Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Blitz: The Artful

Title - The Artful
Author - Wilbert Stanton
Series - Shadows of the City #1
Genres - Post-Apocalyptic, Young Adult
Publisher - Curiosity Quills Press
Publication date - May 27th 2014

New York City, 2025: Everything is changed. The city that never sleeps is now a land of death and decay. A rampant virus has taken over and the survivors have become carriers, quarantined from the rest of the world.

Twist and Dodger grew up in the streets, the sewers and underground tunnels – their playground. They aren’t heroes. They just like attention; and stealing meds from the rich and giving them to the poor is their golden ticket.

On their latest raid, they unknowingly steal a cure that puts them square between the ailing Emperor of Manhattan and the war hungry Governor of Brooklyn and forces them on a quest into the darkest shadows of their putrefying world.

We didn’t speak anymore for a time, just walked in silence. Every other block we stumbled upon some sort of savagery. Bloodstained walls or half-eaten body parts. There was a moment I thought I would get used to it. If I saw enough of it, it wouldn’t bother me. I had to man up, after all. Here I was, acting like a child in the care of his babysitter. This wasn’t how I wanted our trip to go; I was sick of being a sidekick. I had to step up. So I straightened, shoulders out firm and head held high and sped up, trying to match Gia’s pace.

Until we turned a corner and all my resolve was thrown out the window. We ran into two bare-chested men in tattered jeans. One had a shaven head, rings stretched his earlobes, big enough for a finger to fit through, and a number of piercings along his lips, tattoos sloppily etched into his back and arms. The other was a bit smaller. He wore tight jeans and combat boots. His hair was a mess of knots and tangles, a thick beard covered most of his face, and he had a number of tattoos as well. They crouched down low, over the remains of a naked woman. Bits and pieces of flesh were gone from her face and neck. Her stomach was a gaping hole of blood and gore as they used their hands to spoon her insides into their mouths. Even though Gia held up her hand in silence, I puked, unable to help myself. They turned toward us, their carnivorous smiles and filed down teeth reminding me of a shark.

Gia turned toward me, her earlier confidence escaping with the color in her skin. “Oh, crap. Run!” She grabbed my arm and pulled me as I let loose the last of my breakfast.

“We got some fresh meat, boys!” The words seemed to chase us down the street. I ventured a look over my shoulder to see them giving chase, laughing and throwing bits of human meat at us.

“Come and get it!” shouted the other. “Dinner time!”

“We’ll feast on the boy for dinner and have the girl for play!” His voice was dry and frightening.
“Then eat her for breakfast.”

“And play with her some more!” They laughed wildly. This was a game to them. We were sport. They didn’t view us as people, only things to be played with and eaten. We can’t get caught, we can’t get caught. I would have killed Gia and myself before they caught us. We ran down a street and another, turned corner after corner and couldn’t lose them. They remained on our heels like vicious dogs. Before long, I realized we were just going in circles. Gia was panicked and no longer knew where we were going, I had to act before―

A woman stepped out from around a corner. Her face was heavily pierced. Blonde pigtails fell about her slender shoulders. She wore a school girl outfit. Her skirt was stained with blood, and her legs were covered in scabs. Pigtails wobbled as she tilted her head, flashing a sinister smile filled with shark-like teeth. The baseball bat held loosely at her side glistened with semidry blood. She snarled like a feral beast as we skidded to a halt.

The Artful Guide to the City
New York City 2025 isn’t the place of glitz and glam that it used to be. The city that never sleeps is pretty much the city that never breaths. No more tourists blocking up Times Square, taking pictures of God knows what. No longer are the trains filled with both late passengers and uncomfortable smells. There’s no more hustle and bustle… there’s rarely a bustle. But most noticeable is the silence, the silence that fill the city streets is quite unsettling. That being said, if you, dear reader should still choose to visit New York City, here is a handy guide of things to avoid and sites to see… before you die of sickness, or scavenger attack.

Grand Central: Grand Central was once a busy station where people came in and out of the city. Travelling on business or pleasure, it didn’t matter, this was a mecca of diversity and you could see it all here; people from all walks of life as they travelled about their day. Now, Grand Central is a shanty town made up of people who were lucky enough to find its safe dwellings. Only accessible from the subway stations and treacherous tunnels of the underground, it offers a great sense of security. It is also said to be where the Gutter Punks make their home.

Central Park: What was once a beautiful park situated in the center of the city is now a wild land. Over grown with unkempt vegetation and reckless abandonment the park is not what it once was. It is overrun by the ferocious beasts that were once confined to cages of the Central Park Zoo, but now prowl the shadows looking for a human feast. The park is also the home of the Runts, a group of feral children who live like a pack of wolves. Their alpha, a boy named Peter, is said to be a child prodigy who protects his cubs, not with strength but intellect.

Union Square: It was where all the artistic people hung out. Skaters, artists, people competing in games of chess while street entertainers played instruments behind their hungry tip jars. Now it is home to The Tribe, modern day hippies, who flock to the flag of their leader Red, a woman who can wield a sword as easily as a smile. The Tribe spends their days passed out in drunken heaps while their nights are filled with paryting, music and storytelling. They are a fun bunch but when the call to war is upon them they will easily pick up arms and protect their own.

The Cathedral of Eden: The vast cathedral takes up a number of city blocks; the place of worship is now host to the Sons of Adam, a religious cult that follows their leaders Adam and Eve with a sick ferocity. Followers of the faith are known as Angels, mostly reformed criminals seeking salvation during the end of times. This is a place one must steer clear at all costs. If you are not quickly indoctrinated and seen as a follower, your death will not be pleasant.

Beyond the Brooklyn Bridge: There are many rumors as to what waits in Brooklyn. Lord Chrysler rules the borough with an iron fist. The well-to-do live at its center but to get there you must first pass through savage lands run by Skinlickers, heavily pierced and tattooed men and women who relish the taste of human flesh. If you should be so lucky to make it past them, you’ll have to deal with the Slavers who make sport of catching errant men, women and children to sell into slavery or for unwilling contestants in the Barclay Center arena. Once you have made it past them, what waits is a land of beauty and wealth. A land not seen by many who live outside of Brooklyn.

These are only some of the places that await you in New York City. Tread lightly though, because there is danger around every corner. And if you should be so lucky, perhaps you might run into the Gutter Punks. These modern day Robin Hoods who steal from the rich and give to the poor are wise cracking, quick witted and brave boys, who are making a difference. Know their names well, because their names will one day go down in history.

Author Bio
Wilbert Stanton was born and raised in New York City. From an early age, Wilbert decided he would either write books or take over the world; everything else was just a precursor to his end game.

Along the way, he has studied Psychology, English, and Computer Science. He’s held jobs in a wide range of fields and met people from all walks of life. Wilbert is constantly learning and growing as a person, in order to solidify his dreams.

In the end world domination was a bit tedious, so he decided to focus on writing books.

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