Sun-baked stones sizzled in the heavy sunlight of the late July sun.
Marko leaned on a warm railing guarding a wide water-rich canal, admiring and gazing at the bright rocks. He was so mesmerised he hadn’t noticed his dog Roko frantically panting and scratching his lower leg. Behind him, the concrete jungle of New York crumbling. Car alarms whaling, frightened screams and shouts echoing through now barren and dusty streets. When Marko noticed his heart sank, feet to frozen to move. His eyes scanned the clouds of pluming dust. In the dust to large blue beady eyes glaring at him. They were 130 feet off the ground. Swaying slowly, time felt to cease.
A creature stepped slowly out of the dust. The creature was plated in black scaly rock-like armour, with small trees and shrubbery sprouting in random places. It resembled a large lizard. The blue eyes swirled relentlessly. The gaping mouth of the monster opened to reveal a singular row of milky white teeth tinted with blue speckles. Marko then focused at the throat of the monster that had quickly turned a fluorescent glowing blue. A roar erupted from the belly of the monster before blue and white energy surged through its veins and shot out through its mouth directly at Marko.
This was a surreal memory that haunted Marko in his dreams. It had now been 2 years since the attack on New York. Marko laid on a thick branch of a redwood tree gazing at the once overpopulated city that was now overrun with fauna and flora, colourful bird littering the sky soaring from building to building. The rare still standing skyscrapers covered in different vines and large trees charging through already decimated concrete floors. Marko scribbled on a map he had designed of the city. There were 8 districts, the first was the riches district. It received its name because prior to the attack it was the diamond district of The Big Apple. If not already pillaged there were rare riches that could be found under the rubble.
Pearl necklaces, diamond rings and golden watches were some of the regular finds. The district was usually hostile with agitated stragglers or gangs patrolling the area looking for their next victim. The second district was the sea district. This was what was left of the New York south Harbour. French sailors recently had arrived at the port trying to deliver supplies and help medicate some of the rare locals and take samples of the wildlife. They were all ambushed, murdered and tortured by the gangs and religious cults. The final district that had been named by Marko was the church district. This district had some of the last churches in New York. Every time Marko visited the churches mainly the church of Manhattan, he felt a strange presence. Every time he stood in the tall gold and velvet-lined cathedral someone would speak to him, saying things like “the rain” and “the final drop”. Marko never understood any of this.
On his way out of the church one day he encountered the voice again. It had said something to him, something he couldn’t understand it. Marko sat on one of the cold wooden benches and only heard the downpour of the rain and the thunderous boom of the lightning. Marko silently sat in the church for minutes maybe even hours. Marko lost track of time while now being slouched on the wooden bench. Thousands of memories rushed through his mind, his friends, his family and his teachers all distant ghosts running through his mind. Marko had never noticed how lonely he now felt. The exhausted, short, dark-haired tanned teenager now began to sob. Tears slowly trickled down his face before he laid his head down to his maroon rucksack.
A light warm breeze brushed by Marko carrying red maple leaves. Marko stood up his eyes foggy and sore. His head quickly swivelling to the left then the right all he could notice were what looked to be clouds. White weightless clouds. Marko waved his hand near his feet slowly pushing the smaller clouds away. It was a surreal experience. As the clouds drifted away it revealed a small globe. The globe was blue speckled with different shades of green. Outside the globe there was a black abyss sprinkled with small glowing white lights. Strange, very strange. Marko slowly straightened his knees until he was standing upright. In the distance a small glimmer of gold caught Markos's eyes. He squinted to try to make out the object that looked to be a gate.
He began to walk to the distant object. In seconds he arrived almost as if he flew. The object was a gate. There were two large concrete pillars spiralled in gold. Connected to the pillars were to slightly taller gates. One slightly hinged open while the other was somewhat immovable. The gold of the gate shimmered immensely in the unseen warmth of the sun. He stepped around then through the opening of the gate. His mind suddenly became fixated on a boat, a flood and the terrible events that would come with the flood. CRACK! A thunderous slam of lightning penetrated the once silent arena.
Marko sprang up from the wooden bench, his face shimmering in cold sweat. He looked to his watch it was now 8 am he’d slept for 14 hours but he knew what he had to do, he had to build a boat. Marko set off from the church rucksack on back and dog leash in hand. Marko felt exhilarated, he felt like he had a mission. Something he hadn’t felt in years. Adrenaline coursing through his veins as he sprinted alongside the once luxurious apartments that were now rainforests with their unique ecosystems.
As Marko ran past the homes, he was hit in the face with something solid. So solid it had knocked Marko off his feet scrambling around on the ground looking for the assailant. To his surprise he looked down to see a brightly coloured insect. It twitched uncontrollably on the ground. The insect pulsated and twitched. It’s antennas violently spinning before instantly stopping. Rocco’s once wavy hair began to stand up on his back as he whined cautiously. Marko leant down to inspects the creature. All was quiet with the anticipation of Rocco. Then suddenly the creature reanimated itself, springing to life, clawing and hissing at Marko. It shrieked before acting impulsively its slender body off the ground springing into the air! Marko knew it was time to leave. He had encountered these insects before. He once witnessed a swarm of them liquefy the flesh off a sailor. Leaving only his skeletal remains. Marko knew if there was one around there had to be more.
Marko began talking to Rocco after they had bypassed the insects. He was talking about his “big plans for the ship” and “how luxurious it would be for the both of them.” Dark clouds circled above the two before heavy rain droplets began to pour down. The duo took refuge inside a once-bustling convenient store. Marko sat down on his rucksack hearing a crunch. He looked into the maroon bag to find his orange pill bottle had shattered. Small pills now scattered inside the bag and over the white tiled floor. Marko sighed before interrupted by another noise. He heard small aluminium cans fall to the floor. His heart dropped. His eyes watered as he rummaged through his bag to find his notebook. They were in the diamond district. Marko knew whoever had made that commotion wasn’t friendly.
Marko quickly rose from the cold floor before charging out of the store. After he exited Marko heard a whistling noise before feeling a sharp pain in his lower back. His left arm swung around to retrieve the object. It felt solid and wooden. He jerked at it to only be met with pain. Marko winced in pain before feeling another object thud into his left knee. He glanced down to see an arrow. Blood spirting from the projectile. He fell to the ground. Tears fogging his vision before seeing a group of men crawl out of the shadows. Their faces decorated in animal and humans’ skulls marked in red striped paint. Rocco seeing the attackers lunged out from the store ready to protects his owner only to be met with an arrow to the chest. Rocco cried out in pain before violently kicking on the floor. This was the last thing Marko saw before losing consciousness.
His head dropping to the harsh concrete followed by a loud thud. The colour faded from his eyes and his hands relaxed. The lid of the pill bottle rolled out from his grip. Printed on the lid was Aripiprazole or commonly referred to as schizophrenic medication.