Blue Clouds, Grey Skies (Part 1—The City)
Lin sits in her room on the 38th floor of a recently constructed apartment building. She looks out of her newly cleaned, perfectly clear window upon the famously pristine Shanghai cityscape. Her attention shifts to ignoring the confident whirring of her newly installed air purifiers and the arrogant presence of the piles of filled cardboard boxes as she lies down on her bed.
“Not a day of blue skies since I moved in,” she texts her friend having already having lost interest in her discontents. “Just need patience.” “Winter doesn't see much rain,” Lin quickly replies and then closes her eyes, fumbling for an empty space on her nightstand where she could place her phone.
Urban pollution in China can largely be attributed to the particulate products of large, industrial processes. An hour of downpour is usually more than enough to bring about an afternoon of clear skies, as raindrops merge with the miscellaneous particles to form murky, dark-grey suspensions that find their way into the wide-open mouths of foolish children.
Her roommate, Mercy, was teaching math at a nearby elementary school. Mercy would tell you that her real name is He'ran, while conveniently not revealing that this name was reserved for only two groups of people: those who understood the intricate manner by which her relationship with her birth name changes at a rate roughly proportional to the product of the second derivative of the hyperbolic cosine of f(x, y), which yields a confidence score “z” as a function of the exact velocity (x) and exact position (y) of the second mass on a double pendulum located at the top floor of a building with security measures fitting of a heist-themed Tom Clancy novel, and those who are excited to help her test the effects of her newest chemical reagents on human subjects. Lin would tell you that they used to date years ago. Mercy wouldn't mention it.
— To be continued —
This is my first real stab at fiction! I will write more soon.