Tag Archives: post-apocalyptic setting

Clara’s letter to herself in 20 years

Dear Clara in 20 years,

 

Please don’t be afraid to let your children explore. Don’t let yourself down for forgetting anything you wanted, what I want now.

Please do the right thing. I have a bad feeling about what the future will hold.

Sincerely,

Clara

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Letter to 14-year-old Clara

Dear 14-year-old Clara,

God, what I would do to go back to then. At least to change one thing. Things do get better, but you have to leave that stupid village. Its a bad place for you, Clara. After they killed Father, there was nothing left. You’re old enough to take care of yourself. You just survived an attack from the Raptors. Get the hell out of dodge.

Don’t make the mistakes I did. I stayed, tried to fit in when I knew I couldn’t. Mother found another man and created another family. Don’t get attached to Em. She’ll be fine without you. I know she’s only an infant, but you need to stay away. You’ll get into the Tree Folks if you leave now.

Please think about it.

Sincerely,

Clara


Initiation

“What do I remember from the world blowing up in our faces? What do I remember? The first thing that told us it was happening was the sudden sound of airplane turbines. Airplane turbines that never turned off. They just go on and on as if some psycho has forgotten how to turn them off, but still remembers how to fuel them. Why won’t they stop? WHY WON’T THEY STOP?” the woman on the plasma screen said on a permanent loop. Hollywood had kept its desire for the fucked up and the exploitable. Even their belief in the power of fame couldn’t stop them from deteriorating to the ravaged bunch of animals. Somehow the fucked up tape kept playing on its loop, but with the volume turned up it somehow managed to block out the sound of what she described as an airplane turbine. I’d seen an airplane once. It was in a book that my mum burned for warmth, cooking something we caught hours earlier to eat. Unfortunately, the fire and the stench brought the Raptors after us. I’d escaped without a wound. Mum escaped with all but one limb. A tree branch had taken its place for two months. Then the Raptors got her too.

“Turn that shit off, Crim,” Pal said, running his hand over his machete blade that he was cleaning. I scoffed and turned the television up. The sharp, metallic clanging of a blade hitting the cold, concrete floor was loud enough to cause me to jump despite the volume of both the whirling and the woman’s nearly constantly screaming. I turned in time to see his boots before only the turbine-like noise was left.

“Fuck you,” I grumbled, adjusting my knick-knacks. Ignoring me, Pal’s footsteps walked off into what might have been a kitchen-area. Of course we converted it into a fire-pit to ward off the Raptors.  Fire was the only thing we had to protect ourselves.  Since I knew that if I turned on the Picture Set Pal would send me to the crow’s nest to watch for Raptors as they approach the side of our make-shift fortress that was unprotected, I got up and went to the window. A figure was running towards our home. Grabbing my binoculars from around my neck, held by a leather strap made from the skin of the first Raptor I killed, I watched the red headed man who could have been my brother run towards us. Behind him a dark-haired, light skinned man ran with his long hair bouncing with each stride. Pulling my face away, I picked up my handgun and holstered it before turning to Pal.

“Hey, Pal. Ken’s back,” I said.

“So?”

“Someone is with him.”

“What?” Pal roared, jumping into the room and running out the door that headed to the scaffolding that he uses to target practise. He followed it down to the ground with me on his heels. The man stopped a foot behind Ken when he stopped at the borders to our territory.

“Pal?”

“Ken.”

“What’s wrong?” Ken asked.

“Why is there someone with you?”

“He needs help.”

“You know we can’t afford another mouth. Kern, this is the third time you’ve done this. We can’t keep doing this, Ken,” Pal said, starting his long speech that he’s been practising since he was elected leader by those who were left after the last leader went insane. I allowed my eyes to move to the new arrival. Somewhere in the speech Ken introduced him as Dav. His eyes met mine, but he averted his eyes first, seeming surprised by my green eyes. People claimed I was half Raptor.

I allowed myself to view the surroundings where old, junk vehicles sat rusted and unworkable. My boots brushed against the paper left in the street from the mass chaos that the mobs created. I heard a clink of two pebbles hitting each other and looked back at Dav kicking the rocks around. My eyes caught his foot hitting a rock that zoomed through the window of a junked up Cadillac. Loud, piercing wails caused me to jump a foot off the ground. Pal cursed, pulling his weapon from his belt. I followed suit, as did Ken. Dav stared at us.

