A Beginning in the End pt. 5

Logan                                                                                              2020/1/6

Another monotonous day gone. I still listen to the radio everyday but there is nothing there. The last time I was able to get a signal was about three years ago now. The last thing I heard was a man’s voice out of some nowhere town that I can’t even remember the name of. It was an old man just calling out for another human being.

I couldn’t make it to him. The town was still swamped in the monsters and the barricade was too much of a risk. I tried to contact the man but something interfered. I don’t really know what the interference was but it kept me from communicating with that poor old man. I feel sure that he died alone.

I never did go into the town though I wanted to. It wasn’t worth the risk especially not after the old man was dead.

the devastation I felt when that voice was gone was like nothing I had ever felt before. When my family died it was different. they weren’t the last or the only people left. They were family so it was devastating but it wasn’t the same. When that old man’s voice stopped I had never felt so entirely alone.

His was the first voice I’d heard for months and i had no idea if we might have been the last two people on earth. The thought that i might be the last man alive was the most horrifying and shocking thought. The worst part was how possible it was. It made me ask myself why I was even trying. Why was I surviving? What reason had I to continue living if i was all that was left?

Dymphna

Between Heaven and Hell pt. 1

Introducing Meg, the heroine of a pre-apocalyptic dystopia. 

I drove down the highway, chafing at having to stay under the speed limit. But there was traffic, and after what we’d already been through this week, a ticket was the last thing I needed. I changed lanes, hoping that this time it would actually keep zipping along like it seemed to. I hate rush hour. Nobody ever moves. Don’t they realize that I have places to be?

“Relax Meg, San Antonio will still be there in three hours,” Drey said.

“I wouldn’t count on it,” I mumbled, craning to see if there was any logical reason for the interstate to be crawling along at 40 mph. I glanced over at Drey, who had somehow managed to wedge herself crosswise in the passenger seat, her feet carelessly up on the dash, her violin under her chin. She dragged the bow across the strings, a discordant chord for my sake. I swear, that girl could speak in music.

The car in front of me suddenly stopped for no reason. I slammed on the brakes and barely managed to avoid colliding with his bumper. Drey’s bow went flying and hit the windshield. She cradled her violin to her chest and glared at me through her electric blue bangs.

“Does it bother you that I’m more afraid of your driving than I am of Slider and his gang?” Drey collected her bow and resettled herself.

“Just nervous. I’m sorry Drey.” I took my foot off the gas and tried valiantly to drive less manically. Drey balanced her violin on her knees and put her free hand on my arm.

“It’s only been twenty four hours. Jase is smart, he’ll be fine.”

“It’s not Jase I’m worried about,” I said, and immediately regretted it. Drey picked up her violin and played a couple of laughing notes in a vain attempt to hide a smile.

“Boyfriend hasn’t called yet? Honestly Meg, you have a strange idea of romance.”

“Oh you hush,” I growled, glaring at the taillights of the car in front of me. The landscape passed by in relentless slow motion. I hate rush hour.

My phone buzzed in my pocket – the ringtone I had set it to for once. Not Jase then. I dug the buzzing thing out of my pocket and flipped it open.

“Meg Ryder,” I said.

“What, I’m not special enough for you to answer with your real name?”

“It’ll take more than a little sweet talk to make me divulge that information to someone who’s still officially on the enemies list Ty,” I said.

“Oh, but you know you like a bad boy,” Tyler, aka Speed, aka Management’s prized assassin, teased.

“Try a little harder,” I answered. I caught Drey’s silent laughter from the seat next to me and rolled my eyes at her.

“Fine. So, what are you doing tonight?” Ty asked.

“Depends.” I glanced over at Drey again, who made a shooing motion with her hands.

“Well, I got a little extra cash, want to meet me at the Doorjamb at seven?” I could just imagine his smug little face right now.

“Make it eight and make it Everest, and I might show up,” I answered.

