City of Souls

Can a city possibly have a negative, sinister legacy?
London used to be a heartfelt city, until one person entered the streets of London, and turned everything to ice with the bitter chill of his soul. He clutched the lives of many, and stole their futures.
London has become the City of Souls.
Entry into the Create A Legacy competition, please listen to the song I have attached to this as you read it, it only adds to the atmosphere. I wrote this story as I listened to it. Hopefully, we will share the same images I see in my head. Word count 1489.

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3. Wanderer

Inside my head, I pictured thousands of people coming together to restore London, revive it. But in reality, I was a one man army, alone, and unable to stop this nightmare. 

Past several factory ruins, was a collection of wreckages, houses that had been burned to the ground and whether people had been inside, had not mattered to the man in the top hat and a long black coat. After his first killing spree, he started torching town houses, barns, crops; he effortlessly destroyed the spirit of the city. All that was left was a wreckage cloaked in flames.

Tattered remains of curtains drooped from the rails inside the windows of attached houses. Shards of glass glistened and as icy wind whistled, a tune was played against the jagged ends of what had once been a town house window. Chunks of walls were missing, debris scattered across the streets, pieces of furniture buried underneath piles of brick and stone.  Amongst it all, memories were concealed. Ripped photos of families, cracked hand held mirrors, shredded children's books. 

After the fire, the townsmen had no choice but to evacuate, all that was good and pure had been obliterated. Nature, along with the people, abandoned this place. Nothing could ever grow here now. All it took was a glimpse of the ruins to feel the pain I felt, for the rise of bile in the throat, the numbness in my heart.

All was silent, and yet it seemed so loud, as if the souls of the ruins were screaming at me, warning me...

A sudden sound from behind me ripped through the air like a gunshot in a peaceful forest.  Abruptly, I swivelled round and there he was, soaked in darkness. The top hat was pulled forward, shadowing half of his face. His coat - a rough leathery material - hung lose around his skeletal frame. Soundlessly, he crept forward, a lethal, crazed grin slowly began to spread. His gloved hands flexed.

Emotions whirled around in my head, thoughts jumbled and my body was frozen, as if I had suddenly lost control of my limbs. My entire body had shut down. My eyes were fixated on the man that was in front of me.

He tilted his head slightly, as his eyes scanned my body.

Why wasn't I moving?

Move!

The man bared his teeth, two rows of razor sharp, yellowing weapons. 

Why, at this point, was I analysing his appearance? I should have been running a mile.

You can run but you can't hide...a tormented voice inside my head said.

The monsters in my mind had awoken, and they were teaming up against me.

I broke into a run, forcing my legs to carry me down the street, past broken streetlamps, abandoned cars, mountains of debris. My hair tumbled out of its bun, golden strands now falling around my face. My heart pounded heavily in my chest, adrenaline causing through my veins.  I had to get away from here, and fast. My eyes prickled as tears formed. I could feel the souls urging me to run faster, to escape the city.

I approached a main road, idle cars parked and left, were scattered along it. My leg muscles ached and begged me to stop, but my life depended on it. Instinctively, I looked over my shoulder; the man was out of sight. And out of nowhere, the man appeared in front of me, and I slammed into his chest. His giant hands gripped my shoulders. Effortlessly, he grabbed me and launched me across the road, I slammed into the hood of a car; my head collided into the windscreen with colossal impact, shattering it into a million pieces that rained down on me. I felt a wave of heat in my head, a shard of glass was stuck in my hairline, wedged between skin and bone. I yanked the shard out and gasped with pain.

Before I could lower myself off the car and launch myself into another run, the man had me by the throat, his grip tightening. 

And in those fast moments of death, I saw the thousands of souls floating around, watching me with despair in their eyes. Slowly closing their eyes and bowing their heads, such hurt and hopelessness in their faces. Spirits of the dead circled me. Children, who had once laughed and played under the sun, adults who had families and jobs, the elderly, who’s death was imminent anyhow.

My body sagged in his arms as my mind succumbed to the darkness. I floated up in a new, ghostly form, and in my current state of afterlife, I realised I was free from the monsters and the terror, I no longer had to live in fear.

The City of Souls welcomed me with open arms.

But I am bound to the ruins, I am a prisoner.

I am a wanderer.

 

 

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