Monday, March 26, 2007


The rain never really seemed to stop.  It was omnipresent, clinging to the city, muting what few noises remained.  It trickled down the eves of abandoned buildings, past broken windows and fire marked columns to gurgle along the decaying street.  Many of the buildings had once been beautiful, but as commerce and industry became more and more decentralized, the once grand buildings made as a symbol of corporate wealth were left behind.  The heart of the city decayed, and people fled to the suburbs and beyond.  As the people left, so did the utilities, the police, and the education system, leaving a cityscape as intolerable to human existence as the surface of the moon.

Even so, some remained in the city.  There were those who couldn't leave where they had lived their entire lives, even as the building crumbled and died around them.  Or those who didn't have the means to leave, and so were left behind.  They, along with those who were simply flat out insane, had mostly died out by now, as food was scarce even for those who could grow it, and any non-perishables had been consumed long ago.  The smallest group numerically were people who chose to live in the ruins, but these were by far the most prosperous.
To them, the city was a vast playground, filled with potential.  There were materials readily at hand, and there was plenty of space to create new things, or to repair old ones in.  The boffins roamed the streets, hording and rebuilding devices that were quite often older than they were.

One such fellow had ventured out despite the rain.  Had other people been around, his style would have gotten quite a few stares; but the only looks he garnered were the quizzical glances of the crows.  Seeing him, one would assume that he had held up a tailor, and that the tailor, making the best of it, had given him the most absurd outfit he could conceive.  At the very least one could hope that it hadn't been his idea to go about in a neon orange regency coat.

He moved swiftly through the ruins on long spindly legs, stooping here and there to avoid braining himself on the remains of hanging light fixtures and broken pipes.  His pants, which matched his coat, seemed particularly ill suited to scavenging through the corpse of a skyscraper, but they ended in a pair of hard worn boots.  In a motion that stretched the pants to their limit, the left boot lashed out against a particularly stubborn door.  Unimpressed, the remained mockingly closed.  A second attempt with the right boot yielded much the same result.  a pencil, piece of dead yellow chalk and a much battered notebook appeared suddenly in his hands, produced with the speed born of long repetition.  The chalk flashed across the door, leaving "Locked" scrawled in its wake, and a note was jotted into the book.  The book snapped shut, leaving a soft mildewy smell in the air as it disappeared back into the coat, as he turned from the door and strode farther into the building. 
Robert Alverson


1 comment:

Ryan said...

Thats real good, I like it.