Review this story
Stories # - L | M - Z | Authors
Chapter 3 (A New Life)
I learned all about this place in school. I was told how once, back in
the early days of Paragon City, Kings Row was a shiny, bustling place
filled with hope and promise. Factories, businesses, and homes filled
these neighborhoods and laughter could be heard in the streets from the
children at play. This whole area was named after one of the largest
and most productive factories in all of Paragon City, the King Garment
Nevertheless, as most things do, that happiness ended. When the
Depression struck Paragon City, it hit Kings Row the hardest. The
factories closed their doors and hundreds of workers were left without
a job and no way to care for their families. It was then that crime
began to take root in this dying neighborhood. Desperate men and women
turned to desperate actions to survive. Many of the shut-down factories
became the headquarters of criminal organizations. Those crime bosses,
who began to create back alley empires, took the name of the zone as
their own. They became known throughout the city as The Kings.
As the level of violence and crime grew in the Row, the upright,
law-abiding citizens came to think of Kings Row as a place better
avoided as all costs. It was dark, dirty and a good place to be robbed
or even worse if you made the mistake of getting off at the wrong stop
on the Monorail. Such a state of affairs could not last forever without
someone taking notice and taking action. When Statesman began his
highly publicized “war on crime” and created the famous
Freedom Phalanx, he focused most of his initial efforts on putting an
end to The Kings. In the end, the Freedom Phalanx was victorious, but
at what cost? Many of the buildings, streets and roads and other
physical features of the zone had been damaged or destroyed during
those conflicts. However, the greatest damage came from the daily news
reports that helped form and reinforce the negative stereotype of the
Row as a crime-ridden slum to the general populace of Paragon City.
With The Kings removed from power, the economy improved but the stigma
of Kings Row remained. Very few businesses reopened and no new industry
came to the Row. The Kings were gone, but the name remained and to this
day, Kings Row is regarded as a grimy, poor neighborhood, with a
reputation for seediness.
Due to the vacuum that occurred when The Kings were removed from power,
another gang began to quietly move into the Row. The Skulls were one of
the older gangs in Paragon City, but they had never had much of a
presence in the Row. It was theorized that due to the failures of
recent street battles in Galaxy City with the Hellions; the Skulls
packed up and went looking for easier pickings. They found just that in
Kings Row. The Skulls found that the Galaxy City Hellions were firmly
entrenched in the High Park neighborhood, but The Gish was like an
apple waiting to be pulled from the tree. They moved into that
neighborhood and quickly consolidated it under their control.
Now there are battles in the street between the Hellions and the
Skulls. There are Vahzilok prowling the back alleys for the dead, and
not so dead, to add to their experiments and ranks. The Clockwork are
busy tearing the zone apart for spare pieces and parts they can use;
and the latest news are that Troll thugs are moving in from Skyway.
I hate this place and I hate this entire city for letting this happen.
I close Jimmy’s office door and step into the dim light that
infuses the Row. Even at 11:30 in the morning, it makes it seem like
late afternoon here. There is garbage on the streets and the smells of
car exhaust, rot and the ever-present Royal Refinery are in the air. I
set my path north and begin walking back toward Galaxy City and the
high-rise apartment that Jimmy pays for on the other side of Gemini
Park. There shouldn’t have been Skulls in High Park, but after
this morning I’m not taking any chances. Jimmy would go nuts if
the Skulls messed with his baby sister twice in one day. As it is, I
have a feeling that the streets are going to be red with blood soon for
As I make my way north, I see Hellions on every corner just hanging out
or vandalizing some poor guy’s car. Have to love it when the poor
prey upon the poor. It reminds me of some old story I heard once about
a bucket and a bunch of crabs. None could get out of the bucket because
if they were close to escape, the others would pull them back in.
That’s the way it goes I guess…no one gets out and
everyone gets pulled back in.
Each Hellion I pass gives me a nod or a wave; I guess big bro has
already put the word out to the troops. Yeah, there’s a battle
coming in the near future, you can feel the electricity in the air. All
the more reason to get the hell out of Dodge and back to my semi-normal
life in Galaxy City as a college student studying art at PCU…who
happens to be the sister of a major crime boss. At least in the High
Park neighborhood of the Row, Galaxy City and Atlas Park I can go
almost anywhere I’d like safely. One of my freshmen year History
professors told us once about the whole Pax Roma thing back during the
Roman Empire. Supposedly, this “Roman Peace” enforced by
the mighty legions of Rome, made it so safe to travel across the Empire
that a virgin with a bag of gold was as safe on the road as she was in
her own home. Well be that as it may, around here the legions are made
up of Hellions and I’m sister to the Caesar. Now if I only had a
bag of gold, and well…about that other part, maybe we should
move on to an entirely different subject all together.
