Home Boy Modern The Fourth Zaldizko

Marc Lane

It was night when I experienced my first time in the Second District.

I realized we hadn't been flying, but swimming when the D-Train emerged to the head of a large man made canal.

The canal ran between two cobblestone streets that had various arched bridges linking them together. The bridges were made of moonstone with flecks of silver making the canal's water twinkle with starry lights.

D-shaped alcove docking stations where fashioned out of the streets' concrete forming a part of the sewer system.

I saw as many as two D-shaped glass bubble vehicles sliding into the docking stations at a time and their passengers stepping out onto the landing. The D-Train would sink back into the water to allow two more into the docking space.

Our turn finally arrived to the closest docking alcove. Lita cleaned up my mess as the machine stopped spinning.

My knees were still weak as I stumbled onto the side metal grill landing. I managed to follow the party up the flight of stairs and entered a wondrous scene that made my nausea go bye-bye.

A multitude of multi-coloured glass fairy balls whizzed about patrons dressed to the nines. Women strutted in spiked or conservative heels, floral or feathered caps, drop waist dresses, strings of pearls or dainty metal links swishing about their firm strides.

The men were princely dressed in pin striped suits, fedora hats and broad toe shoes with patterned vamps. I had only seen these desirably dressed men as moving watercolour images in Velvet Rose magazines.

"War! Look!" I pointed excitedly when my eyes wandered from a passing man to the lustrous shopfront display of a Wagashi-Patisserie.

I blindly hurried to the window and pressed my face to the glass, being as close as possible to the creatively displayed wares of colourful wrapped sweets with cute bow ends, piled up plates of macaroons, dainty floral shaped marzipan, coconut ice and various food treasures made with every colour of a rainbow. The hovering white-gold fairy balls threw a magical quality around the food display.

"Death! These the pink sweets Shuso gave us years ago!" I salivated with drool hanging from the corner of my mouth.

"Come on little puppy!" Ryoko grumbled as she pried me away from the shopfront by the ear.

She dragged me through a milling crowd who gave us quizzical and disdainful looks before resuming their intended journeys. Some continued to watch, making sure we were headed away from them then resumed their business.

We made our way across an arched bridge, which was lit up by fairy balls hovering around the rails and down cobblestones paths that led away from the main hustle and bustle.

My eyes lit up at the sight of four-wheel automobiles I had only seen in Velvet Rose anthologies.

"Death! It's a Rolls-Royce Phantom I with the soft weather proof roof and sleek black body." I pointed excitedly to one of the parked cars, looking new and shiny under the delicate fairy ball light.

Death sighed and took over from Ryoko's ear pulling, dragging me away from the parked vehicles. He released my ear when we entered a cobblestone street with multi-layer buildings vying for height dominance. Most of them had black tiled triangular roofs where the corners were turned up at drain points to control potential rainfall down hanging rain chains and bells. Perched on the roof corners were winged lion gargoyles to make up an army along all the buildings of the street.

The buildings were impressive, but there weren't many shops. It felt strange to see a lot of richly dressed people frequenting this street more than the others. Some of the looks I received from a few of the princely dressed men made me feel uncomfortable.

"Make sure you don't wander Famine. If one of these rich men claim you, you'll never see the light of day." Wilfred soberly warned me.

I gulped, hoping he was joking, but the serious look in his eyes told me otherwise.

I sighed with relief when we finally entered one of the buildings.