The following is the 1st Chapter of my book. You read the Prologue in the last post, so again I ask you for your input….
As the day dawned, Peter lay in bed, awake wondering what it all meant. He had been having nightmares most of his life, but up until recently, the dreams became almost like visions, reality yet unreal. Now at age twenty-four, the nightmares became more vivid, more detailed. The clarity of the night terrors was beginning to affect other areas of his life. Night after night, each terror withdrew an aspect of safety and security. In addition, every night terror also stole the precious sleep he needed to start his day, at times making him unable to function in society.
Being able to compose himself for a moment, he sat up and opened the shades to his bedroom window. As he peered through the dirt stained glass, all he could think about was how he was going to start his day. Would he begin by searching the ruins of midtown or would he hike to downtown to see what could be found there?
Peter had desired to live in the old city, once called the Big Apple since he was a child. The official name of the ancient city was Manhattan in a place once called New York, a state within the former United States of America. An island unto itself, a mega city of sorts, it teemed with all sorts of life in the ancient days.
In the former days, in the once large territory called the United States of America, Manhattan was the most prominent city in the world. The streets were lined with people, taxis, subways and buses going back and forth as if on an urgent mission, every moment of every day. It had been deemed “the City that Never Sleeps” and lived up to that persona. Street performers lined the subway platforms, night and day, desiring to make a living by showing off their so-called talents. Merchants were on every corner selling their goods, legal and sometimes not so legal. Executives walked, or so they called the almost jogging state, with briefcase in hand, to the next meeting or acquisition that needed conquering. Technicians ran from place to place with their tools in tow, fixing whatever needed to be fixed. From a simple computer to a more complex printing device, they never stopped doing what they did best.
In those days, the people were many, millions in fact, that went to and fro from one building to another to do whatever it was necessary that day. Subways were filled with voyagers starting and ending their days. Taxis tore up the major streets, weaving and bobbing wherever they could, just to receive the next fair. Nightclubs were open until the early morning hours with people desiring to dance the night away, in hopes of meeting the person of their dreams or just for an overnight fling.
In fact, there were so many people, that overcrowding became a reality. Skyscrapers were built to house the many. The more skyscrapers there were, the more people flocked to the Big Apple. Overcrowding became so real that at times, it was hard not to bump shoulders with others while walking down the street.
As Peter stood at his window to imagine the glamorous, prosperous, fun-filled days of ancient times, he wondered if those times could ever return. Was it possible to see the ancient city, once again, with life and vigor, ready to conquer whatever or whomever it felt? Could there be another time when the resurrection of a dead city was possible? Unfortunately, during these times, Peter realized the probability of these times ever returning were slim to none.
Peering out the dirty window, he could see the current state of the “Big Apple”. Buildings stood in shambles. Grass grew where sidewalks once were. Ancient light posts no longer functioning, leaned as if to cry out for help. Almost every building had shattered glass, except the one he lived in, opening the buildings up to the various elements of each season. His building was unique as it was saved by the government for the sole purpose of housing those who worked for their benefit. Dirty, yes. Exposed to the elements, no.
As he looked, he noted the lack of people on the street. People rarely roamed the streets since the time of the Great Holy War. The city had been mostly empty as if every soul could no longer bear the sight of a defeated giant. However, there were those who still lived in the ancient city. Most were wanderers or wanted people by the government, yet somehow they knew the government wouldn’t care that they were there. Others were like Peter, educators and philosophers wanting to experience a glimpse of the ancient city life. Those who did stay around the ancient city, climbed in and out of the old subway tunnels in order to survive. As there was no protection from the elements, people had been drawn down to the catacombs as temperature was more controlled there. In the winter it was warmer, in the summer cooler. Even so, why Peter wanted to live there, no one understood, but he knew.
Peter had studied at the Center for Historical Relevance Academy. He had majored in Historical Philosophy which started from the ancient times leading up to current events and studied how philosophy changed societies. They taught him about the days of various kingdoms leading different ethnicities and religions. Some kingdoms were almost like paradise, while others were tyrannical obscurities. There were leaders who cared for their people and leaders who didn’t care for anyone but themselves. He also studied about the ancient kingdom, the United States of America, and he was drawn to their ancient documents, what their founders dreamed of and the ancient city of Manhattan. Peter was drawn by the so called “Declaration of Independence”, “the Constitution” and especially Abraham Lincoln’s “House Divided” speech. These documents had been preserved and copied for the students to study and memorize. Not for the sake of acceptance but for the sake of historical significance.
Once a great nation, the United States was the place to be if you wanted to be rich and free. Every one who wanted to be free of the chains of tyranny ran to the United States. Those who sought freedom of religion, life and the pursuit of happiness flocked to the old United States. Even those who wanted to make a name for themselves, all of them came with the same understanding, if you wanted to be a free person, a wealthy person; the United States was the place to live.
Peter especially loved to learn about the United States toward the end of her reign. Even after the wars in the beginning of the 21st century, he was surprised to learn that people flocked to the borders of this free nation. People could become who they wanted to become. If you wanted to become a business owner, you could. If you wanted to express yourself in art, literature or science, it was open to everyone. Every person that wanted to become important could. Every person that wanted to just make a living could. No matter the dream, it could be lived out in the ancient kingdom. Even when morality was at an all-time low, prosperity was at an all-time high. No one cared about what others did, as long as there was money to be made; people came to the ancient nation in droves.