I come out of the tunnel that connects the Row to Galaxy City and
it’s like coming out of underwater into the sun. Where the Row is
dark and dismal, Gal City is bright and airy. Well, don’t get me
wrong, it has it’s less than savory parts too. But here at Gemini
Park, it’s all green and sunshine. The cold of this February
morning has burnt off and it looks like it’ll be a decent day
after all. Back when Jimmy and I were kids, the whole family would come
to the park for picnics and fun weekend days. I guess that’s why
he rented my apartment here and why I like it so much…happy
Have you ever felt trapped? Where you want to run as far and as fast as
you can, but can’t because of your obligations. If I had my way,
I’d be on the next plane out of here. Maybe fly to Paris and
study art there. But I can’t. When I was a kid Jimmy took care of
me. Now that we are grown, I have an obligation to take care of him. I
like to think of myself as his moral compass, whispering good things to
him and saving him from sliding all the way into morass that surrounds
him. Who knows, maybe one day there’ll be two seats on that
flight to Paris.
Traffic is fairly light today, not too many people out moving around.
It’s a little too early for the park lunch crowd and the kids are
all in school, so I have the park to myself. I find a bench
that’s fairly close to the west side of the park and take a load
off for a few minutes. I love people watching. So here I sit, watching
young mothers pushing strollers, the occasional jogger or rollerblader
and generally wasting the morning. It’s then I notice two men
standing off to one side beside a tree engaged in a deep and private
conversation. Now this could be interesting.
I get up from my bench and move a bit closer for a better view. Hey! I
know that guy in the long coat. That’s Alexander DeMarco, one of
Jimmy’s Hellion lieutenants. I wonder what he’s doing
outside of the Row and who is this guy he’s talking to? I move
closer still, keeping a couple of trees between us to block me from
view. I can hear part of their conversation now and I do not believe
what I’m hearing.
‘So how do I know you’ll keep your word once I make the hit?’ asks DeMarco.
‘We have given you no reason to distrust us Alex. Didn’t we
help you in your rise inside the Kings Row Hellions?’
‘Yeah, you guys have been good to me. It’s just this is
serious business and if anything goes wrong it’s my ass
that’s on the line. And what’s to say that once I eliminate
the problem, that your organization doesn’t start seeing me as
the new problem’
‘Alex calm down. As long as you abide by our agreement there will
be no problems. Make sure the Hellions do not move outside of High Park
in the Row and provide information and assistance to my organization
when we move into Galaxy City and you will become a very rich and
I don’t know who the second guy is but I don’t like the way
this conversation is going. It sounds like they are planning a hit on
Jimmy or his organization. That rat bastard DeMarco, he’s a
traitor. I’ve got to get a better look at this guy so I can warn
Jimmy. I move to my left and behind another tree in an effort to get
closer. The only problem is I don’t see the fallen branch that I
step on. The sound of it’s cracking seems as loud as a gunshot to
me and it must have to DeMarco and the unknown man as well. They both
turn in my direction and the only consolation I have is the look of
fear and shock that passes on the traitor DeMarco’s face when he
sees me and realizes who I am.
‘Quick! Grab the nosey bitch!’ yells the stranger.
I turn to make a break for it. There is no way they can catch me in the
park I’ve played in since I was a kid. I know every hidden path
in this place. The problem is that as I turn, I find that someone has
put up a wall behind me. I run into the chest of a Skull Gravedigger
and fall back onto the ground. In my effort to eavesdrop on
DeMarco’s conversation, I didn’t notice the three Skull
Gravediggers that have come up behind me.
Twice in one day, this has to be some kind of record. Boy is Jimmy going to be pissed. Maybe I can bluff my way out of this.
‘What the hell do you think you are doing DeMarco? Talking with
Skulls! Jimmy is not going to be happy about this!’ I yell at
‘Alex, would you care to introduce me to this lovely young lady?’ asks the stranger.
‘Uh, sure Mr. Kole. This is Kate Sullivan, the little sister of Big Jim Sullivan’ DeMarco stammers.
‘The little sister of Jim Sullivan? This is wonderful! I could
not have asked for a better turn of events. Gentlemen, help Ms.
Sullivan to her feet and assist her to my car.’
In a last, ditch effort to save my neck I bring out the big guns.
‘Look buddy, do you know who Big Jim Sullivan is? You mess with
me and he will burn you down for sure. This is way more trouble than I
think you want to bring onto yourself.’
‘Oh yes, I am quite familiar with who Big Jim Sullivan is. He is
the man we are going to kill and you are the bait that we will use to
draw him into the trap. Alex go back to the Row and wait for my call.
You know what to do when the time comes. Gentlemen, place Ms. Sullivan
in the car.’
The three goons hustle me off to the car and all I can think is I’ve got to find a way to warn Jimmy.
Review this story