“As you wish milady. Now I’d better run before Management starts asking why the phone bill’s so high.” He didn’t even give me the chance to say goodbye before the phone clicked off. That boy…

Drey slid her bow across her violin strings, playing the opening notes of some romantic Disney song I couldn’t immediately pick out. I decided that discretion was the better part of valor and didn’t say anything. The traffic suddenly picked up and I changed lanes yet again, hoping for a break.

C. Angelina

The True Story of the Trojan War

The Trojan guardsman peered over the vast field that separated his city from the Greek camps.  From where he stood on the walls, he could see the smoke from their campfires and smell the dinner being cooked.  His stomached growled, as he shook his head and focused on his duty.  He would get a meal when he was relieved.  He glanced behind him, trying to figure out why his replacement hadn’t arrived but as he looked, another guard appeared on the steps behind him and saluted him, saying: “I’m here to relieve you.”  The guard nodded and replied: “Good, I was starting to worry I was going to be stuck here all night and I’m famished.”  The new guard laughed and said, “Well, better get yourself down to the hall then, the scouts brought back a boar earlier today and I think there’s still quite a bit left.”  This news made the guard smile as he gave one last look over the battlefield.  Suddenly, his smile dropped as he saw something leaving the Greek camp.  He motioned to the other guard and said, “look, is that someone on horseback approaching the gate?”  The other guard peered out and replied, “Looks like it is, and he appears to be carrying an olive branch.  Do you think the Greeks want to surrender?”  The other guard contained his excitement at the idea and said, let’s not get to excited yet.”  The Greek soldier continued riding at full speed toward the gate and as he approached, the Trojan guards could see that he wore no armor, carried no weapons, and seemed to be waving at them and as he got closer, the guards could hear that he was yelling at them to open the gate.  The y roused a few more guardsmen, just in case, and went down to the gate to meet the stranger.  The Greek entered the city, dismounted his horse, still waving the olive branch enthusiastically as he said, “I come in peace!  I am unarmed and I wish to speak to your king.”  One of the guards laughed, “You think you can get an audience with the king, just because you show up at the gates?”  The Greek looked puzzled for a moment before replying, “Yes?  I just need to speak to him about the war, it won’t take very long.”  The guardsman who had spotted him from the wall asked, “Are you here to negotiate a surrender?”  The Greek laughed and replied, “Oh no, we’d never do that.  Have you learned nothing of the stubbornness of Greeks?  No, actually, I was wondering if you guys wanted to take a break?”  The Trojan guards stared at him for a moment before one of them finally replied, “A break?  You mean, stop the war as if it was the weekend?”  The Greek shrugged and said, “Why not?  I mean, come on, we’ve been at this for five years, Five Years!  I’m getting tired, I’m sure you guys are getting tired, and we all know that all work and all play, makes Jack a dull boy.”  One of the Trojans asked, “Who is this Jack person?”  The Greek shook his head and replied, “No one of importance, anyway, as I was saying, if we all just agreed to take a break, we could sail home for a year, rest up, get cleaned up, maybe get some better food and meet back up in a year to pick up where we left off.”  The Trojans stared at the man in disbelief.  “You mean to say you want to just, stop fighting for a year, and then go right back at it afterwards?  Are you serious?”  The Greek looked at him quizzically and replied, “You know, that’s almost exactly what my commander said when I proposed the idea, but after I explained the reasons to him for a few hours, he told me to just grab a branch and tell you guys.  He’s pretty smart and knows a good idea when he hears it, why, he even suggested that I should forget the olive branch and just come over as fast as I could ride because he knew you would want to hear this, but I know the branch is symbolic, so I grabbed it anyway.”  The guards paused for a moment before they all broke out in uproarious laughter, causing the Greek to look at them in annoyance until they had settled down.  When the laughter finally subsided, one of the Trojans looked at the Greek and asked, “You’re being serious, aren’t you?”  The Greek, becoming flustered at this point replied, “Yes.  Now if you are quite finished, I demand that you take me to your king!”  One of the guards nudged the man next to him and said, “Escort him to the king’s palace, I’ll let him know who’s coming.”  With that, he sprinted ahead while the other guards formed a detail around the Greek, escorting him down the street.  After a short hike, they arrived at the royal palace and entered the gold-plated doors.  Inside, the king sat on his throne waiting and once the group had reached him, he said, “I was told you had something I needed to hear.  Speak quickly Greek, and I sincerely hope you are not wasting my time.”  With that, the Greek cleared his throat and explained again his plan for taking a year off.  After he had finished, he looked expectantly at the king who sat there, looking ponderous for a moment before turning to the guard next to him to ask, “Are you certain he is serious?”  The guard, barely containing his grin, nodded in confirmation.  With that, the king leaned back in his chair, nodded to himself, then almost fell off of his throne laughing.  The Greek’s face flushed, but he remained quiet and waited for the king to regain his composure, which took a considerable amount of time.  Then, the king straightened his robes and said, “I’m afraid we cannot process your request at this time.  If, in the future, you have any other ideas you feel would be helpful in this war, feel free to let me know.  Guards, take him back to the front gate, and see that he is unharmed.”  The Greek was then returned to his camp, and became the only Greek allowed into Troy for many more years.  He proposed ideas ranging from settling the war with a Denarius Flip to trading places halfway through the war and letting the Greeks defend Troy while the Trojans besieged her.  One day, a note was left for the Trojans that the Greeks would be doing a gift exchange the next day and that they should have a present ready.  The Trojans paid little mind to this, until a giant wooden horse appeared on their doorstop overnight.  And that is how the Greeks eventually won the war.

