Creative Writing, Venue

The City

Today was like any other day.

Wake up. Breakfast. Wash. Change. Commute to work.

I settle myself into my seat and let the gentle hum and jolting motion of the tram guide me into that blissful state of limbo – my eyes may be open, but my mind is light years away. The tram glides through the various transient landscapes, casting a spectrum of iridescent hues across the white-washed walls. Temporarily, the woes rattling in my head concerning the mass paper work awaiting me in my office, and the grubby stain of coffee on the hem of my shirt that I had failed to get out this morning, fade into white noise.

‘Tea, Sir?’

I was pulled out of my reverie immediately by the sound of a pleasant and musical female voice, and, upon opening my eyes, I track the source. The train hostess, of course. Her eyes, metallic and piercing, find mine.

‘Yes, yes that would be wonderful,’ I answer accordingly.

She smiles at me like I’m the only human-being in the world, batting her eyelashes as she bends down to produce a cup from the trolley. She leans in, invading my personal space, as she places the cup in front of me.

I look up at her. I’d find her attractive, alluring perhaps, if her entire form, including her over-emphasised cleavage, wasn’t constructed out of some form of metal alloy.

The cup contains a single metal cylinder, and I watch nonplussed as its matter suddenly dissolves and expands, smoothly transforming into an earl grey. People claim that technology is truly groundbreaking nowadays. But in my opinion, I find the concept of this hi-tech-out-of-space tea bag completely and utterly absurd. I look up to see the hostess grinning at me once again, awaiting her payment. I dig my hand into the pocket of my suit jacket, and retrieve a pound. I grimace and inwardly curse myself. I forgot what a rare commodity they have become, but that was all the change I had on my person.

‘Th-ank you. Enjoy your day’, she responds, a slight glitch in her programmed monotone. As she zooms away to the next passenger, I slump back into my seat.

The telecom suddenly blares throughout the cabin.

‘Good morning passengers. If you look to your right, you will see what remains of the great Capitol 1. 200 years ago, this was once a thriving and bustling metropolis called London, the epicentre of prospect, prosperity and wealth.’

I turn my head towards the window, as the cabin is suddenly dominated by the cast of fiery and rustic tones, as if the white-wash walls had suddenly been splattered by the blood and decay of the passing millennia.  I see this view every day, yet somehow, in each passing journey, I cannot fathom the gravity this plethora of chaos and desolation has over me. Despite its dilapidated and ruined form, there was some manner of morbid beauty cited within the fractured and ruined structures of what were once apparently called ‘skyscrapers’ that stood like watchful guardians over the citadel, or the meandering dry planes of what was once called the ‘River Thames’.

I am a man of little worth and possession, but I would give my soul to have been alive to experience London in all its prime and glory. What was the London Eye? Did I have any ancestors that lived in London? What were their professions? Were they well off? All these thoughts were extinguished suddenly by the painful reality of how I will never know. Whatever happened in the past remains a mystery to the public sphere. All that we know, all that They have informed the population, is that all records were destroyed, whilst the leaching radioactivity apparently remained.

The ruined London began to disappear from view, with the walls of the tram returning to their blank canvas. I eased back into my chair, forgetting about my tea, as usual, and closed my eyes. But unlike before, my mind was not at ease.

I imagined myself, exchanging my briefcase for a gun and my brown pin-striped suit for a bio-suit. I jumped out of the door, and off I set towards the ruins of London.


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May 2022
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