The Lighthouse, 1952

It always starts with a sentence. No gods or kings, only man. An intimidating sentence and the imposing face of the Andrew Ryan statue met a group of people as they entered the atrium of the lighthouse out in the middle of the ocean. As they met all who migrated to the undersea colony. Some of these people knew Andrew Ryan, the tycoon, the magnate, from news papers and news reels. And some didn't. Most people who were there seemed really bright or talented in some way. They just gave that impression. People had brought their entire families even. There was a colored lady that kept to herself on the boat ride. The woman had a smooth voice, as if naturally blessed to use it. Another guy had a pregnant wife and a yelling kid who seemed to beg for a beating from his ever more frustrated father.

And then there was a writer. He was silent and mostly just watched. A shy man in his early twenties, he preferred to speak when spoken to. And thus he watched, making up stories about his fellow immigrants in his mind. He'd chatted with the black woman a bit on the boat, but that was it. Her name was Grace, and she was going to sing and start a family. The writer didn't really have a family. His mother died years ago and his father just recently joined her. Never had friends and no significant other. He wasn't significant enough. What he did have was a good imagination. He'd published several short stories in pulp fiction magazines and when he received the invitation he felt he had the chance to make it as a writer. All the stories in his head could finally be let out.

Still, when he looked at the others on their way to this new promised land he couldn't help but feel he didn't belong. Although, he always did among others. His father, the professor, would have belonged. Well here he was. And there was nothing else to do but pass the banner and the statue, down the beautiful staircase and to the bathysphere. The people all gawped in awe, struck by the construction placed so inconspicuously out at sea. The interior of the lighthouse was decorated in artful style that blended stylish art deco lines with the cultivation of ancient Babylon and there were plaques on the walls, dedicated to science, industry, art, and the Great Chain of Industry, each plaque stylizing what they ought to be - free and independent. Hidden speakers played the musing La Mer instrumental by Django Reinhardt, flowing easily with the lines of the lighthouse.

The writer walked among the crowd down the great stone steps of the stairs, going round and down into another chamber, beneath the atrium. There, bobbling safely in a well of water, was a spherical contraption with an open door to let people inside. It looked like a bathysphere, which the writer had seen in photos of Bermudan divers, but incredibly advanced. A Rapture representative was waiting there, smiling and directing them into the bathysphere. There were several of them there and they'd have to take several turns. The writer waited anxiously for what seemed like forever while everyone else, it seemed, got go before him. Meanwhile, people would try and ask the representative questions, but he just smiled vexingly and said:
"You'll see, soon enough."
At last, there were only the writer and Grace left when the bathysphere popped up into its place in the well. The door swung open for them and the representative bade them enter, before stepping inside himself.

On each side of the bathysphere were red velvet cushion seats for the ride down. The writer swallowed, still not convinced the other people hadn't been taken to some ship waiting a half mile of to be shanghaied. Grace also seemed a bit nervous, thumbing her skirt lining. The representative pulled the bathysphere lever and the door was closed behind them. Immediately the bathysphere descended into the Atlantic water. 10 fathoms. 18 fathoms. And from there, give in to fate. A fate for each of them to shape. Only man. The writer felt a bittersweet sense of reflection as he kissed the surface good bye.
"Are you nervous?" The representative asked, with a slightly smug smile. Grace looked at him and nodded, as did the writer.
"So why do you, uh, come here? Why come to Rapture?" The representative continued, looking at them both in turn. They didn't answer immediately.
"To start a family", said Grace at last, "and to sing. My family lived in the Hooverville back in St. Louis. I've been working as a jazz singer, but..." she silenced for a moment, looking down with a painful expression, "let's just say I'm looking for a new beginning."
The representative nodded understanding during Grace's story, then turned to the writer and looked him dead in the eyes.
"And you, young fella? I'm assuming you don't come together..."
The writer shifted in his seat, uncomfortable having to share his life's story with strangers, just like that. A short introductory film was playing on a screen on the bathysphere door, where Andrew Ryan asked, 'Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow?'
"I..." the writer started, "writing has been my dream since I was a kid. To write and publish books, you know. My father recently passed away and I feel like there was no reason not to give this a go. Owe it to myself to try."
"Writing, huh? Ernest Hemingway junior?" The representative asked.
"I always preferred Poe and Lovecraft, actually."
He didn't get any further before Ryan ended his speech and the bathysphere rolled over a smoking underwater volcano and revealed a stunning sight before them. The city of Rapture.

