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The Fae Under New Albion Pt. 2

24 Aug

city hall station subway

In 1869, Alfred Beach began construction of an underground pneumatic subway; a tube containing commuters that would be propelled by the air pressure generated by giant fans.

His endeavor was challenged at every turn by then mayor of New Albion, Boss William Tweed, infamous even a century later for corrupt and crooked politics. Tweed and his associates were planning construction of an aboveground, elevated railway, and feared the loss of profits due to competition.

Beach and his investors however, using an array of tactics including describing the subway as a mail dispatch system and the illegal digging beneath rented storefronts on the sly, built both a lavious station and a one block stretch of subway.

It was the toast of the city circa 1870. The station itself was adorned with chandeliers, a grand piano, and a large fountain. The car was a literal tube, with upholstered seating that was shot from one end of the tunnel to the other and back via the pheumatic pressure..

Beach fought long and hard for the next three years to have the line extended from Lower Hew Albion all the way up to Darcy Park, and in 1873, when Tweed was finally removed, he was given the green light.

Almost immediately afterwards, the stock market crashed, investors pulled out, talk of a New Albion subway system stopped for years, and Beach’s pneumatic tunnel was forgotten.

Years later, workers for the new, 20th century subway stumbled across the forgotten tunnel and the original car. No mention was ever made of whether having already built one secret tunnel and elegant station in secret, Alfred Beach had not, in fact, constructed others.

Lora stared in wonder at the underground market. The room was enormous, made of marble tiles that were chipping and smeared with stains too diverse to possibly categorize, much less recognize. Fires were lit in various places and some lamps were running battery-powered electricity.

There were people all over, ragged to one degree or another. Some were grouped around fires, some hunched together in conversation. Individuals sat surrounded by various items obviously for sale or barter, some wandered about singing, muttering, or in silence. Breakbeats played out of portable stereos, cries in numerous emotional ranges echoed out, bottles and smoking pipes could be seen everywhere, and some children ran about or climbed the great fountain that stood like a dark monolith in the center, adorned with diverse religious items like an imposing altar or even surreal pyramid.

Marco led her in a weaving trail throughout the room, occasionally exchanging greetings with acquaintances. She found herself relaxing for the first time since she had climbed down from the platform. Isolated in the tunnels she had been vulnerable, but amongst a congregation came the reassurance that few commit heinous acts with too many eyes upon them.

“Three,” sang Marco, “it’s a magic number.”

He stopped in front of 3 older men who seemed to her to be somewhere in their 60s, adorned in highly ornamented robes, possibly even thick kimonos accessorized beyond recognition. Incense burned in a pile in front of them, and they stoked it and waved at the curls of smoke, grunting in commentary upon them.

Marco motioned for her to sit.

“So here you be, so here you be,” said the first one on the left.

“Which of the three,” said the middle

“Do you wish to see?” said the right.

She took a deep breath. “I don’t know.”

The left one leaned over, smiling, only a few rotten teeth showing. His breath was foul. She tried not to cringe.

“Do you live in fear of mind control, dear?
Has the government put little things in your brain
Causing static, beeps, clicks, headaches or pain?
Taking information from you through microwaves

Or using audiological technology
To tell you what to do or where to be?
Tangent Aural Directioning?
Words DARPA or HAARP mean anything?

They come with their gadgets and open your head
Prod sticky fingers and send you to bed
Am I of the three who you wish to see?”

“Uh…” she stammered nervously. “No…”

The first sat back and the middle one leaned towards her.

“Lost time, lost nights, lost memories, bright lights?
The Greys come in, take you away
Poke you, prod you, play with your brain
Take your fluids, take your time
Triangular scars on your body? Your mind?

Helplessly paralyzed in hopeless inaction
Bio energy field extraction?
Interspecies breeding, clinical rape
Are you afraid to sleep and afraid when you wake?
Am I of the three who you wish to see?”

“Dear God, I hope not.” She glanced at Marco. He stood looking patiently.

The two who had spoken turned and looked at the third. He nodded slowly. They nodded along with him.

