The Rediscovered Past
By: Kevin Lee
The jungle of rubble surrounded the man. Wires, creepers draped over the piles of rubble surrounded him. He looked around and picked his way to a pile of twisted metal. Rubbish, he thought. He then came upon a piece of a broken mirror, a picture taped on to it. The picture depicted a girl, laughing gaily on her father's shoulders. The man smiled, then shuddered. A life long gone, never to be seen again.
Suddenly, looking up to the gray sky, he saw a tower, its floors reaching up, grasping into the clouds. He heard the rumble of rubble falling off the ancient buildings and decided that it was best to get to there sooner rather than later because the construction crews would be here soon to clear away the ruins.
As he stumbled towards the tower, he could not help notice the life that these people lived in. There was a kitchen knife behind a piece of polished granite, a kitchen counter mostar likely. A wooden drawer was smashed against the floor. Hmmpf, wooden drawers, we never use those.
As he neared the tower, he could not help notice the size of it as he came nearer and nearer. It was gargantuan and even if the cities he lived in had taller towers, he thought that this could’ve been an achievement for the time it was constructed.
He spotted a plaque near the building. It was weathered and old, and he could barely make out the words. EMPIRE STATE BUILDING, CONSTRUCTED 1930. He gazed in wonder and made up his mind to go inside.
A dusty marble floor echoed his footsteps as dust rose from the floor in clouds. The ceiling caved in and creaked slightly when he walked by. At the back of the room, in a giant lobby, was a broken elevator, the wires holding it up were broken and were draped over the elevator doors. Next to it was a staircase. Broken glass spilled over it and he carefully stepped over it and he started to climb the steps.
Once he reached the top, he saw the whole city of broken buildings and smashed boulders lying about, crammed into a tiny island. He remembered tales of this place, what was it called? Right, New York City. There also were rumors of long-lost European explorers who came to this place centuries before to build a settlement here. Now it was a wasteland.
He looked out over the city. He felt like an explorer even if that age was gone and stories about it were virtually nonexistent.
As he snapped a photo of the city, the man wondered what the city looked like when it was full of people and if the buildings were intact, before the world war that made North America into a desolate land. At that, he dug into his deep pockets and produced a backpack that expanded and that he put on.
Excited and feeling the rush of exhilaration he could only imagine could be in long-lost explorer’s hearts, he jumped and a parachute unfurled from the backpack.
He ran along the pavement of the empty streets, feeling like a child. Then he stopped. Stop being childish, you’re all grown up. As he came to a stop he tripped and he fell into tiny shards of glass. He looked at his hands. They were scraped and bloodied and there was a long gash on his forearm but that was not what caught his attention.
A flyer, fluttering in the wind grasped the man’s curiosity as he neared it. He took a look at the title. On it was the words, HAMILTON and a man standing on a star without its top point. He dug around and also found a book. He opened the pages. They were crinkly and old but he was able to read the words. NORTH AMERICAN HISTORY.
He packed up the book, awed by what contents it could hold. He walked back to the helicopter in silence, his eyes lost in a murky lake of thought. When he neared the helicopter, choppers buzzing, he could not help but wonder, what does the past hide?