SELECTED SHADOWS 18

The guardian took Drewin’s hand and led him down into the city. He followed, as if in a trance, along a tortuous route between the flowing shapes of the dwellings of Leartenda.  There were no straight roads and most of the inhabitants travelled by swimming above the roofs of their houses.  In spite of this Drewin often found his path obstructed by the fishlike beings who stood singly or in groups all about the place: some were deep in conversation, some were singing, some were dancing, some lay across the way and some stood on their heads.  The swimmers hurried this way and that in the water above.

‘There seems to be great agitation here. Is there some trouble?’

‘They dance the dance of life, as all creatures do.  This is a time of haste.  Come, we must hurry too.’  With this the being pulled Drewin onward, and rushed faster than before in and out of the narrow passages, under rippling arches and past all the living obstructions.  Drewin often failed to keep his feet but he was nevertheless pulled along at an ever-increasing pace.  The sights of the city became a blur and he had little time to take in the scenes that passed by, and no time at all to ask questions.

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