Fiction logo

Generosity of the Rising Cities

In the future, cities are on the rise. People have stopped building cities on the ground and they are now being constructed thousands of feet above the Earth. The ground cities have become mining cities, and those precious minerals are being used by the rising cities, for various purposes.

By Stephen Kramer AvitabilePublished about a month ago 11 min read
Futuristic city thousands of feet above the Earth’s surface — AI image using Midjourney

In the future, cities are on the rise. People have stopped building cities on the ground and they are now being constructed thousands of feet above the Earth. The ground cities have become mining cities, and those precious minerals are being used by the rising cities, for various purposes.


This story was originally published here on Medium if you so wish to read it there.


Humans stopped building cities on the ground a long time ago, but many of those old cities still exist, mainly for mining purposes. Arwa knows better than most kids her age about the rise of the rising cities and the fall of the ground cities. Her parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and so on, were intent on passing stories along the family lineage. Her family came from the now mining city of Chicago, in fact, her mother’s brother’s family still lives down there. Arwa has visited several times. The air is thick with smog, and everyone is covered in soot. It is sad. But her mother’s brother’s family works hard, mining for nickel and gold, and they make good wages.

Arwa’s family lives just above Chicago in the rising city of Kowaka. Kowaka gets nearly all of their resources from Chicago, nickel to reinforce the pillar that the city is built on, gold to contribute to the energy harnessing technology. As the stories go, the stories passed on through Arwa’s family, years and years ago, it was discovered that when fused with new technologies, nickel and gold were of the utmost value. They used to be used for things called coins, which were circular metal objects used as currency. Also, they were used for necklaces, rings, and other jewelry.

“What a waste.” Arwa always says when her parents remind her of this.

“The technology that exists now to harness energy at tremendous levels wasn’t around back then.” Arwa’s father reminds her. “So, gold didn’t have an important use… it was just used…”

“Superficially.” Arwa learned that word from her good friend Jared.

Jared hated hearing about the past, how these metals were misused. He felt every scrap of nickel or gold that is found should be used to advance the rising cities. A view he shares due to his family’s stature and involvement in the rising cities. Most of these minerals were used for the rising cities, but many people in the cities down below still used them ‘superficially.’

Xiang, Arwa’s other good friend, didn’t see the negative. “Let people use them for whatever they want to use them for.” He would say.

Xiang and Jared would always get in arguments about this. Arwa would listen, easily swayed by both sides. She wasn’t entirely sure how she felt about the situation.

Today is an odd day. Jared’s family has invited several families up to Kowaka from Chicago to see how things were done up here… to see how the energy companies of Kowaka implement gold in their technologies… hoping to convince those from Chicago that it is a good thing to mine gold for the rising cities.

The thing is, most families in Chicago mine gold as independent businesses. Kowaka has been trying to snag contracts with all of these mining families. They had roughly 70% of them, but they wanted 100%. They didn’t want 30% of the families mining for metals to continue using them for other purposes. Jared’s father wanted to convince these families to sign contracts with his company and even dangled the possibility of them moving their families a mile upwards like a carrot in front of a donkey.

Carrot for a karat.

Arwa didn’t believe him when he smiled larger than ever before and told these mining families there was space for them up here in Kowaka. Arwa likes Jared, but she despises his father.

Arwa and Xiang have joined Jared on the tour through the company’s halls and they meet two kids from some of the other mining families, LaShondra and Jose. LaShondra wants to convince her parents to sign with this company as it meant more money for the family, plus the possibility of moving up here. This would mean LaShondra can live in a cleaner atmosphere, though her parents would have a longer commute down from Kowaka to Chicago to do their work, but regardless, it’s more money. Jose hopes his family doesn’t take the deal. He doesn’t believe Jared’s father. He also sports several gold chains and wants to keep the existence of gold necklaces going.

