Which is exactly what I am trying to do. See, lately with all the crap that’s been going on with me and my life I have started to feel those all too familiar beginning of depression symptoms creep back up on me. And as of three days ago as if to add insult to injury my mother has begun spitting her own hate fire my way as well. Today was her birthday and she didn’t even take a break to enjoy the day. So I didn’t visit her…which somehow still makes me feel like I’m a bad person. Damn her Jewish guilt skills!
Any who, just as I have begun to feel the depression creep back into my life, I had a beyond crazy idea. What if I wrote, and wrote, and wrote until I got lost enough in my stories to forget how bad real life sucks right now? Completely batshit, I know, but hear me out…(read me out? Idk what the term is if you aren’t actually talking) I began to continue my post apocalyptic story (for those of you who haven’t read it it’s called To Survive and I do have a blog post of it) and it’s not bad. Writing makes me happy, just like reading does and the more I write and read the more I forget I hate my life and want to die. Honestly the worst part is coming back to reality and realizing nothing has changed. But then I’ll just do this blogging thing I like to do sometimes and maybe with you guys out there actually listening…reading what I have to say and giving me feedback on my work and just letting me know I’m mot quite as alone as I feel out here in the real world, maybe I can just keep forgetting, right?
The thing is, I started this blog thinking I’d always feel self-conscious about know my words were out there on the internet being read by people who could love or hate it. I thought I’d be nervous all the time thinking I wasn’t good enough. I thought, what if nobody even reads it? Or worse, what if everyone reads it and they all hate it? But the more I write to you all, and the more you like and follow, the more I feel like my dream isn’t crazy, maybe I am talented at something and maybe my voice does deserve to be heard. So, I just want to thank you guys for sticking by me through all of my ridiculously long lulls in blogging, and continuing to like and follow even when all I’m doing is whining about life or nerd raging over stupid crap. And so…here is the continuation of my short story To Survive, it picks up right where I left off I promise. Let me know what you guys think. Also I decided to try this story first person instead of second. I think it works better.
To Survive: Part 2
I woke up at 3:00 am the day it all started. I knew then that something was off, the feeling in the pit of my stomach was the one that usually accompanied the hairs on the back of my neck rising. I wanted to wake him but, I couldn’t bring myself to. he only had four hours of sleep left before he had to get ready for work and we hadn’t made it to bed until late.
I rolled over and tried to steady my heart. Focusing all my energy to calming my breathing I attempted to bring myself away from the fear that had begun to take root in my stomach. I knew if I gave into it I’d be in full panic attack within seconds. He turned over then, and wrapped his arm around me, pulling me secure against his chest. After a kiss on my shoulder his soft snoring resumed. I smiled and drifted once again to sleep.
“Sophie.” Jason’s voice called through the fog of sleep surrounding me. I scrunched my nose and slowly lifted my eye lids. As the fog dissipated I realized we were stopped.
“Are we out of gas?”
“No, I think this is a good place for us to rest for the night.”
I sat up in my seat rubbing my neck with a groan. Then began to scout the area we were parked.
It seemed to be an abandoned upper middle class neighborhood. Outside my window were rows of houses all had been different colors at one point but were slowly making their way to a uniform dirty grey. They were also uniform in style, two-story with decent sized windows and happy wooden doors with rusted metal knockers in the middle and small windows on top. Peep holes below the windows and more frequently used door bells to the right of the doors. Each mailbox had pieces of address still attached, most were off white now, some stained a brownish maroon…dried blood. All the lawns were over grown and full of dead grass and weeds. But if you looked past the broken windows and boarded up doors, the bloody mailboxes, and badly cared for lawns you could almost seem what the neighborhood used to be. The ghost of the lost nation and it’s dream.
“Okay, lets start with this one.” It was the closest house to us and the least broken into one I could see. It had been blue once, and the off white mailbox read “…3…57”. The windows were mostly boarded up but the door was still accessible. We gather our things and leave the car. Outside it’s gotten cold and the night air instantly awakens my senses. My fingers flex against my bow.
