Cold with frost in the air, misty and darkening.

It’s been a long day. Useless, though. She asked to work from home and was permitted to do so. Perhaps they felt slightly guilty at denying her other, much larger, request. But why would they? They operate on a massive scale, her life only one word on their vast page.

Instead of doing anything productive she sat at home ruminating, playing little half-melodies on the little piano in the centre of the flat. Those didn’t satisfy, though.

Outside she walks through the plaza; skirts the imposing building under construction. Lets her eyes linger on it for far too long. As always the airships sway overhead, tethered in port. Ready to leave at a moment’s notice. None flying in or out at the moment, though. Not as much wind today. The weather has let up somewhat but the lead of the sky has yet to lift. It will not lift.

Out past the town, onto the little hill. From here she can either ignore or take in the view. Production down below seems to have increased thanks to the frosty air, which means the steam emanating from each building is foggier and more oppressive. She drinks in the imposing building. That one gives her comfort.

Snow dusts the ground. Not enough to call it a proper winter. Not yet. She absently picks up a stick and draws her name. Ariadne, goddess of labyrinths. Lee likes her name because it is so ancient. Flows to form a delicious word like molten chocolate, he told her. If she waits until nightfall, she might be able to see the Corona Borealis, her diadem, set into the sky. Actually, no. No, she will not be able to see it, she reminds herself. For various reasons, she reminds herself.

The labyrinth below the clouds remains intact. She wanders among the gears as they grind on, never halting, never stopping.

The clockwork of a world under construction.

Story © 2015 Clio Em.

Read all the other Airships stories here: clio-em.com/airships

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