Jose and Jared have many arguments about all of this as the group of five teenagers walk in the back of the large group, keeping their distance from the adults so that they can have their own conversations. Jose tells Jared his dad is a phony and a con man. Jared tells Jose he is superficial, only caring about wearing gold as a necklace, and not worrying about the betterment of human society.

“The betterment of your society.” Jose says angrily. “It doesn’t do anything for us. It helps you fat cats up here, but it changes nothing about my family’s life.”

“You idiot.” LaShondra says. “They said we can live up here. It’s so much better up here than down in Chicago. I haven’t coughed once since I arrived up here, plus the water doesn’t come out of the tap murky and gray.”

“There’s your first mistake.” Jose says. “Don’t drink the tap water anywhere. You should only drink bottled water.”

“We drink from the tap up here.” Xiang intervenes. “It’s fine. But I see your point Jose… I don’t know that your family should be so ready to move up here.”

“Oh my goodness, you’re all idiots if you don’t want to take this deal.” Jared is aggravated.

“I want to take the deal, dude.” LaShondra gets annoyed. “Don’t call me an idiot. But it’s up to my parents.”

“Well, convince them!” Jared orders. “Come on, Arwa, back me up.”

Everyone looks at Arwa.

“I don’t know.” Arwa starts. “It could be good for you all. But your families should do whatever they think is best.”

“My family doesn’t even think it’s that great up here.” Jose says. “Which… well… I don’t know if I agree with. But none of us have ever been up here before, so it’s hard to say… maybe it would be different if I really knew what it was like up here.”

“Your family could stay with my family.” Arwa offers. “They wouldn’t mind at all.”

“Are you serious? Stay with you?” Jose is shocked.

“Yeah, they always say we should do what we can to help, offer what we can offer.” Arwa smiles. “I’d like for you all to stay with us for a few days, get a good feel for Kowaka, maybe then it can help with your decision.”

“Heart of gold.” Xiang says, nudging Arwa.

“We got the room.” Arwa says shyly. “Our house has plenty of room, you’d be very comfortable.”

“You’d really do that for us?” Jose is still flabbergasted.

“Of course… we actually let the Cochran family stay with us last month before they moved up here.” Arwa informs them all.

“There we go!” Jared is all smiles again. “We got a problem solver here. Maybe you guys should stay with her and then see if that changes your mind about the deal.”

“What do you work with your dad?” Jose asks Jared.

“Sure do, he’s teaching me the business.”

People touring a futuristic building in one of the rising cities — AI image using Midjourney

The group comes to a halt up ahead. The kids join up with everyone. The hall they are walking in has expanded to twice the width. The walls have white and blue lights, thin, but stretching from the floor to the ceiling. They are embedded into some thick metal panels. Several circular red lights line the corners where the walls meet the ceilings, but they remain off. Jared’s father continues explaining everything to the families on the tour. Jared gives his own miniature tour to the other kids.

“This is one of the spots where they scan the gold that is brought up.” Jared informs them in a whisper. “These scanners are able to judge weight, density, quality, all sorts of stuff.”

“Let’s do a little demonstration!” Jared’s father announces.

He flips a switch. The lights glow brighter, and a soft whirring is heard behind them. The red lights flash intermittently from the ceiling. The lights glow brighter still. Then, Jose’s gold necklaces start to lift off of his neck, as if being pulled by a magnet. He is shocked. Everyone looks at him. Then, everyone notices the same is happening to Jose’s mother and father as they both wear gold necklaces as well.

“See, that’s good quality stuff right there.” Jared says. “It’s being pulled with some decent force. The readout will tell us soon.”

“My chest.” Arwa gasps, clutching the left side of her chest.

“What’s the matter?” Xiang rushes to her side.

“Oh my God.” Arwa is groaning, barely able to speak. “It hurts. It’s tight. I think I’m having a heart attack.”

LaShondra and Jose rush to her side… but Jared stays in his place… observing everything.