A Beginning in the End pt. 4

Arabella                                                                                                      2020/1/5

For five years I’ve been wandering in a world where there is no peace. It was another long day on those horrible roads with the monsters moaning on every side. All I can hear is the sound of the dead moans in my head. I hear them in my dreams at night and feel their dead fingers on my skin.

I wake in the middle of the night in a cold sweat but even then I cannot scream. I still have too much self preservation to cry out in my sleep. I don’t think I even truly sleep anymore for the wakeful fear in my heart. My brain can’t rest and after earlier tonight I’m more on edge than ever.

I was as silent as is humanly possible but somehow they still heard me. I heard them approach behind me, moaning and tripping over themselves. The fear was slow in rising but it came all the same. I fled for my life while still trying to make as little noise as possible. It was absolutely horrible, being chased by those things again. I hadn’t been pursued like that for some time. I had managed to stay out of their sights for a long while. I hadn’t been pursued with that fear in my heart since early on after the world had just fallen.

I was only fifteen when it all fell apart. I remember not really understanding what was happening. It had swept the globe before we had realized what was happening. We were swept into a nightmare before we had a chance to react.

It’s all a blur even now after years of wandering through a wasteland. I don’t know if most of the ordinary people ever really understood what happened. Those who did are long gone in the first days of the epidemic. I’ll never know what really occurred and I no longer care.

Why would it matter? Knowing how it happened doesn’t change the world that I must live in. No matter how it came about I must now deal with the effects of it. It hardly matters if it won’t do the world any good. It would only matter if the virus could be killed by something out of the past.

I remember something about a vaccine but it never came to anything. I don’t think there was ever a vaccine at all. It was all idle talk to keep people from panicking. It meant nothing in the end. I think there was a placebo vaccine near the beginning and I can only imagine how horrified those people were when it failed. They had no idea it wasn’t real.

I don’t know why I’m writing all of this. Who will ever read what I write? If I am the last living human then what is the point? My words will never matter surely. After all history doesn’t matter except for the sake of my own sanity. I have to remember what life was like before everything turned. I have to know that this broken world isn’t all that there ever was. I need to remember that a better world existed once to give me hope that a beautiful one can be again.

I have to hope even if there is no sign that the world will ever change. I can’t live if I don’t hold onto hope. Hope is all that I have left.

