I love my city. In fact, everyone loves the city. Its always so well cared for, and so alive.
Any problems are dealt with immediately. Storms seem to pass by with little damage, crime has been on a steady decline, our air is as clean as can be in such a large city, and our park is a beautiful meticulously crafted utopia. All our tourists feel welcomed, and the citizens work hard and in unity.
Our city is perfect.
Presently, I’m walking down the street, bouncing on my heels, humming a catchy toon. My hair bounces in its hastily made bun as I bob my head. In my hands is a large satchel filled with herbs and other natural objects I plan to remake and sell.
The sun rises at my back, a kind warmth, and a cool breeze brushes gently across my exposed skin. With my pace, I’ll be early for work. All in all, today’s making out to be a good day.
Until an arm grabs hold and yanks me into the nearby alleyway. The figure throws me against the wall, the breath is knocked out of my lungs as my back connects with the cold brick. I blink away the growing moisture and meet my assailants’ eyes. Which are rimmed in shadow, eyes red and flickering wildly. In his shaking hand he holds a gun.
I swallow, sweat gathering on the back of my neck. I clutch my bag, my pulse racing as I stare down the barrel. He demands my money and my phone. I swallow again and shake my head violently. There’s important and irreplaceable items inside, plus, its my stuff.
He threatens me with the gun again, insistent, swearing more than actual speech. Again, possibly stupidly, I refuse, hugging my bag to me chest. Even going so far as to turn so I’m shielding the bag.
The man curses one last time, his finger pressing against the trigger with a finality. My eyes shut, and a quiet sob slips from my lips. Then, the ground begins to tremble.
The gun sounds, but nothing happens, at least not to me. When I open my eyes, I find the ground has risen before me, concrete edges jagged like teeth, from where it had been torn just inches from my feet. The man chokes, stumbling back—and then he disappears.
The concrete drops back into place, and where the man was standing is a decently sized hole.
Carefully, slowly, I edge towards the hole, and using my phone to peer down into the darkness. A few feet down, crumple from the sudden change, is the man. Moans of pain drift up and I back away, immediately calling the police.
They confirm my call and let me know someone else had already called them with the same issue. We talk for a bit, and they let me know I can continue with my day, though I can expect an officer coming to speak with me. I return the phone to my bag and brush myself off.
“Thanks.” I say, crouching and patting the concrete. A rumble sounds beneath me, similar to a train pulling into the subway.
The nearest station is a few miles back.
I smile, rise, and continue on my way. Out of the alleyway, I resume my earlier humming.
Oh yeah, one last thing; when I said alive, I meant my city is sentient.