Photo: Augusto Navarro
Check out Part 1 here if you haven’t already, so that you can understand the story in its entirety. Hope you enjoy this piece as much as I did writing it!
Calen exited the underground and was greeted by air he’d learned to tolerate. A strong undertone of steel wafted wherever he went in the Sprawl, and that was when the occasional miasma—garbage, oils, human refuse—wasn’t among the blend.
The odour still assaulted his senses, even after having lived with it for so long. The more privileged would at least be able to seek refuge in their homes, because these homes often had filtered air-conditioners installed. For Calen, fresh air was never an option.
Photo: Alex Knight
Calen often rode the mag-lev from the first station to the last. Today, he sat beside a patchwork of steel that resembled a humanoid. It stood motionless in its designated docking bay. A Justicar, it was called. Calen—as well as everyone else—knew them better as tinheads.
The thing finally jolted to life, something Calen was waiting for for hours now. That was his cue to earn some chits. He followed the robot as it thumped down the train. Mag-lev, he corrected himself. Trains were only a fragment of his dad’s old stories. Stories of when policing was still done by humans, with much more compassion.
FOREWORD: I submitted this piece to a submission call, but it got rejected, so here it is. My blog needed updates anyway.
Sol was poring over the building plans when the front door flung open. He traced his fingers along floor 48.
“Babe, close the door,” Sol said. “The smog’s getting in.” When no reply came, he looked up to find a tear-stricken Jenn.
“They did it,” she said between sobs. “They s-stuck me like a pig.”