The Fiction and Poetry of Jason Thibeault

City of Clay: Prologue

Lightning flashed in the sky, filling the inky blackness with a sharp brightness, illuminating a misshapen horizon of lumpy foothills spotted with gnarled, stunted trees.

It didn’t used to be like that, Boyd thought, standing on the stone bridge that led from the City to the Outlands. He remembered only a few weeks ago that the landscape outside of his city was verdant and lush, filled with leaves taken from the park across the street, bits of green legos, the smell of moist soil from Mr. Piller’s garden. But it seemed that wherever they touched the land, it turned rotten and foul. He remembered just the other day when he’d ventured out with the Queasly twins, just half a mile from the city limits, just outside the farthest reach of the tallest building’s shadow. The smell had been almost unbearable, as if everything that had been created before by the wish was being re-created with garbage.

Boyd wished the Queasly twins were with him now, but they needed to be with their family, protecting their home from the wanton ruin that was ready to roll down the hill and into the city.

Because even though Boyd couldn’t see very far into the darkness, couldn’t pierce the murk that hung on the hilltop, he knew that they were there; the hoarding mass they were, writhing bodies, an eager desire for only one thing.


His destruction.

Without concentrating on it specifically, Boyd held out his right hand and felt the form fill it, felt the material take shape into a handle. Felt the weight of the head pull down his arm and knew, without looking, that he was carrying a mace, studded with short, menacing spikes.

I’ll make my stand here, he thought. I’ll hold them off single-handedly if I have to. I won’t allow them to wreck this city.

He gripped the handle of the mace a little harder, his knuckles whitening.

My city.

Focusing his gaze upon the darkness that seethed on the other side of the bridge, he swore that he could hear them hissing and grumbling. He may be only a 14-year-old boy but in this city, his city, he was so much more.

Someone to be reckoned with.

And so, he stood in the middle of his bridge, defying them to step into his City of Clay.