Glory Of The Low Streets
The night was wet. The rising waters in the drainage outlet forced us to find perches higher and higher along its irregular interior, finishing the evening on a narrow ledge overlooking the rushing brown waters below littered with twigs and leaves. A weak, grey light bloomed in the east.
Come morning we elected to wait out the rain, and when the rain hadn't stopped by noon we elected to brave it. It was a torrential downpour, the forest misty with thick vapour and a constant, clamouring slapping of drops against leaves sounded on all sides. We trudged through the mud, trying to stick to the high ground as Pish directed us along paths he knew well down out of the hills and toward the delta valley where the grand city of Thaumas lay.
Thaumas was a wonder.
As we crested a hill I opened my mouth to say something about the surprisingly geometric paths of the birds up ahead until the advancing march of perspective revealed my mistake in scale. "Are those cars?" I asked in wonder.
"Yup," said Pish.
A great valley was spread out beneath us, bisected by a wide river. The ground of this valley seemed at first to be composed of some kind of strangely rectilinear lichen, shimmering behind veils of grey rain. But in fact they were buildings, hundreds of thousands of buildings, stretching to the opposite hills. The roofs of the buildings were planted with trees, and the avenues between them were planted with grass. It became apparent as I looked on that the true ground was hidden, and the height of the buildings was impossible to discern. The air above the city churned with lines of gnat-like cars, their humming lost to the distance and the weather...
It has at last come to be: the online version of this science-fiction novel has been taken offline in order to make room for the hard-cover printed edition from Ephemera Bound Publishing, on sale in stores and online beginning Valentine's Day, 2008.
I regret any disappointment. I kept the online version available as long as I could. Please do be sure to check out the new edition! See Cheeseburger Brown.com for more information and updates.
P.S. You can read more of my free tales via my weblog or in the complete story achives.