The Impossible City

by , under Fiction Prompts, What Pegman Saw

You believe that you live in one world, he said. A world where fiction and fact are different. Separate, like rooms in a house. You pass from one to the other and only think of the doorway.

I don’t understand, I said. What does this have to do with what I saw last night?

He drew a deep breath, as though preparing for physical exertion. Here, he said, it is not like that. In Kinshasa they are not rooms in a house, but fingers on a hand. They work in tandem without knowing. They rely on one another. Do you see?

It seemed like a dream, I said.

And so it was, he said. And also was not. May I ask you this: why did you come here?

I can’t remember. I must’ve had a reason.

So you did, he smiled. But now you have another, if you wish it.

 

 

What Pegman Saw: Kinshasa, DRC

This story is inspired by Kinshasa: Tales of the Invisible City, by Filip De Boeck and Marie-Françoise Plissart.

“The second world is the one of the invisible,” says one inhabitant of Kinshasa, “and those who live in it and know are those who have four eyes, those who can see clearly both in the day and the night. Their eyes are a mirror. The man with two eyes only cannot know this world. The second world is superior to ours.”

  1. k rawson

    Love love love the voice. Not sure I know what is going on, not sure I need to, because I love the mystery of it. The quote you included with it deepens the mystery even more. What a place!

    Reply
  2. pennygadd51

    This is a fascinating piece, I love the way you validate the statements about reality in Kinshasa by reference to the narrator forgetting why he’s there and being able to choose a different reason.
    Of course, flexi-truth of that sort can mask all manner of criminality and wickedness.

    Reply
  3. Dale

    I love this, Josh. I have been struggling with coming up with something so I am doing what I never do – reading other stories…
    You have left us scratching our heads but in a most pleasant manner… what the hell is going on here?

    Reply
    • J Hardy Carroll

      Thanks, Dale. I believe I am working up to the horror novel that I have had on the back burner for a while. The idea that there are Hidden Worlds right in front of our faces is very appealing to me.

      Reply
  4. Lynn Love

    Have to agree with others – love the voice, the theme of two worlds, the skirting between the two and the feeling of being happily lost somewhere mysterious. Nicely done

    Reply
  5. 4963andypop

    Turns the child’s taunt “four eyes!” From an insult into high praise. Sounds like interesting world, indeed.

    Reply

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