We waited, silent with only the constant sound that had been there for as long as I could imagine. A good five minutes later we heard the tale-tell sound of a Raptor Horde, a loud scream, much like a baby crying for his mother. Ken grabbed Dav’s arm and threw him between the three of us as we turned to a position much like the mother triceratops circling the babies to protect them from enemies. The first Raptor crested the hill with a baby-like roar before rushing towards us.

Raptors are monsters that had been human once. Their eyes are emerald green and very humanoid. Their teeth are sharpened from cannibalistic tendencies over the generations and their fingernails have sharpened and lengthened to a deadly point. Their legs have mutated to look like the velociraptors from the books I read as a child right before we burned them. The Raptors didn’t wear clothing and their nude flesh were dark brown from the sun.

“Fuck.”

“How many do y think, Pal?”

“A good two, maybe three hundred.”

“I don’t think I have that many rounds on me, Pal,” I said, taking aim at the first one rushing directly at me.

“That doesn’t matter. Kill enough of ’em and they’ll run.”

“How much will be enough?”

“I don’t know,” Pal admitted. I shot the one I’d been aiming at, killing it. Two replaced it. I missed the next one I aimed at. The gunfire went on until every single gun we had clicked that it was empty. Three of mine laid at my feet and my fourth went empty in my hand. A ring of Raptors stood around us, in a circle. The stare down initiated , no one moved. We stayed like that until Dav, the stranger, jumped in front of me with a mallet and aimed at the first Raptor he saw, beating the living shit out of it. Once it was dead, he stood huffing over its body and looking up at the Horde as if asking who was next. The Raptors looked at each other confused before looking the corpse of the creature left. Dav started towards them, swinging the mallet wide. They turned and ran back the way they came. Pal stepped up to the corpse and prodded it with the butt of his gun.

“Its dead.”

“What’d you wanna do with it?” Ken asked.

“Can’t leave it here. The Raptors’ll return for the feast. Skin the legs and throw the rest of it to the dogs,” Pal said, turning to Dav. “Have you done that before?”

“Yes, sir.”

Ken picked up the corpse and carried it to the fenced in area towards the side of our fortress. Dav and Pal stared at each other for what seemed like forever.

“Believe it or not, that was our initiation. I guess you don’t have to prove yourself,” Pal said, grinning. Dav responded in kind and the two them started for the building. Pal mentioned a tour or something like that. I allowed my view to go back to the landscape and sighed.


“A Novel Idea” My Novel Chapter One Excerpt Part 2 “Awakening the Red Hood”

Continued from the previous post…

“Hello, Miss Red,” she said, leaning against the wall.

 “Why are you calling me ‘Miss Red’?” I asked. “It confuses me.”

“My name is Carolina. You are called ‘Miss Red’ because we found you in the red division of  the continent Korea. The United Continents of America pulled you out as soon as we knew you weren’t Asian inherited,” she replied. “We couldn’t save your arm though.”

 “What’s going on?”

 “What year is it?”

 “What do you mean ‘what year’? Don’t you know?”

“Why don’t you tell me, Miss Red?”

“Its twenty-twelve,” I responded, trying to move the chair in any direction. When it didn’t budge I glanced down at the feet to see them screwed to the floor.

“Actually, its thirty-twelve.”

“What?”

“In twenty-twenty-five the United States of America combined forces with Japan to launch a new order on another planet and maybe even in another galaxy. That’s all I’m going to tell you about that, but I will tell you the consequences,” Carolina said, sliding down the wall to sit cross-legged.

“What? Consequences?”

 “Korea and China took offense and joined together. That made England, France, Germany, and Spain have a major Bitch-Fest. They joined us and the shit started hitting the fan mainichi. All of the connected portions of Asia joined Korea and we got the Middle East,” she said, inspecting her fingernails.

 “The Middle East? Really? But we are at war with Iraq!”

