Strangers, Storms, and Scars – Part 1

Suppose many others will be able to keep up properly blogging while in the midst of NaNoWriMo, but I can’t even properly read a book and continue writing my own in the same time period. Hence, I’m probably going to be lazy on my dear doll thermometer for a while. Also, was packing this evening – heading to Melbourne for a week with sister Erin. So that venture required time that would otherwise have been spent either novelling or blogging.

So, as an alternative to thinking, was browsing some of my works in progress that I could post. Came across my zombie stories. It’s my intention to at some point write a novel made up of three zombie stories set in different locations and at different points in time after the “apocalypse” itself has passed. I have the concept down pat for two of them, and had begun to write one in idle moments. Nothing to hugely indicate the eventual zombie nature of the story, but this beginning does introduce the three main characters, and indicate something is not quite ordinary about one of them. I think I shall release this over four posts, or so.

I like solid plans. This should see me through the first half of Melbourne without needing to think any more. I’ll have to stop being lazy for a moment once it’s all up – either write a bit more, scrounge for something else, or hopefully I’ll have been struck by some profound thought, or seen something inspirational to record. We shall see what pans out.

This title isn’t what the story will be called, by the way. Just thought of something quick that would serve the opening well. Maybe it’ll be a chapter title, or something. Now, onward we go with Strangers, Storms, and Scars.

*

‘Shh, for God’s sake,’ Sienna scolded  as she dropped to the floor behind Nadia, but unable to help giggling herself. That crash had been an accident. Hopefully they were sneaking in high enough and the thunder was loud enough that the kerfuffle of the upturned boxes would go unnoticed, along with their uncontrollable laughter. ‘We’ll be sleeping out in the storm if you don’t shut up right now!’

With a superhuman effort, Sienna forced her face into a stern mask of disapproval, lips twitching threateningly as Nadia fought to do the same, picking herself up from the floor amid piles of boxes and their spilled miscellaneous contents. ‘Okay,’ Nadia managed to whisper, getting her breath back. ‘Let’s go.  Where the hell are we, anyway?’

‘No clue. Inside, at least. Be grateful.’

‘This was your bright idea. Where have you gotten us breaking into?’

‘Keep it down,’ Sienna whispered savagely as they tiptoed to the door of what was revealed in flashes of lightning to be a dusty room filled with more box towers like the one Nadia had unintentionally disassembled as she’d wriggled through the window. Sienna tried the doorknob, and found it locked. Neither girl batted an eye, Nadia scanning the room for anything that may be useful to them, and Sienna taking her multipurpose tool and beginning work on the door. By then she was skilled enough to not worry that she might not penetrate the lock.  And if she did fail, they could always break it down. The storm was providing good muffling services so far.

Perusing the mess she’d created, Nadia swiped a torch and tested its batteries, illuminating the space more reliably than the intermittent lightning. ‘No food,’ she said giving the floor a clearer sweep with her eyes, disappointed.

‘Course there’s no food. This is a storeroom, not a kitchen,’ Sienna said crisply as she eased her pick into the keyhole. With such a primitive lock, this shouldn’t take more than thirty seconds.

‘You never know when there could be a packet of chips or a box of protein bars lying around, though,’ Nadia pointed out as she added an old hard drive they could strip to her spoils. Most everything else seemed to be hard copy paper files except for a few vacuum sealed plastic bags. Curious, she slit them open with her knife. One held an old set of clothes, filthy and bloodstained. She shuddered once, and stuffed them back in the bag. The others contained an old phone, a bulky watch, a pocketknife,  and a falling-apart wallet.  Setting the pocketknife aside – it was better made than hers, and despite its age it would serve her well, after a good sharpen – Nadia flipped open the wallet. There were a few old bank notes and a tinkling of change, as well as a number of cards and three photograph.  The marks on the cards indicated they were from before the apocalypse  and the photographs were tiny rectangles with rounded corners taken in arcade booths. The same teenage boy featured in all three, two taken with other young people, one with an older man and woman who must have been his parents. The dates were from long ago. Definitely pre-apocalypse.

‘Anything useful?’ Sienna projected quietly, tucking away her tool and greasing the door hinges. Nadia shoved the wallet in her pocket and gathered up her spoils.

‘Nothing much.’

‘Okay, keep it down.’ Sienna eased the door open, its old joints emitting only the smallest of creaks thanks to her high quality grease. They found themselves in a long hallway stretching left and right into darkness.

‘Can’t see a thing,’ Nadia complained, holding out her arm in each direction, trying to illuminate the hallway with her torch and choose a direction. Sienna ignored the torchlight, listening intently. There was life to the left. Sleeping, unaware life. Maybe nothing but rats.  But life nonetheless.

‘We go right,’ she decided. If Nadia got another case of the giggles, she didn’t want to see how dangerous that unknown life could be, particularly when they didn’t know exactly what this place was. Nadia didn’t even think to question her. The pair silently started along the hallway, searching for a comfortable nook they could tuck themselves in for the night.

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