Tag Archives: creartive writing

Survival. Short Story.

Vincent walked through the scattered corpses, around them dying fires were smouldering, a thick haze filled the air. He didn’t pause or look at their faces, it was better not to know. When it had began all those long months before he had seen his first dead body, it haunted his dreams, but these bodies were nothing now, just part of the backdrop. It had been a teenage boy who was running just ahead of him when one of the monsters grabbed him. Vincent hadn’t paused, hadn’t stopped, he just kept running, it was the only thing he could do. He made it another twenty steps before something sailed over his head and landed in front of him with a heavy thud. It was the body of the boy, his head ripped from his shoulders, a gaping hole where his stomach should have been. Vincent had been sure he was next, kept expecting something to grab him but nothing did. That night the scene played over and over again in his dreams, the boys body crashing in front of him. When Vincent finally woke from his nightmare he’d just enough time to turn and vomit onto the ground beside him rather than over himself. How many people had he seen killed since? How many bodies? It was an endless parade of death and destruction. He’d seen people torn limb from limb, screaming all the while, he’d seen people killed in the blink of an eye, a giant stone falling from above and crushing them. He’d seen buildings collapse and burst into flames and somehow he’d managed to survive it all.

Vincent kept walking as the military moved in, this was the truly dangerous part. If they noticed him, noticed that he was broad shouldered, that he was still strong, he would face a seemingly simple choice, join the army or die. The truth of the matter was it would be a death sentence regardless of how he chose. The army had been throwing men at the things since it began and still they kept coming. It was all humanity could do to stay ahead of them. He ducked into a dark and half collapsed alleyway, two children, a boy and a girl, were picking through rubble, the girl glared at him as he past while the boy kept rummaging. Vincent kept them in sight until he rounded the corner, it was always better to have your guard up around the kids, they tended to move in packs and didn’t mind using the knives they liked to carry. He moved through an old apartment building, it was leaning drunkenly against its neighbour, looking as though it would collapse any moment. As he moved through what was once the lobby he could hear the noise of people above him, those too stupid or too poor to go anywhere else. Not him, so far the only thing keeping him alive was being on the move. He’d met plenty of people in the last city who told him it was safe, that he should stay, find somewhere and hunker down until it was all over. Three weeks ago it had been destroyed entirely, last he heard there was nothing left but a smoking crater. He picked his way over bits of concrete and rubbish, it looked like someone had attempted to move it all to the side but had given up partway through. Vincent paused at the front of the building, looking out at the rubble strewn street, people were already coming out to scavenge after the last attack, some were crying and shouting as they dug, but most worked silently, looking for food or anything valuable. At one end of the street stood a tall, gangly boy in a green, ill-fitting uniform, it looked as though he had borrowed the clothes from his father and the tightly gripped gun was almost comically oversized, he had wide, staring eyes that were starkly white against his grey, dust covered skin, Vincent guessed he couldn’t be older than thirteen. Vincent stepped from the building and headed off in the other direction keeping himself hunched over, the kid wasn’t exactly threatening but when dealing with someone that young, that untrained and that scared, you never really knew what you were getting into. Somewhere to his left there came a deep, throaty cry and Vincent froze, already people were beginning to scatter, someone ran past him, knocking him down as they went. Vincent scrambled to his feet and started running.

Vincent watched the city burn, people streamed past him in a steady flow, he could still make out people fleeing the city, dark shapes lit only by the leaping flames behind them. The gunfire had stopped, the army had abandoned they city around the time Vincent had made it to the outskirts. Vincent turned from the city and started walking again, he had lingered too long here, growing complacent, he needed to keep moving, needed to stay ahead of the things. Some people were talking, but most trudged forward with their heads down, many of them carried nothing having no time to grab any of their meagre belongings.

Vincent stopped and sat against some rocks. His feet were tired and sore, around him he could smell food cooking over the campfires that dotted the area, his stomach grumbled sullenly. He hadn’t eaten since the day before, but he had gone longer without food. He had been moving with the others from the city and they swarmed across the countryside, picking everything clean. He didn’t know where he was heading, he wasn’t sure if anyone really knew or if they were just following the signs to the next city. A small family huddled around a fire nearby, he watched as the mother passed food to her children, the mother looked up and caught his eye, he saw a flash of fear and she moved closer to her children, Vincent looked away. He wouldn’t take their food, he wasn’t a thief and he wasn’t that desperate, not yet. He stood from the rock and started walking again, ignoring the protesting pain in his feet. If he kept following like this he’d never get anywhere, he’d just be another desperate refugee, penned into a resettlement camp or conscripted. Besides, there was safety in numbers, but it could also attract the wrong kind of attention, all those people, weak and frightened, would make easy pickings for anyone or anything that decided to come along. Vincent spotted an apple on the ground, a glint of green that had mostly been buried in muck, he pulled it out of the mud and quickly wiped it down, the green skin was smooth and unbroken, though he knew he’d have eaten it even if it was half rotted. Vincent ate it quickly, trickles of juice running down the side of his mouth, already things were looking up.

