THE BOY WANTS to say goodbye to his mother, but he wakes after everyone. A vigorous shake from his uncle and a string of sharp commands sends him hurrying to dress. By the time he makes his way through the dark, night-soaked courtyard to the van, his mother is inside, eyes closed in transcendence, fingers clicking polystyrene beads. He climbs into the front, next to his uncle.
An early dawn is infecting the summer night as the Solurban van clicks into its journey, leaving behind the middle-management colony occupied by men like his uncle for a more amorphous world of data havens, pharma labs and fertility clinics, their squat outlines cradled in swathes of ReliGrass and intrusive cat-eye sensors. Then come the control towers for the underground factories, followed by the security barracks and, finally, the concentration of worker hives around the bus terminus where infomercial neons, Bollywood remixes and the cloying grease smell of protein kebabs already permeate the beginning of the day.
Already a subscriber? Sign in here