At that moment a distant thundering of steps challenged the blaring horn and eventually gained the upper hand. The four who were standing in the open room turned to the stairwell and watched as a few individuals, then dozens, and finally scores of work-vested sweepers enter the commons area. Men and women, young and old, filed in and took positions behind the Tates in support and solidarity. Lyndon Perry, Petition Saga #1
One of the most prevalent themes of Howey’s world is the cloistered nature of all those born to live and die in the silos. But, unlike other post-apocalyptic tales of the day, the enemy that threatens each generation of silo dwellers is not some mutated zombie apocalypse nor some invading alien force. Instead, the enemy is bound within the nature of humanity – as is the hope.
The Last Prayer introduces two classes of silo dwellers: priests and sweepers. The two could not be more different yet more connected. The sweepers have lived for untold generations to clean up the grime and refuse of all other silo dwellers. The priests, what seems to be a dying breed, have existed just as long to hear the petitions of those overwhelmed by their lives.
An aging priest realizes his words of hope have become empty until a little girl changes that forever. Sentenced to die on the outside, she sees a reality that has become little more than a vague shadow for the priest. Together, however, they will lead their follow cleaners and priests to see castles rather than war ravaged ghost cities – heaven rather than a hopeless hell.
Like the Silo Saga and much of the fan fiction that has followed, there is no need to like science fiction nor for that matter to have read the cannon of Wool to grab on to this story quickly. This is the story of a young girl’s innocent willingness to believe where others have given up hope – something that translates to any genre in any time.
The Last Prayer is the first of three installments that, when completed, will comprise the Petition Saga. Following the lead of Hugh Howey’s Silo Saga, this short story was more than enough to peek my interest in what is to come.
Lyndon Perry is a middle school Language Arts teacher, part-time pastor, full-time husband, father of two, and a published author. In his spare time, he is also the editor of Residential Aliens, a zine of spiritually infused fiction.