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   Chapter 39 No.39

Free-Wrench By Joseph R. Lallo Characters: 5798

Updated: 2018-01-19 12:02


The tram rumbled into motion, swinging subtly from the wires. It trundled downward, drawing ever closer to the purple mist. Her heart pounded harder with each foot they descended. Then, with a soft whoosh, they plunged into it. The dim light of dusk was wiped away, replaced with pitch blackness. The only light came from the cherry-red glow of the captain's cigar. The tram operator opened a valve on the wall, and the same sickly yellow glow that lit the lower decks of the Wind Breaker filled the tram.

"For your benefit. We of the fug don't need much light, " he explained.

She felt a strange sensation around her feet and looked down to find that the purple vapor was slipping into the tram, gradually filling it. Captain Mack stubbed out his cigar in an ashtray attached to one wall and cinched his mask in place. Nita tightened the straps on her own. The fug was knee-high now. It felt heavier than the air around it, and where it touched her, it brought the same chill one might get from splashing rubbing alcohol on one's skin. Her breathing quickened. The fug reached her chest, then her chin. Instinctively she breathed deep and shut her eyes tight when it finally washed over her face. Her eyes burned sharply enough to make them tear.

"The discomfort to your eyes will pass, " their escort said. "You should not feel any lasting effects from exposure to the fug unless you remain immersed for more than forty-eight hours."

Nita blinked the tears away and looked again to the window. Perhaps it was something the fug had done to her, or perhaps it was simply her vision adjusting, but suddenly she could see a great deal more outside the window. Dull red and green glows pulsed in the field of deep purple.

"The

a few hundred feet above, the sun was only just setting, but here it seemed to be the dead of night. What light there was came from lamp poles tipped with glass bulbs and glowing with green light. Their destination was the former city hall, a sprawling building, gothic in design, and the only place showing even the remotest sign of activity. He pushed open the door and led them up the stairs to an office labeled, simply, Mayor.

"He will see you immediately, " said their escort, pushing open the door.

It was a modest office. An old oil lamp provided a warm amber light that seemed far more inviting than the green light elsewhere. Everything was ancient, but exceptionally well cared for, from the elegant antique desk to the stuffed leather chairs that sat two in front and one behind. The walls were book cases, filled with leather-bound tomes of every sort. Sitting behind the desk was another fug person of much the same description, though of somewhat less-formal dress. He reminded Nita of a clerk, with a simple starched white shirt and bow tie. He wore spectacles, and a waxed mustache, jet black against his gray skin, adorned his lip.

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