June 13, 2005
Volume 2, Issue 13
"...Sleeping cities are tame and harmless things.
What I fear...is that one day the cities will waken. That one day the cities will rise."
Old Man in World's End, by Neil Gaimain (Sandman, Vol. 8)
Laurence - Bon Temps Roules
Now, the final force-barrier against the Gulf of Mexico was in place. The osmotic pumps were revealing what was before only accessible to divers, drones, and avatar-subs.
Sure, the French Quarter would take weeks to dry out, but Jessica didn't want to wait. She wanted to be the first.
She'd earned it.
The hover-cameras followed as she landed on Bourbon Street, took off her helmet, and then her top.
"Bon temps roules!" she shouted.
She watched from the window as the world was reborn around her. Twenty colors of green where there had only been greys and browns, and now the beginnings of yellows, oranges, and purples. The snow had barely started to melt, but the ice on the lake crackled and moaned as, still ten inches thick, it began to pull away from the banks. Slowly the earth was returning to life before her very eyes.
The friends from home who still mocked her for moving to Fargo, "the tundra," were only the ones who had never been here to see the payoff.
Michele: Inflict Strain Upon the Structure
He came up behind her at a crosswalk, pressed his hand into hers. “The city is alive,” he whispered.
She stiffened and gave a quick glance around her; lights, people, sounds. She squeezed Alastor’s hand, acknowledging what he meant by alive.
She used her magic to hear past the discordant murmurs of the city, fixating on the streets and structures. To humans, the sound was nothing more than a low, electric hum. For now. In time, the sidewalks would buckle and buildings would bend, dropping all the lies, secrets and crimes they had witnessed into the ears of passing humans.
You think I’m crazy? Sometimes wonder myself.
But I know this, I know I'm not dead and others aren’t so lucky, but me, I'm alive and I plan to stay that way. I don't go outside, no sir; just sit in here with the television on loud to block out what's happening. Sometimes though, sometime I hear the sirens, coming from all over, and I know someone's dying out there. Murders, fires, gangs, drugs, don't matter, it's all part of how the city does its killing. Lure us in, take us out, one by one.
But not me. No sir.
From the Comments: Jeff R.
There are places the wise does not go. Most cities sleep peacefully, as you know, and through the corridors of their dreams run some of the interconnections we have used. Others are awake. There are secret ways to these places, through hollowings, sympathetic porticos and the like. Only the foolish use them.
You know of some of these wakeful cities. Oak Ridge plots against its neighbors, to keep them divided and weak. Atlanta, the new Atlanta, mourns restlessly for its lost parent. On the Bosphorous, Byzantium, Constantinople, and Istambul still wrestle. And Hong Kong seethes with a need for vengeance.
The city has power, they said. Better be careful, or it might get you.
It was sleeping now, the old man said so. He always laughed when he said it, though. A real irritating kind of laugh, one that crawled up your spine. Lexi had enough one day, stove that old man's head in with a pipe, dumped the body out back. It still stinks out there.
We do what we want, always have. Take what we want.
I worry about the city though. What it might do to us when it wakes up. That old man said it would.
Ted: So that's what it takes...
This used to be a sleepy town. There are over a million folks here, but we think like a small town. Wave to the neighbors, kids safe outdoors, everyone felt safe. Then the verdict came in. Those idiots up there decided to acquit that freak and the white folks just went nuts. It was like the whole damn city came alive. Rodney King didn't cause this much trouble.
Not one building in downtown is left standing. The firefighters stopped after the third fire company was lynched.
About dawn, the rioters all took off up the road to the freak's ranch.