Author: Wilbert Stanton
Series : Shadows of the City #1
Published by: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication date: May 27th 2014
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, Young Adult
The Artful Guide to the City
New York City 2025 isn’t the place of glitz and glam that it used to be. The city that never sleeps is pretty much the city that never breaths. No more tourists blocking up Times Square, taking pictures of God knows what. No longer are the trains filled with both late passengers and uncomfortable smells. There’s no more hustle and bustle… there’s rarely a bustle. But most noticeable is the silence, the silence that fill the city streets is quite unsettling. That being said, if you, dear reader should still choose to visit New York City, here is a handy guide of things to avoid and sites to see… before you die of sickness, or scavenger attack.
Grand Central: Grand Central was once a busy station where people came in and out of the city. Travelling on business or pleasure, it didn’t matter, this was a mecca of diversity and you could see it all here; people from all walks of life as they travelled about their day. Now, Grand Central is a shanty town made up of people who were lucky enough to find its safe dwellings. Only accessible from the subway stations and treacherous tunnels of the underground, it offers a great sense of security. It is also said to be where the Gutter Punks make their home.
Central Park: What was once a beautiful park situated in the center of the city is now a wild land. Over grown with unkempt vegetation and reckless abandonment the park is not what it once was. It is overrun by the ferocious beasts that were once confined to cages of the Central Park Zoo, but now prowl the shadows looking for a human feast. The park is also the home of the Runts, a group of feral children who live like a pack of wolves. Their alpha, a boy named Peter, is said to be a child prodigy who protects his cubs, not with strength but intellect.
Union Square: It was where all the artistic people hung out. Skaters, artists, people competing in games of chess while street entertainers played instruments behind their hungry tip jars. Now it is home to The Tribe, modern day hippies, who flock to the flag of their leader Red, a woman who can wield a sword as easily as a smile. The Tribe spends their days passed out in drunken heaps while their nights are filled with paryting, music and storytelling. They are a fun bunch but when the call to war is upon them they will easily pick up arms and protect their own.
The Cathedral of Eden: The vast cathedral takes up a number of city blocks; the place of worship is now host to the Sons of Adam, a religious cult that follows their leaders Adam and Eve with a sick ferocity. Followers of the faith are known as Angels, mostly reformed criminals seeking salvation during the end of times. This is a place one must steer clear at all costs. If you are not quickly indoctrinated and seen as a follower, your death will not be pleasant.
Beyond the Brooklyn Bridge: There are many rumors as to what waits in Brooklyn. Lord Chrysler rules the borough with an iron fist. The well-to-do live at its center but to get there you must first pass through savage lands run by Skinlickers, heavily pierced and tattooed men and women who relish the taste of human flesh. If you should be so lucky to make it past them, you’ll have to deal with the Slavers who make sport of catching errant men, women and children to sell into slavery or for unwilling contestants in the Barclay Center arena. Once you have made it past them, what waits is a land of beauty and wealth. A land not seen by many who live outside of Brooklyn.
These are only some of the places that await you in New York City. Tread lightly though, because there is danger around every corner. And if you should be so lucky, perhaps you might run into the Gutter Punks. These modern day Robin Hoods who steal from the rich and give to the poor are wise cracking, quick witted and brave boys, who are making a difference. Know their names well, because their names will one day go down in history.
Inside was the Great Hall. Yellow light danced across the walls, lit candles decorated the expanse of the immense chapel. Beautifully pillars held up a ceiling that was arched so high, it was hard to make out the paintings that adorned it. Most of the sculptures and art work were fading. Yet still it all seemed impressive, majestic, a tomb that preserved time as best as it could. Rows of pews lined the left and right side, all leading toward a dais, where a crooked cross hung low, illuminated by the light of a candle chandelier.
Most noticeable were the two recliners that faced the pews and rows of praying Angels, heads held low in a placating manner. On the recliners sat the two figures I would have to sway. The two children who walked this same path so many years ago were now older, and seemingly bored. Adam leaned heavily in his chair, leg draped over the arm rest. Eve leaned in close on her knees, staring at me with a hunger that turned my blood to ice.
He was pale as porcelain, just as delicate. His hair was braided in long dreads threaded with different colored yarn. He was topless except for the bullet proof vest he wore, dented from failed attempts at his life. He casually sighed, cleaning lint from his finely pressed slacks.
Her red hair was cut short and tussled like she just woke up, glitter shining around her wide, dark eyes. Her lips glowed a glossy ruby red. She wore no protection, just a simple white dress, and it, too, was finely cared for. The contrast between the two was striking. She had an air of innocence about her, meanwhile he clearly tried to hide an edge. He caught my eye and sat up, frowning.
“Eyes to the floor,” David nudged me. “Sorry, forgot to tell you the etiquette. Don’t be rude.”
“Sorry.” I looked down. The tiled floors were beautifully shined. I would like to see her face again. She was breathtaking; there was something enchanting about her. Like a fairy from the stories we were told as children… magical, yet dangerous.
“Praise be the Son of Adam and Daughter of Eve!” David and Michael both said. There was silence, another nudge from David.
“Oh,” I said. “Praise be the Son of Adam and Daughter of Eve.”
“Who is this?” Adam asked pompously. Had I not known, I would have assumed he was a Tower Baby. “Most importantly, why do you bring him before us?”
“He seems delicious.” Eve sounded sweet, just as I imagined.
Adam took a deep breath. “Really, Eve? Can you not?”
“What?” Eve leaned forward, eyeing me up and down. “Look at him… he’s perfect.”
“Can you let me work without interrupting for once?” Adam pleaded. “And maybe, use your inside voice?”
“My inside voice is the voice of God; my outside voice is the voice of my heart,” she said.
“And back to David.” Adam held up a hand to silence Eve. “Who is this?”
“We found him on patrol. He’s traveled a long way to meet you. He seeks salvation. Verge of death, he was, when we found him.”