When We Fall Apart

“It’s falling apart.”

“It’s always been falling apart.” As I walk away from the glass dome, I poke him in the head, doing my best to smile as I call him, “silly goose.”

And then, I feel it.

The ship gets rocked with the blast. With fire cracking tectonic plates to bits. Crumbling lives, calling for rescue. A million things left behind.

Destroyed.

I feel the shockwave. Tremors of love and loss. Of desperation and pain. Of joy.

Of hope.

Beneath the glass dome of the ship, he stands and watches as it happens, and I can’t blame him for not looking away.

The world beneath us burns. Continue reading “When We Fall Apart”

Boxed Value

The key to scavenging is:

Recognizing something with potential value.

If you’re ambling around a wrecked city, you can’t stop to look at everything. Wrecked cities are chock-full of nasties. Monsters that have been mutated, people that are hungry enough that they’ll eat anyone, falling debris. Havocked Cities—or, as we call them, HC’s—are extraordinarily dangerous. Especially if you’re unfamiliar with that planet’s history. And, as a scavenger, it’s not that often that you can get your hands on a reliable, sturdy, in-tact history of a planet. So, instead of muck around, we get right to business:

We make assessments.

Eyeball where the valuable things are, and head out for those. Taking apart the whole city is a waste. HC’s are way, way too dangerous to play around in. You’re likely to lose a life or a limb trying to pick the whole place apart.

So.

We learn a few tricks.

After all, it’s always been said:

A scavenger’s eye can’t be beat.

Continue reading “Boxed Value”

Inferno

It was dispassionate.

People lived their lives, moving like ants. Robotic, focused. Standing in line, following orders, doing what they were instructed. Moving wholly and completely within the confines of what was created for them.

As I said:

Like ants.

Moving through an ant farm.

This world created falsely. A controlled environment.

Fake.

The world isn’t like that.

Not at all.

The world wasn’t meant to be so dispassionate. So hungry.

Man was not mean to be so greedy.

And when the skies fell?

When the earth shook?

The mountains flowed with bubbling, roiling rage?

They realized that.

Or:

They perished.

We were not meant to be so dispassionate.

We were meant to be more.

We weren’t meant to watch for saviors, or wait for hope to be delivered on a platter. Weren’t meant to be idle, or vacant.

We were meant to be heroes.  Continue reading “Inferno”

Beast of the Surf

Living in the gulf is hard.

At least, when you’re a surfer it is.

There’s never any surf.

If you want surf, you have two options: you go to the other coast.

Or.

You wait for a storm.

East coast? Nah. I don’t have time to putt my butt over there. Plus, there’s a ton more sharks in those waters.

So, guess which option I went with. Continue reading “Beast of the Surf”

Lessons in Waiting

Waiting is quite possibly the worst thing about being locked into the space time continuum that is known as “life”.

At some point in your life, you will have to wait.

If you can’t accept that fact, well, that’s just too damn bad. Because it’s going to happen to you. One day, for whatever reason, something will be heading your way.

And it won’t be moving fast.

That’s reality. Even cars and trains and planes have a limit to how fast they can go. And even those that move quickly are restricted by systems, of both convenience, and safety. It’s best to simply accept the inevitable.

Waiting is a part of life.

Pepper Lindsey was not such person. Such a person that was deceived into thinking she wouldn’t have to wait. Because she’d experience it many times before, there was no need for her to delude herself. In fact, she had experienced it so many times that one might say she was actually a pro at waiting. Which meant that her patience levels were stellar. Her ability to stand still, to forgive the slowness of time or her peers, was impeccable.

Pepper understood fully and completely: for a lot of things, you had to wait.

She kept that in mind as she ordered her fourth refill of Dr. Pepper, alone, in her booth.

Be patient.

Wait. Continue reading “Lessons in Waiting”

Out of Abyss

I hear there’s a place out there that’s free of this. Of the smog, and the blistering wind, and the fire blasts. A place that isn’t on the edge of an abyss, constantly moving toward this slow, inevitable, devastation.

