The Sprawl


Cautious to place one foot in front of the other, suspicious of her own instincts, Lora tip toed forwards, re-joining her polished red shoes together like a band of lady bugs marching into an insect war. Bounding through the forest wood, the sun stroked her through the dark trees like the hands of happy strangers. These were the earliest and most curious of Lora’s memories, for upon their reflection, the frenzy of everyday life seemed to carry them away. Still, the memories of writing the date each day at school were always unrelenting, the safe reds and blues of her school books often helped her sleep at night. The airy freshness of her youth could have been captured in the constant swinging of her chair. ‘2010’ was always fun to write, she thought. The rapid curving of her wrist to manage the zeros tired her hands, and reminded her of herself. Depleted from an involuntary aversion to sleep, Lora stared down the naked valley of her body which lie in the shadow of the solid structure of the man laid next to her. Pressed against him, her attention carelessly switched to his suit which hung sprightly on the wall, also pressed. A feeling of hostility dominated the room. Jase awoke almost automatically in haze of corporate urgency.

“We’ve got to go on a drive today.” Crossing her legs together as to replicate his strength and square-ness, Lora’s heart grew to a loud thumping noise before reaching a violent peak of a single hum. She stretched her limp legs outwards like petals and ignored the morning that sought out to welcome her. Eager to respond to him most vibrantly, Lora deserted the tufts of pillows that bed her and sat patiently in the light to gain visibility. Her chest remained protruded and full, almost cavernous. Jase said nothing. Lora felt the hesitation rain on her, dampening her back before inducing a pathetic droop in her spine. “Alright, you had better get up then.” Her soft voice mimicked that of the ambiguous plant that whispered ‘Water me!’ every day on their window sill. Like a lonely crowd of hydrangeas in a cement pot, Jase flung his great arms around her and held her in. The silence of the day was gone. Like a cascade of mud in a bulldozer, Lora crumbled under Jase’s stronghold. He smiled graciously and flashed each white pillar of his teeth before reviving Lora’s drowsy body with kisses as intentional as postage stamps. Resuming his desire for a productive day, as always, Jase handed Lora her compulsory glass of water. With every gulp, their morning mantra ensued. “Hydration is key.”

This morning was clear, Lora thought as she exited the front door. The sun smiled down each corridor, the carpet, lime green, was alive like a freshly trimmed lawn. With his presence pushing her forwards, Lora headed forwards towards the door smirking as she stepped. She felt a lack of concern as she moved, each action graced with an air of conviction like that of a King protected by a thousand shields in battle. They both entered an old burgundy car that looked like it had be shoved onto the curb by some entity it had agitated. Now they were up and functioning. Jase cupped Lora’s neck as he drove, tightening his clasp down every street. His co-ordination fascinated Lora, his shiny aptitude for things mechanical seemed entirely superior and sophisticated. Hazily, her daydreams of him distracted her from the urban sprawl that had them buried within. Under and over bridges and roads, the vessel passed through junctions as if unable to stop. Skilfully, the car zoomed ahead, speeding so forcefully it could have been levitating. A sudden and deep euphoria filled every stretch of her tiny body. With eyes closed, smiling, they shared a velocity that wound through her like a drug, washing over her brain and then her body. She exalted gasps of life in her seat before remaining fixed like an exhausted infant figurine. Void of life, her body jostled in the car while Jase permitted it to stop. There, he disturbed a patch of ground beside the vehicle and placed his poor flower in it. Knowing his city had ingested the likes of her, he drove even faster back to the heart of the sprawl, feeling as if he had kept the city alive.



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