I see the City in the distance, shimmering waves of heat rise between here and there, making it seem unreal.
As we stumble closer, I begin to see it more clearly. Shelter after shelter. Shelters on top of shelters. We’ve always been amazed by this. I think one time, someone tried it. His leg fell off as he was climbing to the top shelter and he was stuck there until it grew back. No one tried THAT again.
The walls rise up ahead of us, we see other groups in the distance.
This is the part I hate…jockying for a place to stay. To set up the few things we brought, the temporary shelters, the altars.
The Old Ones are easy for once. We overturn their carts in small groups to create some shade, and they stay together. Usually a couple of the younger ones stay with them for protection.
Needing protection is not something we normally think of when we’re at home, really. No one comes by. We all know each other. Other than the occasional incident after a spell with The Gamesman, everything is pretty calm in our little community.
But not here. Not at The Feast. Some of The Others…..not so peaceful. Some of them try to take carts and shelter materials because they didn’t think ahead–they didn’t bring their own.
I don’t think these guys are stupid, though…i think they’re just arrogant and mean. I think they don’t want to come to Feast. But there have been years, long long ago, when they didn’t come at all, and, well, that didn’t work out so well for them. So they come, but they are pissed about it. They fight amongst themselves. They fight with other groups.
You’d think that Feast would be a time for us to trade news between the different communities, that we’d all mingle and visit. Not so much, really. We all still pretty much keep to ourselves. A couple of the storytellers from each community venture out, and a Leader or two, just to check things out, to see if there are any new threats, to see if there’s anything we need to know to make it through the next year.
* * *
(yes, POV changes. Don’t shoot me.)
The wall stretched high above him; the only time Zach felt small was at the Feast.
He knew what life was like on the other side. He never saw the People of the City, but he knew there was no Rot there. People laughed and danced. They celebrated. They were happy all the time. At least that’s what the storytellers said.
Zach knew…you can’t be happy all of the time.
But something was different about the City. Truly different. The City glowed in the sunlight. Especially when the sun was low, the city’s walls glowed a stunning orange and Zac heard music and laughter drifting over the wall.
He craved to see what was inside.
The people of the City were very careful during Feast time. The City was well-protected at all times, but during Feast, it seemed that there were extra precautions.
Zach wasn’t sure how they managed this. They didn’t seem to do anything that didn’t bring them joy, and Zach couldn’t imagine that guarding the city could bring anyone joy, but there it was. In some areas, if Zach even tried to walk toward a gate, he found himself just walking away from it, distracted, imagining something else.
That is some powerful protection. But not impossible. There had to be a way.
How does Zach get into the City? Leave a comment…