Chapter 9: Memory lane

Stop it.

What?!?

Shooting me…it’s embarrassing.

You’re too beautiful to be embarrassed.

Uh huh. Nice try. C’mon, Magus, shut it off.

Just a little bit more, love….I promise I’ll shut it off soon.

Gotta capture this moment.

It had been ten years since her death, and at that moment, he was glad he kept the imager on long enough to see her smile. The various cancers and industrial maladies that afflicted much of the City for a time never truly got his attention when he was younger, they were always affecting someone else’s life, he was lucky they were not. But since Naima’s death, his life would never be the same. He blamed Zenith, and that continued to fuel the fires that raged within him.

I Love you.

Love you, too.

This was one of his vices in a way, accessing the worn out digital file and seeing her again and again. Not that it was a horrible vice, but the pain of seeing her made him feel like such a sadist. At the same time, these fragments were there to save him when the taste of living began to blacken.

He turned off his console and darted out into the street. A long ride often cleared his mind, preparing him for the next cycle of life that would grind its way to his doorstep. The payload had been activated, causing expected chaos in Zenith. The message they sent this time was subtle, less preachy, a slice of the gritty reality present on the streets of Los Angeles. No banners. No tirades. Just truth. Here we are and here we goddamn will stay.

Turning onto Alvarado, Magus pulled alongside MacArthur town, a settlement of shanties that had collected around the spoiling waters of Old MacArthur Park. The fetid water was nothing more than an inviting reflection to stare at, people sometimes washed their clothes there, and a few brave ones filtered it to drink or cook with. He could see lighters flicking in the distance as the denizen addicts of the area lifted off for the night’s festivities.

One thing that never failed to please in this City were sunsets. Magus fired up a joint himself and looked up at the deepening colors that mingled with the smog above. Deep oranges. Crimsons. Cyans. Wispy swatches of purple and yellow. The fluorocarbons in the air made them more vibrant and colorful, creating shades and hues that were rarely seen on the streets anymore. Funny thing was, most people never looked up from their daily routines. It had become a habit not to look too long at the sky; lest they gaze hypnotically at an unattainable world.

He continued on down Wilshire towards the ocean, the vast plains of the West Side opening up after Fairfax. Since most of the residents had moved out or upgraded to Zenith, most of the West Side had been demolished and razed over for “future” projects. These projects were set to house the city’s urban underclass. Apart from being glorified dumping grounds for trash and waste, they never much amounted to anything. Magus didn’t mind though, the wide open spaces were a perfect foreground for the gray swell of the Pacific.

He parked his chopper on the embankment and gazed down the rocky coast, the waves lapping against Sepulveda Boulevard eroding any evidence of the City that once was. The 405 jutted metal and concrete out into the open sea, like a fractured bone, as seagulls and fishermen battled for the day’s catch. The coral sun had already descended from the sky, and an amber-hued fire danced upon the horizon.

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~ by artofpeace on July 24, 2008.

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