He reclined.

“Come away oh child from the world of which you know
To the wave of moonlit glasses where the lilac berries grow
And fiddlers ride the dreaming with their nimble dancing hands
For the world’s more full of weeping
Then you can understand.

Come away oh child from the dreary and the planned
To the great and shiny creatures in the wild, winding lands
Where we weave in olden dances, foot to foot in circling bands
For the world’s more full of weeping
Then you can understand.

Come away oh child you will forget your mother’s love
You’ll forget the ties that bind, the friends, the sacrifice, the blood
Come away from rust and iron, the foundations where they stand
To a different, dazzling world
That you need not leave again.”

She started to cry.

“That’s it. That’s the one.”

They all shuffled and stoked the pile of incense. The third one spoke again.

“I can teach you to enter and then read the signs

To find your way through, but what payment is mine?”

The bruja had spoken to her about this. She opened her backpack, and pulled out a brand new roll of aluminum foil. The three men clapped their hands in delight.

“To block out the signals!”

“Antennas for reception!”

“Shiny things that make reflections!”

She sat with them for the next several hours, growing increasingly irritated if not begrudgingly impressed with their habit of talking only in rhyme. Finally they led her to an alcove away from the great chamber where a large mirror sat propped against the wall.

She lay down feet towards the mirror, a stick of incense in one hand, a silver trinket the bruja had given her in the other, smelled the wafts of incense they burned around her, and went to sleep.

.

It had only been a few months after moving to New Albion, straight out of college, when she fully and completely realized that her Literature degree was utterly worthless.

She hadn’t really given much thought to getting a “real” job, but only now did she understand just how little in danger that was of happening. Regardless, life in the East Village suited her rather well, and since her main priorities were socializing and having as much fun as possible, bartending fit her career needs perfectly.

She did Urban Twenty-Something Party Girl fabulously.

It wasn’t so much that she eventually experienced the proverbial “and then she woke up one morning”, as that one day she found herself unable to push out of her thoughts the knowledge that her twenties had actually cruised by, and she was staring face down into her thirties. Hangovers were definitely getting way harsher, being blazingly high on various mix and match drug and alcohol concoctions was actually getting annoyingly boring, and she really, really wanted a baby, and was running out of a biological safety margin.

She decided if she switched careers and moved apartments everything else would fall into place, and for the most part it did. Without a nightclub around her and groups of young ‘party ‘til you drop’ ravers constantly surrounding her, the drugs disappeared from her life rather quickly. Alcohol shot down to half a bottle, okay maybe a bottle sometimes, every couple of nights, of wine only. The new job of restaurant manager at a hip, artsy joint was fine for the time being.

Which left her boyfriend. Dorian.

Fine. Nice. Nice looking. Fun. Real estate rental agent by day, DJ by night, not an idiot, a little aloof, not someone who she really saw being with for a long-term haul, but decent genes.

The best option would be if he wouldn’t want to stick around, and could maybe be content to make the exchange of fluids and move along. Tricky.

What made that possibility realistic was that Dorian was obsessed with being a DJ in Rankubar “where they fucking appreciate skill”. He saw himself as the potential prophet of ‘The Nu Urban Rhythm Reconstruction’. She helped him pursue this in every way she could, and 10 years of bar keeping and nightclubbing had given her many contacts to utilize. She sat with him, agreed how beautifully tragic their parting would be, stopped taking her birth control pills, and fucked his brains out for months before he left.

The decision not to tell him when his little sperm finally connected with her egg was shitty she knew, but she really didn’t want drama that would go on and on for the next God knows how many years. She was terrified enough.

She had a half decent support network of other good time girls who had mostly found themselves pregnant unexpectedly, and so she hunkered down to get on with her and her child’s new lives.

Once her baby was born, she couldn’t understand how or why she had ever cared about anything else before. She loved him so much it made her soul cry, and she would walk through the bottom of the world its darkest pits before she would let him be taken from her.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on August 24, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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One response to “The Fae Under New Albion Pt. 2

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