Author: kit55 PM
a postnuclear story. this is mostly about looking back and realizing how the world could change. As the saying goes.. I don't know with what weapons WW3 will be fought, but WW4 will be fought with sticks and stones.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Sci-Fi - Words: 2,295 - Published: 05-18-07 - Status: Complete - id: 2363661
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
By Kate L. Melnik
The sky was grey that day, like everyday. I remember that at least. I remember how the buildings were all falling apart and how everything was like a desert. It had been years and years since the explosion that had rocked the world that drear day. I remember the oldtimer's sayings about how their parents' grandparents a few generations back had seen it, this so-called 'Big Boom'. I've been told that all of them were blinded by the explosion except a few, but that was oldtimer talk. "Everything was destroyed by the explosion" they said, but then why are all these buildings still here? It's all just oldtimer talk, twisting truth into legend.
I remember the day when I was walking along and I first met Megilein.
"Hey, what are you doing Fridayeve?" I remember how her orange eyes flashed when she said that. I remember how her tan skin shown and how her golden hair seemed to glow in the ruin of Newt York- at least that's what we think it was called.
"Huh?" I must have jumped seeing someone else around that far out. I remembered I'd been reading a piece of thinwood that I'd found in the ruin. "You mean Thursday, of course."
"Do you still live in the past? Thursday is such a dirt name, it's Fridayeve now." She leaned on her walking stick- a piece of the special stone called 'metal', probably from one of the old buildings. "This Fridayeve is the holiday of the Big Boom, what are you going to do? Not many people are sure what to do if anything." She poked me in the stomach with her walking stick. She looked no older then sixteen, maybe seventeen. I, on the other hand, looked about ten but was sixteen myself, and of course my dirt brown hair and grey eyes made it hard to tell I was even there.
"I'm not going to celebrate the 'Big Boom', as you call it. It's not something to be happy about… why are you asking me anyway?" I folded the thinwood and stuffed it in my pocket for later. I looked up at the strangely sun-tinted girl.
"Well… I was wondering why a littling was out so far… but I'm not that good with kids…" she shrugged, leaning down on her walking stick.
"I'm not a littling- I'm sixteen!" I balled my hands into fists at my sides. It was bad enough to have this happen in the town but out here too?
"You are? Well still, why are you out here? Even lookalike littlings need to stay in the town, by order of the Mother." The girl tightened her hair tie and looked back at me, still leaning on her walking stick.
"I'm perfectly capable of taking care of myself. I go out here all the time to get away." I glared at the girl.
"Really? I've never seen you before. I'm Meg the Great!" she struck a dramatic pose, like those of the old statues that had been dug up recently.
I couldn't help but laugh. She was as thin and even less muscled then I was. Seeing her as 'the Great' anything seemed impossible. She must be adored in town for her sun-tinted and petite frame. In the time, no one ever saw the sun anymore. I'd never seen it in my life, but sun-tinted, bright people were always viewed as the sun's gifts to our people. Most of us were pale and white compared to the old vids of the humans before the explosion. She must be a spoiled child and able to get whatever she wanted.
Meg looked mad through, like I imagine my face to have been when she mistook my age. "You know, you're not supposed to label people by how they look." She muttered crossly.
When I finally caught my breath, I replied, "I know, I know, 'you can never tell a book by it's cover'. I'm sorry." She looked to be confused by my wording, probably had never heard the saying before, but she never got a chance to speak.
Suddenly the clouds shifted in an unnatural fashion, one I had learned to identify early in life, "Solar flare!" I yelled in alarm and quickly snatched her hand.
"Wha-" she fell into step behind me as I ran, looking for cover. There! A building still had a slight roof, just enough to block the scorching light that shown down over us a moment later. "Oh sith!" she hugged her head to her chest, while scooting further under the life saving roof. The forgotten walking stick lie in the dirt, the light was so bright you could see the light smoke coming off the metal as it was burned clean of all the mud on it. A moment later the mud crumbled into dust in the wind.
"A moment later and we'd have been fried flesh." I muttered under my breath, before turning to Meg, "You okay? Those seem to happen a lot around here. I think it's all these ruins…" I trailed off, my mind returning to my old theories. "…Meg?"
"I'm fine… those… those don't happen near our town… I've never been down this far… do you come out here often?" She sounded badly shaken, even if she was trying to hide it. She stared at me with those huge orange eyes.
"What town are you from? These burn through my town an awful lot." I returned her stare. I'd never met anyone from a different town before. I'd heard that they had a completely different culture, but I'd always doubted that, now I could see for myself.
"I'm from the town east of here. Where are you from?" Meg tilted her head to the side.
"My town is north from here." I smiled lightly. "What's it like in your town?"
