Title: The Floating City
Word Count: 1043
Warnings: none, no spoilers
Carlos had felt the shift, the sudden lurch of transdimensional transportation. Because, what else could it be? Surely not an earthquake, seismic activity couldn't be felt in Night Vale, of that he was sure. Cecil stirred in bed beside him, his grip around Carlos's waist tightening. He looked at the door for a moment, then back down at Cecil curled innocently in bed beside him. He laid back down in bed, cuddling closer to the reporter, and decided to leave all investigation of strange lurches until the morning.
The next morning he did mildly regret not getting up when he had first felt the lurches, maybe he could have saved a child or two from drowning or getting eaten by sharks. But, that wasn't the case, and there really wasn't any point lingering on the past. And, Cecil assured him the memorial service would be lovely.
So, with that reassurance, he focused on more pressing matters. For instance, the radio station's men's bathroom had disappeared, leaving the cat without a home, and the grocery stores apples had all vanished. Oh, and the entire city was in the ocean. Or rather, an ocean, Carlos wasn't quite sure which ocean, just yet. Every house, every building, calmly floating on the salty surface as if the city had always resided on top of a large body of water.
Night Vale's citizens had quickly learned that stepping off their front porches led to unwanted dips into the briny deep, and possible shark attacks. They had all calmly retired indoors to wait out this new development. The City Council had sent out a mass message telling them not to think about it, and it would eventually go away.
Somehow, Carlos doubted this problem would be solved that easily. But, best not to disrupt the citizens' routine. He could fix it himself; he was a scientist after all.
Cecil refused to come past the front door. Instead he peeked his head around the side of it in order to keep the rest of his body shielded by its wooden mass. He stood there, half concealed by the door, still in his pajamas, pleading with his boyfriend.
"Carlos, sweet, sweet Carlos, please come back inside," He implored, his smooth voice sinking into Carlos's brain like the sweet symphony of a jazz band.
"Cecil, we're in an ocean. I'm going to fix this before any more children drown, or worse, the floorboards of everyone's houses rot. He took another step towards the water and cast his eyes around for any sign of land. He didn't find land, but he did find a ship. At least, he thought it was a ship.
It was rather gaudy and whimsical, almost cartoonish. A lion's head mast poked out from the prow, and a skull and crossbones flag flapped merrily in the wind as the ship sailed towards the water-locked town.
"Is that a pirate ship?" Cecil asked, disbelief dripping from his voice. Carlos just looked at him blankly, then back at the ship. If it was a pirate ship, it was the least scary pirate ship he had ever seen in his entire life. Granted, he hadn't seen many pirates ships in his life, and the ones he had seen had been in movies. But, nonetheless, the ship didn't look very piratey at all.
On board the Thousand Sunny, the entire Straw Hat crew had gathered on the top deck. They were staring down at the town in the ocean in wonder. Nami was certain it hadn't been there earlier, but now here it was, floating along as if it hadn't a care in the world.
As they sailed closer, she noticed something strange. Or rather, she felt something strange. Something off. She couldn't quite explain it. It was like a creeping itch beneath her skin, like a dryness in the back of her throat that no amount of water could quench. It was such a heavy feeling of wrongness that it weighed down on her heavier than any existential crisis ever could.
She turned to tell Luffy that she absolutely refused to stop in a town that felt like this, no matter how cool it looked. He beat her to it though.
"Keep sailing, don't stop." He said in the no nonsense captain voice that he rarely ever used.
Franky nodded and began to steer the ship down the middle of the city. The rest of the crew gathered closer together on instinct, wary of what they might encounter. Faces peered at them through half curtained windows, before quickly disappearing back into their houses' darkness. A floating cat meowed at them as they sailed by, Chopper shivered in Robin's arms, eyes widening in sickened fear. Robin squeezed the reindeer closer to her chest and didn't say anything.
In a fenced in area labeled dog park, a group of hooded figures shrouded in shadow-despite the heavy sunlight raining down on them-watched them silently as they passed. In the water beneath them a disemboweled Sea King floated in its own blood and guts.
A man in a white lab coat with perfect hair threw a beeping machine at the Sunny as they passed by, but it bounced harmlessly off the side of the ship and sunk down into the depths below. A man standing half hidden behind the door behind the man with the perfect hair stared up at them with curious, blinking eyes. Three curious, blinking eyes. They kept sailing, silently, holding their breath. Chopper and Usopp had both closed their eyes, shying away from void of dank fear that they could feel enveloping the strange, floating city.
Long after they had sailed clear of the city, after it had disappeared in their wake, the sense of foreboding and what could only be described as want for the eternal void, clung to the Straw Hat pirates, putting a damper on their usually high spirits. The next morning they would awaken and remember nothing of their brief trip through the floating city. They wouldn't remember the hooded figures, the strange shapes or the ethereal lights. They wouldn't even realize that they now had a faceless old woman living on their ship. They would remain ignorant, they wouldn't think about it. And in this case, ignorance really was bliss.