Unexpected #100WW

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The party hadn’t been what Destiny imagined. It felt more like some kind of protest then a Halloween celebration.

On arrival, everyone was given a white plastic mask to wear, no matter what their costume. Destiny had dressed as Alice. Then directed to a chair in the abandoned theater. Empty chairs had small, stuffed animals sitting on them.

An orange smoke bomb went off causing people to scream. A drum roll and a horrible clown dashed on to the stage.

‘Welcome to your worse nightmares!’ he yelled.

Then the lights went out.

 

(Inspired by; https://bikurgurl.com/2018/10/17/100-word-wednesday-week-93/ with thanks).

 

Drowning #100WW

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I’m drowning under the weight of it all and nothing makes sense. I want to stop and go away. I need to get back to the person I was before and not the one I’m now trapped in.

Everyone wears a mask. It’s easy to hide that way. You pretend to be someone else or fake being happy. Masks though have a tendency to slip off and mine has. Nobody likes what’s underneath, including myself.

What is this crazy voice in my head making me believe all these lies?

It’s killing me but I can’t talk about it because I sound insane.

 

(Inspired by; https://bikurgurl.com/2018/10/10/100-word-wednesday-week-92/ with thanks).

*Writer’s note; this story is part non-fiction and sums up how I feel with my anxiety and depression right now. I’m trying to work through it.

The Library #TaleWeaver

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Poetry knew it as a fine-able offence to take off her breathing mask whilst on the surface. But that was only if the Constables caught you and you were still alive afterwards to pay. Plus, Poetry reasoned there were green trees here, so the air must be okay. Taking a last deep breath of filtered air and oxygen, she pulled off the heavy mask and held that breath till she couldn’t anymore.

The next breath she took in was clean enough though it was tinted with the nuclear poisons that made the earth’s surface uninhabitable. Things weren’t so bad this far away from the core but Poetry knew she’d have to put her mask back on soon to avoid getting sick.

Being careful, where she placed her feet, Poetry edged into the building. A strange sight met her eyes; there were trees growing from the floor out of the roof of the room before her. The tree trunks were white and flaky as if they were wrapped in crumbing bandages but Poetry knew that was how those kind of trees looked naturally. Along the walls of the room were bookcases and most of the books were still in place.

Poetry tipped her head back and looked up at the balcony which formed a second floor. There was a staircase on either side leading up there. More bookcases and books filled the space and she breathed deeply in the old papers. On the floor there were broken tables and chairs, rotted by the incoming weather and time.

She was just about to step down when a voice called her name and she felt the brush of a gloved hand on her shoulder.

‘Where’s your mask?’ a muffled and gruff man’s voice asked her.

Poetry turned fully to her older cousin, Legend. It was thanks to him that she had been able to come on this surface run. He and his work colleagues were collecting salvageable items and also anything edible which could be decontaminated when they got back to the Hive then sold on.

‘Here. It’s fine,’ she added quickly, ‘there are alive trees in here and I just wanted to breath probably for a moment.’

‘And leave me to have to explain to your mother why you died?’ Legend cut back in.

He grab Poetry’s mask and shoved it back on her face. She tried to stop him but he was stronger and it was painful. She wrestled his hands away and put the mask back on herself.

‘There’s nothing good here,’ Legend spoke, ‘we’ve all ready been through.’

‘But the books,’ Poetry pointed out, shocked that her cousin couldn’t see the value in them.

He shrugged broad shoulders, ‘hard to decontaminated and only a few buyers.’

‘Hey!’ a man’s voice yelled and they both turned to look back, ‘Over here. I’ve shot a deer!’

Legend took off, jogging over to where two other men where heading into a clump of trees. Poetry watched him go then seized her chance. She rushed in and pulled a few books off the closest shelf. They were heavy, weighted down with damp and mould.

Unhappily, Poetry dropped them to the floor and went to seek any shelves that were sheltered from when light and rain come inside. Her heart was racing and she knew at any moment Legend would come back and drag her away. She only wanted a few books though, something new to read that wasn’t like the other stories she had.

There were bookcases at the back in corner which were in shadows. Poetry pulled a few books out and found they were drier. Not bothering to read the titles, she put her rucksack on the floor and stuffed as many inside as she could.

‘Poetry!’ Legend’s voice called from the distant doorway.

Poetry swung her bag back on, almost toppling under the weight of it. Then grabbing two last books, that were the biggest ones of the shelf and hurried back to him.

