He walked along the ashen road. It was always the same road. Lined with tall, drooping trees that had leaves the color of tar and slate-colored trunks. It was a narrow road, winding, and without end. At least, it felt that way sometimes. He had been walking the road every morning and every night, in search of a new life that he might never find.
Glass, steel and cement. Those were the components of her prison. She sat in the same chair and her fingers tapped away on that same silvery keyboard every day, its keys streaked with grease. A wide window yawned in front of her, affording her a panoramic view, but it was little consolation. All she had to look at was more of the same. Glass, steel and cement.
It was a city full of strangers, huddled together yet isolated. They shambled between home and office, from one square building to the next. illuminated by the rays of the pale morning sun but devoid of any warmth. Once, it had been known as a city of dreams, but the only dream anyone had anymore was to not die alone.
He walked into the city, feeling his neck grow stiff as he stared up at the towers looming above him. They dotted the skyline, reaching for the heavens with no sign of gods. Many roads spread out in front of him, winding and crossing over each other. He kept walking, as he had always done.
She tapped keys with mechanical precision, bathed in the glow of the screen in front of her. It was her sole companion on long days, her friend and her family, staring at her in silence as the world danced across its face in a mess of words and images. She looked out the window to ease the strain on her tired eyes. It was the same view of sprawling skyscrapers. But something was different.
He approached an intersection and looked up at the shining tower in front of him. It was identical to the others with its glassy exterior and angular design. But there was something different about it.
Somewhere on the path between heaven and earth, their eyes met. In her eyes he saw the ocean, a roiling sheet of blue and green. In his, she saw the desert, golden brown and stretching into eternity.
His lips curled into a smile. She put her hand on the glass, as if to catch the rays of sunlight filtering through. It felt warm.