The City of L

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is merely a rough draft of sorts. An idea of a lost city stemmed from a dream I had one night about a gang of boys traversing the streets of a dark town. Calum and Lucile emerged as the pivotal characters of the story. I know they're bound to meet each other someday. Perhaps they're time together will shed some light onto the darkened City. I'll have to let them figure that part out.

Submitted: May 21, 2017

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Submitted: May 21, 2017





The City of L was graced with a peaceful night for once. Rain thrummed against the dim lit streets creating a lullaby of sorts that mingled with the breath of the wind. A blue, crescent, moon sat on the tall clock tower with a single yellow star as its companion.

Stars were rare in the City of L, for the sky was always depressed and gray. Never blue or black like a sky should be. It was as if a veil woven out of smoke and soot had covered the city long ago. Encasing it in darkness forevermore. 

Tonight, the rain was warm and welcomed, as it pierced the sky and filled the night with a wonderfully fragrant mist.

 Mist that helped mask the smell of blood and rain that drowned the cries of bleeding men. Three to be exact. All lying in their own fifth, their limbs thrown this way and that way, with their faces frozen in looks of terror.

A young man, dressed in a fitted suit the color of ashes, stood in swirls of blood on the mahogany flooring where the dead men no longer wept. His shoes were undoubtedly ruined, and he’d have to find himself a new pair before tomorrow lest he raise suspicion amongst the law enforcement. He sighed at the thought, and the noise gained the attention of his partner, Vincent, who had been rummaging through the dead men’s pockets. No doubt looking for something worth trading.

“We make quite the team eh, Calum?” Said the man. His grin was wild and untamed, as he bared his pointed canines.

Calum glanced sidelong at his companion, his face betraying no emotion, as he wiped his dirty blade on his pant leg. The blood would come out with warm water and soap, he hoped.

Vincent continued grinning the only way he could, like a rabid dog without a leash.

“This,” He said, as he gestured to the dead men with his switch blade, “Marks the end of their reign of terror.” He spoke with an air of finality, like a crazed leader hell bent on spilling more blood, which of course he was.

“We celebrate tonight.”

He stood then to his full height, which wasn’t so impressive for a man with a personality such as his. Even in his heeled shoes, he was barely five foot seven. With his proclivity for unabashed violence and gore, he should’ve been at least six foot, so people might actually be frightened by him without having to learn the hard away.

Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out two copper coins. Reaching into a dead man’s pocket, he pulled out a ticking silver watch and handed it to Calum.

“Take this and trade it for as much booze as you can carry.”

Calum scowled at the wretched thing. It was still warm, he noted, and marked with intricate designs of nothing he knew the name of. It was also off by five hours. Broken and useless, the bloke must’ve been sentimental for keeping such a worthless piece of metal rather than selling it. The fact that he could afford to keep it was irritating somehow.

“Gayr won’t mind the blood,” Vincent promised. “He never does. And anyway, I’m sure he’ll be happy to hear that these bastards are dead.” He ushered Calum to the double doors of the Victorian house, leaving a trail of red footprints behind him. And in a voice so low and rare, he said,

“Make sure the sentries don’t follow you this time.”

Calum’s blue eyes darkened. Armed to the teeth with steel guns and silver blades, the sentries were vain and vile creatures. They were born and bred in wealth and held themselves in high regard, only offering protection to those who could afford their services. Responsible for guarding the City of L, they considered themselves soldiers. But they were nothing more than ravenous hounds that preyed on the weak.

 Without a single word, Calum pushed through the double doors and disappeared into the night.  






Gayr was a difficult man to wake and an even more difficult man to bargain with. He rubbed at his eyes with sweaty palms and yawned. His breath reeked of alcohol, which made sense, but also of garlic, which didn’t make as much sense.

He leaned into the counter and studied the silver watch Calum had given to him.

“It’s broken,” Was all he managed to say. His tone bored and tired.

Calum rolled his eyes, because yes, the watch was obviously broken, but it was still worth something. Crafted from polished silver and rimmed with gold, it was not made cheaply.

“What am I supposed to do with a broken watch?”

Perhaps the alcohol had made the barman denser than he already was. It didn’t seem possible.

“Sell it,” Calum replied, “I’ve heard silver and gold are worth something these days.”

Gayr shook his bald head and grumbled, “Solid gold, yes, but this is worthless.” He laid the watch on the counter with a ‘thud’.

