Thursday, July 16, 2009

Why, I do believe this is actually good. What say you?

Chapter One—The Explosion

“Some things you do because you want to. Some things you do because of the needs of others in your family.”

It was blazing hot and my head itched like mad, but I dared not complain about something so trivial, because it was just so stupid.
After all, I was also starving. I had no home and my family, except for my older brother Tief and younger brother Jaeten, was dead. We were being hunted for no reason and could die at any minute, or be bound and dragged to an imprisonment facility. Jaeten was ill with an unknown disease, probably the common cold, but who knew? And yet I was worried about my scalp itching.
Tief stopped suddenly, and I almost crashed into him. Jaeten bumped into me. He mouthed a ‘sorry’ and looked at our wonderful, wonderful twenty-year-old brother, a.k.a. our savior.
He was scanning the horizon, which was stabbed with the remains of long burned-out hotels. I knew what he was thinking. The remains of civilization could mean food, but it could also mean Rounders. And bombs. And nets and traps. It was dangerous being out in the open, though, too. I was sure we stood out against the blackened earth, with our charred-and-ripped-but-pale clothing. We could always go around the decades-old hotels, or turn back, but we all knew it was more likely that there would be food nearer to buildings, because if the framework survived than maybe some supplies did too.
Or people.
Tief signaled for us to keep moving, and we followed silently. I saw Jaeten looking at our older brother with wonder in his eyes…like he always did. Jaeten idolized Tief, and it wasn’t just because he had no one else to idolize. Without our wise-beyond-his-years brother, we’d very likely be dead. He took care of us after our parents died. He protected us from the soldiers and then the Rounders and stole us food. If he hadn’t managed to get us out of Tampa in time, we’d very likely be dead with the rest of the people trapped in the city.
The thought of all those thousands of people, dead within a few seconds, made my heart sting. President Patterson Darsely might’ve destroyed all the nuclear bombs before England dropped those on us, but regular bombs could kill just as easily, and they most certainly had.
World War 111 killed most of my family, and then the civil war that erupted afterwards killed the rest of it. We were all we had left. I was six when World War 111 ended, eleven when Darsely stamped out the armies set against him and declared the half of the United States that was left to him (which was a little bigger than the original thirteen colonies and included Florida) a united land he named Enta.
The southern got the worst of it, then the western states. The land above New Jersey, however, was the least destroyed, and that’s were Darsely put all the rich people that had survived, like former presidents and celebrities that got lucky and lawyers and everyone who meant something that were still alive. He turned most of the regular folk that survived into an elite fighting force, which certainly gave him an edge when ending the civil war.
Then he had to go and call the rest of us ‘rebels’. Hundreds upon thousands were caught by the Rounders, brought to the imprisonment facilities, tortured, and eventually killed. There was no mercy and no sense. These people were from all around the former United States, not just Enta, but he killed them all the same. There might’ve been a couple hundred rebels who escaped, including me and my brothers.
The Rounders were still there, though. So were the bombs. There was still danger.
“Nala. Do you see that building over there, on the right?” Jaeten’s eyes tightened and he bit his lip, obviously upset that Tief had addressed only me. Ignoring Jaeten’s jealousy, I followed Tief’s pointing finger and saw what he meant. The building was split in half, the upper portion just a skeleton, but the bottom levels were a thick black mass, which suggested something survived within.
I frowned. “It’s probably been cleaned out. It’s kind of hard to miss.”
He glanced at me out of the corner of his eye, clearly amused. “You’re absolutely right. But you know that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t check.”
I shrugged off his obvious attempted chance-for-learning moment, since I had heard the same thing many times before. He chuckled softly, so softly in fact that I wasn’t sure if I was meant to hear it.
Jaeten coughed. “It could be booby-trapped.”
Tief nodded, clearly not planning on giving out lessons to our ten-year-old brother. “That’s true of most building.” My little brother looked crushed.
I had to defend him. Tief was being unnecessarily mean. “It’s true that most buildings will be cleaned out already too. You didn’t say anything about that.”
Our leader sighed heavily. He wasn’t going to start arguing, I could tell. Jaeten shot me a thankful look, though, so I didn’t care that our big brother chose to ignore me.
Tief suddenly picked up his pace as he squinted into the distance. “Do you see that?”
I tried to follow his gaze, but saw nothing. We were still very far away from the cluster of hotels. “What?”
He shook his head but didn’t slow down. “I thought I saw something move. A person.”
I swallowed. From Tampa to wherever we where now, probably somewhere in Georgia, we had not met a single person. At least, not one worth getting acquainted with. One young boy had tried to steal our scanty supplies one night, but Tief caught him. I doubted that boy would ever steal again.
“It could be a Rounder,” I warned in a hushed voice. “You don’t know. They have all sorts of tricks up their sleeves. They could be trying to lull us into a false sense of security—”
Tief shook his head, barely paying attention to me, which I imagined gave Jaeten a gratified feeling. “I don’t think it’s a Rounder. They wouldn’t lower themselves to waving their arms to get someone’s attention just to catch them—”
“I don’t even see what you’re talking about,” I interrupted, but as soon as I finished saying it, I did. In the far distance, barely visible since she/he was wearing dark clothes, a figure was waving their arms around madly, obviously trying to get our attention.
Maybe to warn us away.
I doubted Tief would listen to that argument, though. He tried to hide it, but I could tell; he was weary of the same company day in and day out. He longed for more people. He longed for something new to distract him. I sympathized. I imagined it must grow tedious, after awhile, to spend years with no one to talk to but your two younger siblings.


  1. Thanks, I don't know if you had mentioned were amazing, either.

    I haven't actually read all of the Harry Potter series. Don't hate me. haha.

    A pretty good start to a story except I only read the first two paragraphs. I'll come back to read the rest, I promise.

  2. he's not too bad. I mean with his hot quiddich hat.. haha.