The waters of the Atlantic looked especially calm this morning. Crystallized beads of sunlight danced fluidly across the endless seas. Wildlife of all colors and shapes swarmed about without a care on their mind other than the bare essentials of life – necessities that had become lost among us.
I began to realize why these tours were so popular with the locals as we made our way deeper towards the ancient ruins. The peace and quiet found in the trenches was simply intoxicating. It enveloped us softly and cradled us like a blanket, even permitting us to forget about the burdensome scuba gear we sported.
At least for a sliver of time, the anxieties of society above could be dissolved, freeing the mind and allowing us to fully absorb the simple serenity of nature.
The further we swam from our ship above, the less I desired to return.
The warm light faded into an even more peaceful dark as we swam into the depths. My heart pounded from the excitement of the spectacle that awaited us below.
“It really makes you think,” I recalled one of my friends saying the night before, staring with wandering eyes into the vastness beyond. “All that promise and power. How could it fall completely to ruin?”
“You’re not alone in wondering that,” I replied. “That’s what I think makes this tour so interesting.”
“Shame we couldn’t see the place during its prime and meet its people.”
“I suppose this is the next best thing.”
The lifeforms of the sea grew more bizarre and foreign in appearance as we descended. Some of them glowed like swimming stars, while others were almost completely transparent, perhaps cloaking themselves from unwanted attention.
Our presence must have been a shock to the strange creatures that flourished so distant and isolated from all else. It was a solitude that a small part of me envied.
Much that was once visible now began to slowly dim, and I felt as if I had entered another dimension, floating through zero gravity.
Just as the blackness seemed to fully saturate the waters, a faint light glimmered in the distance, beckoning us towards it. The inviting presence grew larger as we eagerly made our way closer.
Then I saw the buildings come into view.
The small twinkle of silver and blue now blossomed into an endless stretch of illuminated steel as we descended. The water which had once been transparent and pure now gave way to sporadic speckles of murky cloud.
The structures appeared to multiply and expand below us as we proceeded downward. They stood tall and mighty despite their withered state, scattered about for vast distances as if they had sprouted up from the ocean floor itself.
Their crooked tops seemed to reach for us. Bright beams flickered inside the hollowed buildings like giant lanterns. Lines of tar and concrete shards wove their way between them like snakes; clearly the footprints of the old highways.
As our tour guide spoke up amidst the silence, I jumped in surprise, snapping me from my trance as I remembered I was not alone.
“Welcome to New Atlantis,” he announced. “Once called New York City by the now extinct humans.”
AUTHOR BIO: Stephen LaGioia is a longtime reader, gamer, and movie buff. He has a Bachelors Degree in History, and is working towards a Masters in Animation in Chicago, where he hopes to one day bring some of his stories to visual life. He has managed to combine two of his passions – writing and gaming, through his website, www.thewarpedzone.com.