‘They are dry! Please!’ She gasped, her voice rasping through the mask.

‘If they don’t get through it’s not my fault,’ Legend huffed.

Poetry grinned, ‘they will,’ she said, ‘Conner the guard really likes me.’

Legend shook his head and turned away.

With a last glance at the library, Poetry followed him back into the long abandoned city.

(Inspired by; https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2018/05/24/tale-weaver-172-libraries-24-may-2018/ with thanks).

Face #100WW

What appeared before me wasn’t what I had set out to do. Studying the piece of art -if it could be called that, I felt a chill along my back. It wasn’t my own work at all, yet I knew I had painted the green skull which looked more like a mask, onto the paper plate. I had a strange wanting to press it to my face….but I didn’t.

 

(Inspired from; https://bikurgurl.com/2017/09/20/100-word-wednesday-week-37/ with thanks).

Anomaly

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Anomaly; something that deviates from what is standard, normal, or expected.

What was that thing in the sky? Dream paused and stared harder across the vast, empty landscape. Against the pale blue sky was a beam of multicolored light. She frowned then pulled out her telescope from her belt and had a closer look. Still though, she could make out nothing further, but the colors looked brighter now.

‘What is that?’ she spoke aloud.

‘Your big butt!’ a voice shouted at her.

Dream rolled her eyes and tutted. Putting the telescope away, she twisted her head, so she was looking back down the ladder. A glow of light showed the way and at the bottom waiting was a figure grinning up at her. Dream snatched a small rock from the surface and dropped it down.

‘Ouch! Watch it!’

Swallowing a laugh, Dream pulled herself out of the pipe and climbed down. Her feet hit the sand and rose a dust cloud around her. Making sure her mask and goggles were secure, she began walking in the direction of the strange light beam.

Minutes later, she was joined by a tall, red haired young man. He punched her in the shoulder then raced off. Dream stopped and rubbed the spot, though her leather padded jacket had taken much of the impact. Muttering revenge, Dream watched him slow down as he saw the thing in the sky too.

‘What do you think that is?’ he called over his shoulder.

‘No idea, Link,’ she replied, ‘I was on my way to check it out when you interrupted me,’ Dream answered.

‘I’m sorry your Royal Highness. Please continue!’ Link mocked and give a fancy bow.

Dream stormed passed him, trying not to hit him as she went. He came to her side moments later and in a awe silence, they walked towards the beam of colors. The landscape rose and fall around them, the yellow sand all that could be seen for miles. The only sound was their footsteps and the wind shifting the fine grains against each other.

‘We’re never going to get there!’ Link broke in after awhile.

Dream came to a stop on top of a large dune and looked across at the beam. She could see it better now, but it seemed to be fading.  The colors were arching up from the ground to the sky were they disappeared into the blue.

‘It looks like a path into the sky,’ she mused.

‘Don’t be stupid!’ Link snapped, ‘I don’t care what it is. Let’s go back. It’s getting too hot.’

‘You go back if you want. I’m going to find where it meets the ground,’ Dream responded.

‘Are you crazy?’

Dream didn’t reply, but walked off. The loose sand give way under her and she half skidded down the side of the dune. At the bottom, she found her feet and carried on walking. From behind her came the sound of Link half running half tumbling to join her.

‘Dream! Stop!’ he shouted.

She ignored him and picked up her pace. Breaking into a jog, she went around another dune and found herself in a maze of sand hills. Taking in a few deep breaths, she scrambled up the first one and looked down.

There below her was the source of the multi-colored light beam. Thanking her luck, she went down and towards it.

‘Dream! Where are you!’ Link yelled.

‘Over here!’ she shouted back, ‘I’ve found it. It’s some kind of crystal!’

Dream knelt down and looked closely at the clear cut rock that was half buried in the ground. Beams of light were shinning off it as the sunlight was touching it. Dream slowly reached out to touch it.

‘Don’t!’ Link gasped as he came to join her.

She looked at him, but couldn’t fully read his expression behind his mask.

‘It’s just a crystal. Like the ones you dig up all the time,’ she said.

‘It might be from the World Before. We shouldn’t touch it. We know what it is now, let’s go,’ Link spoke.

Dream looked at the crystal, tempted by it’s beauty. Link was right though.

‘It could be important,’ she thought aloud, ‘and if we leave it, it might not be here later.’

‘I don’t like it,’ Link muttered.

