The Illuminated City

Beaver Lake, MontréalIt was a bitterly cold night and the bus was late. The young lad in the bus shelter checked the bus timetable again by the flickering light from a nearby lamp post.

He shoved his hands deep into his jacket pockets and looked at the girl in the jeans ad on the side of the bus shelter.

What a mane of blond hair! What plump lips! What a deliciously curved waist! What shapely hips! What he would give to have a girl like her to take to the school prom next Saturday. The jeans clung to her long legs, smooth as melted chocolate.

“What are you staring at?” snapped the girl in the ad. “I’m sick and tired of people always staring. Haven’t they got anything better to do?”

“Sorry,” he said. “I didn’t mean to.” He wished he had a cigarette. He wished he smoked. “The bus is late,” he said.

“It’s always late.”

A light ripping sound, nothing more than a whisper really, and she leaped out of the ad into the bus shelter.

“Hey,” he said, alarmed. “Whoa! Now wait a minute…”

The girl in the ad had unzipped her jeans and was pushing and shoving them down over her thighs, over her knees, down to her ankles.

“Thank goodness.” She kicked them aside. “You’ve no idea. They always put you in jeans that are far too small. I’d like to see them wearing jeans that tight day in day out.”

She stepped out of the bus shelter.

“Where are you going?” He was trying not to look at her bare legs.

She pointed down the hill, across the frozen landscape, to a thick cluster of dazzling lights in the distance. “To the Illuminated City.”

“You can’t go there. It’s forbidden. You have to have a special permit.”

“All the best ads are in the Illuminated City. Everyone knows that. They promised they’d give me a decent posting this time and what do they do? Stick me on a bus shelter out in this godforsaken place. Well, they’re not going to hold me back any longer. I’m going to find my destiny, make big, follow my bliss. I’ve always dreamed of going to the Illuminated City. I’ll do whatever it takes. Nothing can stop me now.”

She set off, trotting down the hill at a brisk pace.

“Why don’t you wait for the bus?”

She gestured at her bare legs. “What, like this?”

Great heavens! Those long bare legs!

“I’m Alyosius.” He panted alongside her. He already felt a stitch in his left side. “What’s your name?”

“Don’t be silly. Girls in ads don’t have names.”

It took them a good four and a half hours to reach the gateway to the Illuminated City.

“Who goes there?” demanded the guard.

Alyosius sprang behind a somewhat scraggly bush, the girl leaped into an ad for caramels plastered on the boarding just outside the gateway.

“I said, who goes there?”

With one hand the girl in the ad took a caramel out of the open box and held it to parted lips, and with the other she grabbed the fluffy little dog that had been sitting beside the box. The fluffy dog yapped.

“Shh.” She stroked its head. “There, there. Don’t be frightened, it’s only for a moment or two.” It yapped harder. “I’m not staying long. I haven’t come all this way to end up in a caramel ad. It’d ruin my teeth.” The dog’s yaps were shrill and piercing. “Oh do be quiet.”

The guard’s boots scrunched on the gravel beside the boarding. “Now what’s all this about? What’s going on then?” he demanded. The girl in the ad licked her lips to make them glisten. The dog yapped furiously.

The guard looked at her glistening lips, at the caramel in her hand. He licked his own lips, took a quick glance up and down the street. “Please. Please,” he whispered. “Please. Just one. Or maybe two.” He leaned in, opened his mouth, ready for her to pop in a caramel. His eyes fluttered closed.

The girl in the ad threw the dog off her knees, pushed the guard aside, and made a run for it, bare legs flashing in the brilliant lights of the Illuminated City as she dashed through the gateway.

Alyosius took off after her, into the bright lights, the wind in his hair, a song in his heart, the guard in hot pursuit.

Finding itself on the ground, the little dog chased its tail for a minute or so, then it too raced through the gateway into the Illuminated City.


2016 is my Year of the Blurt: each week I’ll take advantage of an odd spare moment or two to write something very quickly. Probably the Blurts will mostly be fiction, but who knows!

Thank you for dropping by to read this week’s Blurt. It was inspired by the Daily Prompt’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Landscape. I went for a walk up Montréal’s ‘mountain’ (Mount Royal) shortly after reading the challenge and snapped this shot over Beaver Lake.

Please note: all material on this website, except for comments by others, is © Susi Lovell.


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