EP: Margin Walker by Fugazi
2009 Dischord Records DISCHORD 35
Favorite Track: Burning Too
The haze shimmered purple and cinnamon obscuring the sun as a scratched cornea. Plumes of smoke hung permanent in fat toadstools around the wrecked city. Violet saw the disused entrance service tubes grown over with the pink filth of moss and spray paint. Some of the tracks still scaled the intimidating plateau’s slope but halfway up the tracks bent outwards reminding Violet of the time she was a child in the Natural History museum and she came upon the Woolly Mammoth and shrieked for her guardian. A vulture sat pecking at something leaning against a turnstile.
One of the great engines was still on fire engulfing the west side of town in perpetual flame. 100,000 people trapped. More since, inevitably, even the Isolationists breed. It had been 23 years since the last contact was made with the Isolationists. What kind of society did they construct after all? Or were they true to the fanaticism of their philosophy? Did nobody ever speak to each other here in Nirvana City.
A loud rending tore metal from the sky spooking the vulture to the sky trailing a line of grey entrails. Violet watched as the top of a skyscraper (why did the Isolationists build building in the images of the cities they left?) cracked and drop from the suspended ceiling above the original city streets. It crashed expelling a cloud of plaster, steel and glass that rained down over the plateau toward Violet like an avalanche of rolling infrastructure. Something sharp ripped a gash in her shirt, snagged a line of blood on the white cotton as she nimbly jumped out of the path of the sleeting destruction. The sound was incredible canceling internal thoughts and the thump of her pulsing heart. She was plaster blind as white winds swept over her, footing lost and on the ground in a fetal position protecting the vulnerable parts she could. Another rip.
Then it was over. Violet checked herself before regaining her feet. Bruised with two minor cuts but, surprisingly, in good health. And fortuitous as well as the rolling ball of crushed offices had left a zig zag of foot holds up the mountainside. Violet found her bag, unscrewed the water bottle, found it untainted, swigged some, and started her climb. The first hundred feet were easy to use T-bars and giant chunks of the concrete roof to pull herself along, pausing to sit a top of the larger ledges to catch her breath and strength. From a slippery piece of framework, Violet precariously leaped to the light rail track and began the laborious climb up to where the rail bend backwards. Mrs. Dawes told her about the maintenance tunnels built inside the mountain for, in the early days, the light rail broke down from the weight of lifting so many people. When the Isolationists decided to destroy their own tracks and cut themselves off from society, they planted the bombs at the midway point. Perhaps, they foresaw a day when they would have to fix the tracks to allow more people into Nirvana.
Twice, she slipped. Her water bottle dropped at a sickening speed that left her dizzy. It was cool against the mountain and the sunlight was blocked. She almost missed the secret entrance in her determined climb as it was about two hundred feet lower than she had imagined. No pass code or card swiped barred entry, the door just swung open. Violet collapsed onto the cold tiled floor sobbing from exhaustion and happiness for having succeeding in what she had determined to be the most difficult part of her challenge. She thought about Victor in the dark tunnel lit every twenty yards by neon lamps. The passage was wide enough for a vehicle to traverse with ease. An image of a boxy drill with six robotic tentacle arms like the cover of a pulpy sci-fi book came to her mind. She thought about the gun in her bag. She better start protecting herself. She was about to be the first non-Isolationist to enter the great Nirvana City. Would they be friendly or hostile? Would they even care? It was possible they would just view her as another human being who just wanted to live in solitude.
The tunnel ended after an hour’s worth of walking. Along the way she saw closets filled with various equipment and extra tracks broken into smaller pieces. Water and sewage pipes dripped above her. The system used to give the Isolationists water must be a technological marvel but Violet was not well versed in mechanical engineering. At the end of the tunnel was an elevator and Violet waiting a painful twenty minutes for it to come down. When the doors opened, she did not expect the bloodstains. The light flickered excitedly. Violet stepped just inside the elevator avoiding the dried blood that caked much of the floor, leaned over and inspected the numerous buttons to choose. She had expected only one and there certainly wasn’t a simple lobby button.
All the way to the top, she thought and pressed the button. The elevator was extremely fast. The trip still took twenty minutes because it had a long distance to travel.