(Please click here for part 2)
By: Antwan Crump
The skyscrapers were covered in ash and graffiti. The streets were laced with garbage—mostly drug paraphernalia and revolution posters left behind from back when things were still civil. The wind blew these things around in tiny tornados as gusts of smoke filtered them through the decrepit city blocks. What had once been the epitome of commerce and prosperity was now the living tombstone of that one time utopia.
Decades-old cars lined the cracking cement of the narrow blocks from end to end—a few had people living in them, Maul had learned this first hand some time ago. Once the city services had all but given up on the dying borough, agents were sent to salvage what they could of what remained.
While inspecting some of the parked vehicles for bodies, he’d found several of them gutted and filled to the brim with canned food and crude appliances. He’d been told “those lives don’t matter” but opted to keep his distance so that he would never have to test how strongly he’d agreed with the sentiment.
“Jesus,” Morales muttered as he laid eyes on the city for the first time since the news deemed it near uninhabitable for higher-minded citizens. “They weren’t exaggerating.”
“I wouldn’t do that,” Maul said as he covered his mouth and nose with the palm of his hand.
Morales rolled down his window and titled his head out of the car. The air in the city had come to take on the aroma of wet garbage and the humidity of a warm shoreline. It made him gag. “What the hell is that?”
“City blocks three thru twelve of Manhattan Island have a diminishing air quality of fifty-three percent. Would you like a preservation mask?”
“Huh,” Morales uttered as a fist size plastic mask rose from the dashboard ahead of him. He took the mask off of the stand and stuck it over his lips and nose, “How the fuck do people live here?”
Maul grinned, as he lit another cigarette, “Welcome to secret number one, kid. They’re not people. Not anymore.”
They called them half-breeds. No one was quite sure how they came to be. Most had concluded that it was some kind of sickness, others believed it to be a result of the substandard living conditions. Politicians spun it as a drug epidemic of shore to shore proportions.
In any case, few ever got close enough to investigate for themselves. The ones that did—like Maul and Morales—were only there to pick up the pieces and give some semblance of order and normality to the public’s leering eyes. “Are you not going to put a mask on?” Morales asked, genuinely concerned for his partner’s health. “Are you kidding me? I’ve put worse things in my body for breakfast than this shit. Grow a hide, Mo.” Maul lowered his window and blew the smoke against the coming breeze. Compared to before, it smelled like roses.
“Weapons checked… Car ready for defense mode… Loitering on—Block 7.”
“Alright. Let’s get to it.” Maul reached for the handle of his door as the vehicle slowed to a halt in the center of the road. “Wait!” Morales grabbed his arm. “What are we doing? We’re supposed to be tracking a disturbance.”
“Look around kid…Are you not disturbed?” Maul opened the door and swung his legs out of the car. As the driver door slammed shut, Morales opened the passenger side and looked up to the shattered skyscraper beside them. A black smoke was shooting out from its roof. “We’ve got to get up there!” He said to Maul, as he stepped onto the swampy street. “We’ve gotta…”
Something had been falling from one of the top floors of the building. It was hard to make out, but it was gaining speed. “They’re throwing shit from the windows!” Morales jumped back into the vehicle and hit the sirens.
“What are you doing, Mo?”
“I’m calling for back-up. The two of us can’t just stroll in there with hostiles.”
“That’s not our job, rookie.” Maul placed a hand over his eyes to block the sunlight while he looked up. Whatever had been thrown from the building was getting bigger and coming faster. “Mo…” Maul called with a tinge of panic in his voice. “Mo!”
Morales had been busy trying to make his futile call. “This is Agent Morales of Precinct seventeen, we need back-up A.S.A.P. at the Rubix!”
“Mo!” Maul called. He knew what it was. “Get the fuck out of the car.”
“Come in. Come in. This is Agent Morales! Do you read?”
“Mo!” Maul sped around the car to the passenger side and ripped Morales from his seat. He threw him to the ground on the side of the road and dove on the street beside him. “Cover your head…” Maul calmly spewed as the large object came crashing down onto the roof of their patrol car.
“A body?” Morales squealed as the car’s siren whirred to a pathetic stop.
To Be Continued…
But, until then…How about you give this a read????
Welcome to the world of the macabre. In this long-awaited anthology, we delve into the dark nuances of the human spirit. From the apocalypse to murder and brutal realities we remorselessly explore them all, in search of the truths that evil holds. Can you face the darkest corners of your psyche or will you cower back to your fairytales and superhero mythologies? When you tire of the lies—we’ll be waiting for you here…in the dark.
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