Central Park, New New York
Daniel Martin, with part one of a new short story, exclusive to the Constellation.
I took a short cut through Central park this afternoon. The new Central Park is in the same as the old, but the old was consumed by the water. Still, I like it. They say that all the paths are in the same place, and the park even has floating trees, real nice. The old kooks in the offices, those born back in the twenties, tell of times when the park was peaceful. It ain’t no more. The sounds of cars can be heard, even in the middle of the park, and the loud freighters fly over every now and then. The mayor once described Central Park as, “Central Park of New, New York”. I spend a lot of time in Central Park, it’s part of my job. It’s also the best way to get to and from work. Right between my office and my apartment, there it is: Central Park. My secretary keeps telling me not to walk that way home, before adding, “Haven’t you heard the stories?” These stories of hers are stupid little ones, probably told by her mother, to put her off the park. However, they don’t make sense, to me at least. You see, she’s told me the story of little Timmy who drowned while playing in the park at night too many times to count.
Leaving the park, I came to solid pavement. After New York was overwhelmed by the water, they quickly found out that most the buildings were stable enough to still stand. Water got into the lower floors of buildings, through smashed windows, cracks in walls, and the like. Working fast, they secured the lower levels of all buildings, making them inhabitable again. The streets, though, were lost to the water. Hey, that’s a good phrase for the whole city. Still, they built the pavements up, meaning looking down into the water you see large cement pillars falling away into the darkness below.
I press the button on the side of the road, causing the few boats roaming up and down to stop abruptly. The metal walkway extends across the street. I crossed, looking up at the darkening sky. It was going to rain. I could feel it. The second I reached the other side, the metal walkway shot away, into the pavement, like a tape measure. The boats went on their way again, and the few flying cars that flew down the street hadn’t even stopped. They didn’t need to.
I wasn’t alone on the street. The early afternoon street wasn’t packed, but had three or four people on each side. I noted this, thinking it was odd. New Yorkers are normally out and about, shouting at anyone for any reason. Some things never change.
I came to the office building, and walked in, as the rain started to fall. I took my hat off, opening my black trench coat to reveal a grey suit. I began to ascend the stairs. My office is on the sixth floor from water level. I knew it was, most likely, going to be a long day, so taking the stairs was a good excuse to be late. I woke in the late morning, only because faint sunlight burst through the barrier of the blinds. That gave me another excuse to be late.
Business is slow at the office. A snail would have reached the one side of New York from the other before we get a client. Most people would go elsewhere instead, than visit our establishment. I like to blame the elevator. It’s a rusty old thing, which really needs to be replaced. When going down to lower levels, it feels like you’re in a dive tank, plummeting into shark infested waters.
I reach the sixth floor, thankful not to have to walk another flight of stairs. Walking into the long, claustrophobic corridor, I take my coat off, and drape it over one arm. I stroll down the corridor, taking my sweet time. Reaching the door, whose paint was beginning to peal, I sighed. I pushed the door, opening with a loud creak, and stepped in.
Look out for the second part of this dystopian future on the Constellation...