The Dead City

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A man named Elliot jumps awake to find himself in a room that he's been in for what feels like his entire life. Soon he meets a man named Nikolas that treats him as a close friend and shows him the under-workings of the new-age city.

Submitted: November 16, 2013

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Submitted: November 16, 2013

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A cold wind blows through my hair as I walk slowly towards the edge of the roof. I shield my eyes from the lights of the city at night. I close my eyes and listen to the sounds of the city as I take a deep breath and step forward over the edge. The rush of cold air gives me goose bumps as I fall faster and faster down 500 stories. Reality blurs and sounds distort as I make my way to the bottom. I close my eyes once more. 


I get jolted awake into a cold sweat. I sit up and wipe my face off with the bottom of my shirt. I sit there in silent confusion as my memory begins to return and the dream begins to fade. I calmly get out of my bed and walk over to the mirror across the room. I look into the mirror but I can't even see myself behind the dirt, grime, and cracks. I try to clean it off with my hand but it somehow made it worse. I sit down on the wooden toilet next to the sink and try and think. I don't even remember what I look like. I've been in this room longer than I can remember, but my memory feels blurred. I can't tell if I've been here for a year or a day. I look beside me and see a pile of newspapers with the date October 7th, 2135. I stand up and walk over to a sign that had been nailed over a window. It read 'Help Wanted.' The sign was visibly old, with broken edges and fading text. I turn around and see a door that I hadn't noticed previously behind a curtain. I cautiously walk over and move the cloth out of the way.


“How did I not see this?” I asked myself quietly. My hand shakes as I go to touch the handle. The handle feels warm as I begin to turn it. I slowly open the door. The hallway on the other side is dark, but not too dark for my eyes to adjust to it. The hallway is massive, going further than my eyes could see. The door shuts behind me with a slam. A few moments after my door shut, another opened. I turn around as hear foot steps behind me.


“Is that you, Elliott?” said a timid voice. There was a young man with dirt and dried blood covering his face. He wore patchwork clothing underneath a heavy jacket with many pockets.


“Elliott!” the man said as he threw his arms into the air. “I coulda swore they got you.” He goes in to shake my hand.


“Who are you?” I said without shaking his hand. “Who got me?” The man looked confused.


“I'm Nikolas,” The man said as he put his hand down awkwardly “How do ya not remember me?”


“Why should I remember you?” I said stepping back slightly.


“You messin’ with me, right?” Nikolas said as he stepped forward. “You were with me yesterday.”


“No I wasn't,” I said as I turned to start walking down the hallway. “I was here, I've been here.”


“No you've been with me, ever since the ship heist, don’tchya remember?” Nikolas said as he tried to catch up to me.


“What are you even talking about?” I said as I tried to stay ahead of him.


“You’re scarin’ me man,” He said as he picked up his pace. “Where are you even goin’?”


“Somewhere that's not here,” I said looking back at him. “I want to see what it's like outside. Maybe get a job or something.”


“Fuck,” He said, now walking beside me. “Follow me.”


“Why on earth would I do that?”  I said


“’Cause I'm the only friend you got,” he said looking me sternly in the eyes. I don't know why, but I trust him.


“Lead the way, then,” I said gesturing ahead.


“I knew you'd come around, Elliott.” He said with a smile on his face. “We have work to do!” He began to walk quickly down the hallway.


“Wait, work?”


“Yeah,” He said looking over. “Don't worry man, I'll explain on the way.” We walked to the end of the hallway and got in the elevator. We reached the bottom and walked outside. The sun is setting and the lights of the city are turning on. Nikolas hailed a taxi.


“Help Wanted building, please.” He says to the taxi driver as he got in.


“So what's at the Help Wanted building?” I ask.


“Work,” He responds bluntly. There is van with sirens blaring down the road just outside the Help Wanted building.

 

"What's going on over there?” I ask Nikolas as I pointed at the van.


“Oh that?” He responded. “They're here to clean up the mess.”

 

“Mess?” I asked quizzically


“Yeah, apparently there was a jumper last night.” He said squinting his eyes to get a better look. “They're here to get the body. Don’t know what took ‘em so long.”


“Where do they take... the body?” I ask in almost a whisper.


“That's where we're goin', my friend!” He said loud enough to make the driver jump. “And here we are.” He pays the driver and beckons me out of the car. We get out and I follow him by the van where I stop to get a better look. The body looked familiar. The very sight sends a shiver down my spine. One of the workers does a double take as he saw me before jumping up aggressively shooing me off and hiding what's left of the body. I then followed Nikolas into an alley.


“So what now?” I ask quietly.


“Well first you're gonna want this,” He says as he hands me a loaded pistol. I take it and put in underneath my jacket without a second thought.


“We're here to shut down this building,” he said walking back out of the alley.


“What's your motive?” I ask as I zip up my jacket.


“Well, they indoctrinate people,” he said in a relaxed tone. “I don't know exactly how they do it, but I’m lead to believe cloning is involved.” He began to walk towards the front door. “They have factory sized floors with billions of dollars of cloning vats and machinery,” He said as he turned his head to make eye contact with me. “But there’s no documentation of it”


“So what does the indoctrination do?” I ask as my head began to pulse.


“The indoctrination makes people easy to persuade. Their workers are loyal slaves working for little to no pay.” He attempts a smile as he walks through the front door.


“So what's your plan?” I ask as I attempt to follow his lead. He silently holds up his index finger and walks into the elevator, I follow.


“First, we're gonna cut off the power at the top,” He said as he pressed an elevator button. “Then, we’re gonna go and sabotage the factory floor.”


“You haven't put a lot of thought into this have you?” I said with a slight chuckle.


“This was your plan, not mine,” he said, keeping his eyes on the door.


“You confuse me,” I said with a grin as turned to him. “So… what's the pistol for?”


“In case security decides to intervene,” He said with his eyes still on the door. We reach floor 500 in a matter of minutes. As the door opens a canister rolls in, it begins to emit a thick gas. All goes black. I wake up on my knees next to Nikolas. We're surrounded by security.


“We've got the rogue elements contained,” an officer said into the mic on his shoulder. “What are my orders, Hector?” I could only make out Nikolas' name in the gargled transmission. “Roger,” The officer said as he proceeded to pull out his gun.

“Well I might as well ask. Any last words, Nikolas?” The officer said as he pulled back the hammer on the pistol.


 “You can go fu-” Is all Nikolas could get out before the officer stuck the barrel in his mouth and pulled the trigger. Nikolas' eyes rolled back as he fell over into a puddle of his own blood.

 

“I didn’t actually want you to talk.” the officer said with his pistol now trained on me. "Nice to see you again, Elliott.”


“How do you know me?” I said as I moved my eyes off of Nikolas' body onto the officer.


“You haven’t figured it out yet have you?” The officer said with a grin on his face. “Okay, no matter. Either I shoot you now, or you kill yourself and save me a bullet.”


“But I didn't even do anything,” I said as I put my shoulder in front of my face as though it would stop the bullet.


“Save me a bullet, and I'll give you one more chance.”


“But that doesn’t-” I began to say before the officer cut me off.


“One. More. Chance,” the officer said slowly as he wrapped his finger around the trigger. I begin to sweat as I nod and stand up slowly with my hands raised. I turn and face the city.


A cold wind blows through my hair as I walk slowly towards the edge of the roof. I shield my eyes from the lights of the city at night. I close my eyes and listen to the sounds of the city as I take a deep breath and step forward over the edge. The rush of cold air gives me goose bumps as I fall faster and faster down 500 stories. Reality blurs and sounds distort as I make my way to the bottom. I close my eyes once more.

 


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