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Bioshock Infinite Creative Writing Contest

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 Gravity My world is falling down around me. The buildings crumble, the people I've laughed and fought and worked with every day of my life here are pitched screaming into oblivion, the very ground peeled from beneath their feet. Everything is falling. But then, we were always falling. This city, this would-be Utopia, it was only ever a dream, its inhabitants the dreamers. We spread our arms to fly, time flowed like treacle, and blithely we ignored the onrushing Earth. And just like any dream of falling, it will end with the Earth. Dreaming. I was as guilty as anyone, sleep walking through this city's short, turbulent history. Governments fell; I walked the scenic route to work. Civil war raged; I ran my weekend errands. Men gunned one another down in the streets; I simply skipped to the crossword puzzle. I convinced myself I could do nothing. I did nothing. I'm a barber. Just a barber, invited here on merit of being good at shortening a man's hair, trimming his beard, making small talk. It also helped that I had no family ties, nothing to anchor me. I still don't. Drifting above the clouds under an eternally clear sky, I suppose I must have lost life's natural momentum, that drive which carries a man to marriage, a family... the grave. A dream. Time, like treacle. It's hard to concentrate. The screaming is constant now, a roar of panic to compete with that of a city tearing apart under its own weight. Citizens run this way and that, indistinguishable in their terror from the police and militia, the would-be pillars of order in our world. Columbia: the great embodiment of exceptionalism, dissolving into chaos like a thousand civilizations before it. Moments ago I too was frantic, scurrying across the yawing face of the city. I cried out, pointlessly as I see it now, like an ant who would beg mercy from the falling boot. I halted suddenly as a man, maddened by fear or maybe taken with the desire to master his own fate, sprinted across my path and leapt over a railing into the abyss. He didn't even scream. I saw in him the futility of my panic. So now I'm here, in my favourite spot at the park, enjoying the sunset. Not the natural sunset of a world turning on its axis, but an imposter born of a plateau slowly tilting on end. The shadow lengthens from a statue of The Prophet stood a score of yards away, engulfing me, and then the statue itself is cast into darkness. Cracks crawl across the flagstones from its base. The city cracks. Reality cracks. The sight of the riven ground brings back memories of strange stories, of great rents appearing in the ether. Portholes, emerging briefly above the murky swell of time, revealing what has been, will be... might have been. And other rumours, as strange or stranger. A weird creature haunting the skies around Columbia, a girl destined to return the city to Earth. One might think these stories too incredible to ignore, but perhaps such things lose their impact when one lives in a city suspended by dirigibles among the gods. It's difficult to stand now. The ground bucks and rears. Debris rakes sections of the city, scouring away the citizenry like a dog scratching at fleas. The Prophet breaks from his pedestal and slides towards eternity, narrowly missing me on his way. Someone, maybe it was him, once described Columbia as 'one city over God'. I was never a religious man, but as I think about it, we were never 'over God'. Nor could we ever be. For when you grasp at the brink of heaven, gravity is God. The ground shatters. The clouds race to meet me. Clouds. It will be strange to look up at the clouds again, even if it is only for a little while. (Entry to the Bioshock Infinite Creative Writing Contest)