I need to start a day behind on my expose posts, since I’d be posting late at night otherwise. I hope that’s ok! Here’s the first of my writing for the month, fresh from my creaky mind.
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People crowded around the entry gates like flies on a carcass, each with their hands touching the bars to hopefully secure a spot on the next swing. Amara breathed out heavily, turning her head in a long arc to take in the lines of people from throughout the stage converging on this single point.
“It’s amazing,” she said. “I never thought a line would exist on the eleventh stage.” She watched the streams of bodies, dressed in clean linens and Anachar whites file closer to the stage swing.
“Really? Why wouldn’t there be lines?”
“I don’t know. I just… thought they didn’t exist here.”
“We’re no different from the rest of the city, really.”
“I… I know. I just thought there wouldn’t be lines.”
“Right.” They stood silently as the cables whirred above them. A million pairs of feet shuffled in near unison as half the upper stages waited for their opportunity home. Or their opportunity to work or their ticket to see a friend. The creaky gondola system had worked for years—Amara had seen it zipping past her stage as a child—and the city had no plans of stopping operations any time soon. Perhaps the rusted gears and screeching motors needed attention—nobody from above knew what to do about it—and nobody from below was willing or allowed up to see them.
“You’re going to the agro stage, then?” Amara asked. A light breeze ruffled through her hair and she rubbed the back of her neck, uncomfortable. Breezes were common in the upper stages. They played with women’s skirts and ruffled men’s hair—Amara shivered every time one touched her, raising goosebumps on her skin.
“Yes, I’ve been experimenting with some variations on the new plant recently and—“
“Oooh!” A loud squeal erupted amidst the low, early-morning silence of the commuters. “Ooh, that tickles!” Amara turned to stare for a moment, studying the girl’s carefully arranged hair and pressed Anachar whites. Her accented lavender slip puffed lightly in the wind, and she clutched at the dress cutely, the other hand holding her hair against her head. She giggled, an exercise in patience. “Silly wind, you shouldn’t play!” She turned back into her little group, voice once again lowered as they murmured among themselves.
The wind shouldn’t play—the wind was never meant to tickle the skin. The wind came either not at all or screaming through the streets of the stage four, a menacing whine that tore down rotting stalls and broke into houses, leaving them in pieces inside. The wind needed guarding from, not playing with.