The Unconventional Family of Neon City

DamienShort Stories

The Unconventional Family of Neon City eBook
A Ghostly Christmas

Neon City. A dystopian sprawl. A mega-city where the relentless neon glow battled the perpetual gloom. Here, the digital and the physical merged into a labyrinth of concrete and circuitry, where the rich soared in skyscrapers high above the squalor, and the poor were left to scavenge in their shadow.

Enforcers, Neon City’s brutal answer to law enforcement, patrolled the streets. They were little more than thugs with the power to pass sentence on anyone unlucky enough to fall into their clutches. The city's underbelly, a testament to years of human neglect, pulsed with the life of those forgotten. Amidst this neon-drenched existence, the stark contrast between the technological marvels above and the grim reality below painted a picture of a society teetering on the edge of humanity and mechanisation.

In the shadowed alleys of Neon City, bands of feral children struggled for survival. Orphans, runaways, fighting daily for scraps in the neon-drenched wasteland, trying desperately to stay ahead of the Enforcers and away from the criminal gangs roaming the streets. Many disappeared, and those who survived did so because they were stronger and more ruthless than their would-be predators.

“Hey Milo, verify this,” Jax said, brushing his unruly mop of brown hair from his face and holding up a cracked motherboard from a trash can behind a black clinic. Jax stood out with a spark of untarnished curiosity in his eyes, a beacon of what childhood could have been in any other place. His face, though smeared with the city's grime, was a canvas of resilience and hope. “Could we sell this?”

“Naw,” Milo replied, quickly scanning the shattered piece of computer circuitry. “Useless junk. Keep looking."

Milo, as different from Jax as anyone could be, was the embodiment of Neon City's harsh lessons. Older than Jax by a few winters, his gaze held a wariness born of betrayal and loss.

“Alright,” Jax sighed. He had already scored a CPU fan, a handful of memory sticks and what looked like some kind of battery - not a bad haul for a Friday night.

Lila, the youngest and smallest of the troupe, could squeeze into the tightest places, enabling her to reach salvage inaccessible to other searchers. She had found a large overflowing dumpster behind a dark back alley pawn shop filled with discarded computer parts and had disappeared into the pile. The mound of broken plastic and silicone shook as the tiny explorer buried into the depths, searching for anything of value.

“Hey, Lila,” called Jax. He hated it when she did that, burrowed into garbage. While it was the best way to find good prizes, he always worried she might get hurt from a piece of broken plastic, or even worse, get bit by one of the giant Neon City rats that called the gutters home. “Find anything?”

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