“Not anymore. Then India tried not to get taken over, but those damned Akai got to them. We got what was left. We are at war with Korea. Those damned Kankokujin started it,” she growled.

“Then, what am I here for?”

 “Miss Red, we need you to do the hardest job of all. The United Continents of America need you to use your genetic mutations for our side.”

 “Genetic mutations?”

 Carolina knocked on the wall over her shoulder with the back of her hand. A screen dropped from the ceiling and rested mere inches above Carolina’s head. A movie came on that explained that I had signed up for the program for one reason or another. The facility had taken my genes and changed them to create the ultimate weapon. I was kept in a cryocontainer to keep me frozen until the technology could come about to control the side effects.

 “Do you understand now?”

  “Are the side effects gone?”

 “No. There was no way of getting rid of them without destroying your Deoxyribo Nucleic Acid. Kuso we tried,” she responded. The screen went back up and a man entered to stand beside Carolina.

 “Miss Red, this is Dick.”

 “Hi, Dick.”

 “Really? This is what you do? You bring in a mizuumi worth of girls who have genetic mutations with absolutely no control of their abilities,” he groaned. I narrowed my eyes at him, feeling the tension in my neck rise. Soon all I could see were sparks, like electricity was the only thing in the world. Someone screamed and a few moments later I opened my eyes and saw the man lying on his side. Carolina just looked at the body as if it wasn’t anything new. It probably wasn’t to her, but I was shocked.

 “Thank you. He’s been a ikai experience for the last fifty years,” she said, nonchalantly. “Anyway, you’ll get to start your training soon enough. Your arm attachment will be replaced with an arm when it comes through the kookuubin.”

“Training?”

“We’ll start with your grappling gun,” Carolina responded, knocking on the wall again. The door opened and a droid entered the door. It beeped at Carolina a bit before using a metal arm to pull the man’s dead body out of the steel door. A trail of blood followed behind like a little lost puppy. Another droid came out to obsessively clean the blood spill.

 “Can you walk?”

“I do not know,” I responded, attempting to stand up. I was on my feet for a few minutes, wobbling like I was going to fall down, before I took a shaky step towards Carolina. She smiled before she ushered me through the door.

 She led me towards a bright, turquoise door that opened upwards. Carolina helped me to the fire range and I aimed at the black person-shaped black paper.

“Now, just tense your muscles in your upper arm and you will fire.”

 “What?” I asked, taking aim. I tensed my upper arm and a rapid string of bullets came from my arm, but it went wild. Carolina halted the flinging of my arm with a robot’s grasp. The gun continued to spasm on my arm, even after I relaxed my arm. She helped me pull my arm back to my side before picking up the clipboard and writing something down.

“Alright. We’ll have to do some strength building exercises for that arm. Now what might help in the beginning is to rest your elbow on the table as you aim. Rest it on your hand right below the elbow on the machine gun. Let it relax and fire,” she told me, helping me adjust my arms so that I held in the same stance Carolina had suggested.

 “Okay…”

“Try firing now,” she said, bracing my shoulders. I tensed my upper arm and relaxed. I hit the paper this time, though I didn’t actually hit anything vital. She pulled away and I attempted to fire again. I followed the same pattern as before. She told me to relax my gun.

 “I want you to use the gun like it is a weight. Lift it twenty times a day,” Carolina said, helping me to stand under the weight of the weapon. She pulled me through another door, into a corridor that lead all the way down. She took me on a path that sloped down, but stopped before the bottom. I watched her red hair flow towards a blue door and a second later I noticed the red fingernail polish on her fingers as she pressed the button. The door slid open in an “x” shape to reveal a sparsely furnished room with a single bed and a toilet.  There was enough room for me to exercise.

“Is this where I live?”

“Now that you are awake it is. You are on the right side of the hall, so you are with the evening shower people. Be very careful with that toilet. It is an old model, pre-3000s, so it may not flush as well. It might even back up time to time. There is hand sanitizer because we’ve found that it is cheaper to make now that the ushi are so rare. We need them solely for milk,” Carolina said, gesturing to the room. “Speaking of milk… Asagohan is at oh-six hundred hours. Hirogohan is right at twelve hundred and kongohan is at seventeen hundred hours. Other than that daishyoobu.”

