The Second Tale - Part 1

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Late afternoon, late February. It's getting dark already. My shadow strides away from me in the deepening twilight. I follow where it leads. The Christmas lights outstay their welcome in the street. The blinking or broken bulbs loop their way from one lamppost to the next. Their lazy flashes skitter across the wet sidewalk, sparking in the puddles. It's pathetic enough in December. Now it's intolerable. Just like the rest of the city.

Every day, I watch the slow, steady decay of the crumbling metropolis. Notices of condemnation appear on a daily basis all over town. Entire streets disappear into demolished oblivion. The homeless take refuge in the dying shells of these unwanted buildings, and most of down town is a haven for the dispossessed. The apartment blocks stand empty, hunkered over abandoned stores advertising long gone wares in broken windows. No one ventures onto the streets in this neighbourhood. The eerie silence is only broken by gunshots or the squalling cries of hungry babies.

A man shuffles towards me, one shaking hand held out while the other clutches his oily rags at his throat. He stinks of cold, clammy death. At first I think he is one of the Risen, but I see his bloodshot eyes and realise he's just a down-and-out. I bury my face in my collar to avoid the stench. He sighs when I walk past. I have no intention of stopping. I refuse to give his kind money. You just have to take one look at those scrawny arms poking out from beneath his rags, punctuated with needle marks, to know how he'll spend it. I want to help but he's beyond my reach.

I head into an alley between the remains of a retro café and a hardware store. Bodies, swollen with rain yet frozen by the cold, lie under disintegrating cardboard shelters. Hungry eyes watch my progress as I cross from 34th Street out into Mayhew Square. I could bring them food, or help them build shelters, but it won't help. Not in the long run. I'd just need to come back the next day and do it all over again. The City Fathers sit back and do nothing. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer, and all the while the city rots.

Sometimes I hate who I am. They call me The Hero, and yet there is only so much I can do.

14 comments:

Carrie said...

Well hello The Hero. Look forward to your adventures.

Jason Coggins said...

Is this the same city? Or is it that just the 1st person POV talking? Whatever, count me in for another 30 weeks ...

Icy Sedgwick said...

Jason - it's a different incarnation of the same city.

brainhaze said...

Not read the first one - but this is brilliant. Love your descriptions - definitely following this one and will visit the original. Nice work :)

Jim Bronyaur said...

This is amazing writing here. So descriptive... can't wait to follow this one!

Jim

David G Shrock said...

Great start full of wonderful descriptions setting the mood.

Chloé P. Kovac said...

I admire your ability to set the tone and convey so much information in such a concise manner. You're off to a great start with this one. Bravo!

~Tim said...

Cool. I'm looking forward to following this one.

Icy Sedgwick said...

I'm glad everyone has liked it so far! I'll be recording this as my Spoken Sunday.

Gracie said...

*jumps up and down with glee* Hurray for The Second Tale!

Love the Hero's voice. Amazing writing. Can't wait to get to know this fellow better. Did I say the writing is amazing?

I <3 Vertigo City!

Rachel Blackbirdsong said...

I like that the hero is frustrated by limitations. Makes them more accessible and human. The description of the destroyed city works really well too. I look forward to reading more of this.

Harry said...

This is my first dip in the Icy Sedgwick pool, pretty cool! Looks like I'm getting here at a good time (part 1 of tale two) I'll stay tuned.

Icy Sedgwick said...

Hello there, Harry! Next instalment goes up tomorrow. Hope you enjoy it!

Sam said...

Great stuff! A cracking opening to the Second Tale. I really admire your descriptions, they convey a sense of the city perfectly. I'm really looking forward to seeing how this tale plays out.

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