It was smokey afternoon. I strolled down Jubilation Avenue to my favorite coffee shop. The smoke stacks around FarAwayDowns have always been a source of speculation for me. What was the commodity that they were mass producing when most of the people in FarAwayDowns were too poor to buy anything? It was my first month in FarAwayDown, I moved here just after finishing med school.
The coffee shop was a wonderful place. The owner’s fascination with literature had led him to set up a few shelves with books, old and new. I felt at home in this atmosphere. The air was laden with the musky scent of damp paper, with a hint of coffee. I took an old medical journal from the racks before sitting down. The journal was terribly out dated but I was fascinated by the way doctors used to think back in the “golden age of medicine”, whenever and whatever it was.
The coffee shop was crowded as usual; Professors and authors sifted through old volumes, occasionally jotting down a point or too. I had to share the table with a gentle man with the afternoon paper. Well into the second hour of my study I felt a stare. I looked up and met his calm gaze.
“Old medical journal? Do you seriously treat your patients based on these novelties?” he asked in a jovial but some what insulting tone.
“No sir, I take them for what they are: Novelties!” I protested despite trying to sound polite.
“Forgive me my intrusion. My name is Trauer, Herr Trauer, and before you interject, yes, I am not from around here.”
I was surprised. He was a man in his late thirties, dressed unsurprisingly in black. Black jacket, black tie and even had a black shirt underneath. His hair were graying from the temples and were the only non black thing about him. His faced was etched with deep lines on his forehead and around his lips. His light blue eyes, however, defied his age, their youthfulness and depth were mesmerizing. My spite had already vanished.
“Danish, Dr. Danish.” I thrust my hand for a hand shake.
“Glad to meet you, once again, Sorry for my rudeness.”
He took out a red note book and noted my name and asked for my clinic’s address.
“Old Fort Road intersection with 12th street. Just around the corner, you can’t miss it.”
“Maybe I will be your first patient.” he smiled.
“What brings you to FarAwayDowns?” I asked as I drew a loud and rude sip of coffee.
“In hind sight I am not too proud of it. It’s a hellish place actually. A town straight out of a Stephen King novel. I heard of it from travelers and, if you don’t mind, smugglers and tramps.” his eye brows went up, his forehead wrinkled, obviously anticipating my response.
“It can’t be that bad, I have been here a month.”
“Tell me, have you ever noticed the color of the sky? In case you didn’t notice, its always a dirty shade of yellow.”
I remembered the belching smoke stacks. I hardly recalled the last time I had seen the sun.
“Have you noticed,” he continued ” the marble monument down at Jubilation Avenue? It’s half eaten by the acid rain that falls from time to time. ”
I was rather put off by these things. I had noticed all of this but only now was I in some way disappointed.
“Then why are you here?”
“Like I was saying, I heard of a dystopian town in the borderlands of the Old Republic. I heard it was filled people who had grown weary of the transgressions in the Old Republic. I heard about its harsh environs and disturbing scenery. I wanted to see the place with my own eyes.”
“Why? See what?”
“How a group of desperate people live in a town that is harsher than the place they left behind…” he paused for a few seconds as if the words he was about to say some how seared his soul,”…and still be content?”
This is how I met Herr Trauer.