A Grimm Day in the City

By Ming Drake


The dingy light emanating from the streetlamp did little to break through the ash falling from the darkened sky and illuminate the dirty streets. His knee high black leather boots made firm imprints in the drifts that the ash created. He remembers a time when the lamps did not have to be lit during the day, much less at high noon as they were today. The clouds that belched forth from the countless coal burning steam powered plants and the smaller, personal steam powered mansions in the rich area of the city, an area that he was moving slowly towards, blotted out the sun. The weak light spilling from the lamps in the poorer section of the city slowly brightened as he made his way uptown.

With a start, he noticed that his boots had become wet and dripping, cold seeping in to reach his flesh. Gingerly peeking out from his wide brimmed hat and holding the breathing unit he wore firmly to his face, he studied the blackened sky. Holding out his other hand he caught one of the flakes drifting out from the gloomy sky. He watched with firmly concealed wonder as the flake melted into a tiny pool of water in the leather of his glove, its collection of rivets and bronze plates glinting dully with the reflected light from the lamps.  

By the creator! It’s snow, not ash. I haven’t seen snow since I was a young boy in the slums. I remember the cold that seeped into your bones as the drifts of off white stuff built up in the streets, the shabby rags I wore much too thin to keep any warmth in. That was before the perpetual clouds of coal smoke covered the city. Snow hasn’t fallen since then that I know of. This storm must be an amazingly intense one to have punched through the burning sky.” Shaking his head at his own thoughts, he wiped the dark, gritty water, polluted by the smog the flake had drifted down through, on his black, stylish pants that were tucked into his tall, knee high, boots before resuming his journey uptown through the drifts of snow, ebony as the ash that gorged the sky.