You can see why this place intrigued me, I’m sure.

When your home is built on the edge of destruction, it’d be kind of an obvious thing to want to get away from it. From that edge.

Setting out was hard, and terrifying. And the journey? Even harder. For years now, I’ve wandered around, looking for this oasis.

All I’ve met so far is more desolation. More magma and more fire. Blazes that reach the sky, that lick at my feet as I pass through their cinders. Smoke still clots my lungs and the sky, blocks the sun from doing what it does best.

It seems like this is all an abyss. Like there might not be a place out there, after all.

But if I give up, what will happen to me?

If I give up, this will be all I’ve ever known.

All I’ve ever known.

The thought echoes through a hollow in my chest. A clanging sound that means nothing and brings nothing back.

No, I refuse.

I will find more than this.

I press on, honestly expecting to come up empty handed.

But I don’t. Continue reading “Out of Abyss”

The Space Next to Me–Part 1

“Russ Towns is a thug”, “Russ Towns is a gangster”, “Russ Towns eats nails for breakfast”, “Russ Towns hates people”, “Russ Towns tortures small animals”, “Russ Towns will eat you in a heartbeat”, “Russ Towns is violent”, “Russ Towns is one scary dude”, “Russ Towns is going to kill someone someday”.

“Russ Towns is bad news”.

I’ve heard all of it before, over and over again. When I first met Russ Towns, I sort of believed it. Though, it didn’t matter much to me, personally. Mostly because I always kept to myself. Did my best not to interact with anyone. To lay low, stay out of sight.

But, then out of nowhere, came a fist.

The fist belonged to a guy who was definitely bad news.
Continue reading “The Space Next to Me–Part 1”

Relentless Yes

I think we all have that one person that we just can’t say “no” to. We think about it or we try and it just… doesn’t work for some reason. You don’t know why, but you just can’t.

You’re just cursed to tell them “yes”.

Some people are self-aware. They know full well that they are this person for you, and so they try not to ask for outrageous favors or for too many favors or for any favors at all because they know that some ungodly force–some curse or blessing or whatever–is going to cause you to say “yes” no matter what the favor is. No matter how impossible or how terrible or how jam-packed your life already is, you’re going to say “yes”.

Unfortunately, I don’t have one of those people.

Not a person that I can’t say “no” to. I definitely have one of those. He’s my older brother.

What I meant was:

My older brother is not the self-aware type.

Which is how things ended up like this anyway. Continue reading “Relentless Yes”

A Tiny World Saver

There comes a time in everyone’s life, I think. A time when you have to decide to move forward, or try to destroy yourself going back. When you have to decide whether or not you’re good enough, or if you need more work, or if you’ll just never get there. A time when you have to look at yourself and make an accurate assessment, otherwise, you might destroy your future.

You have to know your limits.

That’s probably what I’m trying to get at.

I’m not very strong, and I’m not very tall, and I’m not particularly fast.

But, that doesn’t matter.

Not when you can do what I can do.

It might seem weird, and complicated, and to some, it doesn’t even seem like much.

But in a situation like this?

It’s all I need.

I won’t save everyone, because I can’t. And I won’t be the hero at the end of the day. In fact, I’ll probably be hailed a coward for what I’m going to do.

But, you know what?

I don’t really care.

Because what I can do, it’s going to save the people I care about.

And, to me, that’s what matters. It’s why I do what I do.

I’ll save them. Continue reading “A Tiny World Saver”

Monsters in the Basement

Every day, school starts the same.

“Okay, now for your daily reminder: don’t go down into the basement. There IS a monster down there, and its favorite snack is people. If you go down there, you WILL NOT come back out. NO ONE is allowed down into the basement, staff included. Stay safe, stay away from the basement.”

And with that, the principal’s face disappears from the morning announcement screen. Continue reading “Monsters in the Basement”