Letters from the Waste: Part I is the introductory chapter in CohnQuest’s Puritan serial, a dystopian fantasy that details a regime of unreality.
We’re getting closer. It’s on the horizon.
Fragment 0002, Anne Milton – a
I’ve safely arrived at the Citadel, and it’s as beautiful as I always imagined. It’s a beacon of light, of neon, of people and things and windows shimmering everywhere. It moves like the sound of waves crashing, bustling and shouting. It’s alive.
When the driver, Vicar Cret, first picked me up from the station last night, I was surprised by how cold the desert could actually feel. The wind whipped over the arid grit and stony rubbish, but the place felt calm, burned to chilly peace by the blue touch of the moonlight. Before we passed over the last hill, the sky was clear and dark, and the stars were incredible. And then, there it was. The chalky headlights of the old car gave way to the glossy afterglow of the Citadel, a patchwork of skyscraper silhouettes and glittering spotlights, weaving their way across the violet landscape. Before I knew it, we were over the interceding stretch and through the walls, passing through the guard gates and customs with ease. Cret, a harsh-looking, quiet man, chuckled to himself after every time he stared down a subordinate security officer asking for our identification.
At least for one night, I’m staying in residence housing adjacent to the Vicar and his wife’s. Her name is Maria. She is also a Vicar, almost as severe-looking as her husband, but both of them have shown me exceptional hospitality so far. My unit is typically reserved for sanctioned guests, and you can tell by its condition. It’s not that it’s opulent; it’s furnished with only the standard commodities of every other urban unit. It’s not a difference in cleanliness either – our units have always been well-maintained out in Los Angeles – but everything is new and without the tell-tale scars of usage. None of the door hinges squeak, and the plastic floor tiles have none of those impossible-to-remove scuffs. Water flows smoothly and clearly through the spouts. When I was getting ready for bed, I spent over half an hour just standing in the shower. I missed having you with me.
I know that I reassured you before I left, but even I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t nervous. I haven’t forgotten the last person he privately summoned, how they were deemed a Pariah of Importance. Has it already been two years? The Vicar has made no indication why he would want to see me, whether for better or worse. I trust in the Order. Whether I like it or not, in a few short hours, I meet the Puritan.
I love you.
Yours truly, Anne
I’m worried. I think they know who I am. We have to abandon the mission. I’m leaving for the border tomorrow. Meet me at extraction 37.
Are you still in control?