The melted world worlds.., p.1

The Melted World (Worlds of Creators Book 1), page 1

 

The Melted World (Worlds of Creators Book 1)
 

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The Melted World (Worlds of Creators Book 1)


  The Melted World

  Worlds of Creators Book 1

  Davi Cao

  The Melted World

  Worlds of Creators Book One

  Davi Cao

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, organizations, places, events and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

  Text copyright © 2017 Davi Cao.

  All rights reserved.

  No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without express written permission of the publisher.

  Cover design by Gustavo Pelissari.

  Edited by Graham Toseland.

  Contents

  ∙ 1 ∙ Fallen world

  ∙ 2 ∙ Meltdown

  ∙ 3 ∙ OOOO

  ∙ 4 ∙ Creator

  ∙ 5 ∙ A walk at the beach

  ∙ 6 ∙ An immortal's burden

  ∙ 7 ∙ Facing ghosts

  ∙ 8 ∙ Housewife

  ∙ 9 ∙ Out of the city

  ∙ 10 ∙ Some company to pass the time

  ∙ 11 ∙ Crisalid

  ∙ 12 ∙ Worlds of possibilities

  ∙ 13 ∙ Mountain Creator

  ∙ 14 ∙ Telepathic

  ∙ 15 ∙ The good wall

  ∙ 16 ∙ Underground

  ∙ 17 ∙ Mad creations

  ∙ 18 ∙ Funeral

  ∙ 19 ∙ Failed therapy

  ∙ 20 ∙ The World Voice

  ∙ 21 ∙ Friends

  ∙ Epilogue ∙

  ∙ Thank you! ∙

  ∙ 1 ∙ Fallen world

  The skies burned in balls of fire. Flames incinerated the atmosphere with the appetite of small suns, feeding on Earth’s gases. The air agonized in silence, disappearing in heat waves. Trees on the ground stood still, wooden sculptures frozen in time, their leaves drying up and falling dead. Although it was winter, the day blew warmth on people's faces, a taste of summer in the wrong season. People looked for shelter, they escaped the hellish breezes, cursing at the world for the broken promise of eternity.

  Colin put on his jeans, rolled a deodorant under his armpits, and slipped on his grey t-shirt. He washed his face to remove the sticky perspiration that accumulated all over his skin, no matter how often he washed it off. To him, the slime on his body strangled his dignity, threw his soul in the mud, the worst effect of those fiery days.

  A ghost haunted every room, the phantom of heat, ignoring opened windows and plentiful ventilation, turning breathing creatures into living carcasses. The office had an air-conditioner, plenty of work to do, a place to stay where he didn't meltdown just by going to the kitchen. Better than staying home.

  “Dad, I decided to go. I have nothing to do here, and it's too hot.” He picked up his backpack from the living room coffee table.

  “I see.” Francis peeked out through the window. “Will anybody give you a lift? I heard only a few buses are running today.”

  “I don't know about that. Mr. Alden called me a while back and said everybody's at the office. I'm on my own, though. If I can't get there by bus, I'll walk.”

  “You'll melt in this heat, son. Stay here, why don't you? Everybody is staying home because of those flames. If your boss fires you, so what? We'll help you out.” Francis sat on the couch, the bags under his eyes darkened by the endless nights of bad sleep.

  “I know, I know. Thanks. The thing is, I also want to be there for the company, you know?” Colin placed his left hand on the door handle.

  “It's Angeline, right? Yeah, don't hide, your eyes can't lie. Invite her over to have a good time with us. Don't go to work. It could be our last day on Earth, come on!” Francis opened a big smile and spread his arms wide at his sides.

  “Ah, don't start with that, ok? She's got her own life to bother with, she's not into hanging out with guys like me ...”

  “Hey, 'guys like me’? What's that supposed to mean? Who said that to my sweet little boy, huh?” Colin's mother, Sarah entered the room with a bag of potato chips over her belly. “I don't like it already, I want an apology!”

  “Nobody said that, it's just me being realistic ...” Colin said, turning his eyes up with the new interference.

