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SHADOW

By Casey Thatcher All Rights Reserved ©

Action / Romance

Blurb

SHADOW takes place in a post apocalyptic New York City, known in the book as "Season City" where the masses are divided among three parts: New World, the Corrupted, and the Abandoned. Our main heroine, Pureblood an eighteen year old woman raised by her older brother, lives in the Corrupted with several other young adults in a small gang called "The Skulls." These individuals, some young and old, are all equally fighting for survival and rival against other gangs, particularly one called "The Spirits." The Spirits were rumored to be led by the younger sibling of a woman who is branded as Pureblood's brother's killer. Pureblood goes on a deadly adventure revealing the secrets behind her brother's murderer, pulling apart several individual stories, runs into her own mind dealing with emotional crisis, and even falls in love. A warning ahead of time, this isn't your ordinary cut and dry fiction book, it contains the young and old generation tackling some big issues including: homosexuality, physical, and emotional disabilities, drugs, sexual activities, some implied rape, violence, and gun violence. Will she fight or will she run?

Chapter 1

The trains passed by me with a heavy gust of wind, and my honey brown hair whipped my face. Sounds of rats, static coming from flickering lights, and distant rumbles echoed, bouncing off walls. The underground with graffiti on places I never understand how they got there, reeked and was more routine to me then a bird’s migration to the south. I swept my hair out of my face and continued to wait. I shoved my hands in my pockets and yawned. It was three in the morning and I can’t stress enough about how tired I was as I rubbed my eyes from lack of sleep. I look around just now noticing I was alone. An electric sign above me lit up with an incorrect time, but indicated my ride just making it to the terminal.

The subway slowed and I stepped aboard sitting across from an old man who gave me two looks. The first as a glance of recognition, our eyes meeting for a split second before I sat down. The second was much longer, maybe ten seconds of eyeing me up and down as I stuck my headphones over my ears blasting some music. I rolled my eyes and looked down at the house mixes and techno beats. (Granted I had stolen this iPod and I couldn’t change the music that was already on it, so techno had grown to be a favorite really quick.) The old man still stared at me, with a business suit cleaner then my seat, grays streaking his dark brown hair, and a beard like that fat guy in kid’s books, Santa Claus; except brown and gray instead of snow white. I couldn’t tell if this creep was a predator or if he was desperately scared that he could be prey, but either way I had my guard up. However, because of my street clothes he awkwardly shifted his gaze from me.

Did the last horse cross the finish line, asshole? Yes, I’m a “corrupted slumlord,” I thought flashing him evil eyes.

Finally, after now twenty seconds of him staring, I spoke up.

“The hell you looking at?”

The old man’s eyes widened, our eyes locking for a moment, then looked out a window he just happened to be “so fascinated” with.

“That’s what I thought…” I said to myself.

I’m not really into the whole introductions thing, but if you’re reading this then you want to know who I am. My birth name isn’t important, but I’m eighteen years old, yet people always mistaken me for older. I’ve got long, light brown hair that’s always kept in a ponytail, charcoal dark eyes, and vanilla ice cream skin. I live in a place called “Season City” with other assorted homeless people. I used to live with my older brother and others, but they’re mostly all dead. (Sure, you can consider this a Batman sort of deal.) My parents died when I was three, I don’t know details. I was then raised by my big brother who brought me up in these slums since we barely had anything else.

So funny thing you got to know about living here, we don’t typically use our real names here on the streets. Mainly because when you do end up here it’s because you started with nothing or lost everything, so a sort of “nickname” if you will is sort of like saying “Fuck my past, make way for my future,” (that’s mainly why I said my birth name isn’t important). My brother was known to everyone as “Shadow” and I do mean everyone. He wasn’t exactly a stranger around here, everyone either feared him and his gang or loved them.

Shadow and I were apart of a group called the “Skulls,” (and yes I know the name is stupid) a lot of us are extremely skilled in parkour, fighting, some are free runners, while others would rather bust their asses doing something else. Rex was our past leader who treated us all like family. Unfortunately, the unthinkable happened when he was eighteen and Shadow was twenty. Both murdered on my birthday eight years ago. I barely remembered what happened, but Rex’s younger brother and my best friend, Angel recollect the killers.

The person who killed Shadow was the leader of our rivals, the “Spirits,” (their name is even worse than ours.) The killer’s name was Rayne and she was only sixteen, that cunt. And yes, killings do happen, in fact it happens a lot. Murder isn’t exactly an unknown entity around here. You’d be surprised how many people die just because they accidentally crossed into gang territory.

Since then, however, the Spirits have quieted down. Some say Rayne died and some say she’s in hiding. Regardless, I will one day get revenge for what she did. Other groups in this town with names just as dumb as ours know the rumors of the tension between the Skulls and Spirits. With our gang now leaderless, Angel had to step up and take action.

