Translated from Italian by reginazabo
Illustration by Kevin Petty
While she walked the tip of her shoes confronted the debris of crushed bricks and dull metal objects. The air was biting cold; she adjusted the collar of her coat to her neck. Just ten minutes before a relentless rain had been dropping, but now the sky seemed at peace and the air cleaned up by the weeping-like outburst. She sniffed the air—all around the ruins smelled like forests. The broken bricks, the splintered concrete blocks, those small asphalt islets that still emerged from beneath the grass.
She got to the Mouthed Gate. It bore that name because what remained of its two iron doors was a pair of large slivers at the top, forming the cheekbones of an open-mouthed face.
It was a marvellous gate, one of her favorite, one of the many that still guarded imaginary palaces and invisible factories. Like the rest of them, the Mouthed Gate was totally useless. It was a mere memory of what it had once protected. And like the rest of them, you would have never dreamt of not using it, of mocking it by going around it.
Sitting on the banister of an orphan window there was Typtri.
“Hi… today there was this slow rain falling instead of the usual neige… have you heard?”
“Mm. Nice. I like rain. Afterwards smells are sharper.”
As Zam got closer, her gaze wandered behind a long line of ants that ran along the banister, each one with its tiny load of debris.
“This place will soon be eaten, just like everything else. I’ll be sorry when the Mouthed Gate won’t exist anymore.”
“Zam, perhaps I have found a place where we could look for your fuse. Down at the bay I heard of an old factory in City22—it produced electronic and hydraulic components. They say that many walls are still standing—in some parts there’s even a roof. I wouldn’t wonder if we found something that is still usable there.”
“It must have been looted…”
“Yeah, sure, but nobody would’ve wanted your fuse… it hasn’t been used since the end of the 20th Century.”
“Don’t know, Typtri. City22 is far away. Sometimes I think that I should give up looking for that damned fuse. I’m just making you all waste a lot of time.”
“Zam, do you seriously think I’ve got something better to do?” Typtri would have smiled, if it had been able to, and Zam appreciated this effort anyway.
“Besides, who knows? At the factory in City22 I might find some oil, or some gears…”
“Yeah, alright. But we must leave tonight—who knows when we’ll have another chance of flying without the neige falling.”
Typtri collapsed down from the banister—with those short legs, it shouldn’t have acted so athletic, and with so much corroded iron around, Zam always feared it would crash into pieces at any moment. It was a funny device,
Typtri was—its looks always contradicted its words.
“Let’s meet at the bay in a couple of hours, then. I just need some time to get a couple of things. I will fetch some oil and water I found yesterday: it should be enough to get us to City22.”
“Okay, Typtri. See you in two hours at the bay.” Continue reading