By the Bay

The cloud garden was the place where clouds were grown. All the clouds over the city had been grown from seeds there.

Sharp rains from the uppermost clouds pierced the lower strata of the cloud garden. It had been raining for months. Within the garden walls, the rainy season appeared to have no end in sight.

Daniel and Audrey were cleaning the glass dome covering the cloud garden. They had forgotten their wallets in the hotel room and could not pay the exit toll, so they were sent to the dome to clean.

"I love heights," Daniel said. "There's nothing better than the feeling of being on top of the world, looking down at the clouds. I have to admit, I'm glad we forgot our wallets. If not for that, we never would have gotten up here."

"I'm done cleaning this side," Audrey said. "I'm coming over. Catch me!" She slid down the dome toward Daniel, landing in his arms.

"I'm pretty much done over here too," Daniel said. "I think we can go."

Next to the cloud garden was a group of giant electrical flowers. They towered toward the sky, reaching the height of the dome. Sparks flew from their magenta and gold fronds.

"Do you think we can make it to those flowers if we jump?" Audrey asked, pointing at the tops of the electrical flowers.

"Yes, but it might be a rather shocking experience," Daniel said. "We're covered in cloud water, so our skin offers little resistance to electricity."

"But those flowers are so beautiful," Audrey said. "They'd never hurt us."

"There's only one way to find out," Daniel said. "Let's go!" He grabbed Audrey's hand and leapt toward the closest electrical flower. Audrey sailed through the air behind him. The electrical flower stretched toward the two of them and snapped them up out of the air, like a Venus flytrap catching a prize.

Daniel and Audrey slid down the inside of the flower. They fell through the stem and landed on the ground. The flower ejected them from the base of its stem. A thick coating of yellow pollen now covered them.

"Ah-choo! Ah-choooo!!" Audrey's sneezes propelled her into the air.

"Audrey, come back!" Daniel said. Then his nose wrinkled up and he started sneezing, propelling himself toward Audrey.

The sneezing continued for several minutes. With every sneeze, they floated higher into the wind. Soon they were as high in the sky as the tallest skyscrapers. There was a roof deck that spanned the width of three rectangular towers. Their sneezes navigated them toward the roof deck, dropping them into the Olympic-sized rooftop pool.

"Oww! The water is so hot!" Audrey said. She swam to the edge of the pool and scrambled to get out. A pool attendant greeted her with an ice cold towel, wrapping the luxurious cold terrycloth around her.

Daniel took the stairs leading out of the pool. "No thank you, he said to the pool attendant. "I like to air dry."

"At least the pollen washed off of us," Audrey said. The hot pool was covered in tiny yellow dots.

Daniel and Audrey walked over to the edge of the roof deck. "Look at that view of the bay," Daniel said. The calming sound of the waves filled them with peace. Stripes of blue and green waves crashed on the shoreline. Pink and orange coral reefs sparkled just beneath the surface of the water.

From the roof deck they could see the towers bending underneath toward the ground. They were glass hotel towers, thick and curved like giant slides.

"Let's go to the waterfront," Daniel said. He and Audrey jumped off the roof deck onto the side of the tower below them. They slid over a thousand stories. When they got to the ground, they continued to slide until they were in the water.

They swam underwater toward the nearest pink and orange coral reef. When they got close, sea anemones on the reef suctioned them until they were pressed against the reef itself. Then the sea anemones cleaned the last bits of remaining yellow pollen from their hair.

The coral reef was plush and soft, like a larger-than-life stuffed toy. Daniel leaned back into one of its branches, which held him like a hammock. Audrey got into the hammock-branch and curled up against Daniel.

Feathery plants growing on the reef made their way toward Daniel and Audrey until they were tickling them, making them laugh in bubbly laughter. Daniel wrapped his arms tightly around Audrey and sighed with love.

Last Updated: 9/8/2018, 6:35:38 AM