Dream shrugged and put her gloved hand onto of the crystal. The beam of light disappeared. Dream curled her fingers around the rock and picked it up. It was smaller and lighter then it had looked. She opened her hand and straight away the colors came back and danced around the surface of the crystal.

‘How weird,’ Dream uttered.

‘Can we go now?’ Link demanded.

Dream closed her fingers over the crystal again and got up,’sure. Maybe someone back home will know what this is,’ she added.

 

Story inspired by Sue’s prompt at https://scvincent.com/2016/11/03/thursday-photo-prompt-anomaly-writephoto/ – click to read the other stories.

Abandoned (Part 2)

Pripyat, Ukraine, Chernobyl, Disaster, Abandoned

It was hard to see what the first building they came across was. April tried to peer through the mass of green and brown plants. Perhaps it had been a house? It looked small enough. The crew moved on, Gun reminding them about not touching stuff and that there mission was just to document the environment and air.

‘What does the reader say?’ April asked, falling into step behind Trigg.

He shot her look, which of course she missed due to the mask and helmet, then looked down at the needle.

April tried to see over his shoulder, but she still couldn’t make it out.

‘It’s got a little higher,’ Trigg explained.

Feeling uneasy, April looked around them. More buildings were growing up out of the vegetation and trees. It was hard to imagine that the city had once looked very different. Fallen branches, leaves and rumble crunched underneath their heavy feet. They walked slowly, each member of the group, but April, seemly getting on with their individual tasks.

After a few minutes, they came to a very large building that must have once been a high school. Whilst the others gathered on what once had been steps, but was now a level carpet of green moss and grass, April walked closer to the front of the building. She could make out no letters or signs, just the empty windows and was that sound beyond dripping water?

Deciding, she was wrong, April turned back and watched the men, digging around in their rucksacks for equipment. In her head set she heard Gun giving orders.

‘We need soil samples from these spots,’ he declared as he waved a plastic map in the air, ‘and air tests alongside them. If we find any water, we take samples of that too.’

‘What about animals or…humans?’ someone asked.

April guessed from the slightly nervous tone it was Babble. She picked him out, standing slightly away from the others on the left, in a faded blue suit with big baggy arms and a slightly wonky helmet. The glass visor on his mask looked slightly misty.

‘There shouldn’t be anything but us here,’ Gun spoke, ‘and if there is note it, but leave it alone. That’s not we are here for.’

‘Are we going to spilt up?’ Joe asked.

‘Not this time. Too easy to get lost and too dangerous,’ Gun explained, ‘we’ll start here, head towards the centre then come out again and go back.’

‘Sounds like a plan, boss,’ Nook cut in.

Gun carried on giving orders and make sure everyone knew they jobs. Finally, he got around to Nook and April. She had been walking back and forth in front of the building, trying to see further inside. However, the walls and roofs had fallen in blocking off what might have been classrooms and offices.

‘April get over here!’ Gun snapped.

April jumped and hurried over as fast as the heavy boots and difficult body suit would allow. Coming to stop between Nook and Gun, April thought she heard soft sniggering in her ears.

‘Guard duty here is extremely important. You need to stay visual at all times and report anything you see. Don’t just shot it. Remember the Code,’ Gun said in a low serous voice.

‘Right Boss,’ Nook rumbled back.

‘Don’t go wandering. There’s nothing worth salvaging here. It’s still all contaminated and we can’t risk bring any of that back.’

‘No problem,’ April put in.

Gun turned and addressed the rest of the crew with that statement. He ended with, ‘let’s get to work!’

Nook moved and began patrolling the area, drawing his gun as he did so.

April reached for her’s, finding it against her hip in one of her belt’s pouches. She took it out, barely feeling the weight of it in her leather gloved hands. She checked it then felt for her knife at her other hip. Feeling it there, she dropped her arms and began pacing in front of the building, her eyes darting everywhere and her ears listening for any other noises.

The minutes ticked by and April felt like they had been there a long time, though really it had only been about ten minutes. Gun hustled the crew along and they moved to the next marked spot on the map.

Coming to stand at what might have been a supermarket once, April clutched her gun tighter. The lack of bird sounds was really getting it her. It was well known that animals would go nowhere near the worse effected areas long after the third world war ended. Even now that was proving to still be the case.

She tried to recall things she had read and heard in the briefing about Pripyat. Beside from a little history about the original nuclear disaster and then the second one triggered by the war, she couldn’t remember anything else. She shivered and decided she had lost her interested in the place and wanted to go home.