I remember the days when my brother took care of me, then a huge jump (his death and after) and we were cared for by my other friend’s mother, Qu33n. By that, I mean Angel took care of the four of us, helping us survive when I was ten, him at eleven. I also remember this woman deciding to one day OD and die when I was fourteen. From there we were constantly on the move until we met up with others. I do remember some faces, from years ago, but they’re much distant memories and blurs that I don’t know their names. I do remember we had another couple on our side, I think they had a kid, but I don’t remember at all. I wonder where they ended up? I think we had some other people, but again it was so long ago, I don’t recall.

The Spirits since then have been incognito. While in their absence, we’ve gotten ten times stronger. No casualties, new people, and a perfect symmetry among us with me as second in command and Rex’s younger brother, the leader. A lot can happen in Season City especially when we live here on the “corrupted” side with “slumlords” running the scene. (“Corrupted” is essentially the slums, those that live among gangs and shit are “slumlords”).

There isn’t really a lot of us in “New York” or “New World” or whatever the hell they call that shit, I don’t know, and personally I don’t really care. Since we get all the four seasons here in comparison to the other places of the world, I guess that’s where the name came in, meaning Season City. I live on the corrupted side of Season City with other gangs, scattered groups, poor, and unfortunate. Often at times my brother called this place “Brooklyn” or “Manhattan.” What the hell is a Manhattan anyway?” If you live on the “virgin” side or “Staten Island” I think people call it, the place that’s not here protected by high concrete walls, a single fucking bridge that is filled with enforcers, and cozy houses, you are known as a “rich bitch.” The people who guard you, protect you, and keep you safe are “virgin enforcers.” They walk around like bad bitches waving guns and shields. They all got it made, those useless cogs, spinning away to whatever they’re paid to. Then again, I’d rather live there then in the “Abandoned.” A desolate place that’s sealed off by metal gates. Here’s what I don’t get, the only way through that side is either by passing through two guard towers or sneaking in somehow. The once huge sign that indicates your close is “Green point.” or “Queens” I think. In there and sectioned off resides psychopaths, prisoners of , and people with disabilities. My heart goes out to them, honestly, but I wouldn’t be caught dead living in there. The rumors are terrifying and should anyone escape from this cruel prison, they’re shot down by virgin enforcer snipers who have positioned themselves really, really high off the ground. Personally, I find it kind of shitty that virgins still have a place in our territory beyond the walls, but we deal with it. They don’t fuck with us, we don’t fuck with them. The guys beyond the big ass gate are known as “Loony Tunes.” Because my brother and I lived in essentially the slums, we knew gangs and the basic ground rule: “every group must have a leader.” That leader is either the second in command when the first can’t do it anymore, a family member, or voted in. Which in this case, our leader is now Rex’s younger brother. So because I’m not really one for violence, mainly self defense if necessary, I was branded with my title and my name. By that I mean I didn’t get anything cool like Rex, or Angel, or Shadow, I got Pure blood. Why? Because my older brother taught me that survival doesn’t always mean by killing, I thought it was a cool name, but now to me its an insult. Although, me and the thought of murdering someone is unheard of. I know self defense of course, but I’ve never hurt someone so bad that they died.

Growing up in our gangs, you have to earn your name and your rank. There are only four titles: leader, mac, gunman, and deliverer, which is me. Deliverers do exactly what the name entitles, deliver. I give packages to other gangs- if the price is right. Mostly I just get drugs, guns, and alcohol, sometimes it’s porn and information. Sometimes its food and meds, but that stuff is double. The leader is guess what? The leader. He/She organizes everything, sometimes has connections outside, is in charge of requests, and is typically the person you do not want to mess with. Well, if you actually want to mess around with them, then that’s your decision, but don’t mess with them. Gunman are those that keep us up to date with guns and gets all the best stuff. They’re also in charge of basically the inventory of everything deadly. Grenades, ammo, etc, they know what they’re doing when it comes to guns. Macs are the ones who are the vehicle enthusiasts, the security detail, the techno nerds, and deal with the nicer side of inventory and stock. Often they’re the ones who make the drugs and kick ass drinks, but some macs are skilled differently. Our Mac makes a hell of a good mojito and is pretty smart when it comes to electronics. Now granted that’s not to say that other people in our crew don’t do anything. There can be more than one deliverer, mac, and gunman; not everyone can cook or be a bodyguard. There’s only one leader at the end of the day and one second in command.

When it comes to banding together to protect our leader, we would rather die than watch them go down. And yeah, my life in a nutshell. Shadow was killed by an enemy gang, my best friend is the leader of me and my friends, I live with seven other homeless people, and I’ll do anything for them. And yet, even after I tell you all this, these past paragraphs and sentences...its weird how life takes a turn.

Something that you’re so used to, routine if you will, of your daily life, what you’ve been told, and what you remember, it leaves a sort of scab. When things change, the scab can either burst open and bleed all over again or heal. I’m at the point in my life where after writing all of this I can accept the healing, but I’ll always see remnants of dried blood. I guess luckily whenever I got hurt, I was the type of person to not let it keep me down.

My name is Pure blood, and this is my story.

-Pure blood

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