Have a new story this week! Blue is the latest short story in my Mouse and Snake ‘verse, where global warming has raised sea levels 250 feet and life has completely changed for humanity. Hope you enjoy!
Meyari McFarland returns to the world of Mouse and Snake in a story of finding ones place in a whole new world.
Kyle lived at the very base of the Web, the hugely complicated suspension system over drowned Seattle that supported a city of displaced people. Including him, an immigrant from space who had fallen in love with life in the Web itself. The one person who kept him safe was his cat Blue, though.
Blue is a tender cyberpunk story of pets, the bonds forged by survival in inhospitable places and the power of love to conquer all.
By Meyari McFarland
Kyle paused, breath fogging his faceplate, at the top of the ladder down to his home. His heart still beat too fast on Earth, three years after he arrived on a student visa. It probably always would unless he got mods. Air too thick, too polluted for his lungs, gravity too heavy for his heart, and the toxin-steeped environment still wasn’t enough to send him begging for help to go back to his parent’s space station.
How could it be?
Around Kyle the great cables that made the spine of the web, stretched out like tree branches from the support strut he’d just climbed down. They spun across the dark underbelly of the web from East Denny Pylon towards the nearest other pylons on what used to be Seattle’s Madison, Olive and 10th Streets.
But it was too dark here, underneath the weight of the web, to see the other pylons clearly. Kyle looked upwards, staring up towards the next layer of cables. They were thinner, less stained with moss, grime and cast off fertilizer sludge from the gardens on the surface. Above them, foggy in the distance, there were other layers, stronger, newer, supporting bridges and trams, homes shaped like escape pods and soap bubbles suspended by cables that seemed as thin as strings.
The many layers of the web were a wonder, lawless, yes, but beautiful in the sheer will to survive they represented. Down here, close to the ocean over drowned Seattle, the underbelly of the web was laid bare. And to Kyle it was beautiful even if he couldn’t breathe the air, touch the moss or enter his home without risking his life.
No one cleaned these lower layers anymore. Moss grew everywhere that the waves didn’t scour clean. Glowing fungus grew wherever the moss didn’t. He’d asked Linah about the fungus once, wondering if the bioluminescent mats had been engineered to help people. She’d laughed, snorting through her hands, at the thought of it.
Down here, nature was reclaiming the monuments that man had erected. When sea levels rose, previous generations had climbed skyward, engineering suspension systems to support roads and homes and then a whole city in the sky. Nature had followed, taking over every nook and cranny to grow moss and ferns and vicious thorny blackberry vines that strangled everything within their reach.
The web was a whole new ecosystem that was doomed to fall once the sea ate away at the supports for the pylons deep under the sea’s undulating surface. Until then, though, it was Kyle and thousands of others’ home despite the many risks of living here.
Taking those daily risks were worth it for the chance to live here and to know Linah, Blue, all the people he’d met. He smiled, shook his head at himself and then groaned as he eased himself over the edge of the cable onto the slender, swaying rope ladder that descended towards the ocean and his floating home below.
Three yards down, the rope ladder slid through Kyle’s hands, slick from rain, moss and far too much time hanging here. He clutched it, heart pounding in his throat, as the ladder jerked. Floating in space, held only by one slender tether, felt safer than this. At least in space the fall wouldn’t kill him.
His faceplate fogged once more as Kyle panted. It turned the dim filtered light that seeped through the layers of the web into a distant glow. Kyle tucked his arms into the ladder, holding on as he stared upwards, rain endlessly falling all around him. Its non-stop patter had become so much a part of his life that he dreamed it sometimes. Even if it was sunny and dry outside the Web, water still dripped down and rained on Kyle’s little house.
How many layers stretched over his head here?
Easily a dozen, maybe two dozen here at the heart of the web. He could turn up his comm despite its failing battery, search his personal system for the data, but data didn’t convey the feeling of that much metal, plasteel and cable stretched out as far as the eye could see in a massive twisted labyrinth full of life and death.
“When was the last time I saw the sun?” Kyle whispered as he turned his comm up again just so that he could look it up. “Before my visa expired? No, Linah took me out to the western edge, showed me the Pacific last year. That’s right.”
Find The Rest Of This Story:
On Smashwords $2.99 ebook
On CreateSpace $5.99 TPB
If you can’t afford to buy the story, please consider leaving a donation. All money received goes toward keeping me writing and posting these stories. Thank you very much!