“I guess some things can't be helped,” She said with a shrug, but her tone suggested she thought lowly of both me and Lillian. I was more than used to having people look their nose down at me and mostly felt a tiny flash of anger at the human, but Lillian physically shrunk from the women. I followed the group, only half listening to what the man was saying, studying the strange objects. I wanted to ask Lillian about their purpose, but she seemed very wrapped up in her own thoughts. I guess she was going through quite the adjustment. When the man was finished talking I followed Lillian and the other humans outside. I looked up and suddenly understood her words better. Because around and above was glass, dirtied by what must be centuries of sand and dust blown across it by strong winds. Gales might be a better word, based on how quickly the debris flies overhead. I could see pieces of rock fly past and if I squinted and looked past the dirt, I could see what looked like crumbling buildings outside.
“C'mon! You already got me into enough trouble!” Lillian whispered frantically in my ear, grabbing and pulling my arm along. I pulled my arm away sharply and followed, ignoring the flash of hurt that crossed her expression. I know I hadn't used enough force to hurt her fragile human form. I didn't know what to expect but the strange cramped space wasn't it. I sat next to Lillian and didn't enjoy how close everyone was. I was weak and needed to resist the pull of their veins.
I suppressed the need to curse loudly in my native tongue when the room moved. If it had been forward or backwards I could've accepted it. But it was flying, and as far as I could remember, only angels could do that. I heard a small giggle and looked across to Lillian.
“It's just a bus, don't look so frightened,” She whispered through her giggles. I didn't think I looked frightened, more shocked. But I chose to contain some of my dignity by not answering. I'd sat next to the window to give some distance between me and the humans but now I could see how far up we were.
Even the tallest cliff I'd trekked to had nothing on this height. I watched as impressive buildings made mostly of perfectly carved white stone passed. I saw the thick layer that appeared to be rock and grass but when you went past it you could see it was a dark grey. A stronger metal than steel I was sure. Then there was empty space, just the bending walls of the doom and we were passing another level like the one above. Only the passing people were less inclined to wear the colourful silks or shiny jewellery the level above had been covered in. I watched rows of buildings pass by and noticed the decline in quality. The building I was looking at now were tall, skeleton looking and made of gritty grey stone. The people mostly dressed in suits. No sign of make-up or decoration like before. The “bus” as Lillian had called it stopped moving and I realised this was where we got off. I followed Lillian off.
“Right, go home. No point teaching you for ten minutes,” The teacher yelled. She seemed a little more at ease now.
“Come on,” Lillian said. She moved to grab my arm but pulled away, obviously remembering my prior reaction. I followed her to what looked to be another bus, only it was smaller and the smell less pleasant. She flashed a thin strip of thick paper at the man who waved her on, then she handed over strange white coins. The man waved me on too.
“Did you just pay money?” I asked, unsure. I'd never seen coins like that before.
“Yes, don't worry, it's not much. I'll just skip lunch tomorrow, it's not the first time I've had to do it,” She answered with a shrug. Her indifferent attitude made me feel uncomfortable. I remember it wasn't uncommon for humans to struggle with food. But somehow the thought that she sacrificed something as important as food for me didn't sit well. Now I needed to figure out how to pay her back.
“So, do you really know nothing about the disaster?” I asked, because it had been bugging me since she'd said it.
“Nope, no one does. I'm sure high-up government officials do, but not us little people. All we know is that if we ever left the dome, we would be dead.” She replied with a shrug. I guess it was a dried up desert out there. But humans were pretty resilient, they didn't die easy. This strange world was proof of that. I watched the metal floor of where we were pass by, we got off immediately after and I noticed they were less suits. Everyone wore plain cloths. Not everyone looked well-washed or fed. I glanced below and could see the outlines of small building that seemed to have been roughly hand-made. I didn't look closer. Clearly the poorest people lived down there. It shocked me this kind human lived so close to such squalor. Most would grow bitter.
“Look, I'm telling my parents your a fellow students who dads a drunk and kicked you out, go it? I'll say your from level two too, they won't find the story too hard to believe,” She said. For a second I thought that was some jab at me, then I noticed the slight sadness in her smile. She was speaking the blunt truth. How is it humans have found a way to fly, yet still haven't solved the things that can destroy a person? Why was this place's government so happy to keep them in the dark about this “Disaster”? It made me wonder what else humans had discovered and what they may have done with it.