 “Okay… How long am I going to be here?”

“Until you are completely rehabilitated.”

Carolina helped me to the bed and I sat down. My backside hit the lumpy cushion and she released me. She moved her hair out of her face before walking out the door. The door closed behind her and locked itself with a loud, laser sound. I leaned over so that I was lying on my side. The boots were incredibly comfortable, even lying down.

 I must have passed out because a few hours later a loud alarm jolted me off the mattress. When I should have landed on my head I landed on my feet. A split second later my doors opened, revealing Carolina with three ladies of varying ages wearing the same thing I was. I stood and limped over to the door, nearly falling when I got there.

 “Kongohan, Miss Red,” Carolina said, lifting a clipboard.

 “Kangahon?”

Kongohan, Miss Red. Someone needs to speak to you about your pronunciation. If you want to fit in that is,” Carolina said, gesturing for me to follow the girls. We were lead down a silver hallway and into some sort of mess tent. Aluminum tables lined the room length wise and we were lead to the end of one. As we sat the tent filled up with people in white lab coats and denim pants. A droid zoomed by, dropping metal dishes full of food in front of us.

“My name is Xia Yellow. I was found in the yellow district thirteen months ago. Where were you found?” the smallest girl spoke up, before she shoved a spoonful of the grey mush into her mouth.

 “The red one.”

 Everyone hissed as if in pain.

“That’s a taihenna. I was found in the blue district. Shia Shia Blue is my name. Kim here was found in the violet district,” the tallest one said. I finally looked at her. She had bright blue hair and lips. She would be easy to see in most situations. Kim was a little blond girl with violet eyeshadow on. Xia was the shortest, though I could tell she was the eldest, and she wore her brown hair waist length with a yellow ribbon in it.

 “How long were you guys under?”

“What do you mean?”

“I was in Cryogenesis.”

“We never were. Wow. This is amazing,” Xia said, leaning forward. “What was it like under Cryogenesis? I would love to know what that felt like.”

“Um… I could not begin to tell you. I don’t remember anything,” I said. I started forcing the gray mush down my throat. It tasted horrible. My mouth spasmed in fear as my tongue recoiled away from the hideous thing. Shia Shia obviously enjoyed the meal like it was the most delicious thing she had tasted. I recoiled at each moan of pleasure she let loose.

“How good is this Mush?”

 “Amazing. It is a new flavor,” Kim said, smiling through her mushy stuff. It took a few moments for me to keep my stomach down, feeling like I might vomit. A flash of brown streaked past and Kim ran off after it. Carolina ran past us, towards where Kim ran to.

“I… I don’t think that this stuff is… I’m not a fan of mush,” I finally said, shoving it away. Xia and Shia Shia stared at me, wide eyed. It was then that I realized that I was the only one who had ever lived outside of this society. I was the only one who had once eaten something other than mush.

 “What do you like to eat?”

 “What?” I asked, staring at my hands. The mush suddenly bled to pure liquid and the doors opened fully. Carolina walked over to our table with Kim’s ear in her grasp. She gestured to us before dragging Kim out the door. Shia Shia, Xia, and I followed at some distance behind. We walked slowly and I watched as Carolina put the other three girls back in their cages. She put me back last, hesitating at the door.

 “Everything you say is recorded, Miss Red.”

“Do I get a first name?”

“A what?”

 “Xia, Shia Shia, and Kim all have first names.”

“Ah. You get to pick that.”

 “What?”

“Your first name. You get to choose it. We decided that the colors would be allowed to choose their given names so that they can have some decisions,” she said. “You will be able to make some of your own decisions as soon as you get out into the field.”

 “The field? I’m not sure if I can do this. I don’t know anything about my ability.”

“Do your lifts,” Carolina responded. She left a second later and I was locked in.

 

I was there for a few months, taking lessons from their top people. When we were able to visit the laboratory for our testing I was fascinated by the microscopic things that they were designing. A doctor sat me down and started injecting things into my arms, checking to see me change color. A test went into my mouth before being drawn up and out again. They tested and tested me while Xia and Shia Shia watched. Kim was to my right being tested as well.

