Chapter I: The Headless Cross, page 6Mature

Morning classes passed as boring as ever, and after lunch, the pupils were relieved when they got in the bus for the archaeological dig. They were chatting merrily during the trip, and no matter how hard their history teacher Mr Conroy tried to tell them it was still supposed to be class time, everybody felt like on a long recess.

The site itself was actually more impressive-looking than Rebecca would have thought. Spreading before the pupils was a field of desolation, ruined buildings still rising feebly out of the rubbles, looming over them like huge, grim skeletons of what used to be a bustling neighborhood. There was death all around, they could feel it somehow, and moreover, this beautifully anguishing apocalyptic landscape was sitting right in the middle of the city, with the only separation between life and death being thin steel fences that bore the logos of the London City Hall and the LBPS. As the children stood by the car, unwilling to go explore on their own, a college student, who looked to be in her early twenties, a girl with a lip piercing and chewing a gum, came towards them.

"Well, kids," she called out, "welcome to, like, Dig N°4 of the LBPS. My name is Angela, I'm a student at King's College and volunteer at the London Blitz Preservation Society. Before we move on to the visit I would like to say a few words about our organisation. I'm sure you're all well aware that the Blitz was a catastrophic event in London. Between September 1940 and May 1941, the Luftwaffe, the German Air Force, bombed a number of major British cities, focusing mostly on London which was bombed 71 times and almost completely destroyed. But after the war ended in 1945, another war started, within London itself."

She paused, and took a few seconds to enjoy the puzzled looks of the kids at her last sentence. She let out a smile, and continued: "A war between city officials and archaeologists. The government was energized by our victory, and set out an ambitious reconstruction plan to start everything from scratch, erasing all the ruins to build brand new streets and avenues. But among those ruins there were churches, museums, historical houses, all of these were places full of important historical, religious or cultural artifacts. Historians fought hard to dig and search for these items before it all got buried under new buildings, and as the years went by, the number of preserved sites continued to decline. Finally, we won a battle when the London Blitz Preservation Society was founded in 1984 by Sir Nigel Moorcock, Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, Professor of History at King's College London, and philanthropist. The Society has allowed us to preserve the few digs we had left, like this one, because our research work takes a lot of time and money. That's why we are organizing visits like the one you are having today, to raise awareness on the need to save our cultural heritage. Sir Nigel will also be hosting a fundraising party tonight at King's College to further help in our purpose. Those are the only ways we can keep these precious sites intact. Now, let's move on to the visit!"

The End

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