Commonwealth: A Novel of Utopia, part 2, chapter 1
Author’s Note: This is an excerpt from my novel Commonwealth. The rest of today’s installment is free, but only on my Patreon site. If you want to read the next part today, it’s already up on Patreon as well. You can sign up for as little as $1/month, or $2 for exclusive author’s notes and behind-the-scenes material. There’s also a table of contents for all published chapters.
They entered a broad, open atrium. Blue-green walls, folded and rippled like ocean waves, rose five stories to a round skylight that looked up to the sky. Glass elevators shuttled people along the walls, connecting to galleries and hallways. The front wall of the atrium was glass, looking out on the spectacular cityscape Rae had seen from her room.
Crisscrossing walkways wove like bridges between silver birch trees that grew from beds of moss. Rays of sun fell from the skylight above and glowed golden through the net of birch leaves. Water flowed through channels beneath the walkways, trickling over polished stones. It was as if the forest had been there first, and the architects had built around it without disturbing a single sapling.
“This is where I have to leave you,” Dr. Singh said, showing Rae to a comfortable wooden bench. “My apologies that I can’t stay, but I have other patients to see to.”
“Are there forms to fill out? Don’t I have to sign anything?”
“What for?” the doctor said with a gently amused smile. “I filed your discharge before I came to your room. Nothing else is required. Your guide will meet you here shortly.”
Once Dr. Singh had gone, a profound loneliness overtook her. The atrium was a bustle of activity, and there were people passing by all around – doctors, nurses, and some she assumed were other patients or their families – but none of them so much as glanced at her.
It’s beautiful, she thought, but where am I? On the other side of the world, in some impossible city surrounded by strangers. My old life is gone forever. I’ve lost everything I knew and everyone I loved.