The crew moved, leaving little green flags behind them at the marked spots, so anyone who came again could see where they had been. They arrived at the centre and April felt better that their mission was almost complete. Tall buildings rose on all side of them, battling with the trees to be seen. April felt a slight tugged to explore some of the buildings, the eagerness of seeing what lay within, but she stood her ground. She watched the four men taking all the samples. Gun and Trigg looking at the reader and talking softly about it whilst further away Nook walked slowly around them all, eyes glued to the ghost buildings.

‘We’ve got everything,’ Joe’s voice came loudly through.

‘Let’s pack up and move out. This place gives me the creeps,’ Gun added.

A muttering of agreement followed.

April sighed deeply and went to put her gun away, but a disturbing noise from behind her stilled her movements.

Abandoned (part 1)

Pripyat, Ukraine, Chernobyl, Disaster, Abandoned

The first thing April noticed was the lack of sound. It felt unsettling. She looked around taking in the tall green leaf trees and bushes that almost hid city. Breathing heavily through her mask, she wondered if the communication system had broken again. She reached her gloved hands up and felt for the mic at her throat.

A crackling stopped her searching fingers and she heard Trigg’s voice muttering. She turned and looked over her shoulder, frowning. He was only a few steps behind her, looking through his rucksack. He pulled out a toxin reader and then announced he had found it.

Turning fully, April watched the rest of the crew preparing to move on again. The six large men who had either been standing or sitting, seemed to move as one and gather their rucksacks up.

April patched herself through to Trigg.

‘I can’t hear anything,’ she said.

Trigg looked up at her, ‘did you get sand in your speakers again?’

‘No. I cleaned my mask before we left. Come over here.’

Trigg pulled on his bag and went over to her. Together they stood on the ridge looking down at the city once known as Pripyat. They could just make out the collapsed roof tops of the tallest buildings and what seemed to be a Ferris wheel in the distance. A gentle wind ruffled the trees and above them the dark blue sky was growing with grey clouds.

‘There’s nothing to hear,’ Trigg said in a low voice.

‘I know there’s been a lack of animals since we got here…but I thought with all this green we’d at least hear birds,’ April responded.

Trigg looked down at the device in his palm and pointed a finger from his other hand at the screen. A small red arrow was waving between an arch of numbers. April’s eyes read it, but her brain didn’t understand it.

‘There’s still radiation. It’s low here, but further on it’ll get higher,’ Trigg explained.

‘Is everyone ready?’ Gun’s voice called through both their headsets.

A rattle of positive voices replied from the rest of the crew and with a wave of his hand, Gun started walking. The other men fell into place behind him. Their metal boots easily making work of the rough nature taken over ground.

‘Don’t take your helmet off,’ Trigg hissed.

‘Huh?’ April replied.

‘You didn’t all ready did you?’

‘Of course, I didn’t. And I won’t. How dumb do you think I am?’

‘Very,’ Trigg muttered.

April whacked him on the shoulder, ‘I’m not!’

‘Hey! You can have your lovers tiff later, come on,’ Nook cut in.

They both glanced at him, taking in his big grey body suit and black mask, then looking away.

Trigg moved first and walked passed him to catch up with the others.

‘Knew bring a girl would cause trouble,’ Nook added, ‘you gonna stay there or come?’

April tried to shake her head, but the mask and helmet made it difficult to. With a sign, she gripped a last look at the long abandoned city below and trudged over.

Nook pushed her in front of him and April began struggling her way through the jungle like scene. Keeping focus on Trigg’s rucksack with the bright neon orange stripes, she wished she could pull her knife and cut back some of the foliage. The rules which she knew off by heart, rang in head and she started muttering them under her breath.

‘Always wear your mask, gloves, suit and boots. Plan everything down to the last detail and know what you are doing. Keep someone in sight of you at all times and make sure someone can see you. Take only what you must. Leave everything else untouched. Note all discoveries. Don’t cut, damage or kill plants and animals on the surface. Don’t look directly at the sun.’

‘Do you really believe that?’ Nook scoffed in her ear.

Ignoring him, April switched off her mic. She then stepped over a fallen tree and found herself on what once had been a road. She stopped looking both ways and saw to the left the burnt remains of a small car.

‘Document that,’ Gun’s voice sounded in her ears, though it wasn’t directed at her.

