The Hungry City

on April 27, 2010 in Horror

A city is a living, breathing thing.

This is obvious as metaphors go, but like the best metaphors it’s true. We pretend that “metaphor” is implicitly synonymous with “imaginary” and “unreal” in the same way and for the same reasons that we pretend this is true of the words “myth” and “legend”… or for that matter, the word “imaginary”. It’s reassuring. It simplifies the world to do so.

A city is a living, breathing thing. It is contained within a skin of boundaries, and comprised of not just edifices and machines but institutions and people. It breathes in. It breathes out. If it never sleeps, it at least rests for periods and then awakens to bursts of furious activity.

Cities think. They can plot and plan, they can hatch new ideas and embrace new philosophies. They can become political. They can go religious.

Cities feel. They rage… oh, yes, cities can rage. They can also celebrate and fall in love.

Cities eat. They take in meat, grain, vegetables that are broken down by the tiny individual cells that serve many purposes, from carrying out nerve impulses to aiding circulation to acting as an immune system against intrusive elements. They take in chemicals, minerals, and metals, which are used to carry out even more arcane processes.

Such things are the necessary foodstuffs of cities, but like any intelligent creature, cities that can afford them enjoy an occasional indulgence, a special treat… not something that it needs but something it deeply enjoys all the same.

A moderately shiny silver bus rumbles to a stop at the depot. A young woman… blonde-ish, tall-ish, and good-looking-ish… steps off. Her name is Darla. She wants to be a model, or an actress, or maybe a singer. Everyone back home says she has the looks for it. Everyone says she has the talent. She can do anything she wants.

The city licks its lips.

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One Response to “The Hungry City”

  1. Mak says:

    This is a stellar piece of writing. I suspect the Internet will gobble it right up.

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