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The City This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

The smoke she hissed from her lips danced in the air leaving behind her crimson mark on the bud. It’s a dirty habit for such a pretty gal like herself. Every time she inhaled the tip of the cigarette would glow bright. I walked and stood out in the balcony taking in the scene along with her: tall lit buildings, the echoes of motion and motors beneath us, the few stars that hung in the sky, a soon to be extinct sight, and the curves that sway from left to right. The girl stood in her lavender dress waiting for me to talk to her and ask her how she’s doing and feeling and what she does for living and what I do for living and what she enjoys doing on her spare useful time and where she was from and where I was from and if I wanted a cigarette and why I didn’t smoke and I’d ask her if she wanted a drink and if she wanted another drink and what kind’a drink would she like.

“Pretty sight, huh?” I told her, still fixating on the scenery in front of us. “Yeah, you can’t help but feel the city breathing. It feels almost alive.” “It is alive, the city. It’s a living organism, actually.” She looked over at me, “What did you say your name was?” “Quint, my full name’s Quint Hellion Solovin”. “Heather… Perez.” There was a slight pause as she looked away from the living city and looked at me. “The city’s alive huh?” “Well, it’s a system with a recognizable pattern. At least from the view up here, minus the homeostasis, that would be a level two civilization.” “The world is alive I guess,” taking a drag off her cigarette.

That night we went back to my apartment after a few drinks, after showing off each other dancing moves and conversing about all the usual stuff people might converse about before a visit to ones habitat: Dystopian societies, vacationing along the western coast lines of ancient Greece, how attractive we both we’re and how buzzed we had both become as the night evolved into early morning. As we walked to my little lonely apartment we felt the city breath beneath our feet, walking in rhythm with the cities heartbeat. Hearing the city groan, while in bed, shaking us in its entirety.

She was smoking a cigarette in bed as I sat near and stared at her. The complexion of her skin had changed accordingly with the light and as I became more sober. I clearly remember the eggshell pigmentation of her skin under the moon light. She looked at me and said while smoke made its way out in each syllable and as she patted the ashes into an ashtray, “If you don’t smoke, why do you have an ashtray?” “I like the designs of ashtrays. That’s actually an antique glass ashtray.” “Where did you get it from?” “My Grandma gave it to me as a gift. She took it from some guy she was looking after. He had brought it back from Germany, the guy was some kind’a Nazi officer…” “Huh.” “…apparently Hitler used it once.” She picked up the ashtray and examined it, looking at the swastika carved in the inside where the ash laid. “Does that make us, humanity, a virus?” she said in a soft voice. “What?” “That’ll be four-hundred for the night... I’ll stay and listen to your voice for a couple more hours but it’s gonna cost you another two-hundred dollars, sweetie? I’m no free therapist, alright.”



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