Meg smiled lightly, but it was a plastic one. "Everyone's always talkin' about the before-the-Boom days, when people had robots to do everything for them, like 'mike-crow-waves' that cooked everything for them and 'sinks' that made it so all they had to do was turn a stick and fresh, clean, water would appear like magic." Meg rolled her orange eyes, showing that she probably doubted the reality of such things. She also ran some of her words together and kept looking at the sky, but was trying to seem calm. "The Mother of the town keeps everything running smoothly… I wouldn't think anything would be different in your town." She shrugged looking nervously back at the sky. "… Although that burning light… does that happen a lot?"
I checked the sky for myself, the clouds were thick and as dark as ever, barely any sunlight got through those huge things in the first place. "Don't worry, they only happen about once a day-"
"A day!?" she freaked and clung to my pale arm, still a bit shocked by the whole deal. For a moment I was captive by the difference of her sun-kissed skin on my near white skin, then I snapped to my senses. No way such a sun-gifted girl would fall for this pale bookworm boy.
"Don't worry about it…" I searched for words. What was the best way to rid a person of sunblast-shock? Oh yes, tell a story to get their mind off it. "Well in my town things are basically the same… I guess I was sort of hoping they'd be really different… but I do know one thing that never leaves my town and now it can spread through out the towns and where ever else people roam."
I paused collecting my thoughts, how did it begin? Oh yea, now I remember, "Once upon a long time ago, there was a small town, like ours, yes it was before the Boom so they made their towns a bit differently, but this one happened to be very similar. It's homes were made of special types of stone instead of clay and ruins like ours, and they'd been made by people who had been trained especially to make them, but they were still quite similar to ours. In the town there were families just like ours, only smaller, because they didn't want so many children back then. There was a small girl, but like all people before the Boom she was sun-tinted and beautiful, but she was also somehow similar to us."
Meg had calmed down some, but still clung to my arm, so I continued. "She went to a place like our learn-huts only it was called a 'shh-cool'. That day at the learn-hut, the teach-ers had the littlings write down things about themselves, their homes, and their lives." She listened carefully to my story. Her grip had loosened finally, so she must be relaxing. "After all the littlings had finished writing-"
"Wait, back then, littlings could write? You've got to be making this up. Everyone knows it takes at least six years to learn how to write and read, you begin that at nine fourmonths, and even that would be too fast for most people!" Meg interrupted the story, looking skeptical.
I just grinned, "Just listen to all of it, okay?" she frowned, but nodded, still interested in what would come. "After all the littlings finished writing, the teach-ers took all of the thinwood up and put it carefully in a rock bin, so it'd be safe. Then, they buried it very, very deep in the dirt."
"Why did they do that?" Meg interrupted again.
I held out my hand to her mouth, "I'm not done just yet. They buried it so that they could dig it up later to read all the thinwood again to see what had changed since then."
Meg frowned. "Well that was dirt stupid of them. Why'd they bury it only to dig it up later?"
I just smiled, "because it does show what's changed since then, want to see?" I pointed to the big shiny metallic rock beside us.
Meg gasped, staring at it, "You mean-"
"Yep, this is the rock bin they put all of the thinwoods in. I found it while searching the ruins. In it they wrote down exactly what they were doing and how and then all the littling's thinwoods are in it, too." I carefully opened it taking one of the thinwoods out and handing it to her.
Meg held it in her hands like it was a treasure. "They really say the way life was like back then?" She glanced at me, looking for reassurance.
I nodded back at her, then grinned. Well, I had gotten her mind off of the sunblast and away from the shock it caused. "Here, it's a bit hard to read… they had a different way of writing back then… it had more complex letters, but it was basically the same as the one we use in our towns." I skimmed over the one I had in hand, "This one is about a girl named 'Kat-y Jo-nnnn-son… they had some pretty oddball names back then… this one reads, 'I am 9 years old and I like to draw. I live in a house with my family. My dad likes to go to work at his bus-y-ness, and my mom likes to take care of her gar-deen. My brother likes to play bass-ball and talk to his friends. My brother is annoying. Sometimes I hate him, but I love him too. I love all of my family.' … weird isn't it, she writes very well for an nine year-old." I looked at Meg, who nodded.
"I have to wonder… what's this bus-y-ness thing… it appears a lot in these thinwood writings… so does this 'go to work' … how do you 'go to' work if work is not a place but a thing you have to do… and they never speak about their towns' Mothers… It's all very confusing. Imagine, this is all we have left of what we used to be… a few thinwood writings here and there… things have changed so much since then, haven't they?"
I glanced over at Meg, "but the real question is this, have they changed for better or worse?"
Meg just smiled and for a moment I was overcome by the sharp difference between her teeth and her sun tanned skin. "You would hope so, wouldn't you?" she looked at me with her orange eyes so like the ones I have come to know and love, even back then they had a power over me. The thinwood lightly in hand, all I did was grin back and nod.
Things had certainly just changed for the better from my view.