Condemned

Header image by Otsogey under Creative Commons 3.0.

Last night I dreamt I was exploring a multi-layered city with friends. I don’t remember it too well, but it was a beautiful city; all but the lowest layers had clearly had a lot of work and maintenance put into them.

The first layer I remember was the uppermost layer, the streets at the top of the city that were closest to the sun. I don’t remember much about this layer but I do remember seeing several miles across from a high viewpoint.

We found a hole in the first layer, likely a result of unfinished road works. The second layer, below the first, was my favourite; it was still exposed to the sun and so we all watched the sun set through the glass castle we were in at the time. It was a literal title; it was like a greenhouse, but much bigger and better-looking, in addition to being well-maintained. The temperature was regulated too, if I remember correctly. There were walkways through the pools, and the slanted shadows of the structural supports could be seen over the pools and the walkways. We walked as slowly as we could and just watched the shadows and lightning slowly transition from sunset to dusk. If I remember correctly, the glass castle itself was one of the most popular places in this level. The gardens were also really nice, though I preferred the pools. 

We got to the third layer via another hole in the current layer. It was similar to the one in the first but I’m not so sure if it was for maintenance or just a hole in one of the areas that weren’t maintained as well. Some of us had gone back home by this point. It’s a shame that we never found anything as nice as the second layer.

It was the third layer and below that things started to appear less than pristine. Sunlight barely reached this layer – it was only through other parts of it that sunlight came through, though it was minimal. It was a much older city; maybe once it was the top layer. But now it seemed to be where people with less money opted to live. There wasn’t really anything interesting that I remember about the third layer, though. It was a lot taller than the second, but that’s all.

The fourth layer…we got there through another hole in the ground as before, but I’m not sure if the fourth was a residential layer. I think it might have been entirely for maintenance and keeping the rest of the city running. There was no sunlight at all in this layer. By now, there were only three of us still going.

The fifth was where everything went wrong. While it looked as technologically advanced and complex as the first and second layers, it was in ruins. Platforms with broken windows looked down into an abyss, the floor was punched through in several places as far as the eye could see…there were strange robots roaming the area. They seemed hostile; I think they were originally meant to protect the layer but there was a lot of wear on all of them. I think they had something to do with whatever went wrong here. I visited an abandoned boardroom in what could have been the old HQ of a big company. There were tiny robots going in and out of the holes in the walls though they didn’t seem to notice us. When I walked out and looked at the walls of the layer, I noticed there were windows through which I could see the sky. If even a layer this old was this high up, maybe this place was a lot older than I thought. Even still, it was mostly artificial light illuminating the area. When I looked down into the abyss, all I could see were more buildings on the walls, but the end of the fifth layer wasn’t visible.

I don’t think we ever made it to the sixth layer. I wouldn’t know, as I woke up before then.

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