IT WAS ONE OF THOSE EXTRAORDINARY AND INFREQUENT MOMENTS when their dreams however hazy and misshapen did attain perfection. Most of the time, they were a series of narratives of pure imagery, flowing like quicksilver, defining their experiences with such lucidity that when they awoke, it often amazed them what the eye of their minds can achieve.
They are creatures of imagination and artistry during nocturnal hours, leaving them hollow and empty during the day.
They usually rise from their concrete panopticons from uneasy dreams and begin their daily transformation; individuals bent on consumption who unbeknownst to them are the means of production, mere vassals that power this dreamlike world, this dark disneyland.
Like a cracked open egg yielding its mysterious yoke, they spill onto covered walkways and concrete pavements that snake around these concrete prisons as they retrace familiar steps in the warm sunshine; the men in their pressed shirts and ties, the women in pencil skirts.
They are taken to be locked away in towering castles that punctuate the city skyline.
In their brief imprisonment in these castles, the men and women are isolated and trapped in their dungeons. I see their sallow eyes staring at dreary computers. Some of them gaze into nothingness while others look intently into the neon screens, insulting the silence with the crunch of their keyboards. Their minds swarm with cold calculations and frenzied bursts of analytical thought. They seem completely absorbed in their dreamlike state, their continued hallucination.
But dour expressions mask unspoken desires.
In the evening, I pass by dimly lit clubs and I hear the faint echoes of laughter. Laughter brought upon by drink, drunk by the women in pencil skirts bought by the men in pressed shirts and ties. These men are the uber-predators and they prowl, escaping into the night with the women in the only way that they know, because a fleeting moment of awkwardness is better than a night of loneliness.
I pass through the city, like Dante in this urban inferno. The city is their playground, where they are briefly released from their captivity. It reels them in slowly, its poison like a sweet elixir that drives them delirious with desire.
And as they grow intoxicated, they wrap their lips around the mighty breasts of excess and ecstasy, the kind only this city can offer and suckle until they can suckle no more. And once fattened, contented and compromised, they find themselves wandering like lost souls in this soulless city.
Their struggle against the city is a struggle of memory against fantasy. A struggle of truth against hope. A struggle that will lead to the city destroying its people while eventually destroying itself.
And soon the men in their pressed white shirts and ties, women in pencil skirts sleepwalk into their concrete panopticons. Some drift into the imagined virtual communities where they are reunited with others in the city. This simulacrum is their parallel universe, and they roam freely, cloaked in non-linear identities where they rant and rave, lust and love and eventually fade away.
And every night as they close their eyes and dream of their flight from the concrete panopticons and towering castles, they awaken, only to find themselves hopelessly trapped in yet another sunny day in hell.
Note: Short Story Sunday has reproduced the text formatting of this story in the style set by the author.
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