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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Sci-fi · #1912245
This short story is about two unlikely people meeting and falling in and out of love.
Marrastrum, at one time, had been a beautiful place to live. That was before the war.  Now it was nothing but a burnt out city of lost hopes and despair.  Iron towers constantly belched and coughed out blue-black smoke that kept Marrastrum in a shroud of industrial pollution.

Eodrith, the glass city that floated in the sky, was the polar opposite. It was the most pristine place left after the war. Most could not afford to live up there and hob-nob with the elitist leftovers. So, by order of the Sergeant at Arms, the ones that couldn’t afford the monthly taxes were banished to the ruined city of Marrastrum.

The factories that were still operational produced cannons and ammo. A few of the skilled citizens that lived on Marrastrum operated huge mech suits. Their purpose was to find and salvage all the iron and steel they could and haul it back to the factories where it was melted down and made into artillery.

The citizens, known as Marrastrumites, were trying to construct enough cannons and enough ammunition to destroy the floating city of Eodrith and all the Eodrites with it. They knew it wasn’t going to be easy.  Eodirth was surrounded by a fleet of metallic hot air balloons armed with bombs. The revolt could last as long as two hundred years. It would take that long because nobody really wanted to fight or revolt. It was just easier to complain about the current situation than to actually do something about it.

Bertram and Minerva met each other in Marrasturm after Minerva had been ousted form Eodrith. She was a very harsh woman and was very hard to like. But nonetheless, she did have quite a few male suitors. She just couldn’t or wouldn’t settle on one. She was too picky.  She also had a very rude way about her. Oftentimes she would push her way to the front of the line without so much as an ‘excuse me.’

There was also an instance that took place in a coffee shop where Minerva and a server had almost come to blows because the server filled her coffee cup past the third stripe.  Minerva stood up, looked at the poor server, and dumped the entire contents of her coffee mug onto the floor. “Just don’t stand there looking pretty! Get a mop and clean it up! And get me some more coffee if it isn’t too much trouble.” She had said.

Most of the city despised Minerva. But there was one man who looked past her brusqueness.  His name was Bertram.  He had been following her since she had been ousted from Eodrith.  She had never seen him or even knew he existed.  In fact, no one knew that Bertram existed. Even though he was one of the richest men in the world. But nobody knew he was alive. Nobody knew what he looked like or who he was. He, himself didn’t know what he looked like either. Bertram was born invisible.

He had met a scientist just before the war and the two of them had started making progress to undo Bertram’s invisibility. Due to the war, all efforts had died on the vine. Along with the scientist. He actually died on a vine. A mechanical acrobat with clocks for eyes landed on him by mistake while doing a routine.

After a few years of following Minerva around, Bertram finally got his chance to meet his love.  He knew what kind of woman she was, but he didn’t care.  He loved her auburn hair, her mechanical arm and most of all, he loved the small, intricate tattoos that covered her from her neck to her feet.  He had seen her undress many times.  He wasn’t a stalker, not by any stretch of the word. He was just curious. He was in love.

Their chance meeting happened one night in the Dark Forest on the outskirts of Marrastrum.  Minerva had ditched her date for the evening and had procured herself a bit of opium. She was just about to indulge when a swarm of metallic scorpions with tiny, clockwork gears on their backs started to attack her. She screamed and ran. But in her haste, she ran into a tree and knocked herself out. Bertram reacted quickly by swooping in and scooping up the unconscious Minerva. Thus saving her from certain peril.
And just like that, the two became an unconventional pair.  They never left one another’s side. Minerva loved the fact that she never had to look at him. Like most of the men she had dated prior to Bertram, she always ended up despising the way they looked. All their annoying little faces and idiosyncracies and peccadilloes had just driven her mad.  But with Bertram, such things did not exist. How could they? Bertram was invisible.

As for Bertram, he never had anyone love him before. It had been since meeting the  scientist that he’d held a conversation with another human being. In his mind’s eye, Minerva was the perfect companion. She gave him things that he never experienced before. He could, and was ever so willing to overlook her many flaws. Love is blind. Or so they say.

But nothing stays perfect forever.  As their romance blossomed, the city of Marrastrum fell further into disarray. There was hardly anymore scrap metal to salvage and the large gears and cogs that turned the city began to rust over and freeze up. It only took a short time before the gears no longer turned and the city was forced into perpetual darkness.

Minerva, like the rest of the denizens, began to lose all hope. The only one that stayed positive was Bertram. He tried with everything he had to keep Minerva’s spirits up. But her hopes, just like Marrastrum, grew darker. She started smoking opium with a group of people that woke up in the morning with bad intentions.  Bertram, at first, looked the other way. But after a while he could no longer ignore it. He gave Minerva an ultimatum. Quit the opium or he would leave.

Try as he might, Bertram could not get Minerva to stop taking opium and hanging out with her group of ill reputes.  Day after day after day he tried to steer the love of his life toward a better path.  And day after day after day Minerva seemed to stray further and further away.  Soon after, Bertram lost all hope himself and joined Minerva and her ilk.

His relationship with Minerva once predicated on love, now was predicated on need.  He no longer loved her and she no longer loved him. They simply stayed together out of need.  She didn’t want to be alone and neither did he. They talked about leaving Marrastrum and starting over but never did. Again, it was easier to just stay put and waste away with the majority. They continued on that way for the next ten years. Not loving, just needing.

While Marrastrum disintegrated below, Eodrith flourished.  There was a new ruler, there were new laws and everybody was living the ‘Life of Riley.’ Sometimes the Eodrites would drop bombs down from their luxurious air ships just to see how many Marrastrumites they could wipe out.  It became a Sunday tradition. They actually kept score and formed leagues.

One day, Bertram and Minerva had an epiphany. They decided to leave Marrastrum for good. They decided they were going to finally leave the burnt out city of despair. They would steal a two-man mech suit and slowly but surely make their way to Anon. Anon was a neighboring city that had rebuilt itself after the war. They would leave on a Sunday with their new hopes and new dreams.

Sadly, they never made it to Anon. On their way to get the mech suit, a bomb dropped by the Eodrites landed smack dab in between them. The blast scattered their body parts like confetti all over the street. Bertram’s body parts were never recovered and to this day, no one ever knew that he ever existed. He was invisible after all.
© Copyright 2013 Dylan Davis (dylandavis at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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