The bathysphere steered them straight into the city and guided them among the scrapers of the undersea Manhattan. The writer watched entranced at the city, not believing it could be true. How could it be possible! Neon signs in the colors of the rainbow glimmered on the walls, advertising this company and that; liquors, casinos, art galleries and theaters. Then the bathysphere flowed into a docking tube, heading right into one of the buildings. Big, bright neon letters above read, 'All good things of this earth flow into the city'. At the first sentence starts a story. A tale of deep, burning horror and unanswered prayers.

Welcome Pavilion, 1952

Setting foot in the underwater city, the writer gasped. Unable to contain his exhilaration, he dropped his suitcase to the floor. He had seen the city from the bathysphere, of course. Its towering buildings and glimmering neon lights beckoning him through the murky Atlantic water. But it had been so abstract still. Unreal in a way. But now he was here, and before him stretched the grandiose welcoming hall of Rapture's Welcome Pavilion, with its meticulously perfect decor. His fellow immigrants to the undersea colony seemed to be equally awestruck.

For quite a while, it seemed, they stood staring, trying to take everything in. They didn't even notice the welcoming committee before Andrew Ryan began to speak. The writer was enthralled by the oratory gift the man possessed. As Ryan spoke, the writer listened carefully. Ryan was welcoming them, cursing the parasites of the upper world and, in a fatherly tone, uplifting the concept of his undersea colony. It was basically the same speech as the one on the monitor on the way down, only a little different and his tone was more booming, as if he was tired yet resilient.
Ending it, Ryan said: "and with the sweat of your brow, Rapture can become your city as well. Welcome, my friends, to Rapture!"
By Ryan's side stood several people. His most trusted. They seemed almost pale and small in comparison to the tycoon. Filled with the promises given, the writer entered the city, ready to make it his new home and make a name for himself. When he first received the letter of recruitment it seemed like a joke. Who was the kook who would send him this, he'd thought at the time. But he had thought it over and each time it appeared to be a better and better idea. The best and the brightest - how could he be part of that? - united under the sea. And considering the stalemate his life was, he accepted.

He had taken a chance and exchanged all his money for Rapture currency and set for the Atlantic Ocean. A gamble if there ever was one. The moment he stepped into the lighthouse and saw the giant statue of Andrew Ryan and the banner with it, the words 'elaborate hoax' drifted through his mind. Even when he saw the city through the bathysphere window it was distant. Abstract. But setting foot in Rapture made him realize: this was real.

The writer's apartment, 1952

Standing by his window, the writer wondered how all this was possible. How do you build a city under the sea? The brothers who designed it, Wales, wasn't it? They must be geniuses. He took a zip of coffee. Not like what he would have had back home, but it wasn't too bad.

Starting a new life in Rapture required some changes, he had soon realized. It was three weeks since he arrived in Rapture. He had put a down payment on an apartment before coming, and though it was expensive, it was furnished by the time he moved in. A service Ryan Industries provided. Not for free, of course. It wasn't exclusively beautiful, but he had a single bed, a couch and a coffee table of coral. And, most importantly, a brand new Rapture made typewriter. There was a blank page in it, waiting to be filled with stories. He had been scared that he would come up with nothing, but after just a few days in Rapture he started getting ideas.

The writer's apartment was located in Artemis Suites. It was one single room and a small kitchen and an even smaller bathroom. It had a single window which let in the ominous blue green glow of the ocean. That took some getting used to; the physical changes that came with moving to Rapture. There was no real natural light, so in order to see what he was doing he used several lamps. Right now, though, the sun must be shining over the Atlantic ocean, because the wavy moving of the ocean scattered with a brightness only seen when weather topside was good, and it danced glittering light blue on his window and on the wall in the room. Not exactly lighting he was used to.

The notes for his story was handwritten and littered the coral coffee table. The writer turned from the window and started looking through the notes for a place to start. Then he left Rapture behind and sunk into fantasy. He sat down in front of the typewriter and started to write, the words flowing and the keys clicking willingly as they formed the world he was creating.

Mercury Suites, 1953

Just walking around Rapture was inspiring. Wonderful how such a place could exist in the darkness of the deep. Endless ocean, almighty deep. A million years old, and you never, ever sleep.

