„There's something about arriving in new cities, wandering empty streets with no destination. I will never lose the love for the arriving, but I'm born to leave." — Charlotte Eriksson, Empty Roads & Broken Bottles; in search for The Great Perhaps
I thought today was going to be an ordinary day, day as always. I was looking around while walking with a steady pace to the point of my destination. Those high and gloomy condominium buildings, placed next to each other, like a big and impenetrable wall of concrete, were blocking the narrow city streets from the dancing rays of morning sunlight. The tall corporation skyscrapers were randomly scattered throughout the nearest surroundings. The crossing nets of asphalt alleyways were ink black and icy cold, like the bottom of the mysterious ocean I've never seen. Entwining every last free place of this land I'm standing on, those streets created a mysterious maze, a puzzle not even the oldest veterans of my city could acknowledge. Crossing this labyrinth is equal to blinding yourself in the cage of a beast. Even at the day, when thin rays of light poorly try to reach the surface of the road, those streets remain ominous and creepy. The colorful, sparkling projectors and screens were the only things constantly lighting up the walls of sad and pitiful avenues. Light and dark, white and black, opposite elements coexisting at the same time. Neon banners and electrical installments were excessively covering the near surroundings. People are trying to make their best, advertising useless stuff, trying to promote their little and insignificant businesses. But that doesn't work. Seeing so many of it, makes me sick. Those people still don't understand. It's so sad that everything in the industry of our metropolis is set by the system.
My eyes got sick of this sight a long time ago. Those tons of vibrant lights were piercing though my eyes, blinding me every time I walked through those alleys, even more than my so thought up darkness of the labyrinth would do. Believe me, walking every day through this crazy and flickering maze of lights made me and my eyes suffer from photophobia - the light sensitivity. The solution to this problem was simple though. I couldn't avoid walking down the streets, so I thought of something unusual — wearing sunglasses. They not only gave me protection from the irritating light pollution, but secured my privacy and image too. However, finding and buying sunglasses in this weird city, where the sunlight barely reaches the ground, was a very difficult task. But it was definitely worth it. The positivities were uncountable. For example - being able to watch and look in the eyes of many people without them noticing it. People in this city are always marching like ants through the corridors in the anthill. Each of them with their own task, destination, walking without further thoughts. But are their actions the result of their own will? Watching those mysterious, yet simple people behind my pair of glasses makes me think even more about this, the freedom of will in this cursed city. As I think of it now, this metropolis reminds me of the human body, a living organism with veins. We, humans, are like blood, that travels all over the city-body. We supply, we exchange, we are needed for this city to be alive.
My name is Ashe, and I'm a 17 years old teenager living in this cursed metropolis. This place is the thing I hate the most in the entire world. Maybe it's because there is nothing else left in the world?
„Here comes the dark sarcasm king, watch out folks, or you're gonna become depressed like me instantly." – I whispered to myself as I walked quickly through the long and creepy streets of the S-IV district.
I don't think this district's name is creative at all. It makes me think that we, variety and plenty of people living in this big district are some sort of experimental rats, that are used to some sort of psychological attempt or test. I hope that my sick thoughts won't become true at all. Sometimes I wish I hadn't had such a luxuriant imagination at all. It's just sad, that people having dreams are automatically convicted to this phrase:
,,You can dream whatever you want, but you know what? In this metropolis none of it will become true. So stop dreaming on my lessons and focus right now!" – as the teachers used to say in my school. Not only to me.
There were many other kids that were having dreams of boundless traveling, mighty adventures, exploring the unknown and beautiful. The imaginations of those kids were melted quickly, just like a cotton candy thrown into the water. (Maybe that's why I avoid going to school as much as possible.)
I'm not surprised that our society is so gloomy, without any word of their own. They were raised to be colorless and to obey the reality they were set in.
