Urban Space - Chapter 13

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Jord waited in line. The whitefaces had lots of these feeding places, but unlike the tribes they wouldn’t let you just turn up and eat. If Jord went to another tribe (although he never had) he knew he would be immediately welcome and could get a feed. However here the whitefaces wouldn’t let the tribe cook their food on a fire in the meeting place ever since the big fight. Instead they gave food paper to the tribe and told them to come to the whiteface’s feeding place. You gave them the paper and they fed you. Jord had worked out early on that no paper meant no food.

He was still amazed at what he could see. The bright colours and lights were completely strange to him. Usually he came to this place just outside the meeting place using sound and smell as his guides, or with someone to help him. Now he could see and the short walk was a totally immersive experience. Now he was experiencing the visual feast that accompanied the sounds and smells he usually was aware of. He came to the front of the line and requested his usual food. It was thrust across to him with a brief command, “Pay”.

Jord handed over the wad and the whiteface behind the counter took it, peeled of a few notes and passed the rest back.

Jord savoured the food; relishing eating something he could see for the first time ever. He felt suddenly liberated and on a whim decided to go exploring rather than return to the meeting place. He wandered through the city aimlessly wondering at the sights. The people looked so different from how he imagined them, especially the women. Most people were dressed in business attire and were walking purposefully to unknown destinations. Most people also completely ignored Jord, except to curse if he was in their way as they walked quickly and he shuffled along. Old habits died hard.

Another thing that amazed him was the beasts. The growling and whirring noises they made were not animal as he had originally thought. He decided they were mechanical and made of the shiny metal stuff. People were getting in and out of the beasts. As he walked along a large beast came alongside him and stopped. People poured out and when the entrance way was clear another line of people started filing in. Jord decided to join them. As he got to the entrance way an enforcer stopped him. Taking his arm he guided Jord away from the door. Jord couldn’t explain why but he was annoyed.

A sudden thought crossed his mind; he could try the invisibility function. Flipping the hood up he looked at the icon and waited for it to expand. The world flickered briefly and then came back with the glowing images visible in the edge of his vision. Stepping back up to the doorway he climbed in unobstructed. Walking down the narrow aisle between the seated people he found a niche where he could squat out of the way.

With a lurch and a growl the beast started moving and everything Jord had ever known began to fade away behind him. Completely unworried and relaxed Jord looked around at the view through the beast’s multiple eyes.