The writer was in Mercury Suites. Fancy neighborhood. And the apartments were just as fancy as the people. Far from his single room place. But he wouldn't want to live here. Not yet, at least. Maybe when he was Rapture's most famous writer and had someone to share the place with. For now he simply watched the place. The people all seemed busy, and no one met his eyes. Then again, these were important people. Back home in Artemis Suites there were mostly the working class. But he still liked coming here, sometimes. If only to watch the kind of place that a guy like him couldn't afford. From there he took the train over to Fort Frolic. Maybe when his book was released he could buy a personal bathysphere.

Fort Frolic was even better than Olympus Heights and Mercury Suites. Full of people and life, and he felt included, even though no one ever noticed him. He didn't have a penny to spend there, though. The advance he'd been given by the only publishing company that wanted to take the risk wasn't very big, and he had to stretch it out. Writing a book is a long process, and he was running out of time. He was looking for a job to make some extra cash, and it seemed there might be something opening up on the leading newspaper in town, the Rapture Tribune. The editor had seen potential in his pulp fiction stories, at least.




Fort Frolic, 1953

Ah, here he was. Fort Frolic. Now here there were people. Always something going on. Some new exhibit by that Sander Cohen at his collection, a new play at Fleet Hall, or some exotic new dancer at Eve's Garden. In fact, one of Sander Cohen's latest songs was playing on the public address system. The writer hated that kind of music. He liked faster stuff. Stuff he felt didn't quite exist. But there were some swingy acts he liked. Overall, though, he wasn't very into the music in Rapture. Maybe he should look up Grace and see if she got her career started. As he walked, the music in the public address system shifted and became something else. He went over to Rapture Records, the store owned by the eccentric Silas Cobb, to look for albums by Grace Holloway, but he couldn't find any. There were a lot of records though. They were stacked in shelves from floor to ceiling. Evidently, by having decided he didn't like the music in Rapture, he was missing out.

From there, he went over to the Pharaoh's Fortune Casino, where people were spending their money. Repulsively posh, yet at the same time approachable, the casino was ready to part any and every sucker from his hard earned Rapture dollars. The two floor enterprise had several slot machines and gambling tables and there were serving girls peddling drinks to keep the gamblers happy and spending. The writer thumbed a couple of dollar bills in his pocket. It'd be so easy to just gamble them away. Have a little fun, he told himself. No, he had to spend them more wisely. He had to go by the Farmer's Market. God, that sounded boring in comparison.
"Mister! Mister!" Someone was tugging at his shirt sleeve, dragging some sense into him. He looked and saw a small girl, maybe four or five years old, tugging at his sleeve. She looked small and frail. Tears were running down her cheeks. He bent down.
"What's wrong?" He asked, real worry in his voice.
"I can't find my mommy", the girl pouted, still holding his sleeve.
"Well", the writer said, "let's see if we can find her. She can't be too far away, can she?" The girl sniveled, but said nothing more. The writer looked around.
"What's she look like?" He asked.
"She's all small and has big brown hair and she has this big ugly purse and she's-"
"We'll find her. Let's go look."
"Won't she come looking for me?"
"Well, we'll have twice as big a chance to find her if you're both looking, won't we? Anyway, I won't leave you. Don't worry." He gave her a reassuring smile and she took his hand instead of his sleeve. He had to look for a short woman, he guessed. But, why would anyone just leave their kid at a place like this. Not everyone in Rapture was an angel.
"Where were you two heading?" He asked.
"Eve's Garden. Mommy works there. But I can't find it all on my own", the girl said, drying her tears with her own sleeve. The triple X joint? Well, didn't this have 'awkward' written all over it.
"Should we go have a look? I- if she's there, I mean", he asked. She simply nodded and he led her to Eve's Garden, holding her hand the entire time. People were looking at him with disgust - and for some people, some other emotion he'd rather not know what it was - and his face was all red. But making sure the girl got to her mother safely was his goal right now, no matter what.