Me and almost eight hundred million people are forced to live in this enormous metropolis, like a golden birdcage filled to its utter fullness, bursting at the seams. But the birds are too stupid to get out, too lazy to make actions, some of them just gave up, and the ones that actually want to get free, are stopped by the bodies of others, and by the hard and tough rods.
Lectus — a word from the Latin language that means: „Selected, the chosen ones" — that's the official name of the metropolis that I live in. Living in the city of chosen ones doesn't give me higher self-esteem or make me feel more important than anyone else. In this big society I mean nothing.
Lectus is a dense concrete, neon jungle in a shape of a circle, but there is more than just that. This multidimensional structure with its buildings reaching to the top of the sky broke the common sense of the furthest imaginations anyone ever had. Layered and constructed like a whole another planet, Lectus is the most complicated and tangled structure ever to be known in humans history. With almost 120 kilometers width and over 10000 square kilometers of space (not including its multi-leveled areas) this metropolis is a home to over 800 million different human beings. Surrounded on all sides by over 1,5-kilometer tall and thick concrete walls, and being under the protection of the artificial protective barrier, that no being can pass, Lectus is a truly unique prison that nothing can escape from.
This metropolis is divided in 7 sectors — different sized rings entering each other, and every ring has allocated 8 districts. The further the sector is from the center — core of the Lectus — the less rich and important it is. This metropolis was created to unite the people that have survived in the catastrophe, but how much far has it gone from its goal. Society was divided into classes. People were placed in different districts and were made to do things they didn't want to do. And changing your life is not easy in the current situation. I live in the parody of Plato's Utopia. I haven't attended to school lessons too much, so I may not know what the history of this city was taught to my peers and other people living in this city. This story comes from somewhere else.
Nearly 100 years ago, the great planet Earth that I am currently living on, was in the good state. Everyone was living happily, doing whatever they wanted to do. So how can I call the times when Earth was being destroyed by the global warming and depleted in resources — good? At those times, our planet was slowly dying, but still doing quite good in comparison to now. One day, everything changed with one little mistake and oversight. The year 2012. The year of the dreadfulness. It was when this all happened.
On a shiny and warm day of September, when not even one soul expected anything out of ordinary to happen, in one moment, the whole sky glowed pure white. Insane brightness lightened every corner of the world, even the darkest ones, blinding and burning everything that couldn't cover itself from its deathly, saint aspect. The ground started to move, as if it was trying to run, escape from the hellish hotness it was covered by. Everything moved violently, as if ancient titans hidden underground, in the depths of the Earth's mantle, wanted to leave their miserable and constant “every day" and protest against the imprisonment.
The temperature of almost one hundred million Celsius degrees entangled kilometers of the nearest surroundings and unconscious beings, turning everything exposed to it to fine ashes. The sounds of sirens and screams were mixed with noises of collapsing cities, buildings, roads, the common world. Being unable to see, to hear, to feel, people really weren't aware, that's this was the last sight they were possibly seeing in their miserable lives.
Within seconds, the „White Widow" as the meteorite was named, wiped out almost everything from the Earth's surface, leaving it to look like the deepest floor of hell. Infernum.
Out of over eight billion of people living their normal lives in 2012, only the sorrowful thirty percent of the people survived this disaster. But surviving it didn't mean getting out of this without any scratches. The majority of the humanity were left living with many incurable detriments on their health. Burns from the merciless heat, radiation sickness, blindness from the impact light, limb fractures from collapsing surroundings. Many diseases embraced the little of the humanity left, so many died after time.
The fact that everything you have lived for until now has been destroyed, turned into ashes, also left a mark on the humanity. This mark was even deeper and more painful than the physical injuries. With this scar on the soul, the unfamiliar misery was spread. The fear of the unknown, what is to come next, where to go, what to do. No one really knew what to do next, what comes.
And then he appeared. The man that rescued the survivors left to death in the unsafe and hostile environment.