During his days at the academy, he read about the first major attack on Manhattan that killed thousands and the continued horror that war brings out in mankind. He studied about the terrorists that killed because they believed they could get into heaven by killing others. He had been taught that if religion had been abolished back then, this attack may have never occurred.
He remembered how he studied the events leading to the Great Holy War. How one individual, one terrorist, gained access to the biggest financial institution in the United States, Wall Street. He read how this one person set off a rough nuclear device in the Wall Street building, killing tens of thousands of people immediately and millions of others who died later due to exposure to radiation. In an instant, the economic prosperity of the greatest nation, in the greatest city, was nothing more than rubble and decaying bodies. No longer was the Big Apple bright with flavor, instead it had instantly become rotten and inedible. If it hadn’t been for the Serpula, he could not live there now.
Right after this single event the government shut down Manhattan for good. No longer were there people in the streets. No more street vendors. No more executives attempting to make enough money to retire twenty times over. The Big Apple was no more and with it, the economy of the former United States.
During those days starvation was rampant through the United States. Disease became the norm. Children became orphans roaming where they could, stealing enough food for the day wondering if anyone would take them in. Lawlessness and anarchy ruled the surrounding landscape. The police had no authority, the Army deserted the ancient city in order to fight another battle.
The United States President had declared war on every nation that harbored terrorists. Originally, he sent troops over to each of the terrorist nations, trying to topple their governments and establish new ones. However, this did not work. In fact it worked against them. The other nations combined forces to battle the old United States troops head to head. As the battles raged on, other nations were drawn into the conflict. Old European nations, Middle East nations, African nations and Asian nations all headed to war to fight either for terror or against it. Each picked the side they felt would benefit them and keep them alive. The final world war had begun and continued for thirty years. It wasn’t until one battle was interrupted that mankind would once again be saved.
In the ancient city of Syria, as the battle raged, many soldiers were lost, from every side. During this battle, the forces of terror had waged an attack to finally defeat the “infidels”. As the night fell, the terrorists surrounded the “freedom troops” in an effort to kill each and every one. As they approached the camps at night, a small beam of light broke the darkness. However, this beam of light was different. It seemed to be singing a love song, while slowly pulsating.
All heard the singing light and came out to see it. No one fought, no one cared about the enemy. All they could do is stare at this wonderful, peaceful light. As the light pulsated, it grew and so did their curiosity. Some were afraid to draw close and withdrew to their tents, while others slowly and carefully walked toward it, armed with the weapon of choice. Finally, in one quick moment, the light became so bright, so large, it was as if the sun itself was entering the atmosphere on the earth. Everyone covered their eyes, while their curiosity drew them to the light.
Without warning the light was gone and in its place, two creatures stood. Both were taller than most men, but had the characteristics of a man, two legs, two arms, one head. Both had large wings that tucked tightly to their backs. The one on the left had what looked like eyes on his hands. Both had swords and were dressed in white robes and sandals. It wasn’t until one of the beings spoke did anything make sense.
“Humans! My name is Locafan. I am the leader of the Serpula and am here to ensure peace, prosperity and the evolutionary process.”
Lofocan was the tallest of the two. He stood over seven feet tall and looked like nothing anyone had ever seen. His demeanor was confident, his looks exceptional. It could be said that he looked as beautiful and the legendary angels of past fables. Lofocan continued his introduction.
“This is General Betolnam. He will assist me in ensuring peace, prosperity and the evolutionary process. Your kind in on the verge of something spectacular, something wonderful. Fear not, for we are friendly and won’t do you harm.”
As the troops stood, some did not believe Lofocan and his general were real and thought it was a trick of the enemy. A few shouted “Death to the Serpula”, not realizing who they were or what they were. They charged Lofocan and General Betolnam aiming to prove they were an illusion. It was then that General Betolnam drew his sword, took a defensive stance and took a swing in silence toward the attacking troops. In an instant, their heads had been severed from their bodies. In one swipe of his sword, General Betolnam killed 5,000 troops, yet he appeared to barely move. In a single swipe of his sword, General Betolnam showed how powerful the Serpula really were. Now hundreds of years later, the Serpula were no longer showing their power, but instead brought peace to the lands ensuring that mankind would continue in their evolutionary process.
As he studied these moments in the ancient history books, he thought that if he could live in the ancient city of Manhattan for just two years, he might be able to understand the actual relevance of those times. Now five years later, in the former Big Apple, now called City of Ruins, Peter understood he could not leave. He needed to study more, learn more. He needed to become more of an archaeologist rather than a historian, desiring to understand what happened and why. Why this city? Why that time? Why didn’t the Serpula come sooner to stop the terror attacks?
Peter had so many questions, that he sought answers for each of them. As he discovered more, more questions arose. Was it possible for each of his questions to have final answers? Could he possibly ever go home satisfied? Maybe someday, but for now Peter understood he had a job to do. He prepared himself and headed for the downtown area. Maybe, he could fight the night terrors with new questions and ancient discoveries.