Eve's Garden wasn't hard to find. The neon signs shone bright in big, bold letters. Under the name of the establishment were the three X:es that signified that children generally shouldn't be there. A place like this on the surface would have been shut down within a week. In any God fearing town, at least. There were posters advertising the dance club all around Fort Frolic, and indeed in several places all over Rapture. Many of them were specifically designed to draw attention to one miss Jasmine Jolene. Andrew Ryan's favorite gal.
"This is it!" The girl said as they approached, "this is where mommy works!"
Inside, the writer immediately saw miss Jolene herself, dancing around a pole on center stage. He watched the lovely young woman for a moment, but was taken back to reality by the little girl yelling:
"Mommy!" She let go of his hand and ran off. He wanted to leave immediately, but conscience told him to make sure the girl was safe. She'd run up to a short woman with really long, brown hair. She was barely clothed.
"Anna? Where have you been, li'l missy? Got me all worried", the woman said. The writer went up to her, just to check that everything was in order, and she turned to him. "And who are you? Get in line boy."
"Mommy, he's the one who helped me find you."
"That so. Anna, go to the back and play. Mommy will be there in a couple hours."
"Yay!" The girl ran off, looking happy. Her mother went on:
"You helped out, huh? Well thanks, I guess. Can I get ya anything? Dance? Show?" The woman looked anything but thankful, but thanks still meant thanks.
"Uh, no, thanks. I'm fine. Just wanted to make sure little Anna got home safely", he looked at the woman. Clearly, she was beautiful, in a traditional way. Like the kind of woman that the writer would have problems talking to, because he would find her beauty intimidating. But she had some skin condition that didn't look too appealing.
"Then leave some room for paying customers", the woman said briskly. He hurried out of the wayand was just about to leave when the lady called out to him and said:
"Hey kid. Thanks." And she smiled. He never saw her or the girl again.

He felt good though, about helping the girl. It was the joy of doing a good deed. It sent good energies out into the cosmos. And while he felt good he went out from Eve's Garden - giving Jasmine Jolene what he thought was a subtle look, but which was very noticeable, as he left - and back to Pharaoh's Fortune Casino. He did have a couple of dollars in his pocket, and a few tins of potted meat in the pantry back home.

The first time the writer gambled he put a coin into the slot machine, took a deep breath, and pulled the lever. It was kind of a rush, seeing the three wheels spinning. Before they stopped, he was convinced for a moment that he was going to win the jackpot. But then they did stop and they all showed different pictures and the machine fell silent. The writer chuckled, took another coin from his pocket, and even though he knew he shouldn't have, he put it into the slot machine. The lever cranked as he pulled it. A moment later the wheels started spinning anew.

The first one turned up apple. And the second one turned up apple, too. Then came the clinking of coins as the third one came up apple as well. The writer's heart jumped at that. He won! Not the jackpot, but still. He wouldn't need to eat the potted meat tonight after all. He picked up his winnings. Two tries and a win. He'd still go out here a winner if he tried just one more time. He put two coins in this time. Double the winnings, he figured. The slot machine figured otherwise, and spat no coins at the third try. A serving girl came up to him, all smiles, with a drink on a tray.
"Hey there, big spender", she said, swinging her hips, showing a feminine quality that the writer decidedly lacked in his life, "do you want a drink? First one's on the house." She winked at him, hooking him in.
"Sure", he said. The serving girl giggled, a sound that felt a bit too made up. The fourth try on the slot machine, too, came up nothing. And the next drink cost him a dollar. Just one more time, he thought. And of course he ended up munching potted meat that evening.

The Rapture Tribune, 1954

Up through the corridor of the office of Rapture's largest newspaper, the Rapture Tribune, walked a girl whose every step was an act of confidence and independence. Though she was young - just out of her teens last year - she knew what she wanted, or so she thought. She was wearing brand new clothes that she'd saved up for at her temp job, and had a camera around her neck that her parents had given her for a birthday presents many years ago. Under her arm she had a folder with some of her best and select photos and a recommendation from her former employer. Some people looked her way as she walked, maybe even wondered who she was. She held her head high and had a determined face, rounding a corner and pretending she knew precisely where to go. She'd stepped out of the elevator on the floor that the bellman had directed her to, and walked along a corridor adorned by framed first pages of old editions of the paper. It all looked very professional. With bright, scarlet dyed hair, the girl who'd never been there stood out, but she refused to be something that you just look at.

Coming to Rapture a few years ago was a major life changer of course - leaving her friends and her fiancée and her studies behind on the surface. Her parents had said she was too young to marry Robert anyway; that she'd have to go to college first. But then they got the letter of recruitment, and brought her along. She'd cried, but not any longer. In her mindset, she was over it by now. Staying at her parents place she'd gotten a temp job as a clerk in a shop, meanwhile studying photography on the side. Now she considered herself good enough at it to make something of it. Just to find the way.

