Flash Fiction February Day 14: The City

Rook sat, perched on the building’s edge, swinging his legs in the cool afternoon breeze. He picked slowly away at his sandwich, watching the bustle of the city far below him through the gap in his legs, looking back up to the horizon when the vertigo got too much for him. People said a lot about life in the Vapours, but nobody ever told him that vertigo never went away.


There was a scrape on the gravel behind him and a gust of wind that ruffled his hair as the kite landed. He picked a few stray strands out of the sandwich before continuing his lunch.


“Admiring the view?” came the voice. There was a sigh as Corvid took a seat beside him.


“Yep.”


The two men sat in silence for a few moments, before Rook spoke again.


“Do you ever get used to it? This city’s so...it’s like its own world. There’s nowhere else like it. This city has three cities in it. Most of the others are barely one. Two at most.”


“I think it just draws folk in. Meriden — The City of Dreams. Has a nice ring to it. Good marketing,” Corvid chuckled, “Rell Keep doesn’t have anything like that, yknow?”


“I just...once you’ve been here, why would you ever go anywhere else? Everything’s here. Everyone who’s anyone — here. The other cities are just so...mundane. How’d it even get like this? How’s a city get this big if the others aren’t anywhere near? It’s days just to cross the thing on foot.”


“It’s old though, isn’t it? It feels like it’s so new because the others are so...normal. People forget it’s the oldest one. ‘Cept for what’s left on Belos. Thousands of years old. Older, maybe. Everyone comes from here, if you go back far enough. I guess that’s why.”


“But it ought to just be humans if that was true — and yet there’s dwarves and elves and...I mean there’s giants for gods’ sake. Giants! Everyone’s here.”


“I guess it’s just the reputation. Folk want a better life and think they can come here for it.”


Rook turned and looked at Corvid. The afternoon sun highlighted his gaunt, haggard face. Rook handed him the rest of his sandwich, and swung back round onto the rooftop.


“Poor fools.”

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