[As per my new methodology on the multi-parters, I've glued 1 & 2 together here, with a tiny bit of cleanup from yesterday's part 1. Enjoy.]
He felt loose and dangerous. Steaming breath gave way to cigarette smoke as he limped down the decrepit alleyway. Crumbled buildings gaped like rotten teeth, drained of color. Time had long since chewed through the pavement; patches of brittle grass rustled ceaselessly in the reflected wind. The monochrome scene was lit only by moonlight, glinting against the massive dome behind him.
Rickart kept his city-eyes wary, always scanning the horizon for threats from a fog that wasn’t there. On the outside, night air blew raw, uncontrolled, free. He tried to imagine the newly liberated life that awaited him, outside the Dome. It helped to quell the bittersweet tension burning through his guts.
Though the cold had begun to attack his skin, Rickart smiled.
The weather was honest at least. When it came time to light another smoke, he cursed the honest wind.
If Rickart had known how to look, he’d have seen all that followed him in the wild outside.
Seledonna slid soundlessly through the bristling, half-dead thicket. Far above her, a white pool of glistening moonlight served for her beacon in the shifting maze of the ‘Twixt Wood.
Night chill meant little to her weather bronzed skin. Her chest sang in excitement. An uncommon smile rested lightly on Seledonna’s lips.
Another tree had died, a mighty cedar. It was old, for the ‘Twixt wood especially; it marked a sad passing. The poisonous influence of dome grew by the day. She spat. She sighed. She stopped reluctantly in her tracks.
Brambles blocked to surest way ahead. The cedar’s once broad branches now clawed at the sky, dangling in dangerous thorns. She had no time to take the Stoneway. She had no permission from the Fish to walk their watery road.
Time pressed against her; the singing in her chest struck a sour chord. The wall awaited her, the wall and soft white fingers. Sister Moon was nearly at her crest.
So, Seledonna gritted her teeth and splashed into the creek. She had to hope for absent Fish, or forgiving Fish at the least.
So I've added a tip jar to the blog, in the form a Patreon Campaign.
If you've gotten any worth out of these poems and stories and experimental fiction and what-have-you, please consider donating. Any amount would be greatly appreciated and help to ensure I am able to keep doing this.
Edward "[makes fart noise with mouth]" Lockhart
[I expect this particular story will be concluded tomorrow, but these things do grow on me sometimes...]