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Next thing the wandering man knew he was on the street with nothing but the clothes on his back and a note that read, “you are seventeen now, about time you made it on your own.”
Down in the alleys of the endless gaps between the hundreds of buildings that crisscrossed that town, below his way was not lit by the moon or the stars but by lights from the hundreds of windows above with their people living in ignorance of him.
As he walked in an instinct to keep warm, he began to wonder as he always does, but this time not of why things are where he lives are but of what lies beyond. He stared up at the dome that surrounded his city with thousands of black hexagons and wondered just what lies beyond that; he wondered if there was a place for him beyond this. Here he had nothing, no friends, no family, no way of continuing his job without a house to live in and no way to get one because the city won’t give one too him till he is eighteen; no way of fitting back into the jigsaw puzzle that was the great city he lived in. So now that his feet began to tire he found a box to lie there waiting for sleep.
He awoke to the sound of cars whizzing by overhead. Thousands of vehicles had whirled to life at the moment the clocks displayed 8:00, everyone in the town was trained to a bell and all work would start at the same time everyday for everybody. Down here it looked so frantic. The cars stacked in layers of traffic separated by layers of air flying above the streets at breakneck speeds in rows of traffic that reached to the top of top of the massive buildings to serve as a marker of where to go.
He sat in the box and stared up at the sky until his stomach started to growl. By this time in the morning he would had walked down below his building to the subways that formed an ant tunnel-way through half the buildings in the city. There he would be taken to his factory where he would help manufacture oven mittens only stopping for a meal at noon then go home. He has had what they call free time before, but even that was planned for him. He went to the recreational centers and luxury centers during those times with his fellow co-workers. Never before had he had real time where he could do as he wished though the sadness of his loss haunted him.
He always knew he was a little bit different. The thing that set him apart was he always questioned everything an inquisitive boy. No one had shared his curiosity or helped fill it, out of all the questions he asked he learned only one thing… that he lived in world full of ignorance. Every question he asked was met with a shrug, every time he wanted to know there was never someone who did. He wanted answers. Nobody had any and nobody wanted any. Even in school, the five years he took it, all they had taught him was how to form patterns, reading, writing, basic mathematics and a hollow history of “The Great Golden city”, named so after the color of the domes ceiling. He argued it looked orange. They argued that children don’t get to name cities and it was gold.
He looked at the ceiling of the dome, orange. Without any sort of direction the only man who knows that color of the sky walked figuring that if no one would tell him the answers he would walk till he found the answers himself.
He quickly built a blister on his feet wearing shoes not fit for walking however that went unnoticed during that waltz through the city. About noon where the bells would ring and the dogs including him, working in their factories, would drool for their meal but today he filled himself on sights. He saw the city now, not through the scope of a citizen but that of an outsider looking in.
There had never been a time that he ever saw these parts of the city that he has seen now, however it seemed that each and every car was the same as the last, some of them red, some of them purple, but most of them were an ugly grey and brown color like a mix of dirt and ash. Each of them with was of the same design. The buildings all a dark-brown color, each of them with stacks of windows cut in parallel and perpendicular lines marking the small rooms where a family or two would live, or they would be connected and a family would live in more than one depending on their social status. He had lived in the latter and it had a place where one of the cars could fly out which he had seen very few of as he walked. Now he realized that he had more than most people in the ways of money before his mother and father had left, before his uncle had taken it all and him along with it.
Though, in his mind, he only wanted to explore his stomached growled more frequently and he wanted to go to a place that he had been before. There are three places to eat in the golden city, in your home, at work/school, or in the food building. The food building was a massive building twice as big as the ones where the people dwell in it contained layers of cafeterias which people to lazy or incapable came to eat minus the top floor which was reserved for the few wealthy who didn’t want to learn how to cook well and figured that someone should learn for them. That was the top floor where you could see over the top of the buildings with its multitude of windows. He decided he would go there.
He needed to find access to one of these building so he could get to the subways and his stomach demanded that he find one quickly. In his excitement he rediscovered something. His knees bent, his pace quickened, and he realized he was doing something he hadn’t done since he was a child. He was running.
The last time he had ran was when he just joined school he wasn’t trained yet and he didn’t leave when it was time for the bell instead he was still busy with thing he was doing, when he had realized his class had all left. He then grabbed his stuff to go try and catch up with his peers, the teacher started to say something as he shot out the door but he left to fast. He just turned a corner and saw his class walking in a line when someone grabbed him by the arm.
“What were you doing!” this angry woman shouted inches from his faced.
“I don’t know.” He mumbled.
“What do you mean, I saw you, you where running, you know that running is strictly forbidden,” with that she beat him until this poor child self was inconsolable crying in front of his peers. It was the first and the last time he heard that word. He would do the same thing on treadmills later but then it was called exercise and it was different because you stayed in the same place.
