Ad Solem | Page 2

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The sudden tap of a raindrop on his arm jolted him to a moment of awareness.

A blue haze wrapped the streets of the undercity, as they always have. It was humid, as summers tend to be, but notably so- a series of rainfalls had caused minor flooding, an inconvenience in the form of wet footprints here and there in the alcoves that dotted the alleyways. There would also be a damp smell and the scent of copper, but only to you and I- outsiders. They say you stop noticing after about a year.

The people upstairs must be quite upset.

He hurried along- excited, not rushed. Why rush? Below the citadels and spires time is just a statistic and heartbeats become more meaningful than seconds. Daylight's blinding rays are a mile up (nearly two in some parts) so the sun slipping over the horizon in either direction goes unnoticed. Outsiders would notice, though. Your biorhythm clings to a vague memory of nighttime, and the hum of thousands streetlight engines echoing through the chasms from above would keep us from sleep for several nights (assuming you still only sleep at night).

The drips from above began to increase in frequency as the volume of their echoes did the same. It probably started pouring about five minutes ago, and it was just now reaching the ground floor. He entertained the idea that the storm may have already passed as he hummed to the sharp staccato rhythm of his metal feet on the road. The sliding of the hydraulics provided familiar accompaniment, and he stepped a bit awkwardly just to hold some notes. More modern prosthetics would be more efficient, and probably less annoying to his neighbors, but they wouldn't have that comfortable feeling you and I liken to wearing a pair of old sneakers. Besides, the new ones don't come in silver.

He stopped for a moment to process a noise from behind. Quiet steps. Soft noises draw attention down here, and alone is always the worst time to hear an unexpected sound. Through the mist, he saw a small shape tiptoe back into an unlit alcove. He smiled, nearly chuckling at his own paranoia, interrupted by a forehead raindrop. He carried on, clinking and squeaking as ever.

Someone upstairs is probably looking for their cat.

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