silver city by cliff mcnish (excerpt)

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The second installment of Cliff McNish's classic fantasy trilogy the Silver Sequence


Page 1: Silver City by Cliff McNish (Excerpt)
Page 2: Silver City by Cliff McNish (Excerpt)

Night, and I stood watching all the children in the

world leaving their homes. For a moment the drone of

an overhead surveillance plane drowned out their voices;

then the plane passed by and their eager conversations

and rushing footsteps could be heard again.

All those feet, running. Most children couldn’t help

themselves. Whatever place they came from, if they

had any energy left they always ran the last stretch into

Coldharbour ... From a side-street outside Coldharbour,

I saw a teenage girl accidentally clatter into a boy.

“Sorry” she said, steadying his arm. “Are

you OK?” She pointed towards the silver

light ahead. “Look, we’re nearly there!”

“I know” he said, grinning. “How do you feel?”

“Happy” the girl said. “Nervous,

as well. A bit anyway.”

“Me, too.” He laughed. “But we got

here, didn’t we? We made it.”

Page 3: Silver City by Cliff McNish (Excerpt)

“Yes. We did.?The girl took his hand, and

together they sprinted down the final sloping

streets leading the way into Coldharbour.

Coldharbour. Until yesterday it had been little

more than a seven-mile expanse of mud and rubbish

dumps bordering the sea. Apart from myself and five

other special children, the only things living there

had been seagulls and a good supply of well-fed rats.

The only people who ever disturbed the rats were a

scattering of bored gang kids with nothing better to do.

Not any more. As I gazed out over the

mud, I couldn’t begin to count the numbers of

new children settling inside Coldharbour.

They’d been arriving all night. For hours I’d

watched them running here, leaving everything they

knew behind. Most weren’t even properly dressed.

They turned up in socks, slippers, pyjamas, vests,

night gowns, T-shirts or whatever else they’d been

wearing when they received the call. Some teenagers

had waited long enough to throw on coats or decent

Page 4: Silver City by Cliff McNish (Excerpt)

footwear before leaving home, but not many.

Attempts were being made to stop them, of

course. No doubt some quick-acting parents managed

to haul their own kids back indoors if they caught

them in time. And as the night dragged on police

units also arrived, taking up positions all around

the area. In western Coldharbour army brigades

had even driven in, hurriedly erecting barricades to

prevent anyone crossing the roads over the river.

The barricades didn’t work. Children fought their

way past. Naturally a few got caught, but most

escaped and were soon trying to get inside again.

I knew what was happening. I knew because I’d

been just the same as these other children. A few

weeks earlier, I’d been determined to get here. I’d

even hid on the way, hid from my own Mum and Dad,

to make sure they wouldn’t force me back home.

But, if anything, these new children seemed

even more resourceful than I’d been. To get within

Page 5: Silver City by Cliff McNish (Excerpt)

Coldharbour they were prepared to do anything:

argue, lie, join together, create a distraction

- whatever they had to. It was a kind of

madness, because there was nothing for us in

this place: no home, no food, no shelter.

So why were we all here?

Because Milo drew us. That’s all we knew.

Yesterday evening, shortly after sunset, a

child with a body over four miles long and

with wings five times that size had appeared

in the sky over Coldharbour. A vast silver-

glowing child, spanning towns and the sea.

And the moment he appeared, children

couldn’t help themselves: they were drawn

to him. It wasn’t a question of choice. There

was no choice; they had to reach him.

Page 6: Silver City by Cliff McNish (Excerpt)