Issue Thirteen (Nov 2009)
In the city was a man who rode the train every day. There was nothing remarkable in this — everyone rode the train, maybe not every day but at least five days a week, workdays, office employees congesting the air-conditioned coaches with their wet hair and unlined eyes, shirts untucked, ties hidden somewhere in the linings of their laptop bags, stockinged feet cushioned by flip-flops because heels could kill you.
I smell them before I see them. It took nearly two hundred years for me to smell anything but the smothering stink of blood and sweat. There was the blood of a recent kill in the jungle and there was the other–the one you could only smell if you set your mind to it. That blood was centuries old.
Emily stepped onto the frozen pond, and the ice cracked under her weight. “Just hold on!” she yelled, trying not to shift.
Jackson was on his stomach and sliding further into the hole behind him. Scrambling for purchase, the boy kicked his legs in the water. His red mittens had no traction on the slick surface.
One of my city’s twins in the list was Scuro, in Wok.
I was sitting in Trafiko for a quarter of an hour, trying to occupy myself with the advertisements, when this poster listing twin cities caught my eye. Twin towns or cities are pairs to promote human and cultural relations among the places. While the other names sounded familiar, Scuro was clearly amusing.
When she first saw him, she thought the forest had come to life. For he was tall, and green, and moved with a rickety creaking, as though his legs were woven through with veins of thick, bitter sap. As he approached the water, she watched him like a bullfrog, her brown, wet seaweed hair hidden beneath a lily pad; her eyes protruding from the surface, wide and white and blinking. He could not see her as he bent his aged back to sit upon the husk of the rotting log.