Setting – The Two Jollies
The Two Jollies take Boy to their home.
The stand of warehouses sat on the flat plain like a giant row of cathedral cookie cutters. Thirty giant arched warehouses, all in a row, all in one linked up super-complex. The metal on the buildings looked over-armored, as if they expected these warehouses to be the bank vault of the universe. Peaked at the top at 100 meters, the steeply sloping sides of the buildings bowed out, as if they had enormous pressure inside them. No windows could be seen anywhere, and the sparsely lit entryways were barbed and covered in metal and concrete as well. Not a sound peeped for miles, but there was a consistent hum from inside. I had followed Marf and Wire for about two miles now, and although I was not lost, I had definitely not come to this quarter of the abandoned city yet.
Wire looked at me and winked. “You nae gotta be wurried abouts here mate, we know there are only two city guards that watch this place, and mostly, we just let them chase us around a bit.”
I shook my head and chuckled, having seen these two in action once today, I was pretty relaxed with the news. They could handle two city guards with a blink and a nod. We stepped up to the door, and Marf pulled on it with his giant arms, and it creaked slowly open. The door was probably a foot and a half thick, and it moved ponderously, like there were hydraulics making it stiff. All the hinges and handles were made of thick stainless steel, gleaming grey in the white wash of light that spilled out. I stepped out of the dark night and into the building, and saw that the roof was not attached to anything, but machinery and pipes went in confusing directions all over, and there only seemed to be one main corridor that ran through it, the one we came in.
Catwalks and ladders and pipes and pipes and pipes. Hundreds of thousands of pipes, all sizes with all kinds of color codes on the grey metal that was the standard color. One other color was obvious, as all the catwalks and ladders were a bright safety yellow, widely stained and spattered with grease and dirt. The hum I found, came from the enormous lights hanging about five meters off the peak of the warehouse’s roof, bright as any sun, but by the time the light hit the concrete floor, it seemed as dirty as the surroundings.
We walked about 200 meters into what Marf simply called “The Main.” The corridor we walked down was about 5 meters wide, with a feeling of claustrophobia from all the pipe work and abandoned machinery laying about, but the Main was 20 meters wide, and not one pipe through it. It was clear up to the ceiling, where the arch from the separate warehouse we had been in connected to the main roof. A shallow ditch ran the exact middle of it, but it was dry, although there could be seen water stain along its bank. Wire pointed to a metal sign that simply had the number 7 engraved through it.
“Thazza door number 7 we cames in, you has to members them, cause only 7 and 19 will open. ”
I nodded and we started walking to the right of the corridor we came in. Wire continued telling me a bit about the place.
“Thems are folks behinds us, Hungarians I thinks, they farms outside, but lives in dah warehouses. They will probably not talks to you untills you helps thems. We comes in numbers sevens cause the 19 door is wide out in the flat, and the forest we came through is easier to hide in. Dems city guards, they can stuns yah and take youz down to jail, and you don’ts wants that. We live by 18 though, so you knows.”
On our right the corridors kept repeating at the numbers, and the immensity of the place started to sink in. On the left was the pipes again, but about 20 meters in were the old rolled doors you could see on industrial buildings everywhere. A noticeable difference was the fact that these doors were only 6 meters tall, and 10 meters wide, unusual in that doors like this were usually taller than wider, and much taller at that. We got to corridor 18 and Marf took the smaller hall to the first door at the end of the corridor. He took a piece of bent rebar steel that was through the lock, and straightened it with his amazing strength. One small thrust of his giant paw, and with an ear-splitting sound of rolling metal, the door shot up.
We stepped in and he slammed the door back down, bending the rebar back into the lock on this side. We were in a cozy, (well after our long walk through the giant complex, a feeling of cozy,) twenty by sixty meter store-room. The ceiling was only about 15 meters up, and there looked to be a small box bathroom in the corner.
Marf saw my eyes glance to the bathroom, and he nodded, “Yeps, theres runnin waters here.”
His eyes sparkled with happiness, as we were all dirty, and he could tell, I am sure by the smell, I had not seen running water in a while. I was suddenly embarrassed, but grateful for my new friends. Cable storage made excellent round tables, and there were several logs that had been cut to chair high, sanded smooth and worn glossy from use. A sink was against the door, and I turned the faucet on and off, laughing at the sight of running water. They were waiting beside a large long table made of left over pallets, smiling and watching me with their sharp glittering eyes. Stacked along the top of the table were real actual running computers, the LED’s on and green, the faintest hum of internal fans that were actually spinning.
“We thoughts, since you was coming, we could find some good stuffs for you to use, and helps us three become better persons.”
My eyes began to water, from some unknown source deep inside me.