Every week in Friday Free Web Fiction I post a first draft scene from my work in progress (WIP), or a short story, or an excerpt from one of my books. Today’s offering is from my Prunella Smith WIP, Past Worlds, The Lock Smith’s Secret.
I’m in outer space, walking down in the middle of a road in an unlit transparent city. Skyscrapers tower over me on both sides of the road, but the city is empty, not a soul in sight. No furniture fills the rooms and no lights shine to reveal the emptiness. Deep space surrounds this city which stretches on and on around me, perhaps to infinity. And I can see it all, like an artist’s drawing showing only the outlines faintly white against the darkness. A drawing with perfect perspective, lines converging into vanishing points everywhere I look.
Through the walls and roadways galaxies swirls and stars twinkle. This cannot be a real place, and yet it is. It exists somewhere, if only in a dream. Is it a dream? I expect so, but the thought does not eject me from it. I walk on and my footsteps make no sound on the smooth road. A few steps later, I notice a major fault in this ephemeral city. There are no doors. I look around. Not one, as if the artist left it unfinished. Windows take their rightful place in the drawing, their sides parallel to the lines of the walls, and their sills and lintels parallel to the roads and ceilings. Yet there’s no necessity for them since I can see right through the walls. But what are buildings and rooms without their doors? Useless. Unless…. I walk to the nearest building, stand close and reach out my hand. It hits a solid wall. Transparent they may be, but walking through them is not an option.
I shake my head and wander on, entranced by this strange place. Perhaps I should be afraid, but I am perfectly calm in this still, silent place. My mind seems as large as this endless city and is as clear as the walls. Are these mental structures of some kind?
Clang, clang. I stop. Not silent. Clang, clang. Somewhere metal strikes metal, and the sound echoes through this empty city. Rasping follows. Someone crafts something from metal. I walk towards the sound and see a light, high in a building to my right. In one room, in all this city, a man with a light on his forehead sits at a desk and hammers and files his object. He lifts it up and turns it from side to side. I imagine he would be frowning, but I’m too far away to see.
I want to go there, to meet this person and find out what he’s doing up there, but without doors he might as well be a universe away. I need binoculars. Something tubular suddenly fills my hand. I look down and raise my arm, my eyes bulging at the leather and brass telescope that has appeared in my hand. I smile. Apparently, I’m not as alone as it appears. Not binoculars, but close. I look up and nod my thanks then raise the telescope to my eye. A shoulder and the top of an arm fills the glass. I follow the line of the arm down to the hand. Grasped in the man’s delicate fingers, a key glints in the light.
My arms falls to my side, and a frown furrows my brow. What point is a key in a city without doors?
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