If you're hearing this your frequencies have been correctly adjusted for the SubverCity Transmit. And now we begin.
STATION ANNOUNCEMENT VOICE:
This is a test of the Emergent Sea Announcement system. It failed.
Good! The Emergent Sea's announcements can be a real annoyance. If their station is operating at full power we'd be getting regular broadcast announcements of characters being birthed from the soupy seas, riding their shells in to the shore like Aphrodite. You see, every time a dreamer somewhere fishes around in their unconscious for flaws and traits they conglomerate in those waters to form a new character. When that happens a ripple of energy gets dispersed triggering the auto announcement systems. And between each announcement, there is the dreaded white noise and snow. When there are droughts of creativity, all we'll get is a latent cricket-like buzzing which is easier to tune out. So that's one sure sign that it's Summer! No snow.
Seasons down here are a bit abstract. Spring, as anywhere, brings new life and it kicks the emergent sea into high gear. Our fall is marked by the leaves, the falling, the coats and the greens being gone. I'll elaborate. The number of tourists in the subvercity falls due to transpo crews having shore leaves, which cuts our service down by three quarters, all of our ships get new coats of paint during the service slowdown and the summer's green employees earn their experience badges in a celebration that borders on the ritualistic. Our Winter is when we drop the temperature for the yearly preservation events. That's when we get an influx of characters arriving to make sure their stories are recorded, edited and cataloged. You'll see bundled deals in all of the shops and there's also a higher chance of characters freezing (those moments where their readers put down their stories middle of chapter to go attend to a kettle whistling or something).
For me, every season reminds me of a girl. When it's Spring I think of the sassy little thing that stumbled curiously out of a Zeppelin one day. She was clearly from a 20s era mystery novel but I could tell she was just bubbling with an energy that didn't befit her plot line. She caught me staring from my booth up here and rather cheekily gave me a wink and a nod in a cafe's direction. To this day I can't drink champagne and not be reminded of flower petals, fox fur stoles and tangled sheets.
Winter brought me a staid governess ten or more years my senior. She was sensible, reserved and acquiescent in more ways than one. She'd come to visit a lost friend in the retired characters retirement villa, which takes up an expansive area at the edge of our city, and had used the opportunity to preserve her own story during the same visit.
Fall was the young pilot who swung her arms around me on a drunken dare on the night she'd earned her wings - suffice it to say she didn't let me go for the next few weeks. A little romantic - a little frightening, to be honest. I still keep an eye out for her name on the incoming manifests.
And I, as any, got the most swept up in a senseless summer interlude. What is it about summer and love? I know down here the muting of those Emergent Sea birth announcements helps people think 'romance' instead of 'responsibility'. But what about everywhere else?
In honor of the curious act of throwing caution to the wind for a few months - this next story is about just that.
STORY INTRO MUSIC BED PLAYS.
["The End of the Summer" by M. Elizabeth Castle is this episode's story.]
OUTRO MUSIC BED.
You see!? Summer romances just seem to have a magical quality that throws out deference to logic. Well most romances do that but there's that little something extra in summer romances - that string of fate where two people from two completely different worlds can meet on their way to different futures and spend a small pocket of their lives together...that brutal ending always just around the corner.
And for a short time you can fool yourself into thinking that you'll both find a way to escape the inevitable - that your futures can change - but when it catches up you realize that she has no intention of altering course and there's no place for you in her future. She vows to keep you in her heart but she sends you only one letter - a goodbye letter. And you begin to question your own version of reality. Did any of it ever actually happen? Did that summer really exist? Does she even have a heart to keep you in? And you just replay that image of her leaving on a loop in your head. Riding away on that motorcycle, all her draping layers of belts, hair, coat and scarves trailing behind her, never once looking back at you through her silly leather and fur rimmed goggles. The drifting steam and dust bathing you as you break your own promise not to cry.
So... that was today's story.
As ever, I remain yours, because I Am.
YOU ARE READING
SubverCity Transmit (LGBT stories)Science Fiction
SubverCity Transmit is a podcast featuring speculative fiction story submissions (that favors LGBTQIA characters). A.M. Onymous, the narrator, tells her own stories before and after each tale to paint a picture of the fictional underground transport...