The sun feels brighter here.
The leaves of the trees smell crisp and green.
What does green smell like anyway? Not sure, but these leaves smell green. Seriously.
Anyway…breaking a habit is hard, but I’m determined. As I creep through the city, I learn to be quiet. I practice. I catch myself making the little sounds we all make all the time. Sounds that say “we don’t really care anymore.” The sound of perpetual loss.
But now, here, I don’t think about what we’ve lost. I’m focused.
The first thing I need to do is find some clothes. The people here, they dress differently. They’re clean. They wear white. I’m not going to pass for long. If at all.
I stop, mid-moan.
I clearly don’t belong here. I’m screwed here if I don’t make some big changes, really quickly.
I tuck into the narrow crack between a cafe and a shop. I think.
Water. I need to find water to clean up. and fresh clothes.
I slip deeper between the buildings until the crack opens into an alley behind the cafe. I keep to the shadows as it winds upward. Near the top of the hill, I reach a tall, tan building with a ladder up the back wall.
I squint as I step onto the flat roof. From here, the city sprawls out as far as I can see. Tidy houses and shops line winding streets. Patches of green every few blocks. Orderly. Clean.
Nothing like the villages Outside.
I scan for sparkle, for blue. I hope.
Block after block, district after district. Bright colored flags indicate different neighborhoods.
Then I see it. A wide, dark line winding through the city to my right. Between the thick trees, I catch glimpses. A flash here, a sparkle there.
It looks to be about 20 blocks. The maze of streets should provide enough cover, but it will be slow, especially if I have to keep to the alleys.
I pause, burning the map into my memory, noticing every detail of every block.
Does Zach make it to the river? Leave a comment…