It was a wonderful feeling to him he could feel the wind rushing by him through his hair his heart beating loud enough to hear for the first time, he felt that he could fly to that building or to the top of the dome and touch it. It didn’t last long though he finally got tired and the world felt as if it was crumbling but he turned a corner found a door. It leads into the building where there was a map which he followed to the subway area. After that he told them where he wanted to stop they told him his stop and the train zipped through the city.
He arrived moving through the crowds of people to get to the exit but when he got off there was no one else who got off with him. He walked through the building devoid of costumers just the sound of cooks cooking away at the next meal. He wondered why because this place was always so crowded full of noise. He stumbled upon a clock, two P.M., it read in between lunch hours. He decided earlier that he wanted to eat at the top of the building and he wasn’t going to walk there with this blister so he found a lift and headed up.
When he got there it opened up into this lavish room this felt carpet hardwood tables cris-crossed the area and booths along all the ends with seats that looked like leather couches. It was very bright and quiet in the room now devoid sound and seemed nothing like it would when the windows let no light in and it was lit and a dramatic light and the air would fill with exotic foods. A far cry from the silver lunch lines and plastic trays from the levels below.
A waitress sat at in a lounged in an uncomfortable chair next to podium with a computer. She looked over at homeless man that smelled of sweat and dressed like popper. Gave him an odd look, as if he was crazy, and smiled.
“Can I help you” she said in fake tone of joy.
“Yes, I’d like a table” he said.
“Sir, the tables are not for sale”
“I mean I would look like to eat here” he said and cracked a smile.
She turn wide eyed to a computer and asked his name pulling up his bank account.
“You know this will cost half of money in your account.”
“I’m a heavy spender I’ll just get some more money later like I always do”
“Wouldn’t you like to eat during dinner time?”
“I’m hungry now,” still not breaking the cracked smile.
He was taken to the far end of the restaurant and sat in a booth. “Your food will be out shortly.”
He sits down and absorbs the moment, the color, the feel of the table the cushion of the booth the smell in air and the window. He could finally see above the building at what was out there. It disappointed him. They were almost all built Identical in parallel perpendicular lines running till the edge of the dome. With the exception of the manufacturing and governing district which had slightly bigger buildings.
“Mom where does this food come from” came a child’s voice from somewhere farther down. Nix sat up a little to see what was over there. It seemed he wasn’t the only one here. There was a fat woman with an excess of jewelry on and two kids sitting in booth adjacent to his. The boy who said that was holding a piece of steak on his fork.
“It comes from the kitchen” she said in her pig voice.
“Where do they get it” He replied
“They get if from the food buildings”
“Where do they get it?”
His brother hit him and said with a spiteful tone. “Don’t ask so many stupid questions everyone knows that it comes from the food maintenance buildings”
“Mom where do they get it” he whined anyway.
“What your brother said it comes from the food maintenance building” she snorted and continued eating.
It was quiet after that and he waited. He wanted to know that answer too. Nobody seemed to know anything anymore and all he wanted was to know things like that kid but neither of them could find answers. He starred out the window again and peered at the dome made of foggy glass hexagons. He had an idea.
Nix’s food finally arrived and he got up.
“Your food” it was a steak grilled to perfection and smelled of heaven. He grabbed it from the plate and started eating it with in his hands as he walked off. The waitress was appalled. He left.
“Mommy what is that man doing?” no one answered him.
He was sick and tired of nobody knowing anything; it was as if there was some sort of cage that brought everyone down. Pulling everyone down to all becomes the same level of idiot that no one should be any smarter than the other. That knowing and knowledge was useless just as long as you were born rich or could pull a lever. He had enough and he walked down the stairs. There was a car port here. He went along the cars looking to see if anyone had left one unlocked, one of them was, he opened it and sat inside. He had never flown a car before but he figured that a moron could fly one. He pressed a button and the thing hummed to life and began to hover. A computer screen came on and gave a list of places in the city; he strolled down till he found a button that said manual. Pressed it and hit a pedal at his feet. He dashed through the air and headed straight as if a bullet shot from a gun. He was finally tired of the way things were. He was tired of the ignorance of everyone, he was tired of being alone in the world which started long before his uncle kicked him out, and he was tired of being so poor and working so hard. He was fed up and he hit the pedal harder and he sped up. He smashed into the side of the dome shattering a hexagon sending shards of glass flying down upon the city like rain.
Back in the city cars crashed, stopping to see what had happened, finally curious. People looked out windows to see what happened. People gathered on rooftops to view the spectacle. Beyond the cloudy orange of the dome there was blue sky and clouds something they had never seen before. They asked what that was.
The police and workers trained to maintain the dome scrambled to fix the problem, but the unrepairable damage had already been done. The people had stopped and starred at the glass shattered in the dome and wondered, for they first time they had gained curiosity because something they all thought they knew had been proven wrong. The dome can be broken, it can be left, and it is not the only place in the world left because beyond the orange haze of the dome in the window of the broken hexagon was a sky, vast and endless and full of wonder.