Her heels clacked hard and loud as she walked. She wasn't used to wearing shoes with high heels and frankly, she preferred not to; she preferred a solid footing. But you do what you must in order to seem professional. The girl stopped for a few seconds, unsure of where to go, then hurried along, unwilling to seem lost. She stopped at a desk where a gentleman was sitting, working.
"Excuse me", she said with a youthful voice and a little, pensive smile, "would you be so kind and tell me where to find the editor in chief?"
The man looked up at her, saying nothing for a few moments, but looking her over. Then he said: "Sure, doll. He's up in that office right ahead." He pointed to a door behind him, just on the other end of the room. Then he got up, stretched out his hand and, clearing his throat, said:
"Name's Stan P-"
The girl didn't take his hand, but simply thanked him and walked off and up to the door ahead, confident as you please. She nodded politely at the editor in chief's secretary and walked by her without a word. The secretary hurried after her, saying: "Miss! Miss!"
But the confident girl with the camera had already reached the door. When she reached the door, she stopped and took a deep breath.
"This is what I want", she whispered to herself. Then she straightened her blouse and knocked on the door.
"Come in", said a voice on the other side of it. As she opened the door, the girl took note of the name stenciled upon it. Then she entered and saw the editor in chief sitting behind his desk, smoking a cigar and looking over a news article for publishing. She walked quickly up to the desk and stretched out her hand.
"Hello, Mr. Reid. I'm Julia Jensen."
The editor, looking a bit confused, took her hand, saying: "Good day, miss Jensen. Is there something you want?" She stretched her back and looked him dead in the eyes with a slight smile.
"I'm your new photographer", said Julia Jensen.

Artemis Suites, 1954

A furry little something had been separated from its mother at birth, being as the mother had died. It had lived for some two or three months in a janitor's closet in the basement of an Artemis Suites apartment building. For these months the janitor himself cared for the little being, feeding it with milk and keeping it warm in place of its mother. But sure enough, if life starts out bad, it's liable to turn even worse. The janitor, a surly, elderly man, straight out of the stereotype, was forced to be let go. True to the spirit of Rapture, the janitor decided to leave the furry creature to fend for itself - he couldn't well bring it home, his wife would go bananas. He'd simply carried it a few floors up on his last day, and left it in the hall for someone else to find, and then he'd forgotten all about the life that he had nurtured for months. Just like that.
"Don't you worry", he'd said, "some little girl'll find ye, and take ye home. I don't have time for the pest."
From then on, the furry little something was on its own.

For a long time the little fur ball sat there, exposed and alone. No one came, or even passed by. After an hour or so, it took its first, stumbling steps of a new life. One of independence, forced upon it. Its stumpy little legs carried it off, down the corridor. How could it know how to survive? Along the corridor, all doors looked the same; large, imposing, each concealing a mystery and an adventure in its own right. The furry little creature had better learn what was behind them. And beyond. Before one door, the kitten sat down. This one, this door, it would be the first. It smelled nice. He began to meow, softly, and waited patiently for a minute or so. Then the door opened.

A face peeked out, wondering what that sound was. It looked to the left; no one there. It looked to the right; no one there. Might be a dense one. The kitten meowed again and stood up, tail high. The human looked down and was genuinely surprised. For a few moments they read each other. When they'd decided that they were no threats to each other's existences the writer bent down to pick the kitten up. The furry little fuss ball purred gently at that, and the writer looked into its eyes.
"Want to come in? Maybe I have something to feed you with", he said. The kitten was carried inside and the door shut behind them. Great choice, the first door. To survive in Rapture, the kitten would have to open all of them, and master what was behind.