  “Nah, nah, nah, that's not what I heard. Are you in love with this girl or not? Or is it with your dear Mr. Alden?” Sarah threw more chips in her mouth then put a hand on her waist.

  “Sarah!” Francis said to reprimand her, although he was smiling at what she said to Colin.

  “Hey, hey, wait, I just want to go to work, OK? I want to do my part in keeping the world going. I'm sure it's everybody's wish that we all survive these days, right? Then we've got to work, otherwise where's the food and everything coming from? Is that wrong? Huh? Is that wrong?”

  “To hell with the world! It's the apocalypse, my dear, it's time to be free!” Sarah threw a few scraps of her chips in the air.

  “And your plan for the apocalypse is to eat crap?” Colin said.

  “Eat and drink, yeah, haha! And I have other plans as well.” She looked at Francis with one raised eyebrow and a lascivious grin.

  “Then suit yourself. I'll get to work instead, because that's what I like to do. You’ll be fine, I’ll be fine. Agreed? If the four riders come down from the sky, I’ll be sure to get back to you guys before they reach the ground, OK?”

  “Alright, if you’re so in love with your Mr. Alden, go on …” Sarah said.

  “Sarah!” Francis gave her a tiny slap on her shoulder.

  Colin crossed to the front door and closed it behind him to the sound of his father snatching some chips from his mother’s bag. Sarah said something inaudible that made Francis laugh with her. Thinking of the scene while he walked, Colin smiled. They were wonderful people. How could the world end all of a sudden if it was such a great place? They were just scared.

  The bus stop shone with fresh violet paint, dripping wet on the concrete. An old lady stuck tinged toilet paper around the sign pole, making a conical tree that looked frail and disjointed. Her flabby breasts swung at each of her hopping steps, she was half-naked and unashamed, wearing a ballerina skirt that let her wrinkled skin glitter with sweat and the burning sky’s yellow glow.

  “Walk, my dear, walk away if you’re going somewhere. No buses today,” she said when Colin got near.

  “Not even the 71?”

  “Only cars. This place here is now a forest, can’t you see? We can only plant trees now.”

  “OK, I’ll walk then.”

  “Yes, walk away.”

  Colin laughed at the lady, amused at her eccentricity. She used to wait for the bus with him every day, always complaining about the time.

  “Excuse me, lady, is everything alright? Do you need any help?” He was worried about her mental health.

  “All well and good, I’m watching the woods.” She sent him on his way with a nod.

  He walked along the sidewalk, obeying her instruction. Out of curiosity, after a few strides he looked back. The old lady had crawled inside her toilet paper tree, crouched with the eyes of a scared beast. A car drove along the street, zigzagging across the two lanes, and the driver honked at her. She waved at him, putting her arm out of her precarious shelter.

  The avenue leading to the office’s neighborhood had a Sunday feel to it. People still worked, to Colin’s relief, although only a handful of them. The Sallar bakery left its glass doors open, the city cleaners swept the sidewalks, a few customers entered the buildings and carried bags full of produce. He gave a thumbs up to a worker cleaning the tables of a restaurant, g
lad to see that lots of people fought as he did against the end of the world

  At the office, the only empty chair waited for Colin's buttocks, alone in the midst of a dozen occupied computers. He smiled in bliss with his first step through the door. His soaked t-shirt stuck to his skin, sweat turning light gray into dark. Salty water bathed his face, flowing down his chin to mingle with the vertical pool on his wet chest. He put his backpack on the floor by the side of his computer and sat down, exhausted. Finally, a cool place.

  “Now the office makes sense again.” Angeline giggled at the sight of her tired and happy colleague.

  “Yeah, I had a tough journey. It’s hell out there, did you get to feel it? I’m glad to be back to paradise now,” Colin said, venting his t-shirt by pulling the fabric on his chest. “The buses are off, I didn’t believe that. How did you get here?”

  “Mr. Alden brought us in his car. He had to make two trips to pick us all.”

  “Aw, he could’ve taken me too, couldn’t he? Is he mad at me or something?”

