After the Apocalypse – 500 Club (2/17)

I guess I’ve always just been lucky that way. I was the smallest, skinniest kid in each class and the bullies always seemed to want to befriend me. I disliked participating in compulsory team sports in secondary school and was always chosen to captain the teams I played on. I dropped out of school and the world ended. Literally.
So now here I am, the only person I know who is alive, alone in paradise. The lack of running water and smell were the hardest to deal with in the beginning. Until I realised that rivers were running water and that corpses eventually return to the earth without odour. Fruit is plentiful. I experiment with different vegetables and legumes to varying degrees of success. I’m too lazy to hunt meat. It’s time consuming and a waste of energy.
I drove to the library in town last week. There is, obviously, no internet or any other telecoms. That all went on the day the world ended. I didn’t even miss the social networks. I’d never signed up to any of them. So I went to the library to collect books from which I can learn practical skills. One is about automobile mechanics; last month I drove a car to town and it broke down on the way back. There were plenty more replacements to choose from once I’d returned to town, but I was reminded of my vulnerability. One day I want to drive inland and see what happened there. I don’t know how badly some of those towns got wiped out, so if my car has problems along the way, I need to fix it myself.

I lie in my hammock reading my book when she arrives. I am less surprised by her than I had anticipated. The way she walks and talks reminds me of my mother’s old friends. I invite her to have tea on my porch.
“At this point we are just over one hundred survivors,” she informs me as the tea brews on the table between us. “Plus you, hahahaha.”
I don’t laugh.
“We have already discussed how we will re-create society and government the way it was. Such wonderful news, isn’t it.” she says.
“Mmmmmmph,” I say.
“You don’t seem too happy to hear that, young man.”
“No, I am. It’s just that I like to be on my own. I like my life the way it is right now. But it’s cool to know there are others.”
“Aren’t you lonely? Scared?”
“Oh loooooooooord,” she throws her hands up as I pour the tea. “I used to get so lonely. And afraid! It’s my age, you know. Then I found I wasn’t the only one still alive.”
“Sugar?” I ask.
“One please.”
“I don’t have milk. Yet.”
“Aaaaaah, hahahaha. Yes, running fridges are in shorter supply than stationary cows. Haha.”
She takes a sip of tea. Her eyes are surprised for less than a second before her body hits the floor.
“Haha,” I say.

Written for:  The Parking Lot Confessional


26 thoughts on “After the Apocalypse – 500 Club (2/17)

  1. Mike

    Great story.
    I wasn’t expecting that ending which made the whole story experience even better.
    There are times when I enjoy my own company and relish the peace and quiet of being on my own – but don’t worry I am not planning to serve dodgy tea to unwelcome visitors!

  2. Drew Lane Composer

    Great work! Had me from the opening line … I totally agree with other comments – you should write the longer version! Plus, I have a penchant for post-apocolyptic pieces …

    1. screen_scribbla Post author

      Thanks for the read and encouragement Drew. I must admit that I find post-apocalyptic themes fantastic. They are open to bending the rules of society and relationships as we know them, and so beg for creativity. Perhaps I will work on something in that direction in the not too distant future.

  3. somethingnewplease

    This has been the piece I have enjoyed most since following your work.

    I made an observation while reading this. It seems that our lines can always lead in so many directions. For example, I wondered after the first two lines if this was going to be a story about a henchman, you know the kid who is always with the bully, and what motivated him to be in that position.

    Of course it didn’t go that way, it went a much more interesting route.


    1. screen_scribbla Post author

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on this entry. I’m pleased to know that it is your favourite of mine thus far.
      Your observation is a fascinating one that has frozen my writing on more than a few occasions. Writing can be like playing chess. once the opening move is made, each time a new move is made the game opens up to several thousands (or more) options. I find sentences and story lines to be similar. You make a super point. Thanks again.

  4. BlueSkyPoet

    Oh this is great. I also wondered whether he’d had a hand in the apocalypse. I love the “hahahaha” thing. Keep em coming. You inspire me.

    1. screen_scribbla Post author

      I thought it was really cool you gave this a try too. Fantastic job with your 500 words, and yes, it could be fascinating if our characters were to meet up. Seeing that my protagonist is an animal (hehehe) yours would be able to hear his thoughts. Or something whacky like that.
      Thanks too for the heads-up on the Parking Lot Confession in your post’s comments.

  5. Find an Outlet

    She said the survivors were planning to create society and government “the way it was.” That government didn’t save the world, did it. It’s her arrogance that killed her. I think. The kid could be a indiscriminate murderer, but I don’t think so.

    The kid goes to the library to learn “practical skills.” One of them would be poison, a handy thing to know in his situation.

    I don’t get the first paragraph though, why would bullies want to befriend him, and why would he be chosen to captain sports teams when he was not good at them?

    1. screen_scribbla Post author

      Hi Debra – thank for reading this piece and adding your thoughts. I like that you got the very indirect link between the library and the poison. I didn’t actually believe anyone would see that. Guess that makes you psychic or a genius. Or both.
      The first paragraph is meant to emphasise his luck. That bullies wouldn’t beat him, that despite his dislike of team mates in sports he was chosen to lead and, that the education everyone said he’d need to survive became pointless when he dropped out of school and the world ended. So when at first it looks like he may be the only apocalyptic survivor in the entire world, the reader could suspend their disbelief and say, “Yeah, sounds like his kind of luck.”

      Thanks again for your regular, pointed input and fantastic questions. You keep me working and improving.

  6. Kay Camden

    YES. Is he going to hunt down and kill the rest of the 100? Until he meets one he cannot kill? This is an awesome idea for a movie. Write the script!

    1. screen_scribbla Post author

      Hahaha. He is certainly going to try to kill the 100. I guess the one he cannot kill would need to be his soulmate – another misanthropic loner. I found that image pretty funny, when writing; that this character who would be miserable in a functioning society was so happy to be alone in a post-apocalyptic world. Completely not the image we usually see in films or books like this. Even funnier, of course, is that the kind of partner he would choose to live with is someone who also can’t stand people. That, I believe, would make for a great story.

      1. BlueSkyPoet

        I agree – what a cool screenplay. Maybe your character and my character can meet up. Maybe mine is the soulmate. That would be fun. Funny. I felt like my character was also similarly “ok” with the way things were. “Not particularly lonely, but wouldn’t mind a hook up if it happened” kind of thing. And the gender of mine was left up to the reader, so we could make her a her.

  7. Jinx

    It’s good. The whole thing’s an interesting take on a character in a post apocalypse world. I’m not sure I get the end entirely but I do at the same time…. never mind I don’t even know what I’m talking about.

    1. screen_scribbla Post author

      Hahahaha… thank you for reading the post and writing your thoughts. I can sympathise with the non-clarity of the ending. It is a bit obtuse I’m afraid, for two reasons. One being I had to stop writing at precisely 500 words. The other was that I wrote the draft and made one quick edit to get it to 500 words – all within a short period of time. So if there is lack of clarity, it is because of my writing and not your reading or understanding.

      1. Jinx

        Well it’s good. I like to do that since it leaves it to the reader to try and figure out the authors point of view or decide what they thought should have happened. =)

        I like the whole thing the way it develops it made me want to read it through four or five times to make sure I got every last critical phrase, then analyze it from your point of view for hours on end. Only issue with that is that I’m *even more* distracted when I go to do homework now.

  8. Re Gypsy

    Okay, so i want to know, why he did it? I really like the way this piece drags you in so quickly.
    P.S. Good luck with the script ;o)


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