Paris Below pt.1

This is something I wrote a couple of years ago. I discovered it in a notebook tonight.

It was one of those days where the sky was deep and you came close to comprehending the vastness beyond the clouds. And the blue stretched and turned white and any surface of water was a mirror and the sun sliced its rays into the land. God rays. That’s what people called them. Nature was greener and yellower and more saturated with colour than I’d seen in a long time. Everything was far away, life in miniature, farms and water towers and houses and hay bales. We had left the city a long time before. The tracks snaked away from the metropolis until it was just fields. None of us really knew each other. No other trains passed us as we went. They told us this was the last one. I’m starting to believe it.

Let me say this: we got on that train not knowing what was going to happen. No destination. We went into that tunnel without the faintest idea of what lay on the other side. We had no idea. About anything, really, and it was the only thing we had in common as we rolled along.

A wind farm in the distance.

The trees looked lonely.


It was the only way to find out, you see. Trains hadn’t been used for years, but the tracks still stretched across the continent, from Beijing to Paris and then under the sea to London. That’s where we were heading, plunging into the ocean to what used to be Britain. Engalnd. Whatever. Because they were the ones who told us first. They kickstarted the development, they funded the research. They were the ones who made everyone move underground.

People told us that they’d collapsed the tunnel, that we’d reach the coast of England and be met with a wall of rubble, but we had to be sure. There was no way to know unless we actually went and saw it with our own eyes. People said we were stupid. Maybe we are.


I have no idea why I’m here, if I’m honest with myself. Nearly everyone else has some kind of role to play. Scientists, guards, bilinguals, map makers. But me? I’m just a writer. Or that’s what I call myself. A journalist. That was my excuse for coming. But seeing as though we’re being honest, I just needed to get out. Needed to know for myself why we had the sun taken from us, why we had to move our entire city underground simply to survive. We went through hell and I’m sick of having Lucifer in the downstairs apartment. Because as soon as we found out the airborne disease was a myth, I wanted to find out why.

But here’s me waxing lyrical, justifying my place here to a reader who probably won’t exist. I thought I was too old to keep a diary. But I suppose someone should keep a record of this.


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