The City of Possibilities

The City of Possibilities

1. From the Outside

Approached from the North, be it in the piercing winter winds which sweep

across from the East, or in the swooning heat of a long stifling summer, the

city of Rubec presents a rounded, open and welcoming sight. Travellers on

the well-trodden highway visibly sigh at the sight of the smiling and ever

reliable city. Their thoughts turn to their dreams, in endless patterns,

reciprocated and nurtured by this city of possibilities. Rubec is, indeed, a

city of harboured desires and fantasies, each held separate in a perfect

balance of interweaving structures. Only here can travellers dreams

intercept each, embrace and depart each other, without destruction. And, on

these occasions, the city itself benefits as much as the experiences of the

travellers, as its many workers are called upon to perform the miracle of

erecting a new refuge, to the design of the travellers, who may never return,

to house and cradle their intermingling dreams, in a city whose outer bounds

never swell.

From the road every type of building may be viewed. Silhouetted castles

shadow fragile straw huts. Huge stilted mansions provide shelter for trees,

and support for houses, which hang as from window boxes. An elaborate

monorail system allows free travellers a space in which to transport their

dreams, as they chase the semi-remembered fantasies of an earlier visit. In

the East, pockmarked cliffs house embryonic thoughts alongside high-rise

recurrences, and, to the West, monsters dwell in suburban surrealism,

providing both comfort and illusion.
It is then, with a chilling certainty of amazement that the traveller ventures

to the city. In each aspect he recognises a fraction of a fantasy that was, or

is, or will be, he, and yet never does he seek a different path. Always, the

eyes and the smile of Rubec beckon the traveller onwards. Never does he

fear what may be revealed, because the understanding he sees in the face of

this city illuminates its purpose: Here is the one place where the traveller

may live or leave his dreams; enjoy or suffer in his fantasy, knowing that the

city is his servant, and will release him upon command.

Unlike many cities, Rubec never purports to be all things to all men. Rather,

it is a city that may be any thing to any man. A city of the subconscious. A

true city of possibilities; and yet, at the same time, an incomplete city,

constructed of fragments of lives, and never truly fulfilling to a traveller

seeking a place in which to rest.

To the South of the city lies a vast harbour. Along the quays and wharves

gigantic towers of warehouses stand, gaping at the merchants who sail

empty vessels into the port. Cranes of fantastic proportions strain to find the

cargoes for which the merchants eagerly seek. Brilliant black diamonds,

frightening and magnificent dragons, unwrapped adventures or a word of

comfort, all lay, stacked in orderly fashion, deep within the period walls of

the sympathetic storehouses.

Many a merchant will stay in the city for a while, his ship, itself a fantasy,

lying moored and content in a harbour of imagined weather. A tide of blue

or green washing or crashing against the tired harbour walls. In the cobbled

streets of the fishing village, nestled itself within the city walls, the

merchant may visit a tavern, bedecked with nets and lobsters, to discuss or

to live a dream. From time to time another travellers reverie may pass close

to his own, and all, unspeaking, will marvel at the mixture of paths and

promise of a myriad outcomes. A chance, then, for the merchant to decide

his next move: To select a new fantasy, and construct its dwelling, or to

abandon the scene, leaving the tavern frozen in its course, for all eternity, or

until the merchant once again seeks out what he considers his own city.

At the pier the merchant and his vessel are once more reunited, both now

laden with relief and desire: For the merchant a dream begun or comforted,

for his ship, expectations of a fruitful journey, and of fulfilment.
2. From the Inside

Rubec smiles with open warmth at its visitors, yet it is not a happy city. Its

residents are two-fold. There are those who dwell only in the imaginations

of travelers, lying inert for inordinate periods, in recumbency buildings,

formed from some now distant fantasy. These city dwellers often cross each

other’s paths, but recognition of each other’s features is rare, and they never

speak. The city’s true natives follow two occupations: There are those who

serve the merchants through telepathic communication, always providing a

new excitement or comfort. But their job brings no reward, and they find

themselves either robbed of their own possible futures, or weighed down by

the unwholesome goods of the merchants. In past times some of these

unrecognised warehousemen have lain down the tools of their service in

demand for recompense, only to find themselves replaced by youths with a

greater hunger to satisfy and console.

The remaining population of Rubec find their employment in construction,

and the city is a monument to their reading of the dreams of others. They

live, however, as mere observers of travellers’ fantasies, building shelters

and scenes to foreign designs; like ghosts, their contact with the dreams

they enable is immaterial. Unlike their neighbouring warehouse compatriots,

who daily find themselves drained of hope through contact, these

inhabitants find their despair through disassociation. Their only contact with

the city’s numerous visitors is through the scenes with which they are

playing, and their only reward from the city is the privilege of observation.

Each day these workers find themselves called upon to erect more pleasure

domes and encompass more desires, fears and fantasies, in a city with

stagnant borders. With every hour the city’s personal freedom is further

stifled by the erection of one more pagoda, one more castle supported by

clouds, one more Elizabethan manor house. Already there are quarters of

this city where possibilities have ceased. Dead quarters where, hemmed in

by frozen dreams, the workers form queues like waxworks in some horrific

museum. And yet, should a traveller stumble in his reverie upon such a

corner, its antique and picturesque beauty instantly astounds him,

wondering only how such a versatile city can exist in a landscape that is so


For the inhabitants of this soulless city, however, whose communication is

through moistened, melancholy eyes, its existence is apparent. If their eyes

bore the strength to influence they would tear down the facade of frontages,

exposing fragile shells of irrelevancies. For Rubec is a city of mirrors,

reflecting the desires of travellers into their own, expectant eyes. The city

provides what is expected of it, but only because it knows no other way.

Without the endless train of travellers, Rubec would cease to exist. The

mirrors would reflect only doubts and fears, and the weary traveller could

not call a halt to his wanderings.

Rubec, the city of possibilities. Rubec, the city of self-justification. Rubec,

the city of pretence and falsehood. An image of a city created in the

imaginations of so many travellers as to cause its very existence. On the

plains, at the foothills of the mountains, nestled on the coast: A city with no

intrinsic value. A city dependent on the whims of strangers, pausing for

relief. Strangers who can illuminate or blacken the city as they would a

blank page. Strangers, whose relationship with the city is one of intimate

dissociation. Rubec: a stillborn city, a city of visitors. A city of possibilities.



4 thoughts on “The City of Possibilities”

  1. Food for thought here. It felt like astral travel, souls converging in a plain. Dreams realised, possibilities and empty purpose. Much to think on. I like your scope in these stories, Chris. Adventures into other realms.x

    • I’m really thrilled that you have enjoyed what you have read – to have one person’s reaction makes writing worthwhile, so I really appreciate your comments! I’m glad that this made you think, I personally like to work a bit when I read, and would like to think that my writing has the same effect.

  2. I love your work, its inspiring!

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