Waiting in a City of Undead

J Dawson
7 min readJul 5, 2022
Photo by Daniel Lincoln on Unsplash

Veil sprawled out the best he could in his wooden chair. Legs stretched out. Bare feet propped against the cool stone wall instead of the empty chair meant for Juda. Veil flipped the medallion between his fingers. A pallor trick he spent a month in the woods mastering. It drove Juda crazy. Pressed silver. Scorpion holding a torch with its tail. Stinger and fire outlines touching. All was stamped on one side. It was a mark of being Silas’s family. Masters of Koda. Non-family had iron markers. They were stamped with the letters HD for Hile Delve on one side. The word faithful etched the other. He tilted his head back and watched the sun turn the surface to day through a gutter’s mouth in the ceiling — or beneath the alleyway demanding on perspective. It was the only spot in his underground burrow where natural light came through. A home he made himself when Juda told him he wanted to stay in Last City. Of course Juda pointed out the irony of Veil running way from his underground home and all his father stood for just to start his own.

It wasn’t the same. Veil wasn’t lying to people and keeping others against their will. He cared about the surface. He cared about a lot of things. He would never let himself forget what the sun feels like against his skin.

Another night without sleep. Another one waiting for Juda. Of course he figured out how to screw up the only thing that made him feel whole. His home wasn’t that hole underground. Nor was it Hile Delve with his family. The tree house on the edge of the ocean almost was. But that’s where Veil learned the truth. His home was Juda.

The worse part about a sleepless night was that his only company was thoughts about his father the delirium used to creep in his head. Not fully. But in the hours when the most of the broken world slept he replayed all his father has done, all Veil helped him do. How his sister accepted it all. An endless rotating cycle. Even if most of wasn’t a choice.

Veil was a living, walking example of went wrong with the world. Nothing about him was natural. He was designed to be beautiful. Slick. To have abilities and talents most didn’t. Turning inviable wasn’t even the tip, it was just his biggest weakness. Juda liked to call it an addiction but Veil wouldn’t hang his cloak on it.

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J Dawson

Writes literary fiction with a speculative bent. A parent of teens. Accidental house flipper. Friend of cats and dogs. Kindness matters. ND Bi (she/they)