The city is dying.
The people who took power now sit in crumbling chairs, demanding obedience from those who stopped listening a long time ago. Even on the brightest of days, the streets are overshadowed by husks of buildings from a time past. The place is a swarming ruin, it’s citizens living in the crumbling chaos they built for themselves.
It is a world for scavengers now. The street rats and crows have swept in to take over, fighting over the remaining scraps with empty, hungry eyes. They scream and fight, if only to be rid of the ringing silence in their ears. In time, even they will sulk away into the shadows, leaving the city to fall apart on its own.
The subways haven’t run in years. No one dares wander from home farther than they can walk. They don’t know what happens beneath the surface.
The tunnels are filled with color.
Thousands of Christmas lights are strung through the darkness, spreading light to every twist and turn. Idle subway cars sit detached from each other, filled with families that have made them homes. Stations are crowded with wood-carvers and potters and musicians, dancers and stylists and storytellers.
The painters scale the tunnel walls with their colors, covering every inch with their art. Plants and faces and objects, sceneries and memories and creatures, everything real and imaginary illuminated with dangling strings of light.
Writers are scattered everywhere. Usually sitting in the nooks and crannies, bending over a notebook or mobile device or staring into space. They bind their pages of words with string and fabric, often leaving a few at a platform that has become a library of sorts.
Dirt has been smuggled down, and plants that can survive the dark are being coaxed to life by a growing body of gardeners. Ivy and mushrooms and ferns stretch out hesitantly into the patient and caring hands that planted them, spreading through the tunnels and creeping up pillars.
Music bounces and echoes off the walls, swelling with musicians calling out to one another. They gather in groups and play off each other, learning and growing and obliging the dancers that call out requests.
The subways are full of life, and it’s growing.
The city is dying, but there is a seed planted beneath it. Someday, it will burst through the surface and chase away the rats and scavengers.
What a beautiful sight that will be.