The Great War had destroyed almost everything. Years of warfare, conventional at first followed by the nuclear holocaust that people said would never happen. But the terror had only just begun, as the few survivors that remained were soon to discover a new nightmare rising out of the darkness, one that brought an even greater fear.
The year is 2033 and a new evolution has dawned, with a hierarchy of vampires ruling in the post-apocalyptic darkness. Following the nuclear winter there is now no daylight in the world and very little hope. But still, a small human resistance fight a seemingly futile battle to retain their freedom and stop all that remains of mankind from becoming nothing more than food to the Vampire overlords.
Escape from the Broken City
The War had changed everything.
Grey dust hangs in the freezing air, giving the impression of an old, grainy, black and white film. Above the dead city the dark sky looks down, mocking the ruined, lifeless cityscape with its unseeing eyes. It is a world without daylight, a world without hope. All that remains is nothing but dust, darkness and broken dreams.
The once great city of New York stands, now barely recognisable, in post-apocalyptic decay. A tortured and twisted statue of liberty bent into submission looks down towards the depths of an inky black New York harbour. There is no sound, nothing but death, destruction and decay. All across the ghost city the streets are deserted, abandoned and lifeless. At the once bright and vibrant Times Square empty buildings look out blindly through their sunken windows, as shattered shards from the neon signs cover the streets with a multi-coloured sea of glass.
Sitting above the silent streets on top of St. Patrick’s Cathedral something dark watches and listens. Suddenly the eerie silence is broken by the sound of running, made by quick, light, feet, as they slip and slide across the broken bricks, glass and other debris. The feet scrabble into view as two boys burst into the remains of Rockefeller Plaza, past the scarred remains of the golden globe that once sparkled in the bright sunshine outside the once resplendent Rockefeller building.
Their eyes are wide their hearts are pumping; in front an older boy darts left, then right, dragging his younger brother behind him like a rag doll. Dust kicks up from worn boots as they jump a wall, landing hard. Then they collapse back against the wall that once surrounded the open air ice rink, their lungs bursting, bright lights dancing in front of their eyes at the lack of oxygen, both struggling for breath. The older boy looks round, his wide eyes darting, searching for someone – or something. The only sound that he can hear, above the pounding of his heart that thuds like an express train in his ears, is that of the younger boy’s muted sobbing. Then suddenly a shadow, blacker than black, flickers over the wall like seeping water, and he’s up, moving; pulling his brother with him. They run blindly now, as if their very lives (which they do) depend on it.
A pair of dark eyes watches from above as the two tiny figures cut across towards Times Square, then back across Forty Second Street, towards Bryant Park. They narrow as the two children bolt forward below, scything left, right, stumbling, falling, and clawing their way ahead. An evil, crooked smile twitches on the watcher’s lips.
The children don’t dare look back as they pound on, ignoring the cuts, the grazes and the shooting pain in their legs as the thing that follows them slowly closes. They can feel its presence, like the feeling that grips you in the middle of the night when you awake from a nightmare, breathing hard, your chest tight, your heart pounding. Slowly the thing grows ever closer, getting nearer and nearer and nearer.
The thing above moves efficiently as cold and silent as a shadow with no apparent effort at all. It makes no sound as it moves across the broken buildings, jumping between the close stacked remains of once towering skyscrapers, powering its hands into broken brickwork as it slithers upwards, then pauses on top of another building, its head cocked to one side as it watches its prey. The terrified boys scrabble between the remains of the buildings below and disappear briefly from sight. The thing’s mind is totally focused on the chase, on the two small figures below, its nostrils flare slightly as it takes in the cold and clammy night air, noticing the scent of fear on the dead breeze. It licks its lips and there is again the hint of a crooked smile as it looks on through dead eyes that miss nothing.
