Commonwealth, III.V: Return to Earth

Commonwealth, III.V: Return to Earth July 16, 2021

Commonwealth: A Novel of Utopia, part 3, chapter 1

Author’s Note: This is an excerpt from my novel Commonwealth. The rest of today’s installment is free, but only on my Patreon site. If you want to read the next part today, it’s already up on Patreon as well. You can sign up for as little as $1/month, or $2 for exclusive author’s notes and behind-the-scenes material. There’s also a table of contents for all published chapters.

It was early in the morning on the campus of Westchester Private University, the school which had once been the State University of New York at Westchester.

In the windy, predawn darkness, students hurried along brick paths where bare tree branches cast spidery shadows against the yellow glow of lamps. The windows of dormitories glimmered with gray half-light where others were huddled over books in all-night study sessions.

Despite these isolated spots of life and activity, the overall impression was one of desolation. The campus’ wrought-iron fences were red and pitted with rust, and its bricks were crumbling, infiltrated by brittle, brown tendrils of ivy. Cracked windows had never been replaced. Many buildings were padlocked and boarded up.

The main campus quadrangle, once a neatly manicured lawn, was overgrown with curling weeds. Dead leaves and litter filled the long-dry stone bowl of an ornately sculpted fountain.

There was just one building that was shiny and new. It towered over the rest, overshadowing the libraries and the dorms, the lecture halls and the labs. Its walls were glass framed by strips of steel, lit from within by sterile white. A blue-green neon sign on its roof glowed night and day, blazing across the surrounding countryside, defiantly wasteful of energy. It read: “The Remington Center for Economics and Finance.”

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