It’s 6:03am. I was lucky enough to wake and catch the sunrise. The crows that share the city with us have started calling out to one another. I will have breakfast in about an hour.

In the old district, steam billows above the stainless steel counters of a noodle shop. Reflected in their scratchy surface is the face of a young man, sinewy with scars on his hands, who will inherit the place in a decade. His smile is warm and reassuring. He loves his visitors. He feels connected to the city, somehow. A piece of something greater. A strand of color in a painting, bold and visible, thin though it may be. He believes in people.

It might be a good place to start.

Uptown, golden light paints a marble sidewalk, bright enough to still be seen in the morning dim. A silhouette faces an art deco entryway. Curvature of thin cloth, a small secret lies buried against her inner thigh. Cigarette smoke perfumes her outline, shoulders blurred in the fuzz of fur-like textile, hat a diagonal ink dash.

She might know more than he does.

Stronger scents fill a worn study, extending upward as a library made vertical. Wood carvings are laid intricately, as detailed as the leatherette spines that line the walls. Cufflinks glinting in the lamplight, a thick hand pressing into softly glowing buttons, a voice rolls over the room. Somewhere further away, another city or another country or deep underground, a great machine begins to warm.

He’s too dangerous to visit yet.

I stand and face the skyline. A cloud of shapes rises from the treetops and dances along the thermal stream. Grey obelisks carved out of a pink sky cast their shadows across the shuffle of rush hour.