-By Adam Wilby
From his vantage point near the top of the Skyway bridge Edward Chandler looked upon the streets of Matracea. He had never visited this part of the city before but could see how it had earned its nickname as the Ant Colony. More people than he cared to try and count swarmed up the narrow road which ran parallel with the Skyway before branching off into any number of side streets. Somewhere ahead Edward was just about able to make out the beginnings of a square which seemed to be where most of the people below were headed. According to the directions he had been given this was also his destination and he saw little point in hanging about.
Walking slowly down the stone staircase Edward analysed the speed and depth of the crowd as he went. The sheer numbers meant that was no-one was able to move at an especially quick pace but they also meant there was a lot of jostling going on and he instinctively rested his hand upon on his money belt even as he stepped out into them. Electing to keep fairly close to the buildings on the near side of the street as he headed for the square that he’d seen earlier Edward quickly discovered that there was nowhere on the street that allowed for respite from being driven along by the crowds. It occurred to him that it was lucky that his wife Mary had not accompanied him here today as it would have been seconds before the claustrophobia she had carried ever since she was child got the best of her in such an environment as this.
The moment he reached the square Edward felt able to relax as it was sizeable enough to allow the crowd to spread out. Taking a few moments to look around he saw market stalls positioned almost end to end along the outer edges of the square. Turning his attention to those nearest it seemed that they sold every kind of technological item imaginable and if Edward was to be honest most of them he hadn’t even heard of. One of the nearby traders caught his eye and Edward stepped backward even as he moved toward him with object in hand. His last sight of him before allowing the crowd to envelope him once again was of the trader waving his arm dismissively before returning to his stall.