Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Holding Its Breath

The weather was unsettled, fitful, restless. If the weather could have dreams then it would be having bad ones.
It was hot. Not an obvious, sun blazing hot but the kind that sneaks up on you, saps your strength and exhausts you.. The still, heavy air is moved only by occasional gusts of sticky, salt laden wind off the ocean or brief, localized cloudbursts; neither of which relieve the heat. At night a heavy fog drifts over the city, occasionally condensing into a dense, misting rain that smells of pollution and humanity.
The light itself is red at dawn and dusk, making the skyscrapers bleed. Midday is marked by a sullen sun that hints of brimstone, night by a sickly moon and no stars.
Tempers ride the knife's edge throughout the city. Fistfights and bar brawls spill out into the streets every night, keeping the uniforms and emergency rooms busy. But the underworld is relatively quiet, the people plying their trades and keeping to their territories. What fights there were resulted from brief flashes of temper, ending in stitches rather than surgery. It was as if the major power factions in the city were biding their time, waiting for something to happen. As if they knew that if they started something big it wouldn't stop until it consumed the entire city and none of them were quite willing to take that step.
But it was only a matter of time.