Deep beneath Enchanted City, great sewers rushed wastewater to treatment centers where sludge and gases were separated and then piped to the enormous boiler room for burning. Here huge vats of boiling water spewed steam through underworld tubes, creating man-made power. The Sewer rat and the boiler brat, the orphans who manned this underworld, dreaded power outs more than cold, more than hunger because then the merciless rage of the Enchanter’s men fell on them.
The filthy drainage rushed through the great sewers. Sewer Rat No. 1F sniffed the air; he had lived in this underworld for so long he could smell a backed-up drain a mile away. In the dark, he inched along the narrow walkway above the reeking wastewater, heading for drain 75S.
Achoooee! he sneezed. He had been a sewer rat ever since he could remember, and he always had a cold. Boiler Brat, his best and only friend, talked of “upthere.” Up-there were city lights and warm fires and mothers and fathers. Sewer Rat No. 1 had no memory of up-there. His forever memory was of the dark and the damp.
He thought he had never really been warm — Achooee!
As far as he knew, his mother was the rank sewer and his father was the sound of rushing wastewater—shloosh-shu. The only memory that was not of down-here was the…..