the true enemy of humanityhomecomingis disorder© OF THE GODS.
The shift of the train swaying to and fro as it rounded corners was enough to lull a weaker willed woman to sleep. Left, and then right, correcting it's path with each pass of gleaming steel tracking.
Vibrations moved the tag on her small suitcase, building a rhythm of it's tapping against the outer shell. As it continued, she counted it.
And again in a new language.
And again. In her native tongue.
Onwards, upwards, into the hundreds. Only to start again, and recenter herself to the lull of it's simplicity. A trick she'd learned young in life, to keep her mind quiet. To quell the rush of anxieties when presented with unpleasant tasks.
Today had been circled on her calendar. Reminders set to her schedule, personal phone, e-mail, tracker, whatever errant piece of technology to keep her in line with the agenda. In truth, it was a tactic to keep her from willingly forgetting. From pushing it from her mind, and letting it fade among the dust of her mental graveyard. The place she often sent things that challenged the serene structure she had built for herself.
Today, she went h o m e.
Hyderabad, India. Leagues from Utopea where she made her place now, with Vishkar Corporation footing her bills.
Before she could reach the limits of the city, she could recall it in painfully vivid strokes. The squalor. The noise. The unending pangs of hunger that had plagued her and all of the other children in the shanty-town she lived. Shacks upon shacks, heavy with the scraps that they were built from. Wires that hung from the ceiling, carrying the preciously valuable electricity that worked half as often as it didn't; cords webbing along the exteriors like the ancient remnants of spiders. Cobwebs of humanity.
Even the smell lingered with her. Months old stagnation in the streets, murky with contents that was best left unexplored.
It had been her life. It had been her childhood. Little more than brief flights of joy between the brick and mortar of her misery. Oftentimes, her only solace from reality had been the way she'd felt music move her. D a n c e had acted as her escape. How amusing it was, the girl with only one arm who could only bear her soul through the cant of her limbs.
She'd found strength in her art; just as she'd found it in her studies. An uncommonly sharp mind, too good for the ramshackle school that she propped her education on. Ultimately it had been both her art and her wits that had caught the eye of Vishkar corporation. They'd seen in her a unique gift to be used to their advantage, and drawn her away with lofty promises that once she had completed her training, Vishkar would return the favor of her gifts and build a gleaming city to pull the slums from their depths.
But Vishkar had never come back.
Shame had slipped it's way into Satya's everyday life. It gnawed at her edges, sharpened her tongue. Years passed, and while she had left as a girl, womanhood had found her in her absence. She bloomed. Brilliant mind, unmatched gifts, and her lifestyle was commessurate with those facts. She had arrived, as it were. Her humble start often little more than a bitter memory.
But time wore on, and Hyderabad did not weather the storm as well.
There was no longer a middle class. The slums expanded, encircling the wealthy center of the city as some sort of ghastly moat of human suffering. The poor grew poorer, scraping together fewer and fewer scraps. There was an oppressive sort of awareness that there was no escaping, it hung over the slums of Hyderabad as a death shroud might. The cost of her train ride was more than most would see in a month.
Live or be free, there was no room for both.
And there was Satya, her own sort of Cinderella. Though her tale cast aside the need for a prince, and the ideology of glass slippers. Plucked from obscurity by the strength of her own mind
Even as she could see the skyline in the distance, she couldn't allow herself to appreciate the meticulous lines of the architecture. The way that the windows gleamed impeccably, a collection of small perfections. An oasis among the din. Grandeur built on the breaking backs of the impoverished.
Just a little longer. Just a few more months - a few more dutiful years, and Vishkar would return to their promise. The slate of desolation would be wiped clean, and Hyderabad could rise again as a gem of gleaming progress. Born anew. Salvation brought on the promise of one of their own.
She did not foresake them.
The lie had become as necessary to her as any other secondary function. As she breathed, so did it exist. It crept into her, spreading it's insidious pacification like a slow burning cancer until the thought danced it's false comforts across her heart in the same way a mother might mollify with fairytales. It was little more than that, after all. A construct of baseless solace.
The train slowed; the indicator shone bright with her station. This was her stop. No more could she assuage decades-old guilt with her well-wishes and girlish dreams. It was time.
This was her home.
And this was her h e l l.