Below it the two boys charge across Forty Second Street, legs like jelly, lungs burning. Looking all around they stumble to a jog, then stop running all together, simply unable to go any further. They’ve reached the old New York Library, once the centre of learning in a bustling city. Slowly they climb the steps and crouch by its shattered pillars trying to gather their thoughts, trying to get their breath back. The older boy looks down into the eyes of his younger brother and can see the fear, can see the pleading, knows he can’t go on. He looks around carefully; nothing. For a second he dares to wonder that they may have escaped the hunter. The unbelievable thought forcing its way into his mind. He hugs his brother tightly. The night is cold and their breath is clearly visible in the dank air, short sharp breaths that burn the back of their throats.
Directly above them, on top of the library, looking down, the creature waits. It knows they are tired, knows it could take them at ease, but where is the fun in that? It wants to play. So it waits, allowing them to recover a little, allowing them to believe that maybe they have managed what no one else has; to escape from the sanctuary. Slow minutes pass, during which its eyes never leave the two shivering figures below. It listens to the sound of their breathing as it begins to slow. Then just as the boys start to relax it casually tosses a stone from the Library roof and watches mesmerised as it lands only feet from the boys and skips down the steps beyond. Its smile broadens as the children are up, running again as fast as their weary legs will take them, charged with renewed fear.
They charge across the front of the library, down Fifth Avenue, running for their lives. On and on they run, past the devastated remains of what was once the tallest building in the world and on towards Madison Park not daring to look back. In front of them the flat iron building, one of the few buildings relevantly unscathed by the great war, stands like a lonely beacon now even more isolated than ever before. But behind them the creature still follows. Onwards they run, the older boy almost dragging his brother behind him now, running down the cross streets, loosing track of which way they’re heading.
Suddenly, the two boys burst out into what remains of Union Square, past the remains of the Alamo sculpture, hardly believing how far they’ve run. They know they can’t keep going for much longer, there lungs are bursting, their breath comes in short, sharp and painful gaps, tears streak their faces. They stumble as they turn into the next street and slide to a halt. Blind panic courses through their bodies as they stare blankly at the pile of rubble that blocks their path. It’s a dead end. They look round, beyond despair now. The older boy yanks his brother into the darkness of an alleyway, but a collapsed building denies any chance of escape.
Above, unseen, the creature climbs from empty window to empty window, from buckled fire escape to buckled fire escape, before it settles and looks around from its perch high above the streets. The building it sits upon is the Amato Opera Theatre. A warped thought flickers across its mind, how apt it thinks, just the place to play out the final Act.
The younger boy turns toward his brother in utter hopelessness, his small chest heaving, his wet eyes searching his brother’s face for some sign of encouragement. There is none. Suddenly a sound from the entrance to the alley makes them start. Together, as one, they turn and begin to back away from the mouth of the alley, knowing that they are trapped with no way out.
A shadow wavers across the entrance, growing slowly longer, as if teasing them, and then… it’s gone. Silence. The boys look around. To their left, rising high above them, what remains of the opera house. The younger boy stares up into his brother’s face with a smile of hope. A smile that freezes in fear as their hunter, a Vampire, lands from nowhere right behind them.
‘No!’ he screams, the shrill sound bouncing off the surrounding rubble, as before them, their hunter looms, tall and majestic but also of pure evil. Then, unable to move, unable to close their eyes they watch as the Vampire begins to change. Its face contorts into a ghoulish mask. The skin stretching, its jaw protruding, teeth drawn back exposing an ‘almost smile’. Then its empty eyes fix on them and it crouches slightly as it prepares to attack.
Still neither boy can move. Frozen in time, they stand looking at their destiny. Despite the distance, they can clearly smell its rancid breath, feel it on their skin. Now the younger brother’s eyes squeeze shut. The wet patch that appears on his leg attracts a snarl of contempt from the demon, the ancient smell of fear. The little boy knows it’s over and can only wait for the inevitable, when he feels his brother move in front of him. The older boy, despite his own terror, stands tall. Silent tears stream down his face as his small and fragile hand reaches up, closing tightly around the crucifix that hangs from his neck.
‘Our Father who art in Heaven…’
The creature leaps.