End of It All. Short Story.

Tony breathed deeply, the air is so pure and fresh after the rain. Today is the day, the day it was all going to happen. He smiled, his lips stretching as wide as they would go, a hint of laughter on his face. He knew if he started he probably wouldn’t be able to stop. A young mother sped up as she passed by, throwing one or two furtive glances back to make sure he wasn’t following her. She had no reason to fear, he was just sitting on the bench enjoying the sun and the gentle breeze. He had no plans to move on from the bench any time soon. The park was nice, it was sunny and it was safe.

After a few minutes of breathing Tony checked his watch then grabbed his bag, it wouldn’t be too long now. He took out everything he needed, rolling papers, tobacco and of course, the weed. It had been years since he smoked anything at all, but he was confident his fingers would still remember how to roll. He was going to die today, he knew that for certain, and he didn’t want to die sober.

The rolling was more difficult than he remembered, his fingers felt clumsy and a little useless, the wind kept picking up slightly, threatening to blow it all away. God. How had he managed to do it when he was younger? After a few minutes of fiddling he sealed the joint and placed it down onto the bench beside himself, then he packed everything else away.

The first inhale was sharp and bitter, he started coughing immediately. He opened his bag again and pulled out a bottle of water, he took a few sips and waited until the coughing subsided, then he took another drag. This one was a little smoother. The burn was still there, harsh in his lungs, but he managed to hold in the cough.

He finished the joint, alternating coughing with sips of water and inhalations. After a few lungfuls he could feel it and by now he felt almost lighter, like he was about to start floating. Years ago this joint would have only gotten him a little high. Huh. How things have changed.

With the joint gone he focused on his breathing again, taking sips of the water when he needed them. His mouth was unreasonably dry, the water didn’t seem to be doing much to alleviate it. He looked at his watch, only ten minutes had gone by, it felt like much longer. He glanced around, the park was empty, the woman with her pram had long since disappeared from view. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all. Maybe it would have been better to go out at home, hell, he could have taken it into his own hands and killed himself. He could have picked up some heroin, he had wanted to try it when he was younger, but he feared the addiction. Now was the time to have tried it, inject just a little too much and ride the high right out of existence. It was too late to pick any up now. Besides, he was always squeamish with needles. A few pills might have been better. Drift off to sleep and just never wake up. He didn’t like this feeling, it was different from how he remembered, it wasn’t soothing or relaxing. There was a tenseness, bundled up around his chest making him feel full and like it was difficult to breathe. Like the air around him was all useless and there just wasn’t enough to get into his lungs.

Somewhere there was screaming. It was starting a little earlier than planned. There would be no getting home now. Now all he could do was wait.

The screams were louder on occasion, but none seemed to be approaching him. That wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Though the noise wasn’t exactly pleasant. There was always the trees, he could go hide in them. Well, in theory he could, but his legs felt a little too heavy for walking. Besides, that would just prolong it all. He had no survival training, not enough food or water to last more than a day. He would have to survive for at least a week if he had any hope of surviving it until the end.

He would have liked to have said he had done it all for political reasons, because of some great ideological vision, but that would be a lie. He had done it for the money, plain and simple. It probably helped he had been planning to kill himself before they contact him anyway. If he had to suffer, well then everyone else could too. What would be the harm in that? Beth was dead, they had no children, no family, no friends. All they really had was each other. The money was nice, it helped numb the pain for a little while, but then it became a little pointless. Anything he bought or did, all he could think of was how much Beth would have enjoyed it too.

He knew why he didn’t kill himself, the real reason why. He was a coward. This way there was no backing out. He was weak, he knew he was weak. There was no way he could survive something like this. It would scour the earth, cleanse it of all who were unworthy. Tony knew he was unworthy. He would die and perhaps, if an afterlife was real, be reunited with Beth. He probably wouldn’t end up where she did though. She was a good woman. Though Tony could say he had never directly caused anyone to die. After all he was just a cog in a team. They had it all planned out for if they were caught. It was all experimental, theoretical. Even if they managed it, they would destroy the results. It wasn’t his fault that someone released it. Not his fault at all. Though he doubted anyone else would see it like that. Most of the others were safe. They were waiting it out in their bunkers. Tony knew he wouldn’t like that. Being in such a small space, concrete on every side. No fresh air. No open fields.

The screaming was getting louder. Perhaps he should try roll another joint. Maybe if he got high enough he wouldn’t feel it when it happened. He reached down for his bag, when he looked up he could see them coming. He dropped the bag. There wouldn’t be enough time. Tony leaned back and smiling, he closed his eyes.