Sonora—a growing disease of a city—is made up of rectangles of gray and iridescent lights that mimic weeds that have overtaken the soil. It looks unreal, like a pristine stone amongst the Earth's mess of colors. What once was deemed perfect is slowly fading away, a fragile façade being unmasked by the powers that be.
Its wide expanse of menacing architecture is sectioned into six parts—The East and West Towers, The North and South Quadrants, The Evolutionarists, and the Green. And somewhere right in the middle, sat living and breathing history, was a Gothic cathedral once—now made into a library that houses a timeline of humankind—from physical books to digital media, as well as a sleepy librarian.
"Hey, Sera! Wake up!”
The young woman jolts awake, hair strewn about and eyes glazed with sleep as she looks up, her nap being so rudely interrupted.
"Lize, what is with you?" Sera scolded the blonde, clearly annoyed as she settled back down onto the grainy wooden desk.
"Oh, come on! You're not excited to see your darling dearest best friend in the entire universe?" Lize dramatically drapes herself over the sleepy and agitated form of her friend—leaving both women to look like a drunken heap on an otherwise sober day.
"You're interrupting librarian duties—very important ones." The muffled voice of a half-awake Sera makes itself known from underneath Lize—perfectly pleased to just go back to resting.
"I didn't realize those included napping in the middle of the day."
"Well, there isn't much I can really do, especially with the old media files. The High Priestesses really did a good job with pressuring those politicians to shut down the Cells."
"Gosh, it's been so incredibly boring—I can't believe I've had to resort back to traditional media. I haven't held an actual pencil since the 4th grade!"
"Sounds like a “you” problem, Lize."
"But seriously, why did they shut down the Cells? I've only heard bits and pieces of the gossip," an ever-curious Lize asks of her friend, finally rolling off her and deciding to sit on the edge of the table. Her gaze wanders about the interior of the library, taking note of the shelves lined with books of every kind—categorized by country of origin, genre, and by year, some even going as far back as 2023.
“From what I’ve read—of which you have not been doing—”
“The High Priestesses are scared that we’ve been “desecrating” whatever higher being there is for far too long, as we go against the natural “flow” of things,” Sera explains as she gets up from her chair. “And to be honest, I have seen a bunch of happenings that could convince me.”
“Like what?” Lize’s attention is fully on Sera now, listening intently at the younger woman.
“Well, I don’t know if you’ve noticed it but the trees have been growing somewhat… faster—the plants and bushes on the streets as well. I’ve even seen roots breaking through the sidewalks and asphalt roads,” Sera leans in closer, keeping her voice low. Even if they were alone in the library, it always felt like someone was listening in.
“I just find it weird how there hasn’t been any coverage on that. Really, I think the government is afraid of us knowing and noticing these things. I think they just expect us to be complacent here—to be dependent on them.”
Lize’s once-cheeky demeanor dissipates. “Sera, I think you’re overthinking this one.”
“No, I’m not—”
“What do you mean you’re not? You’re genuinely falling into whatever propaganda is being put into these types of media—”
“You’re not listening—”
“No, Sera! It’s you who isn’t listening! You probably can’t even tell which one of these books is real history or high fantasy—God forbid, you’ve been buying into these fantastical stories from the past! They’ve forbidden and phased out traditional media for a reason and you are exactly an example of why!”
The older woman’s voice rang throughout the vast halls of the library—bouncing off the ornamented walls and glistening stained glass windows. An irony laid between the peaceful nature of the library and the anger it currently housed. Her stare, sharp as a thousand needles, dares her friend to speak, to answer—anything.
“Is that really how you see me? Do you think I’m that stupid? Is that why you never wanted me to have this job?" With each question that leaves Sera's lips, her voice starts to match the volume of Lize's accusations towards her—the building rage in her eyes as she questions her friend, frustration resounding within her.
"You may be older than me but, by the love of God—you are not smarter than me," Sera wants to stop herself, but can't.
"You’re thinking like a child, Sera. You’re putting your trust into the wrong people if you keep being that way."
The library is silent, filled with the venom and unvarnished truths hissed at each other by the two women—a stalemate, both now clashing for the upper hand. Without another word, Lize walks away, not wanting to be lectured any further. To her, it feels like salt is being rubbed into her wounds.
“Lize, wait. I’m sorry—”
Sera hastily tries to chase after her. She reaches a hand out to her friend to stop her, hoping that she would turn around and just talk to her. Instead, only the piercing ring of silence—followed by a loud yet brief slam of the door—could be heard.
Storming out of the library, Lize’s eye catches a radiant green among the dull and lifeless gray concrete—a young leaf sprouting from the small cracks on the sidewalk, fluttering in the wind like a proud flag. This does not spark any joy or hope. An overbearing wave of disgust instead bubbled to the surface within her.
“Such fantasy… all lies,” Lize scornfully mutters to herself as she digs her heel into the plant, leaving only a shriveled mess of green.