Adam Victor Deus. The creator, ruler, and builder of the city. With the help of his wealth and organization - Union of Cultural Unsworn States, he gathered all the survivors from around the globe in one safe place, far from the meteorites impact, and led the people that thought there is no more meaning in their lives. With the help from all the survivors, he built the metropolis of hope, for every desperate soul there was — Lectus. As the leader with unparalleled charisma and leadership skills, that guided the creation of refuge, a new home for the left humanity, he was proclaimed a legend, that everyone seeks to until recent days.
After 6 years of hard work, strenuous efforts and torment, Lectus was announced as a place ready to be populated with the people that were the healthiest. Those people were conspired to live in the unity and understanding, two key values declared by Adam Victor Deus.
He didn't know how much his vision of a peaceful idyll would change. Oh, he didn't.
While I was thinking about the state that this so called “masterpiece" is in right now, I walked down those unfriendly and flashing streets with a quick pace. I normally would think about how to avoid school and unnecessary attention from the Order Officers — a law organization that checks the city order and puts their curious noses everywhere.
„You opened a business and didn't inform the government about it? Well, you're gonna be lossy from your money, freedom and your honor."
"You're speaking to loud in the streets? Sorry mister, that's unnecessary, and it will cost you some money."
"Hey you young lad, why aren't you in school? It's midday, you are not skipping the very important and valuable education program? Well, how about being locked in the school prison?" (it's not called like that officially, but believe me, who the hell kick teenagers in a building and forces them to damn learn 24/7? That's a prison for me folks).
Everything unnecessary you do in this metropolis will cost you more than you would even think of. That's why what am I doing right now is like disarming the bomb. Stand out a little and they're going to write you down, ruin your future and life. But wasn't life in this metropolis convicted to be painful from the beginning? Order. What an easy thing to break.
Well, but now I don't care. The thing that mattered to me was the fact, that I saw no living soul on my way. It was an early morning, still dark and cold, people usually storm the streets at this time of a day, in order to travel to their only time taker — work. I don't know what the hell is happening. That's way more suspicious and dangerous than walking and hiding myself in the train of hundreds of people that everyday walk through those avenues. The thing that scares me the most is the acknowledgment of stuff that is happening in this big metropolis. The long and narrow alleys are empty, as if all the citizens have dissolved into the air.
I walked past the high buildings and stopped myself in the middle of the crossroad. This is the first time in my life that I have seen such an intriguing sight. In every direction I looked, I just saw straight, endless dark avenues going to the infinity, and the asphalt streets reflecting the colorful, but weirdly weak, lights from neons placed on the buildings. No living soul in the reach of my sight, nothing moved, I could say that nothing existed beside me at that moment. This view created and illusion, causing me to believe that ahead of me I had four tunnels of void, that would lead me to the another world. How wonderful would it be if it actually came true? How much different would it be from this place? What would I see and experience? Or maybe it's the dream that I am in right now?
I dreamed for a while, for a better world. I stopped when I suddenly heard loud footsteps. I couldn't determine from where they were coming, as the sounds echoed around me. They were coming closer. I got frightened, because opposite of what I thought, I wasn't alone in this concrete void. I didn't want to get caught especially at the times I didn't know what was happening. Where was everyone?
I thought quickly about what should I do, and then without further ado, I rushed into one of those mystical avenues, trying to get as far away from the increasing sounds of footsteps, as I could. The noises of my panting and running were sure loudly, and I couldn't tell if I actually were getting further away from the mysterious footstep sounds. The lights flashed quickly before my eyes. I can run fast, but hell I can't run for long.
“Why didn't I exercise more? And my didn't I tie my hair? My facemask... It's so hard to breathe through it now... I'm so stupid." — I asked myself in my mind, as I was getting out of breath and my long bangs were getting in the way of my face. The mask covering my identity makes it harder to get more air... I was scared of losing my freedom. It could be taken so easily. I couldn't give up on it and everything I've done until now. I can afford to lose it, and the probability that I won't see “him" again.
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