She started walking over, but Nook grabbed and spun her. April slammed into Trigg’s side.

‘Keep a hold of your little lady, hey,’ Nook rumbled.

‘She’s not mine!’ Trigg snapped back and pushed April passed him.

‘What’s going on? Quit it. This isn’t a place for messin’ around in,’ Gun growled.

He came in-between them, but Nook and Trigg had already stepped away from each other. Quietly, he gave them both different tasks then went back over to Len who was jotting notes down on a crumpled pad of paper. He totally ignored April.

Leaving the men to it, April walked down the road. The stillness of the place still unnerving her.

 

To be Continued…

 

*These characters were originally from the story Obsolate and Plane, published last month; https://thestoryfiles.wordpress.com/2016/04/18/obsolete/ I really like them and am seriously thinking about writing a dystopia novel with them.

**This story was inspired by The Daily Post’s daily prompt: Abandoned

 

Obsolete

Aerospace Storage, B-52'S, Bombers, Military, Jets

April pulled the mask down from her face and took a deep breath of dry, hot air. Small, loose strands of her dark blonde hair escaped and brushed against her red round cheeks. Her sharp blue eyes scanned the abandon desert scape, taking in the metal shells that had once been aeroplanes. She heard the sound of sand grains gritting across each other and the plane hulks, but beside from that there was nothing else.

Taking in another forbidden breath, April began to climb down the outside of the tunnel shaft. Gripping tightly on with her gloved hands and focusing on the pale grey concrete surface framed between the rungs, she went down, slowly. The rusty ladder creaked, but held her too small nineteen year old body weight as she placed foot after a foot on each rung. She glanced down at the last few steps and thought about jumping. The image of Cal twisting his ankle last time quickly changed her mind.

Her heavy metal and leather boots hit the sand, causing a small dust cloud. She turned and pulled her mask back on. The planes, which hadn’t seem so daunting from ten foot above, now took on a different form. They rose above her and April felt threatened by their giant emptiness. She sidestepped and wiggled out of the rucksack that was too tight on her back. Holding it, she looked through it and checked the items inside.

Above her, came the sound of more boots clumping on metal. April looked up and saw through the cloudy protective screen, two people standing on top of the shaft. One waved to her then began descending. April waved back. Dropping her eyes back to the inside of her rucksack, she made sure, for what had to be the hundredth time that the tops of her water canteens were on. Feeling they were, she fastened the straps and slung the backpack on again.

Not wanting to look at the decaying planes, April watched Trigg, who was the same age as her, came down the ladder. He was fast then she had been, more confident in his feet. Soon, he was beside her and they were staring at each other through the cumbersome masks. She watched him press the mic button and heard his voice hissing in her ear.

‘You took your mask off, didn’t you?’

‘Just for a few seconds,’ April responded back, ‘it doesn’t do any harm.’

Trigg shook his head, ‘beside from the fact that everyone is going to know. I can see it fogging up from here!’

She sighed deeply and looked away as he tugged off his rucksack.

‘I’ve a got demister…somewhere,’ Trigg muttered.

‘Joe’s almost here,’ April pointed out, watching the older man coming down the ladder.

Trigg held out a small plastic bottle with a spray top on it. April quickly took off her mask and let him spray it. She held her breath.

‘Problem?’ a voice crackled through the speaker.

‘No,’ Trigg replied back, ‘just condensation. April was breathing too hard.’

April bit her lip and held back a nasty reply. She put the mask on and took a deep breath of filtered air. Looking out her vision was now clear. She focused on the planes, disliking herself for it, but knowing she couldn’t meet Trigg’s or Joe’s eyes now.

‘You okay?’ Joe asked.

‘Yes. It was nothing,’ April said quickly.

Trigg reached out to pat her shoulder, but April dodged him and began striding across the sand. She left deep footprints behind as she approached the first plane. It was a small two person craft and looked like it had been over salvaged all ready. April remembered it from last time and walked past it.

Over the intercom, Trigg called for her to slow down, but she ignored him. Gun was the leader on this mission and the only person April planned to fully listen too. However, he had been late and so was the last to come up. Plus, she was the only woman on this eight man crew. So, she had to stay strong.

Coming to stop beside a discarded plane wing, April turned and saw Trigg and Jo trailing behind her. In the distant, there were two figures standing at the bottom of the ladder, another two at the top and one man climbing down. She looked away, out across the plane graveyard and wondered what they’d find today.

 

To Be Continued…