To the slushy depths they went. Tunneling from corner to corner they traveled across the city. Each puddle was a window into the bright world above, noisy interruptions of the silent blue cloisters they had made in the mounded snowbanks that linked their domain.
Their network avoided the bicycles and street signs that had been trapped by the formation of the world. They guarded their privacy and only their fiercest academics would explore the bizarre archaeology of the upper world's recycling middens. Some claimed that those mysterious figures had created the world in the distant past, making life from cloth so different from their own flesh and blood. Others rejected this, claiming to have organized themselves from the threads of lesser beings, that their race owed no debt to surface dwellers.
Rage those these intellectual battles might, all sides of the argument were forced to expose themselves as they moved across each intersection of their linear realms.
And move they must: the world was shrinking, voids collapsing, the very stuff of the caverns turning to liquid. And so they crossed the quadrant seas as they traveled to the northern shadows, diving down and racing across the exposed wastes as fast as possible, blocked by Styrofoam cups and abandoned umbrellas, twisting to avoid the looming presences that came crushing down from above.
How many died in each passage? They could not stop to count the dead, let alone mourn. Only when they reached sanctuary would they allow themselves to think back on their journey. The light, the noise, the awful brown fluid that was not the stuff of their world, nor was it part of the upper world, but some transitional state of matter that exposed their people to the boots of those who came before.
But I remember, even as I swim through another gauntlet. My lover, three feet of cotton and polyester, purple shot through with gold, impaled by a heel, writhing and then still as she drowns. I can not stop, nor even turn to comfort her in that last moment. I burrow forward, hoping to honor her as we build a new society in a new place. A new home that will last forever.