 “Doctor, why are you testing me?” I asked. The doctor said nothing. Carolina placed something over my mouth and it would not let me open it. I was wearing a muzzle. The freaks weren’t allowed to be talking to the doctors. Kim fidgeted with the gown they forced her to wear out of the corner of my eye. Shia Shia seemed more interested in her nails than anything else and Xia just simply stared.

All of a sudden an alarm went out, springing Xia into action. She raced from the room at an inhuman speed. Shia Shia followed moments later. Kim was allowed off the table, but they kept me where I was with metal restrains.

“You can’t go out yet and it is probably just a routine check,” one of the doctors said. I growled in annoyance, but no one took notice. A few moments later Shia Shia returned without a scratch on her.

 “Where are Kim and Xia?” Carolina asked, pulling out a cigarette and lighting it with her metal lighter. Shia Shia shrugged before handing something to Carolina. She took it in her right hand and stared at it. I strained to get a better look, but an orderly pulled me back to the table.

“These are for Miss Red, Carolina. Dr. Zah said that he wanted her to take her vitamins tonight at kongohan,” Shia Shia said, walking over to me and placing a hand on my shoulder. Xia and Kim ran in a few moments later. Kim was back on the table the instant her foot entered the room it seemed.

“Then we will give them to her when its kongohan. Now, get to the training yard,” Carolina responded, dropping the items into her pocket. She turned back to me and pulled the muzzle from my face. The doctors helped me off the table and lead me to the doorway. Carolina led us back to our rooms until kongohan so that we could do our daily weights. The machine gun attached to my arm was still heavy, but I could hold it up without toppling over.

I walked into my room last once again and started to do my arm lifts with the gun. I sat on the bed during one of the pumps and just kept going. Carolina did not close the door like she usually did, but came inside and leaned against one of the walls. She watched me work out as I completed my usual count and readied for bed.

“You will have your arm soon,” she said, surprising me.

“Really?”

 “Hai.”

“Is that why I have to take vitamins?” I asked.

Hai.”

 I looked up at her, staring at the mass of hair that seemed to wave hello. She stood there, hands in lab coat pocket, and watched me as I readied for a nap. The cushion was indented from where I slept every night. With the gun on I can only stay in one position while I sleep. I touched the cotton blanket that I had flung to the floor that morning to get up with my foot. I pulled it back up to the bed and laid it flat on the bed.

“Is there a reason you need your blanket?”

“I thought I would take a nap.”

 “Why would you do that?”

“A nap makes the time fly.”

 “Kongohan will be ready in an hour.”

“So?”

“So it will be ready in an hour.”

 “So?”

 “So, shouldn’t you be preparing to eat?” Carolina asked, bewildered. I ignored her to concentrate on my blanket. She came forward and ripped the blanket from my grasp. My empty right hand opened and closed twice before she pulled me from the room by the gun. She slammed me into the wall beside my door.

 “Listen, ass wipe. Kongohan is now in half an hour. So you wasted thirty minutes of naptime on neatening your fucking bed. What do you say?”

“That this wall is uncomfortable.”

“Shut up. You need to get a different set of clothing on this instant.”

“This is the only set I have, Carolina,” I said, shoving her away from me. I walked back into my room and sat back on the door. She followed me back in, but she didn’t step more than two paces in. I picked the blanket up from where she threw it and started to fix it so that it was nice and steady. It took another half hour because I only have one arm, but I did manage to straighten it out nicely.

 “It is time for kongohan, Miss Red,” the doctor said behind me. I turned to her and waited for her to walk out. I followed her to pick up the other girls. Shia Shia was usually the third girl picked up by Carolina and Kim was the first. We were picking up the girls out of order and taking a different path towards the mess hall.

 Our supper was some sort of meat and some sort of vegetable. Of course we couldn’t tell what they were, but we would have to deal. I was just glad it wasn’t gruel anymore.

We ate in silence, enjoying the taste of something different. When I finished the bowl of meat-like substances Carolina dropped off the three pills I have to take. I swallowed them one at a time and washed them down with the last spoonful of vegetable mush. A second later I just saw black.