City of lotus flowers, city of hills and sea. This city’s time was over long ago. The veil of twilight had fallen over this city and hadn’t been lifted for centuries, forcing its silence. Long ago, it was a capital port with people entering from the sea and leaving through the hills, flowing through as water now did. The city’s winding stone paths and circular buildings passed high over undulating hills and venturing deep into land, passing over bodies of water containing lotus flowers, even tunneling under the ground, faint lights of clear tunnels under these bodies of water visible (there were several tiers. Various tiers weaved through the subterranea, built from the ground up.) Land, air and sea; it once stood over all three as a capital city – it’s long since been reclaimed by land, air and sea.
Silence claimed domain over not only hearing but smell and sight. Any familiar scents had disappeared with the people formerly living and travelling here and the city’s lights…they’d always been on and powered by the elements and would continue to illuminate the darkness and the quiet for as long as this place existed. The only living thing here was the sea.
Two lone travellers had arrived here; a man with a plain complexion, plain white skin and medium-long hair and a dark-skinned woman with wild black hair. They’d never meant to be travellers; they were supposed to be geologists but now, they were to face the past not as human civilisation but as two. More isolated than anyone else here had ever been.
They saw, they felt, they heard void from this city. Only the sea could be felt and heard here with its nearly nonexistent light breeze. Several paths and bridges had crumbled away and fallen to the hills and sea along with numerous buildings from the sky it used to reach into. Nothing can resist weathering forever, after all.
The sea had given back life to these broken bridges and buildings. Several aquatic communities already lived here, making more use of this place since the humans left. Continuing the cycle of death and rebirth. The humans knew they couldn’t hold on to it forever. But to them, “not holding onto it forever” wasn’t a worry for them in their present gone by.
These two travellers hadn’t been here for long but they already felt the absence of sensory input. It intimidated them.
The man with the plain complexion spoke with words representative of any person in unfamiliar territory. “I don’t recognise this place”. This was especially strange for the both of them; it was part of their job to travel to faraway places and record them for the memory of humanity. They’d seen countless maps of countless terrains, countless maps of countless planets even. It wasn’t even clear to them what planet this was. Unknown? Forgotten? Condemned? Any place that isn’t home never seemed to make their intentions clear to the two of them.
She enjoyed being outdoors far more than he did; he could only bear so much before wanting to get down to analysis. This was often cause enough for their conflict; their most recent journey to a desert ended with them making the trip back in silence. “This isn’t where we were supposed to arrive.” this time, the wild-haired woman agreed. The first words spoken here in centuries were those of confusion. But as geologists, venturing through the unseen was part of the job.
They had no job here. They had no signals on both laptops and phones. The main priority had instantly shifted to survival. They had enough in the bags they were carrying to survive a fairly long time but they never saw the food as anything more than a snack that happened to last them until their next proper meal. They took shelter inside a building with a tree growing through the roof, subdued light breaking through. They set down their bags and either collapsed or sat down against them. Out of curiosity they walked back outside and looked around. They would make that building habitable later.
Even as a ghost town it towered over everything. The sea in the distance still glowed faintly by the light of the tunnels through it and the hills were streaked with elongated spots of warm yellow light where it met the city. Evening was already falling; it was at least a consolation that the city was starting to glow brilliantly as it did every night, even through the overgrowth.
They knew how to survive here. It was a question of how long they’d be able to hold out. The answers were here. They didn’t know what these answers were, nor had they asked any questions yet. But that’s not what their jobs were about.