Atlantic Express depot, 1968

Screaming in agony. What was left of a human inside the metal casing of a Big Daddy was awakened by the electric shock. There was chaos, both in and around. Splicers were shooting and firing plasmids. Among the gunfire was heard the sound of a girl screaming.
"Help! Mr. Bubbles! It's got me!" At that the Big Daddy had an instinctive flash of rage and with a wide swing of an industrial drill struck down the Little Sister's attacker. The splicer was crushed by the brute force. Another electric shock hit the ever more aware Big Daddy, who again screamed inside its suit. Still, the only sound that was heard, was a hard grunt. Seeing the Electro Bolt wielding splicer sparked a sudden memory and the Big Daddy answered by raising its own left hand and shooting a bolt of electricity back at the rogue splicer, followed by a strike of the drill. Shocked and clocked. Next to him, the girl shouted:
"Get him, Mr. B!" There was one splicer left. Wielding a Tommy gun, he had grabbed the little sister by the wrist and was pulling her away while she screamed.
"Come on, little girl", the splicer cackled. He saw the charging Big Daddy too late, and a second later the industrial drill was spinning inside the leadhead, twisting his intestines. The metal machine man then discarded the corpse, face down on the cold, hard floor. Merciless as could be. The Big Daddy defending his Little Sister.

With the coast clear, the newly awakened husk of a human looked around. A vast hall, ornate and beautiful, but dark and taken over by an aura of emptiness. In the middle of the hall stood a collapsed train car, since long taken out of service. All around was the musty smell of metal corroded by sea water. There were several leaks, each dripping in its own pace. At some places mere drops and at others the water gushed in, only to be drained back out to sea through the drainage system. The Atlantic Express train station gave the overwhelming feeling that the sea was reclaiming what once it lost to the greedy hands of a man.
"Mr. Bubbles?" The small girl beckoned below, "can I come up to play?"
Bending down, and stretching out his hand, heart warmed by her smile, Mr. Bubbles let the Little Sister climb up on his back. Mr. Bubbles looked out over the murky remnants of Rapture, trying hard to remember his name. Or her name, for that matter. Trying hard to remember who or what it was. Everything was heavy, and its heart was aching.
"Come on, Mr. B! Let's go find the angels. It's this way!"
Mr. Bubbles answered with an elongated, haunting sound, echoing through the train station. The... thing, metal incarnate, stepped on to the platform, his heavy feet clanking against the metal floor, and into the metallic husk of the train, still not remembering what this feeling, this pain, was. Awaken, haunted king, without your queen.

Topside, 1951

The writer stood gloomy eyed and dressed in black, and watched his father being lowered into the ground for his final rest. The coffin was polished and neat, but a few drops of rain fell upon it as it was lowered. Only the writer remained, not only at the funeral which was visited by very few people, but also in his family. No tears were shed. His father used to say 'don't cry for me. I'm already dead'. He'd been in the war and gotten home changed. The well educated man, a professor of history at the university, got home from the war different. His brother - the writer's uncle - was in the war, too. He didn't come home at all. Now the writer watched his father become one with the Earth, after struggling with health problems both physical and psychic for years. He was forty-three years old. The writer was left alone with the inheritance that had been passed on since his father's grandfather died. Dusty bones left dusty money. The writer didn't earn them. Let the bank have them.

The sky was dark grey and an autumn rain was beginning to put its cold taint on the red and yellow leaves and the whole world. He left the graveyard in silence feeling the rain thump on his hair and shoulders. Just a few days earlier he quit his job at the factory. Walked into his boss' office and said 'I quit', and that's all there was to it. Didn't show up again. He didn't even tell Johnny, with whom he usually worked.

And so that's why Johnny stopped by the writer's home on the day of the funeral. To ask where the hell he'd been. Johnny had probably noticed the writer changing when his father died a couple weeks back. Complete loneliness. Johnny was his only friend, really. They sometimes went bowling after work. But the writer wasn't in the mood for questions. In hindsight he was probably a bit short with Johnny, telling him he wanted to try for a writer. And he told him to go work at the factory if he liked it so much. And Johnny did go. The last thing Johnny said to the writer was:
"You've got a letter." Then he walked away like all the others. Or maybe it was the writer who walked away. No one wanted anything in return. He put the letter on the kitchen table and went out. He had to attend his father's funeral.

A few hours later he returned back home, all wet from the rain and somewhat tipsy from the drinks. A couple ideas for stories in his head. Something about the moon, no doubt. He came back to the empty house where he'd lived with his father during the man's last years, and found the letter still sealed and unread on the kitchen table. All that could be heard was the ticking of the clock on the wall and the sweet drumming of the rain against the window. The darkened sky cloaked the house, and indeed the entire world,in a somber veil of silence. With a sigh he took the letter and opened it.
He read the first sentence aloud: "Letter of recruitment."