Most restrictions were lifted. And thousands set out, longing for normalcy. However, new threats had emerged in the continental garden, and some sense of alarm persisted. Although it was said everywhere that we were facing a Zeitenwende and that our prosperity would decrease drastically, no one seemed to really believe it and everything went on as usual. More than ever, the crowds flocked to the famous sights in the lagoon. For security reasons, new rules were established to limit the stay. Everyone had to show their digital ID and was assigned to a specific time slot.
Take the World – Follow the Art
When I arrived in the late afternoon, the crowd managers had already instructed most people to leave the grounds. The party feeling was gone and I noticed certain symptoms of exhaustion. Everything pointed to a culture that was declining or had perished a long time ago. When I finally entered Prospero’s exclusive venue through the back entrance, I was excited. I had no idea who I was going to meet there .
Indeed, it was a voluptuous show, all that masquerade. As I walked through the halls, there was a new effect every 20 or 30 meters, and a new stunner behind every turn. Just the last section was left completely empty, because they wanted to exclude and punish one of the main players. There a fireplace threw its glow through the tinted glass, glaringly illuminating the space beyond. The effect of the fire created such a wild expression on the faces of those who passed through this room that only a few of the entire society present even dared to set foot inside …
MAKE YOUR CHOICE
PLAY THE GAME
The other rooms were still densely populated by a celebrating society, and life pulsed feverishly there. A huge clock swung its pendulum back and forth with a dull, heavy, monotonous clang at each passing of an hour … Finally, at some point, before the echo of the last chime had completely sunk into silence, some of the guests found the courage to become aware of the actual constellation before their eyes, a deep abyss that had attracted no special attention before. And after the rumor of this discovery had first spread in whispers, a murmur finally arose from the whole society, expressing disapproval and surprise – and then a deep horror …
Then, summoning the wild courage of despair, a crowd of revelers rushed to the last passage and took aim at the Ponte dei Sospiri, whose figure loomed ominously in the shadows of the palaces …
after Edgar Allan Poe, The Masque of the Red Death