We scout the outside first, once we are sure it is clear we move up the steps which creek slightly beneath our feet and on to the door. There is a stillness in the air as Jake reaches for the door. It gave without fuss and he chuckles.
“I don’t know about you but I always expect these things to creak like old Scooby Doo cartoons now.”
“Shut up.” I smile back at him.
We pause for a moment, and when nothing moves we proceed into the house. Jake takes the lead as always and I watch his back. We are silent as we advance, methodically clearing each room we pass. After the third room I freeze. “Jake…” I stop walking altogether. “Jake, something’s off.”
Finally stopping, he turns to me. “What do you mean?’
“Yes sweetheart, this is how the upper middle class lived, remember?”
“Yes sarcastic, I do remember, but look around and think for a moment.”
“…It’s really clean.”
“We need to go.”
“I couldn’t agree more.”
We turn back to the door, only to be greeted by a man around his mid thirties and his gun which is pointed directly at my heart. It’s not the first time a gun has been pointed at me, but it is the first time I doubt the shooter intends to actually use it.
“what the hell are you doing in my house?”
“If you shoot her, I will kill you.” Jake’s gun has taken aim at the man’s head before I even register the movement and my bow stays lax in my arms.
“Jake don’t.” I quiver my arrow slow and purposefully. “Sir, we don’t mean any harm. We were simply traveling and looking for a place to bed down for the night-“
“Why do you always start talking like you live in a Western when you try to negotiate?”
“Shut up. We didn’t know this house was occupied. We only just realized and were on our way out when we ran into you. So, if you could lower your weapon, and we’ll lower ours and we will leave and we can all pretend we never even met.”
“How do I know that you aren’t apart of some larger group and the second I let you go you won’t go running off and get your friends to come back here and kill me?” He shifted his arm and the gun moved toward my lung.
“Soph, just let me shoot him before he shoots you.” The whisper wasn’t really a whisper at all.
“We aren’t those people Jake. We don’t just shoot people because they might shoot us. Besides, don’t you think if he really wanted us dead he’d have killed us before we turned around?” The struggle was enveloping him again. The war between being a good person and doing whatever it takes to survive and keep me safe was one he fought often.
“Look, I’m willing to lower my gun and let you walk away if you’re willing to lower your gun and never come back here again.” His arm shook again, and the gun traveled to my stomach.
I grabbed Jake’s arm gently and together we lowered his gun. The gun opposite us also began it’s decent, from my stomach to my thigh, my knee, my foot, and finally the floor. Then all was still again, a pregnant silence filled the room and there we stayed, weapons pointed to the ground just accepting it all. Finally the man stepped to the side, revealing our exit.
“Thank you.” I smiled tentatively as we slowly made our way to the door. Jake and the man continued to stare each other down, while just claimed all of his features for my memory, not sure when we’d meet someone else. He was greying around the edges of his hair, but his head was still full. An unruly beard had grown in a way that led me to believe he used to be a cleanly shaven man. His eyes were a faded green and carried many bags as though it had been months since he last slept. He had faint wrinkles around eyes and cheeks, whispers of the joy he used to feel.
Before I could collect anymore of his appearance a sound rang out. I knew it well, but I was shocked and confused to hear it. Even more shocked and confused by the feeling that followed so quickly behind it. The bullet ripped through my shoulder, scolding, wet, and carrying an unimaginable strength. It pulled my body with it and as I fell I saw her.
Her hair was dark, her eyes wide, cold and grey. Her mouth set in a determined grimace and her gun was aimed at where I was once standing. She was young. Couldn’t have been more than fifteen which would explain why she was such a terrible shot. She could’ve killed me. She probably aimed to…lucky me.
Before I hit the ground another shot rang out. This time she was falling, only I knew she was dead.