to form it piece by piece like a monster, and you build it on the bones of the past.

(And it grows from its seedling, on the bones of the past.)

Your revolutionaries, the workers, unite like the blocks that fall, and some are out of place and some are crooked and some should never have come at all, but the group is good enough. You achieve the revolution, you build your wall.

Victory may not be beautiful or clean, but it is glorious. You sing as the revolution completes itself and sinks gracefully like a full wall, its stories and stories of the past sinking into the ground, giving you, forming for you, a new foundation for the future.

(A future built on bones, as all futures must be.)


Along the way, idealism dies, and you carry it around like a vestigial organ for years before you notice what happened. And you don't miss it. Really, you don't.

There's too much going on now for idealism. Idealism is for childhood, for change, for the first days and for the last. Idealism is not for now, not for the Space Race. You are fighting your way to the stars; now is not a time to look at the ground. You are building to the sky. What is beneath you is not important. (What is beneath you is vitally important.) (What is beneath you is all that there is.)

(And when it vanishes, you crash to the ground.)

Idealism is gone and you fall to the ground.

As Yuri Gagarin ascends, you descend. Your blocks once meant growth; you were building the worker's paradise with every foundation block that fell, with every fall you carefully built up around the sides, keeping debris from the centers. You are building the future, one block at a time.

It is vanishing beneath you as you watch.

You have misjudged drops before, you have made mistakes. You have considered, even, mistakes to have been virtues, because what remains could be used. You can create use from chaos, you can build your walls, you can build your future, you must build your future.

You thought to build an ever-vanishing wall, to create the ouroboros, to create a future that constantly creates itself, that constantly destroys itself, that constantly builds and constantly destroys, endless.


You thought you could make strife bury itself beneath the weight of peace and love.

(This draws closer. They fall quicker. You are buried beneath them and then they vanish, completed walls.)

You thought the ghosts of the past would be content to lie beneath their graves, as you piled more and more bodies on top of them.


(No, you did not think.)

(You dreamed.)

You weighed history down beneath you with the weight of the revolution, and when you looked up to the stars, to those stars and planets alight in the cold night, you thought you saw history disappear. You thought you could pave a new way forward.

You should not have nudged it quite so far. Your blocks were to build a future, not erupt mushroom clouds.

You try to form your lips around the praise, around the words, around the drumming confirmation of all your hopes and dreams, but you can only barely whisper it now, while everyone around you shouts with glee.

You can see the future; you are building it. You see it fall away beneath your feet.

You must keep moving or it will all fall away.


The more the walls build around you, the crazier you feel.

(The walls, the years, the change, the constant change, the change you make and the change that makes you, because you change with the years as surely as the calendar moves inexorably forward. Your bricks are constants, your calling is a constant, but change rains down around you, not yet a mushroom cloud.)

Your blocks are like a labyrinth around you, trapping you in with no way forwards or backwards, only onwards. Onwards toward destruction. Onwards away from peace and love, your dream, your idealism, how stupid you were, how you lacked foresight, how you lacked everything, everything but the will and the power to tear down what has been built by those who came before you, everything but the will to live and to kill and to strive forward every morning and surround yourself with walls.

You grow crazed with the years, you try to find new ways out, new solutions to old problems. You made these problems, but your solutions are always the same old ones. You can innovate and create, but in the end, you go home as hungry as you were before Stalin, before Lenin, when you came to Moscow as a young man.

You were hungry and idealistic. Now you are just hungry. You would consume anything in your way if it meant you could erase the past like a completed row and watch it vanish, taking away all the impediments in front of you. Turn the present into the past, watch it vanish, destroyed, crushed under the future that you must build, you must, you must.

(You must.)

History continues, but the walls keep building up in front of you, and while you can ride the falling blocks to the ground, they cannot give you wings to fly.

The present is making you crazy, it is your creation. You cannot look away and it burns, and your creation burns you and the present burns you, in death and fear and the cold and the winter and hatred and all the ways the future looks different today than it did yesterday, always in front of you, but never here, and the present is not what you could wish for, not what you did wish for, not what you want.

You are running out of ways to tell yourself that your walls are buildings and not barriers.

You thought to use the blocks to create, but you cannot stop the rain. They are an elemental force now. They take on their own life, like the future, like the present, and you cannot control it, you can nudge nothing now.

And it all comes falling down, row by row vanishing, block by block destroying, constantly building something new, something chaotic, because you cannot move them now. You cannot change them now.

You've given up your dreams for the hope of a better world. Today you dream only that what you build today still exists tomorrow.

(And the elemental rain of blocks does not end.)


You change your dreams again and again, hoping that this time, that this time it will work

Once, you thought you could buy safety and security with a sickle and star.

Once, you thought you could buy peace and love with a nuclear bomb.

On the day when you cannot buy a loaf of bread with all the money of the Tsars, you are sure that, somewhere along the line, there was a block you could have moved and it would all have been different. Somewhere along the line, you made a critical error.

But maybe it can be changed.

And the blocks keep falling around you.


You are the man who arranges the blocks. You take the elemental force and form it into shape. You build the future around you. You build tomorrow and watch it sink into yesterday, beneath the forces of today.

The blocks have been so many things over the years; the blocks remain the same. There are only so many ways you can put them together and you try everything. The years change. Nothing else does.

When it all falls apart, the blocks crumble away. They slip into nothingness.

You do not recognize the past, the present, the future. It is for another man now.

The blocks will always fall, but it is for another worker to arrange them, it is for another to build, to find the new blueprint for the future, to create, to go on.


[You feel yourself stretch and grow.]

[You become another.]

(But you have always been who you are: the man who arranges the blocks. The man who builds the future. The man who survives it all.)

(You begin, again.)