(short fiction #5)
Like most people, I spend my life living in the urban areas. I always deal inhabitants like mischievous sewer sludges, noisy scrap metal robots and sorcerers disguised as stray cats. Pollution, urban decay and deception. I wish I was a rural boy. I would’ve dealt with dragons, singing floras and magical sages. Strength, serenity and wisdom. I envy village dwellers.
Actually, that is a lie. I barely deal with those urban creatures. I am an indoor person. When I go out, I use the safe routes. The robots are attracting attention with their clanking; they remind me of attention-deprived teenagers. The sorcerers metamorphose themselves to felines and canines simply because they don’t find a reason why they shouldn’t. Those sewer sludges offer innocent passers-by feculent experiences. Those urban nuisances can be deadly at times. Despite that, I’ve become doubtful about the rural beauty.
Some of the dragons are blood-thirsty (western imports!). Sometimes, the floral singing cause aural addiction so potent, not even rehabs help (this is why genetic engineering exists). Some magical sages are degenerates themselves: laundering money, accepting bribes and getting involved in illegal prostitution rings. Really ruin it for me.
So far, I have lived in three cities. Two of them are in Indonesia and one in Australia. Ideally, I would love to live in my hometown forever. But, most of professional jobs offered here are limited to business, hospitality, manufacturing, black magic and immorality. I am not interested in any of those (even though I was slightly intrigued by the last one). Here, my success is just a make-believe. Okay, I got sidetracked.
Anyway, these are their brief descriptions. I’ll focus mostly on the non-humans (it’s disputed whether the sorcerers are humans or not. Some are mythical creatures descendants. I believe some are partially humans while others are completely so. Most refuse to believe that. Thanks, supremacists) They’re way more interesting.
Home bittersweet home
My hometown is like a grown-up with strong potentials who are more childish than children themselves. But then, you can find such grown-ups on any Indonesian streets…in dirty diapers, screaming and whining about how their degrees and ages make them superior. Such role models, aren’t they?
The non-humans are mostly useless. They do nothing but making the city a horrible place to live. The robots contribute to the noise and air pollution. The sludges block the sewers, causing annual flooding and infect humans with diseases. The sorcerers prank humans with their magic. Local ghosts haunt houses and, in some occasions, murder the occupiers. They are also peeping Toms. When I got older, I realised I was pigeonholing them.
Many are model citizens. The robots work as engineers and in workshops. The sludges work as government’s health and environmental officers. The sages teach applied magic to any non-magical creatures. The ghosts work as historians. Many work alongside with humans. Just like their human counterparts, they run this godawful city. Without them, it would just be a crowded settlement of no importance.