“Well then melt it down and sell the pieces for all I care.”

“Watch pieces are even more worthless.”

Calum suddenly contemplated the consequences of killing the overweight man. It’d be easy, no doubt, but then the citizens of L would miss their wine and watered down ale and would have to find some other way to drown their sorrows. So although the thought of strangling Gayr was satisfying, his death would only start a mutiny, which sounded ridiculous.

He’d have to think of something else.

“You’re in quite the mood,” Said Gayr, and Calum pinched the bridge of his nose.

“I am in a mood,” He groaned. “Because it’s my birthday, and I just spent the last of it on a pointless killing spree with Vincent.”

“I’d hardly call three men a spree.” Oh, but murder was always a spree with Vincent.

“And now my favorite shoes-

“You’re only shoes.”

“Are filthy, and my jacket is worse off.” Though he was more pissed about the shoes. He had stolen them brand new.

“Just give me something that the boys can drink, or else Vincent will be sorely disappointed when I come home empty handed.”  

Gayr grunted at the unspoken threat, but nonetheless picked the pocket watch up again.

“Your boss was right to kill those men,” He said. “They were nothing but thieves.”

Calum raised a brow at that, but didn’t say anything, as the pub owner ran his chubby thumb over the timepiece’s engravings.

“Fine,” He said, and he gestured to the back room. “Take whatever you want. Just lock the door on your way out.”

Calum thanked the man, glad to be rid of him, and set out on finding something to carry the booze in.



Lucile didn’t mind the rain, for the air of L was always warm and dry. The rain helped to loosen her lungs, made her feel like breathing again, and she relished in the feel of it on her skin, as she traversed the winding roads of the darkened city.

She was young woman, no more than seventeen years of age, disguised as an even younger man. Dressed in her usual attire, which consisted of worn leather boots, an oversized cotton shirt, brown trousers, and a long ebony trench coat, she made quite the dashing young lad. Her cropped hair helped add to the illusion of being a man, and her coat, which was by far her most treasured possession, disguised her curves well and had too many pockets to count.

Humming quietly to herself, Lucile continued down a narrow cobblestone path until she reached a shop called The Grasshopper. It sat on the corner of the street, and despite its claim of selling magical oddities and doodads, it was a remarkably unimpressive establishment, housing only random baubles and worthless treasure. She studied the shop’s moldy window panes and smiled in spite of herself before opening the door.

The rusty bell above the threshold chimed softly, alerting the bearded man behind the counter. He held a book in his hands and looked at her over the rim of his glasses.

“Morning, Graham,” She said.

Graham smiled, his brown eyes still bright and alert despite his old age. He set down whatever he’d been reading on the counter and replied,

“Good morning, Oliver.” His voice was gruff and gentle at the same time. “Quite the early bird, aren’t you?” Indeed, it was still midnight, but the two of them rarely slept, so it hardly mattered.

“To what do I owe the pleasure of this surprise visit?” He asked.

She responded by handing him a silver locket with a broken chain.

“I take it this isn’t yours,” He said, and Lucile grinned.

Graham raised his eyebrows and gave her an incredulous look, as he picked up the trinket. If he opened the locket, he’d find a black and white photo of a random man sitting on a bench. A complete stranger. She had found it one afternoon tucked in the crack of the sidewalk and out of a strange perversity decided to pick it up. It had to be worth something, she mused.

“Did you steal this?”

“Would it matter to you if I had?” She countered.

The old shopkeeper grunted, but nonetheless pulled out a small tin box from behind the counter. He counted however many coins were in it and said,

“I’ll give you five copper pieces for it.”

“That’s hardly enough for a loaf of bread,” She said with a frown.

He shrugged. Graham was generous man, but he was also a poor man. Almost as poor as her. Take it or leave it, she could hear him thinking.

She declined the offer. Although she was in need of money, the locket was unusually pretty, and for some reason she was reluctant to part with it, especially for only five copper pieces.

“Thanks anyway,” She muttered, as she wrapped it in her handkerchief and tucked it away in her pocket. Making as little as he did, Graham could only offer her so much, so relying on him for a steady wage would be unreasonable. He was still good company and always would be, but she’d have to find someone else to trade with. She’d go hungry this week if she earned less than a silver coin.

“Try the pubs,” Said Graham. “I’ve been told that drunk men are far more generous with their gold.”

Lucile smiled, tipping her cap.  

And the bell chimed once more.

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