Dymphna

Veritas

We live in an age where science fiction is fast becoming science fact. Chimeras already are being created in labs, what might happen if these chimeras were allowed to live? What would the reaction be to something that was almost human? 

Technically she wasn’t supposed to exist. 14 days was supposed to be the limit, but curiosity had gotten the better of them – she was the first human-avian chimera to survive that long, and the research team, funded by certain individuals who didn’t care much about the law, had been more than eager to see how such a creature would mature and develop. Dubbed Veratas as a joke, she had exceeded their wildest expectations. But four years is a long time for an eight-man team to keep a secret, and public acceptance of the idea of chimeras hadn’t quite caught up to the reality of existing chimeras. For the public, chimera still equaled monster, and the public outcry had been for her death as soon as the secret had been leaked.

Dr. Cromwell stared through the two-way mirror into Veratas’s room. It wasn’t much, just a glorified holding pen for what amounted to a lab rat. Cromwell rested his hand on the syringe on the table – poison that would end this thing that was never supposed to exist.

Veritas herself was up against the left wall, her slight frame quivering with repressed energy. She was humanoid, four foot five, covered with fine mottled brown feathers from the neck down. Scraggly brown hair dangled to her shoulders and fell in her face – the face that would have looked human if not for the intense golden eyes that peered out from it. Her hands clenched and stretched, eager, over-eager. They were human, probably the most human thing about her, and the way she continually used them to push her hair behind her ear made some of the other researchers decidedly nervous. She wore a brown shift that fell to just above her knees – nobody had ever confessed to giving it to her, but no one had taken it from her either. Her tail dropped below that, nearly brushing the floor with dark feathers when she stood. That was the most avian thing about her, a vestige of flight which in her case did nothing but get in the way. Wings had been denied her by some twist of chromosome. Her toes curled against the floor – human in shape, but rough with bird scales.

Veritas pressed against the wall, her eyes locked onto the pole that bisected the room. Cromwell curled his fingers around the syringe. He should do this now and just get it over with. It was nothing more than killing a frog for dissection. Dissection actually was her final end – there was still debate over how exactly the two halves of her genetics were fitting together. Cromwell didn’t move though. He watched as Veritas pushed off from the wall and started running. Three strides, four, five, then a leap from the top of her upturned water bowl. Her hands grasped the pole and momentum aided by a kick flipped her around so she landed on top of the pole. She crouched like some avian nightmare, staring at the door.

Cromwell checked to see that his taser was within easy reach. She hadn’t done anything overtly violent, not yet, but it would be just his luck if today was the day she decided to go berserk.

Cromwell keyed in his code for the door and entered. The door hissed shut behind him. Veritas visibly cringed when she saw him. Cromwell hid the syringe behind his back. They hadn’t been kind. They hadn’t been kind, but it had been in the name of science. She was just an animal, an unnatural creature who had no purpose except to serve the science that had created her.

“Come down Veritas,” he called in a low voice. She fidgeted but didn’t leave her perch. Cromwell took a step further in. “Now Veritas,” he said, putting more command into his voice. Veritas ducked her head.

Her knuckles were white around the pole, her whole body was shivering, keyed up in what could have been a fight or flight response – one in which she couldn’t decide on an action.

“Why?” It was a small voice, inaudible except for the fact that the room was otherwise silent. Cromwell shook his head to clear it. He took a step forward, till he could almost reach up and grab her. She shifted as far away as she could on the pole. Her golden eyes watched him warily.

“What am I? Why do you hurt me?” the two questions came out in a rush, like something long rehearsed and long feared.

Cromwell grabbed her arm, yanked her off the pole, and plunged the syringe into her thigh. She screeched as the needle went in; she flew backwards as soon as she was released. Cromwell watched as she died, as the question ‘why’ died on her lips. Eventually she lay limp, dead. Then she was nothing but a pile of flesh to be dissected. She was never anything more. She had never spoken. Never.

Cromwell picked up the body and carried it into the lab. Others would do what they willed with it. The public was now satisfied.