  “Nah, he’s just very worried, it seems. He trusted you could make it yourself. You shouldn't mind, though, because we’re all thinking about dropping off, and you’re invited to join us. People are going to the beach, you know, for the apocalypse celebration. It’s the sensible thing to do. You agree?” she whispered in amusement.

  “Wait, I think it’s better to leave these things to Saturday. The situation is pretty rough in here, you know that …”

  “Yeah, yeah, I know. Work to do, crazy deadline, we're going bust, we're ruined. Totally unlike out there, right?” Angeline said, rolling her eyes, getting back to her computer screen.

  “Don't fall into the lunatics' talk, please. The world is not going to end.”

  Angeline’s white shoulders glimmered. The sky fires reached the office through the glass panes, coloring people and computers with explosions of yellowish tones. Colin waited for any reaction to his remark, but she remained silent. To escape the weight of his intent stare, she tied back her hair, black and wavy, Mediterranean in descent, and pretended to work hard, turning her brown eyes to all corners of the screen. She dragged the vectors of the illustration on which she worked, moving aimlessly to disguise her anxiety. A child playing with ribbons, unsure of what to do with it. She pressed her lips, reddened by vivid lipstick, and looked again at Colin.

  “Do you like what you’re seeing?” The words were filled with charm.

  “Sorry, I just ... I’m just at a loss with people today.”

  “We’re scared, brave man. All this fire makes us wonder whether it’s worth living like we’ve always done.”

  “Many are saying the same, and yet, why would we regret anything? We’ve never had it better in human history.”

  Angeline laughed. “There you go with your story. Listen, we can’t be sure of that. Life could be much more. Think about it, this might be our last day on Earth. Is this how you want to spend it? At work?”

  “They said the same thing about yesterday and the days before. It’s not our last day! You’re all exaggerating. Let’s live today and make sure that everything stays in place. There are people taking care of the skies, we should let them have a go at it and do our part. You want to cry for things that will never happen. It’s not worth it, is it?” Colin smiled at Angeline, hoping to bring her back to reality.

  She bit her lips, hearing the condescending tone of his voice, blushing with hearing the truth and for being reprimanded.

  “Maybe Earth won't end now, yeah. At such short notice, how's that possible? But who wants to work in times like this?” she said, looking down at her keyboard.

  Jason, the colleague by her side, shook his head. He murmured something only Angeline heard, to which she nodded in agreement. Colin couldn’t hear them, the excluded peer, and felt his heart pierce. To let go of the tension accumulated since early morning, he turned on his computer, ready to work.

  Mr. Alden called Colin to his room. He greeted him with a warm handshake and a chocolate bar.

  “We must finish the Zaran pieces today. Do you think you can pull it off with our team?” he asked, twitching his forehead to disguise his greed.

  “The deadline is for next Wednesday, sir, and we’ve got two designers already working on them full time. I don’t think we can get any faster than this.”

  “I see, I know, I appreciate your calculations, but ... we must. Can’t you try? Hm? Full force on this project, forget all the rest. You can see how badly we’re faring, I’m honest with you, I always am, we can trust each other. This client is huge, and they’re nagging me, you know ...”

  “Of course, Mr. Alden, I know that, I’m here to help. I’ll see what I can do.”

  “Thanks, my man, I’m sure you can do it.”

  Colin left the boss’ room with a pat on his shoulder and a great injection of energy from a bite of his chocolate bar. In the work room, the sky explosions brightened empty chairs, devoid of employees save for two of them, one being Angeline, the other Jason.

  “Where is everybody?” he asked Angeline.

  “All gone to the beach,” she said, with a palm on her cheek.

  “Oh ... That’s bad. That’s really bad.”

  He turned around to go back to Mr. Alden’s private room and inform him of the situation. His heart accelerated, a cold chill pierced his spine. Chocolate, one bite of his chocolate, before returning, so that he could ease his terror.

