Summary: Word War, Tan and Gray and White have a talk about how the world works and why White is stealing children.
NOTE: This is a very rough draft with no editing at all (per National Novel Wiriting Month rules) and is presented for amusement value only. Think of it as a periscope into my writing process rather than a coherent story!
There will most likely be spelling and grammatical errors afoot as well as flat out bad writing, info dumps, plot holes, contradictions/retcons, uneven characterization and pacing. These snippits are also posted out of order, so please refer to the Outline to figure out where it’s supposed to fit.
“This is where you tell me that you’ve found me out and that I’m suppose to hand over the child, right?” The old woman asked, amused.
“Well, yes,” said Gray. “We know you took her, so give her back.”
“And what will you do with her once you have her?”
“Take her home.” said Gray
“Right, because that worked so well when you tried it the first time.” The woman sighed, “Come in, let’s talk this out.”
She led them back in through the door and they entered what appeared to be a small office setup in the living room of a small house. There was a desk and writing materials, but no real electronics. She gestured for them to take a seat at the large conference table that was in the dining room.
“You’ve noticed you can’t leave, I’m assuming.” She said and Gray and Tan nodded in annoyance.
“So open the door and let us out,” said Gray.
“Ah, no,” said the woman and Tan growled. “You don’t get to go back, that’s not how the doors work. You can only come in from your home world; you can never go back again.”
“Wait, so you aren’t from here?”
“No one is from here,” said the woman. “We all came in from other places, some earlier some later, but none of us are from the city proper. She’s out of time, this place; she exists in the nothingness between the worlds.”
“It doesn’t look like nothingness,” objected Tan.
“Ah, well just open one of the empty doors and you’ll see.” White sighed and leaned back in her chair. “They’re fewer than they used to be, before we knew how to close them.”
“Less people falling through and into the void too,” pointed out another man as he wandered down the stairs with a bemused grin. “Can’t discount those.”
“But how many people are you losing through random doors?” asked Gray. “There can’t be that many new people wandering around the city or that many doors that lead nowhere.”
“Actually, the number of dead doors seems to be growing,” said the man, taking a seat next to White, “but it’s hard to tell how fast or how many. The endless city is pretty endless so it’s hard to tell.”
“There’s also the theory that as new doors appear old doors die off.” White said, sounding tired.
“That’s,” Gray searched for the right words,” horrible. Are you losing contact with them or they are actually vanishing?”
“We don’t know,” said the man, “I’m Tim, by the way.”
“Um, hi?” said Gray, who was getting thoroughly confused.
Which is why first drafts suck so much because you end up trying these long rambling conversations that don’t really go anywhere and can probably be summed up in three words in the second draft. Or just cut out all together, this is why word wars are such a bad idea! Well, okay, not really.
“But the city expands outwards in rings, as each new ring opens the doors in the inner rings close off. We’ve got a lot of groups out there, checking out the doors and seeing which ones to mark off. The city used to close them off by herself, but they’re staying open now. We’re not sure why.” said Tim.
“Why do you keep talking about the city as if it was a person?” asked Gray.
“Because she is, sort of.” said White. “The people who built her left a little of themselves behind and they’ve formed together to be something that’s intelligent as a person, only not quite.”
“The city started out small, smaller than even the inner ring we think, but time slows so much as you get to the heart that we can’t tell. The folks who’ve gone in never come back out again, I think it’s because they get lost in the time difference. Maybe they’ll come out years from now just as young as when they went in, maybe they won’t come out at all.” said Tim.
“There’s still people there, in the inner rings. We’re not sure where all of them came from, heck we’re not ever sure where all of us came from. Or how long we’ll be here. The only thing we know for sure is that you can’t go back to the world you came from, you can leave into new worlds but you can’t come back unless you have a key card or are one of the chosen ones.” Said Tim.
“Chosen One is just an easy way to name the folks who the city lets come and go at will. There are only a small handful of those and most of them end up heading into the city center. No real way to reason with them, they just go.”
“Sometimes it seems like the city if falling apart as she spreads out, but it’s hard to show you here, we’re in one of the inner rings now, if you want we can take you to the edges.”
“Why are you stealing children?” Asked Tan, confused and stubbornly holding the one thing that made sense.
“Because your world is stagnant,” White snapped. “You aren’t on the list to fade until the city gets another few rings out, but you’ve come to a halt and there’s no point in wasting people on your world. We’ll save the ones we can, the ones like you, the fake people living in a fake world- heck I doubt you’d notice if the world ended.”
“But we have no wars, no violence, no worries or problems.” objected Gray.
“And no growth. It’s forces change that makes for lasting improvements. If you’re happy where you are why would you ever chance? It’s the curse of a utopia, one we know all too well. I take the children, the real ones, not you biogenetically engineered facsimiles of people, they can survive here. You,” she snorted, “you’re no more a person than the dog is.”