Friday, September 14, 2012

Memoirs From the End of the World: Entry #2

Here's the second installment of my newest serial.  The last entry came purely in the form of a diary entry.  This is experimental for me.  I want to show a girl who's trying to document her experiences with the help of her diary.  After all, it's the only confidant she has.  At the same time, it doesn't seem realistic to communicate everything second hand purely from diary entries.  That's why I'm trying to interlace third person narration with her personal accounts.  At this point, it's too early for me to tell how it's working out.  All I can say for sure is that I'm having fun with it.

For those of you who haven't read the first installment yet, you can follow the link below.

Memoirs From the End of the World
Entry #2

She tapped the yellowed page with the tip of the ballpoint pen, leaving blots of black ink in the margin.  It had taken several seconds of furious scribbling in the margins to get the ink flowing again, and she knew she shouldn’t be wasting the ink like this.  Yet the repetition of it helped her think.  Was there anything else she needed to say?

Then it dawned on her.  She had indeed forgotten something.  At the bottom of the page, she scrawled a short addendum.

Romero, I was so busy giving you a name, I forgot to tell you mine.  I’m Rose Carter, but Pete always called me RC.  It sounds better than Rose, anyway.
She closed the notebook again, and the well-worn black cardboard cover stared up at her.  This was the only friendly face she could count on.  When she found Romero hidden away beneath a pile of tools in this garden shed, his first few pages were home to gardening notes.  Since the original owners of this notebook were nowhere to be found, RC had torn them out and shoved them into her backpack.  They would be useful for starting a cooking fire later on.

Already dressed for the day in threadbare jeans and stained white shirt, RC waited only for the morning’s first patrol bot to pass.  She stationed herself beside the square window that faced the street.  It wasn’t easy to see since the road was several feet higher than the shed due to a steep downhill slope.  However, this would help since it seemed unlikely the bot would bother scanning anything at her level.  It would have to stop and recalibrate its systems to broaden its scanning radius.  That would simply take too much time.

While RC waited, she did a quick inventory.  She’d already rolled up the tarp that she spread out to use for a bed.  Her clothes were already stored in her backpack.  All was ready to go.  With nothing left to do but wait, she opened the notebook to the back cover.  She pressed the pen extra hard against the white cardboard so the words would come out bold.

Tips for Surviving the End of the World
Rule #1
Carry your entire life on your back.  Never assume you’ll be able to return to the place you slept the night before.  That assumption is a luxury that no survivor can afford.

After she finished writing the words, she heard the distinctive hum of motors.

Through the dirty glass, she could just make out the sleek black body of The Scorpion as it flew low over the street.  She didn’t know what the overlords actually called this model of bot, but she felt her nickname was appropriate.  Like a scorpion, this bot had two long arms with claws on the end that could shoot out and hold a person in place.  The tail shot tranquilizer darts that could bring you down from a distance.  This was the creepiest security bot around.  She might’ve tried to outmaneuver the lower level security bots, but not this one.  Few tangled with The Scorpion and escaped the meat locker.  Unless, of course, you considered the grave an acceptable escape.

The Scorpion soon disappeared from view, obscured by the house next door.  She hesitated for a moment.  The peace of this shed was the best she’d managed to find in months.  Located on a side street far from the town center, the patrols were less frequent.  She’d spent nights in ditches, trees, anywhere she could find.  Between towns, she huddled in shrubs to avoid the police units.   Yet, once she walked out, she couldn’t come back.  Her general rule of thumb was to never, under any circumstances to stay in one place for more than three days.  Last night had been number four.  The time to move on had already passed.

RC took a deep breath.  Shoving Romero in with her other supplies, she took one last look out the window.  Confident it was clear, she yanked open the little wooden door and ducked outside.

The chill of the morning prompted her to pull her frayed gray jacket tight against her body.  Sticking close to the houses along the street, she remained in the shadows and out of sight.  If a random security detail moved through, which was bound to happen from time to time, she could take cover quickly.

RC made a mental note to write down Rule #2 when she got the chance:  Keep your back covered, and map out an escape route everywhere you go.

Most of the homes in this area had been abandoned for months.  Though the homes were unoccupied, there were still some canned goods to be found, along with other things that people going to a meat locker for 14 years wouldn’t bother bringing along with them.

It was too bad she couldn’t risk sleeping in one of these houses.  They were randomly searched by security details.  Fortunately, smaller buildings like the garden shed usually slipped under the radar.  The aliens still didn’t seem to understand that some were willing to endure the draftiness and lack of a mattress to maintain their freedom.

That would be Rule #3.  Avoid old patterns.  Acting like you did in your old life will only make you predictable.

RC turned down an alley, intent on using rear entrances.  The front entrances were visible from the road, and were therefore vulnerable.

Her stomach dropped when she saw a line of small security bots blocking her path.  Their red indicator lights flashed as they registered RC’s presence. 

Silently uttering every curse she could think of, she wished she’d added in her new Rule #4 earlier: Look for opposition before committing to a direction.

She was waiting for the sting of the dart when a pair of hands seized her from behind.

Go on to Entry #3


  1. Trying new things is always a good experience. It may be fun, it may be a disaster, it may be brilliant, but you'll learn so much by testing your boundaries as a writer and the testing the boundaries that readers expect you to obey. :)

  2. RC's tips are good advice for those on the run.

    Maybe the pair of hands belong to someone to run with...