  Now they would never meet the boss' demands. Colin went to his computer, laid the papers on the table, still standing up, to make a brief analysis of the troubles ahead. The designers were all working on urgent projects, unavailable for any new demands. He looked at the check-list where all the new pieces were listed and tried to match each worker to as many new ones as possible. No, that was undoable. What one took two hours to do, one would have to do in twenty minutes. Either they kept the agreed deadline or delivered amateur, subpar work to the client. And only if the workers remained in the office, of course, which wasn’t the case.

  “It’s a huge mess, right? We can’t deal with this workload.” Angeline peered at his papers.

  “I know. What choice do we have, though? I’m trying to make it easier for you all, but I can’t see how it can be done,” Colin said, chewing more chocolate.

  “Forget it, you can’t help us in this case. We’ll spend our time better at the beach. There, yes, you can help us by having fun,” she said, inviting him with a shy smile.

  Colin took a deep breath, nodding at her.

  He went back to Mr. Alden’s room. The boss slept with his head on his folded arms on the table, waking up in fright with the bang of the door. He stared at the intruder with reddened eyes, a round mark from his wristwatch on his bald forehead.

  “Sir, almost all the people are gone. We can't do this.”

  “I see. That’s understandable. Yes, yes, I get that,” Mr. Alden nodded to himself, eyes intent on the table, blinking fast. “The world is about to end, isn’t that what they say? Well, if nobody works anymore, it’s sure going to end, isn’t that right? I heard the president speak last night, I’m aware of all the mess.”

  “You could try to reason with the client. I’m sure they’ll understand.”

  “Of course they will, sure thing. I bet all their employees are out too, crazy like all these people. I don’t blame them. Should we blame them? Uh? What do you say, Colin?”

  “I think they’ll feel foolish when they see that they were wrong and made us lose business and maybe their jobs.”

  “They will, won’t they? Listen, why don’t we ... why don’t the rest of us, those who stayed, why don’t we finish the Zaran job, uh? What do you say? I can learn this stuff in a minute, just give me a few directions and I’m up for designing everything, I have a good eye for it.”

  “Maybe we should call the day off, Mr. Alden. To tell the truth, things are starting to affect me too. It's better to just get home and wait for a solution to this chaos. I can't se
e myself helping with the creative, and without the others, I'm pretty useless in here.”

  “Don’t be silly, my boy, everybody can create!” the boss said, standing up from behind his desk and walking quickly towards Colin.

  Together, they entered the computer room. The empty chairs, illuminated by screens filled with icons and pretty pictures over messy tables, the chairs standing intact in a sinking ship. Angeline looked at them with a finger in her mouth, biting her nail, alone.

  “What about Jason?” Mr. Alden asked Colin.

  “He was here before I went into your room!” he said.

  “Jason also went to the beach,” Angeline murmured.

  The boss gave them his angry look, opening his mouth to speak and then stopping midway to swallow his breath. Through the large windows, unending fires burned Earth’s precious atmosphere. The once blue mantle that covered the planet changed into red, painted with the colors of death.

  “I guess it’s just the three of us, then. Teach me everything! Angeline, my loyal friend, we have a lot to discuss. Sit by my side, show me the magic. We have one day to do what should be ready in a week!”

  His boss’ will to keep the world running even at the most troubling of times amused Colin, and he smiled at Angeline in the hope of inspiring her with his optimism. In silence, she stared at him with her big eyes and looked down, still chewing the soft bits of her nail, nervous, looking for a place to focus her attention and forget about the imminent apocalypse.

  Mr. Alden dragged the mouse over the table with the prowess of a dog, a dog putting its tongue out of the window of a racing car, congratulating himself on each assembled piece.

  “It’s so easy, you guys, it’s just copying and pasting, trimming here and there, moving stuff around, I don’t know why I need eight people to do this, oh no, as soon as they get back, we’re going to have a lot of rethinking to do about this business, we sure are.”

  His work lacked harmony and legibility. Totems with tiny, unreadable letters, signs with complementary colors, envelopes covered in black and thin white fonts that would disappear once the ink flooded the paper. Angeline let him do as he pleased, teaching him the core basics of the program while she herself hurried to deal with the rest of the check-list. Colin struggled to create a simple rectangle in the program, sweating coldly at his incapacity to do the simplest of things.

 
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