Speculative Fiction

“That’s the thing about this city, it never seems to go anywhere useful,” moaned Duetoruinme. I roll my eyes. 

So, you may be reading this story and be wondering what on earth we are talking about. The thing is, our city, called; ‘La Città in Movimento’ (which is Italian for ‘The City in Motion’ by the way,) always, well… It moves. One hour it’s in California, the next… Arabia! The only problem is, as my friend here Duetoruinme, (pronounced due-to-ruin-me,) just stated; La Città in Movimento never seems to go anywhere useful. 

“Well, at least we don’t have to buy those papery thingys, that I believe are called ‘tickets,’ to go on those metal birds,” I joked. 

Duetoruinme just frowned. 

I tried again; “Duetoruinme, you are so due to ruin me.” 

He snorted angrily. 

‘Wrong move,’ I thought to myself.

“Just because my parents decided to call me such a ridiculous name doesn’t mean I am really due to ruin you!” He growled.

“Actually, you’re not Duetoruinyou, you’re Duetoruinme.” I started nervously.

“Enough!” He shouted, so loudly that even the birds in the trees scattered. 

I wish I was a bird so I too could run away from this city of motion.

Duetoruinme has now just cooled down, for now anyway.

Everybody in La Città in Movimento knows some Italian, which is why it is my belief that we originated from Italy. Even ‘La Città in Movimento’ is Italian. My name is Italian too, and this is precisely why I’ve made sure Duetoruinme never learns Italian. My name is Coluichesaràrovinato, (Colui-che-sarà-rovinato) and it means, ‘The one who will be ruined.’ Quite fitting if you ask me, considering Duetoruinme is, ‘due-to-ruin-me.’ 

But enough of Italian and names! I know you’re all wanting to find out more about the city, not names and Italian! I’ll bet my name on it!


I was staring up at the sky, watching the clouds slowly float above me. Duetoruinme was there too, but he wasn’t staring up at the sky. He was staring at the grass. I wondered what he was thinking about. Maybe it was the time his art teacher had thought his grass were clouds? I found the clouds fascinating. They looked soft like a marshmallow, and yet they were just floating puffs of air. I used to dream of being Princess of the clouds, but that would be impossible. Beside me, I hear Duetoruinme groan. “What is it?” I ask. 

“The city’s on the move,” he replied wearily. 

Every hour the city moved. It wasn’t a subtle movement either, one that you can’t really feel unless you’re thinking about it? This was a much bigger movement. Every hour, the city gave signs that it was going to move by letting a petal fall from a rose of the City Tree. City Tree was a tree in the city that was filled with beautiful roses, and every hour, the city let a petal fall to alert us that it was going to move. Petals never fell from the tree unless the city was moving. 

I groaned too. “Get to your posts everybody!” I shouted. 

Because the movement of the city was so strong, everyone in the city had posts where they had to stand when the time came to make sure nothing broke or was damaged. My post was at the library. 

Duetoruinme was already up on his feet and was heading to his post at the City Sky, which is a skyscraper. I stood up too and fast walked to the library. A few others were already gathered there, because there are always at least three people at every post. 

Then the vibrating began. 

First, it was more of a gentle shake, but then the earthquake started. I was glad my post was not on a tree, because it’s so very hard to stop the roots from coming out of the ground when the city moves. All I had to do here at the library was hold on the cupboards and wall dividers and shelves and books. That was all. 

After the city moved, we always celebrated for exactly two minutes… If nothing had been broken. Of course, because the city moved every hour, there was never anytime for proper celebration.

I walked back to the field I’d been sitting on before with Duetoruinme following me. We looked up at the sky together and saw the flag of Argentina looking down on us. My heart sank, still awaiting the day our city returned to Italy. I looked back at Duetoruinme. His face expressed how I felt. “Well,” I said. “Out of all the places this city has taken us, none of them have been Italy.” Duetoruinme just stared back at the flag of Argentina and nodded silently. 

So, La Città in Movimento had never been to Italy, except for when it was created. Because, even a city of motion must have been made somewhere. It might as well have been Italy. You may be wondering why we are all so eager to get back to Italy, but you see, we’ve never been there ourselves. Our ancestors built this city, and were the first to experience the city’s wrath. We were all born and raised here in La Città in Movimento, never having once seen the sights of our hometown. Another reason for wanting to go back to Italy, is that we’d finally be able to get out of this city. It is a well known fact that the city walls are closed to everyone when in a place not part of itself. La Città in Movimento is a part of Italy, and therefore, if and when we get there, the gates will open and we’ll all be free! But of course, La Città in Movimento never does go to Italy.


The sun was shining brightly the next day, and even though my sleep had been broken up into sections by the movement of the city, I think we all felt almost light and airy this morning. We went about our usual business until the time came for the city to once again move. We didn’t seem to mind when the petal fell from the City Tree. We raced to our posts, holding onto shelves and glass and working hard to keep the tree roots under the ground. When at last the ground stopped shaking, we looked up at the sky and looked at the flag above. 


I don’t remember having been here yet. I think everyone was disappointed that it wasn’t Italy, but disappointment was a common feeling in La Città in Movimento. Then we heard a grinding noise coming from the other side of the city. We rushed towards it. 

The gates were open.

We cried for joy and embraced each other. So, I thought as I stepped foot onto native soil; La Città in Movimento was a part of Switzerland. I almost laughed at myself; they speak Italian as well. 

There was a group of people outside the city, watching us in amazement. There were other people speaking our language, and wanting to interview us. All I could think of was that as soon as I could, I would catch a flight to Italy. 

I hear footsteps behind me. “Hey,” Duetoruinme said. I smiled.

“I finally know what your name means.”

Oh no!

“Well, The one-who-will-be-ruined, my name is Due-to-ruin-me.”

I frowned. 

Now, because the gates had been opened I had a home that didn’t move, no posts… Life was perfect in other words. 

“Hey, The-one-who-will-be-ruined! Follow me!” I heard a voice calling over my shoulder. 

Oh yeah, I forgot about him. Well, everything was perfect… almost.

March 19, 2021 22:00

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


Daniel R. Hayes
05:35 Mar 21, 2021

Hi Arwen! This was full of imagination and creativity. I loved the way you did the names in this story. I actually didn't catch it until the end. You did such a wonderful job writing this. From the beginning to the very end I really enjoyed reading this. Great Job! :)


Arwen Dove
19:21 Mar 21, 2021

Thanks so much!


Ed .
01:03 Apr 21, 2021

Scotland? who would have thought. I loved the peoples names especially Duetoruinme. Loved it so much!


Arwen Dove
01:22 Apr 21, 2021

I'm so glad you enjoyed! Thanks for taking time to read my story!


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

Yes, you! Write. Format. Export for ebook and print. 100% free, always.