Reed sat cross-legged on the thick wall overlooking Clitera City and rolled herself a lief. It was a process. One that took a little time, and involved a little ritual. First she set her little smoking pouch in front of her and drew out the rolling paper. It was three inches long and two inches wide, big enough to get a decent amount of plant matter into it. Reed’s choice of plant was referred to on the street as ‘Blue Lady’. She’d known the proper name for it once, but it didn’t come to mind as she picked purple tinged leaves out of the pouch and put them into her little hand grinder. For long minutes she turned the handle, round and round, round and round. When there was no more resistance against the sharp spinning blades, she tipped the resulting powder into the paper.
The sun was beginning to set behind Reed as she carefully rolled the paper up, put the cylinder to her lips, struck a match and inhaled. Thick blue smoke curled out her nostrils in slow coils as she held the load inside her lungs, letting it saturate her being.
Golden rays burst across the sky, the last hurrah of the great roiling fire as it sank down, down, down below the horizon. Reed was caught in the blasting light, a dark silhouette at the top of the city.
Exhale. Breathe out. The smoke fled her body as she pursed her lips and drew fresh air in to replace the stale. Then she laid out on the top of the wall, watching as the twinkling stars came out one by one. There were many more dancing lights only seen by her eyes, pinks and greens and purples moving about in the sky.
“Hello, Lady,” Reed said, a soft smile on her lips.
The lights moved softly about the sky, forming the outline of a face. Though each light remained in motion, the face itself seemed solid. A static object made of constant stellar motion.
The lady smiled.
“I still haven’t managed to seduce her,” Reed said conversationally, resting her head on interlaced fingers. A few inches from the top of her skull was a sheer drop that would have turned every bone in her body to mush should she have fallen. Reed was quite relaxed even at that great height. What was a few hundred feet when the entire universe looked down upon you? “She’s very prickly.”
A warm sensation started spreading across Reed’s body, starting in her stomach. The lady was bestowing her touch. It bought euphoria, a sense of corporeal disconnection. Reed was keenly aware that she was not her body any more than she was the wall, or the tree or the grass. She was something else. She was something inhabiting the world, piloting her meat suit about the place for the duration of its lifespan.
She laughed at the silliness of it all, quietly at first, but soon she was roaring with laughter, caught up in the mirth of the cosmic giggle.
“Who goes there!” The rough shout of a guard came from below. Reed felt the guard’s separateness. She felt the guard’s mundanity.
“Nobody! Everybody! You! Me!” Reed shouted the words in quick order.
“Come down from there!”
Reed seriously contemplated obeying the order, but she couldn’t work out how. “There is no here, don’t you see!?” She rolled over and stuck her head over the Clitera City side of the wall. The wall was not nearly so tall on that side. The drop was a much more manageable hundred feet or so. “Your here is my there. How can I go there when I will always be here?”
“It’s not safe! That wall is due for maintenance.”
The shiny tin head of the guard spoke with angry staccato. Reed saw the words rising out of the woman’s head. Little black dots floated up, up, up into the sky. Then two thick black baubles rose up to Reed. For long seconds they hung before her eyes. Curious, Reed reached out with a finger and poked one. They both burst in her face, expelling their words.