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Word Count: 475
The waters of Babylon were the Tigris and the Euphrates site of some of humankinds earliest civilizations Here in this quotation they represent exile from the homeland of Israel The river in our story is the Hudson running past the ruined city of New York The hero of the story John is the descendant of a tribe of people who long before had survived a nuclear holocaust How long ago that happened is left unspecified but it was long enough that radiation poisoning has left the ground long enough that the Hudson Rivers name has become corrupted into the Ou-dis-sun by people who know only a little of reading and writing Long enough that all they cannot understand is labeled magic It is clear that no one now alive in the story has had contact with those who lived at the time of the Great Burning Their laws like the prohibition against traveling East have taken on a religious significance with the original basis for them forgotten Only a few of their number those appointed priests can still read and write Some of the old books have survived but they are badly understood This is the story of John the son of a priest who is facing the prospect of undergoing his rite of passage into tribal manhood In him burns a longing for the Old Days when the gods ruled the Earth In him as in the ancient Jewish exiles is an unquenchable desire to once again go home to the Place of the Gods He is not a physical captive but his laws forbid such a journey He believes with all his heart that breaking those prohibitions would be punished by death And yet This is a true hero story in the classic sense His courage on his journey opens the way once more to another kind of life for all his people This is a piece of writing which
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