C. Angelina

A Beginning in the End pt. 3

I love imagining what it would be like to possibly be the last survivor of a zombie apocalypse. What kind of psychological repercussions would that have? Could you survive without going mad, would the human need to survive override everything else?

Arabella                                                                                                         2020/1/3

My car has run out of fuel. There isn’t any of the stuff for miles out here and I can’t waste the daylight. It looks like I’m going on foot now. It worries me. The world seems so much bigger without even the metal shell of a vehicle between it and you. My feet are so small and inadequate now where they were strong and capable yesterday. 

I wish I could stay here another night but they are here and don’t look to be leaving. Their stench fills the air and pollutes the atmosphere. I know I must leave. Another herd is quickly approaching, well I say quickly but it only fells that way to my vulnerable self. 

I can outrun them but not forever despite how slow they are. I am mortal and they are not. 

2020/1/4

I haven’t seen another survivor in almost a year now. Am I all that is left? the very thought makes me tremble in fear and panic. It’s the perfect nightmare to be the only human left in a world of ravenous flesh-eating monsters. It paralyzes me just to consider it. All I want is to see another living human. 

I don’t think I can take the solitude anymore. I always talk to myself, making plans in furtive whispers to no one. There isn’t a soul to hear me anymore but the angels and God himself.

Sometimes it feels as though there is no one there to hear my prayers. All is empty and silent and the monsters outside are the only things in the universe besides me. Then there are times when I feel something more, that invisible presence at my side. The thing is, if He is there I don’t understand why He won’t let me die. 

I walked ten miles today through heavily infested land. I could smell and hear them all around me, a constant threat. The wretched moaning permeated the air and bombarded my ears. I felt as though I was walking down a road in hell with haunting demons wailing on every side. 

If I had not shed all my tears long ago I might have been wailing with them. As it stood I was saved by the fact that I don’t even think I can cry anymore. I wish I still lived in a world where I could, where I could have my heart broken and weep because I couldn’t afford a new car. 

My eyes were horridly dry as I traveled a long dreadful road with no prospect of any relief in the future. Will I ever have peace again?

Dymphna

A Beginning in the End pt.2

Here’s another part of the story and the introduction of the second character. Writing in first person can be such a pain sometimes but for some stories it’s honestly the best way to go.

Logan                                                                                               2020/1/2

There are more of them here. I can’t seem to find a place where they have dwindled. Their numbers only seem to grow, coinciding with the diminishing survivor count. It has been seven months since I encountered another living human and he is dead  now. I made sure he wouldn’t rise to walk among the animated dead.

I found a little bunker today in which to hole up for a spell. There are still a few supplied here and it is as secure as anywhere can be these days. 

I miss the days when you could sleep without fear of real monsters out there. And yet it isn’t really the monsters that are truly frightening anymore. It’s the thought of being one of them that utterly terrifies me. It’s that and the knowledge that if I die humanity has lost another chance to survive.

I believe that is the one thing that drives me on, the knowledge that maybe someday I can help to save humanity. 

Why else would I stay here? Everyday I see and smell and fight those things just for one more day alive in the sun. I fight when almost everyone has changed sides and hunts with them. 

I’ve almost died so many times that I’ve lost count completely. I am a survivor. That is all I seem to know anymore. It was only my silence that kept me from being found earlier today. There were a dozen or so of them out there wandering around. It was growing dark and I needed shelter. This bunker was the only place that I knew I could reach. 

I’ve learned to be more silent than the shadows themselves since all of this began. I didn’t want to risk a fight in the dying light and I hadn’t eaten in several days. I managed to sneak through them and into the bunker where I found some old but edible food. 

I assume I’m meant to survive for a little while longer. The thing is that sometimes I’m not sure I want to. I’m so alone here. 

Logan is a work in progress. I’m not entirely sure where the character is going and his back story is only partially formulated. I’m really looking forward to creating him and just letting things happen. His past especially is going to be so much fun to create.

Dymphna