Within the academic institutions of the NoCity scholars had developed many exciting histories. Among the more celebrated was the notion that the NoCity had erupted from a barren swath of landscape where there had famously been “no city” previously. Advocates for this popular theory offered helpfully that it was exactly this history that gave the NoCity it’s name: “It’s a commemoration”, they would enunciated archly.
“If”, one educated heretic began, “If the NoCity began in this fashion, this uncivilized landscape – not”, she adjusted her glasses, “not disputing that it did – then the very division of distinction, that is to say distinction of division, must, because the NoCity is so designated, mean that all the surrounding landscape – the landscape that did not become the NoCity – must have been, by logical deduction, City.” She paused importantly. “When the NoCity arrived, where did all that City go?”
The fit of the conundrum gripped the NoCity. It’s most celebrated history became a context for agrarian terrorism. Within weeks the vigorous stalks of swiftly growing plants burst through the floors of social institutions, cracked wide cobbled roads, tented the carpeted floors of living rooms. Rampant planting of native species of climbing vines & vigorous grasses became an epidemic. Law enforcement rapidly clamped down on the seedy anarchists eventually coming to an truce.
The educated heretic, arriving home after an early morning walk in the sylvan surroundings girding the NoCity was ambushed, abducted & strung up in grotesque fashion above a newly designated grove of those viciously vigorous grasses. By the afternoon her cries & screams were silenced when the bladed shoots exceeded the threshold of her body. “It’s a commemoration”, her persecutors enunciated, watching the heretic’s blood bathe the grounds of the newly named NoCity Park.
Outside the NoCity, seeded in the sylvan surroundings, the geometric peaks of planted roofs, the rising culms of obelisks & the flowering of vines of twisting roads broke the soil.
The Sear. Each eye a brand: three scorch marks on all things seen.
In the NoCity superstitions are run like telephone wires, knotted between megaliths, drooping between buildings, available to all by government decree. There is a hum of mythic beliefs blazing along the roadways, riding the lines.
In the alleys where severed lines sag, urchins suck the sparks from the lines. Their burnt tongues cough prophecies. They sneeze oracular nimbuses of painful particles. They jeer each other, daring further faiths. An arc of electric epiphany bites clean through the dark air. The urchins’ eyes go wide, drinking in the retina burn, pupils like eclipsed suns.
“Hail! Hail!”, they call, falling beneath the frozen rain.
The Sear passes by into older quarters of the NoCity. In each blazing eye, the Sear can hear the ringing of downed calls.
Operators are lying by.
Thick clouds roil over an empty courtyard. Light glows from the downed lines, from The Sear’s searing eyes. A pay phone rings out in a circumference of crossed occult hopes. It has all led up to this. The Sear lifts up the receiver, taking the signal.
“I’m afraid. They’re not here. May I take a message?”
NoOne comes to the NoCity on purpose. Most commonly there is a mishap. Storms are common in the region, unleashing heavy, glycerin rains that flood the gutters & erase boundaries; transitions become easy, accidental even. Once arrived, the sodden traveler is presented with many diversions.
“What is the matter?”
In the NoCity the matter is nigh always printed. Leaves of unfinished & forgotten comics blow up & down the streets. In the NoCity they take milk with their serial.
Adventure strips are favored most mornings. Buckets are filled with the excess rain wrung out from favored papers. That regional rain causes the inks to bleed profusely, engendering rampant excesses of surrealism in the most stoic of strips. The misunderstandings can be very exciting.
On Wednesday, the winds blow gusts of new pages. On Wednesday, the avid inhabitants of the NoCity run against the winds, catching those new pages on their faces. Whole pamphlets clog the drains, clog throats. Come Sunday, the NoCity has sleepy zephyrs of humor strips & reprints of political gags. & corpses.
“What is the matter?”
The sodden traveler, his spine bent with experience, sinks between the covers.