Urban Garden

(fantasy story)

After the dramatic disappearance of Taras Vovk, a middle-aged tourist visiting the longest gypsum cave in Ukraine, called ‘Optimistic,’ he was found in his country cottage not far from Kyiv one week after. Taras was swaying dreamily on his folk-looking rocking chair with a glass of mulled red wine in his hands.

“Do forgive us but you work as Professor and your blissful babbling sounds a bit perplexing,” Sashko Tchub, a buzz journo, said with irritation. “Could you explain once again where you were all this time and how did you get out of this cave?” Not hearing an answer and looking at the daydreaming eyes of the absent-minded professor, Sashko came closer and kept on his journalistic inquiry, “All entrances of the ‘Optimistic’ cave were patrolled by a team of rescuers. Almost 20 kilometers of cave passages were searched with a group of sniff dogs…Where were you?”

Taras, a tidy man with a well-trimmed mustache, took a gulp of mulled wine and answered happily, “Urban Garden.”

Journalists look at each other with embarrassment, “Urban Garden?”

“Yeah, urban city in a wild garden,” Taras took another sip of wine with a cheery smile on his face.

“Could you show it on the map of Ukraine?” Sashko stretched out his phone with a map on it.

“It is not located here…” The professor tried to hum a funny folk song.

“Europe? Alaska? Asia?”

“I even don`t know.” He hummed a bit louder, “Stora stund, helliga stund…” It is a kind of underground urban city. My trip there lasted an hour or two…”

“Who brought you there?” Lesya Butzyk, a young and ambitious blonde journalist, hustled away her colleagues. “How did they look like? What message did they ask you to deliver?”

Mr.Vovk put a half-empty glass of wine on a fireplace plate and tried to concentrate, “I will start from the end. They sent Elon Musk with his hyperloop tunnel project best regards. They say that, at least partly, all millennium underground tunnels belong to them. Especially, after 2012. Therefore, if he wants to cover the Earth with hundred-mile-long tunnels, he is welcome but just only after negotiations.”

This time Sachko turned out to be twinkle toes and pushed back Lesya, “Well, could describe in detail so-called ‘they’ and their ‘Urban Garden’, please?”

The relaxed professor scratched his nose and continued, “They look like common Nordic basketball players from Wetterbygden Stars or Jatland Elks but dressed differently…some thermal microfiber clothes from several layers. I called them ‘Nords.  They laughed a lot, drank clean water and some slightly spiced wine called glogg.”

“Maybe, these were Swedish or Norwegian people celebrating Christmas!”

“Maybe, but why did they build a see-through city among ancient oaks and cedars growing in a colossal cave with artificial light?”

Lesya made a dribbling movement, taking the place of Sashko, “How did you notice that it was a gigantic cave without sky, the sun and clouds?”

“It is very simple. There was a slightly visible crisscross line separating the virtual reality sky from the real land with small lakes, wild lawns, rough trees, and crystalline offices with wall-wide screens.”

“How about their transportation vehicles? Did not you notice something unusual?” Sashko appeared over the shoulder of Lesya.

“Almost the same streamlined boats, cars and quadricycles…plus some crystal-clear spheres…the engines apply biotechnologies… ”

“Why do you think so?” Lesya raised her eyebrows.

“In crystal-clear spheres I did not see any engines at all. Nevertheless, they fly fast…It could be just biotechnologies…”

Sashko did not give up and stuck out his microphone right under the nose of the professor, “So, being abducted, did not you try to get away?”

“Excuse me, I guess that you misunderstood me. In ‘Optimistic’ cave I went astray, fell in some split and got a blackout. Some funny guys, singing hilarious songs, and rushing not far, just saved my life, showed their urban garden, and kicked me off with a bottle of their grogg.  They asked me just about one favor – to send best regards to Elon Musk and to his hyperloop project,” the professor took a glass of mulled wine, pronounced happily “Skal!” and popped it solemnly.

“And where could Elon Musk meet the envoy of Nords?” Sashko and Lesya asked together.

“Not far from his house, there will be a guy with a bottle of grogg, singing ‘Stilla natt, helliga natt’…”

In a while, Taras Vovk fell asleep, mumbling something like, “The Finnish…is the end of Sweden…” The day after he remembered nothing…

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