Arwa continues to groan, sweat beads are collecting on her forehead. Her knees weaken but Xiang holds her up. Jared’s father watches on just as curiously as Jared. He flips the switch off. The lights dim, the whirring stops, Jose’s necklace drops back to his chest… and suddenly Arwa takes a deep breath and regains her balance.

“Wow, I don’t know what that was.” Arwa says.

“Are you okay?” LaShondra asks.

“I think I am fine now.” Arwa blinks hard. “Just indigestion, heartburn, I don’t know what.”

Jared’s father prints out a piece of paper, looks it over, then brings it to Jared. A soft “incredible” is heard from Jared, but that’s it. He and his father whisper about something.

“I think that might have been worse than heartburn.” Xiang says. “Why don’t I take you home?”

“You know, we got something for heartburn here.” Jared says. “Why don’t I take you, Arwa? Get you feeling brand new again?”

“Yeah, that sounds good, I’m sure it was just heartburn.” Arwa goes with Jared as he leads her across the room to his father.

The tour is abruptly ended. Jared’s father gets some employees to take the group off somewhere else. Arwa is taken back in through some heavy double doors with a big RESTRICTED painted on the front.

Jose and LaShondra go back to Chicago. Xiang doesn’t see or hear from Arwa for days… in fact, an entire week… then he finally hears back from her. Arwa informs Xiang she was sick, probably came from her heartburn. She doesn’t even remember much from being at the energy company and being on the tour, it was a bit of a blur, but she was laid up, sick, for the past week.

Xiang meets up with Arwa and notices she is not quite right. She is healthy enough, but something about her personality is off. She is not the same kind Arwa, the same generous Arwa, she is cold and bitter. But as the days go on, the bitterness fades. After a while, Arwa is back to her old self once again.

Then, Arwa disappears, gone for two whole days. Xiang cannot get a text or a call back from her, nothing. She is a ghost on social media. Then, a returned call. Arwa is sick again… for five whole days. Finally, she is able to see Xiang once again. Same as before, Arwa is bitter, Arwa is cold. Xiang wonders what is going on with his friend, she is not the same person she used to be. Jose even calls Arwa to see if he can take her up on her offer of staying with her to which Arwa rudely declines. She says how this is a terrible idea, she wouldn’t want a stranger in her house.

Xiang is confused… but he eventually notices a pattern that keeps playing out. Arwa disappears and will not return calls to anyone for two whole days. Then, Arwa is sick for five days. Upon recovering from her sickness, she is not the same. No longer a warm individual, she is cold as ice. Over the next two months, she slowly warms back into her usual self, melting away the bitter ice that has frozen all around her. Just as she is about back to her normal self… the disappearing act happens once more… and it all starts over again.

Arwa’s family has no answers for any of this every time Xiang inquires. Jared denies knowing anything about this but eventually stops talking to Xiang altogether. They were never too close anyway. Over the next several months, Jared’s father’s company thrives. Their revenue increases tremendously, the company grows, they stop inviting mining families up for tours. Jared’s family becomes richer and richer, all while Arwa falls to her pattern of illness and bitterness, rarely able to recover that once wonderful woman she used to be. Only glints of her former self make appearances. Every two months, just before she disappears, Xiang gets to see his good friend as she should be… just for a day. One day every two months, Xiang gets to see Arwa and that big heart of gold.


If you enjoyed this story and want to read more of my work, then please come check out my website where I post all my latest work, plus you can even subscribe for updates!

Short StorySci Fi

About the Creator

Stephen Kramer Avitabile

I'm a creative writer in the way that I write. I hold the pen in this unique and creative way you've never seen. The content which I write... well, it's still to be determined if that's any good.

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights

Comments (1)

Sign in to comment
  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarranabout a month ago

    Omg! Does Arwa literally have a heart of gold? I thought it maybe was some kinda gold plated pacemaker or something, lol. Kowaka seemed like a very beautiful place. I wonder if this is the kinda rising cities that we will have in the future. Excellent story!

Find us on social media

Miscellaneous links

  • Explore
  • Contact
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Support

© 2023 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.