Author : David S. Golding

If seen from above, the highways appeared to be carved in symmetrical patterns. Beneath, the trails of people on foot were more spontaneous, clustered here around a cheap water spigot, there around a bus lot. Footpaths led tiny ways through the forests and swamps.

The market sprawled between the concrete pillars like a web. Buyers scouted for cheap grains and fruit from far-off places. Scales tipped, measuring scraps of palladium for beef and a diamond-studded chainsaw chain for gallons of purified water. The people came from far, mostly, and they searched the manufactured goods that had been salvaged from landfills or had made it down to the market after years of use.

One woman searched the market for something else. She was a journalist, and she wore a dark blue sweater with pockets. She walked slowly amidst the children’s toys at her feet, searching for any signs that the rumor was true, that people had found a way up the great pillars despite the police line, and that they sold things up there, things like weapons and data that had been dredged up from beneath a structure of gigantic proportions.

She did not really register the wheelbarrows of circuitry or the sellers of herbal medicine who stepped off one bus and onto another. She could not stop squinting up at the aging highways that concealed the vehicles they carried near the sky. She tried to envision a daring escape artist scaling those totemic constructs, a sack of loot dangling off a hip by a cord.

Part of the columns were lit yellow, the other part remaining black, the way the sun hits the moon. But if someone had climbed up there, or even if they had built a concealed scaffolding of bamboo and balsa, then at some point they’d have to repel out onto the side of the traffic barriers, in the shade of the trees that line the elevated avenues. Those outlaw vendors would have to grip the rope and stand up there horizontally between the people below, who would watch the distant silhouettes from behind tarps and piles of onions, and the people above, who sailed by reflecting gleams of sunlight, silent but many times quicker than a horse.

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