Cryptic City – Mountain lights in a dark town (continues…)
The city is dark tonight, wind storms seem to have that uncanny ability to take out electricity and wipe-out many of their wire strung poles. People just seem to have no appetite for the dark, with most already asleep and it’s only 8pm, apart from those believing they can drive over the top of fallen trees, decapitated rooftops, and flipped automobiles. Perhaps they’ve a good reason to be on the streets tonight, though not likely, opportunists I suspect for the most part, or maybe they’re out to check on family and friends. One hopes neighbours have checked on one another and everyone prepared for the worst.
Well, here I live in a somewhat run down caretakers concrete block shack atop a rooftop carpark, more like a wild garden and junk yard these days, with a cat called Cypher, and a half-breed dingo named Tobby. Just three rooms is all this place has, along with a narrow gutted storage compartment for the Bonneville. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.
Right now, well I’m propped up on the roof of the shack, with a beer in one hand and sandwich in the other, wondering why lights have been trailing across the mountain tops on the other side of the river for the last half hour. I may have to go see what’s going on, but first I need to finish up this beer, can’t let it go to waste.
Well, time to get going before the weather changes again. Tobby, Cypher! As I roll the bike out of the compartment, Toby launches himself up into the modified hessian rucksack on the rear rack, and Cypher, well he crawls into my open messenger bag before I sling over my head and on to my right shoulder. Cypher prefers to ride on the scenic side rather than travel closer to the noisy right lane traffic. I thought about renaming him Port. But he just looked at me in disgust when I suggested it after his first year here on the rooftop.
On Kick starting the Bonneville, her name’s Jenni, and dropping the centre stand, we make for the ramp with our headlamp off, cutting our way down through the levels of the old Kern carpark, hoping we don’t run into the Regional Militia, as an 8pm curfew is currently in force. Turning out of the ground level heading towards what’s left of the last traffic-able bridge across the river; well one hopes it’s still capable of being crossed.
It’s 2033 and a lot has changed in the Great Southern Land, a number of huge underground gas explosions have rocked and ripped massive canyons across parts of the continental plate. Many cities or what’s left of them are now run by the remains of regional governments or determined corporate militias. Federal and state governments just don’t exist anymore. Earthquakes, city wildfires and volcanic eruptions, which were once rare and non-existent here before, are now common place and have taken their toll on and across the entire country and its people. Beyond the cities and major towns, we have no idea.
We shut the motor off to pull up short of the bridge in the dark shadow of an old commonwealth building, Cypher pops his head up as two dark clothed cyclists ride past in the silence heading towards the bridge. A huge flood light comes on and the two cyclist scamper in different directions, the militia did not see them, but that makes it difficult for us. How do we get across the river? I know a couple of old causeway crossing exist further north-west, but there’s an old stock crossing between waterholes a lot closer, we’ll detour around Lion Creek Bridge on the fringe of town and try to cross.
After wheeling Jenni halfway up East Lane away from the river bridge, I kick-start her back to life and we make for Wandal and Lion Creek.
Still contemplating a name for the character, so I can write the tale in third person rather than first, before it gets too far along.