Guest Post – A Science Fiction Love Story

A little while ago I posted a guest post from bookspirit99 that was a fanfic of two characters from Shards. She sent another piece, this one entirely original, also prompted by the Science Fiction Love Story prompt. It is posted after the break. Once again, I want to encourage some positive feedback and constructive criticism.

I am walking to school on a perfectly normal day. In my pocket, I carried God’s word, waiting for me to open it in study hall.

Walking down a busy street is pretty dangerous here in New York, but I am not afraid. I have God on my side.

As I walk along, I love to watch the buses and cars go past, in so many shades. When I have money to buy my own car, I am going to get a BMW M3 in black, with a custom gloss paint job. It will be my favorite car in my life.

The only problem with me ogling at the cars driving past is that I have a habit of walking into things. I have mumbled “I’m sorry, sir,” to so many people that I have lost count.

“I’m sorry, sir,” I said in a mumble. Dang it! I hit another one. Maybe I should pay attention to where I am going, rather than all the sweet rides revving past.

So, here I am, walking down a New York street, to the first day at another new school. My family moves a lot and I have seen many different schools in the current lifespan of my life–16 years. I have always lived in large cities so I know how to act around city slickers. I am confident that this day will go fine and that I will fit right in at this school.

Ah, here I am, I have made it to Christians’ Jr/Sr High School. I am even more confident that I will get along fine here because it is a Christian School.

As I turn into the school, I stop at the office and ask for a map of the school. The lady receptionist hands me a small map and my schedule. I am heading to my first period class when three familiar looking girls come up to me.

“Ellen! Oh, I am so glad you made it here!” One says.

“Do I know you? And how do you know my name?” I reply.

“Ellen, you don’t remember us? We’re your friends from Lincoln Middle School!” Another one pipes up.

“I don’t remember anyone from that school, albeit I remember the school itself. Sorry.”

“Oh, well, I guess we will have to make friends again. Who’s your first period class?” The first one says.

“Ummm, let’s see. A Mr. Shawhan.” I reply, nervously.

“Cool, we all have the same first period class!” The chorus together.

“Yeah, umm, I can’t believe I haven’t asked your names.” I stutter.

“Hi, I’m Chelsea.” The first one says. The second one is called Samantha and the third, Andreah. Soon, they were leading me to a classroom down a long hallway. We walked into the room and I met Mr. Shawhan. I thought him a funny man. He kindly showed me my locker and gave me a stack of textbooks. They loaded my arms and as I was organizing them into my locker, the first student crowd came into the school. *great. 5 minutes to class.* I thought. I quickly pushed the rest of the books and school supplies into my locker. I grabbed my new Social Studies book, a fresh notebook, a pencil and my planner and walked back to the classroom I was in earlier. It was filling quickly with students. I sat down next to Samantha, Andreah and Chelsea and waited for class to begin. I laid my books on the corner of my desk and fiddled with my pencil.

“Hey, Ellen, what’s your next class?” Samantha called.

“Ms. Hopkins’ Literature class. Room 304.” I told her.

“Same as mine.” Samantha said back.

“Me too!” The others echoed.

“That’s good. Here’s my schedule so you can check if you have the same one.” I said, handing Samantha my schedule.

“Looks like the same!” Samantha exclaimed. “We have the exact same classes. You even have…”

“Quiet, quiet.” Mr. Shawhan’s voice drowned out the rest of Samantha’s words. “Today, we are discussing…”

BOOM! Everything turned a garish red. Everyone started screaming in pain, but I didn’t feel anything. All I felt was the pocket Bible pressing against my skin. There was no pain, whatever everyone else was feeling. I looked slowly around, at all the students lying on the flaming floor writhing in pain. Still I felt nothing, pain-wise. I spotted my newly made friends dying before my eyes. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know why I felt nothing. I just didn’t understand anything. My whole world had been ripped apart by this huge fireball.

As I was thinking, the fireball spread away from the room, burning holes through every surface. I don’t know how I escaped. The cries of the living were very few. I first checked on Mr. Shawhan. He was burnt to a crisp. He wasn’t breathing at all. I moved on to the next student and leaned over him, searching for a pulse. Nope. The next and the next didn’t either. If I found one alive, they were so far gone they couldn’t feel me sitting with them as they died. I continued to check around the room, the whole time thinking about the why’s of the incident. Why did the whole building explode in flames? Why didn’t I feel the pain? Why did my newly acquired friends have to die? Finally I finished checking the room and found not one of them still living. I went to the door and looked around what was left of the hallway. There were a few crispy bodies, but nothing was stirring. I checked the rest of the school and, since I had nothing else to do, headed home. When I got outside, though,

I knew there was no going home. There was no world practically. The huge, awesome city of New York was reduced to ashes and smoke. There were huge mounds of rubble everywhere, no building left standing.

*What am I going to do? Where am I going to live, sleep, and everything else required for life? Should I be looking for survivors or looking for a living guy? I just don’t know.* I thought. I headed toward home, to see if I could find the remains of my parents. I can’t believe the last thing I said to them was ‘have a good day at work’. Now I will never see them again. Oh, well. Cars litter the streets, a lot of them burnt too badly to drive. Some of them are okay though. Therefore, I hop into a BMW after I pulled the youngish man from inside. I laid him carefully on the ground and drove away. I was soon at what was left of my apartment and I parked sloppily in front of the rubble. It didn’t matter if the parking was bad if the end of the was coming or came. I walked up to the rubble and tried to shift some of it and found that I couldn’t move any of it. I found out that I could climb inside of it for a bit of shelter, but I couldn’t really see if anyone was living under it all. I climb back out and come face to face with a guy.

“Hel…Hello.” I said, clearing my throat of dust and crackliness. “where did you come from?” He had beautiful blue eyes and sunny straight hair.

“I was walking down the street, trying to find someone else who survived the firestorm. I haven’t found anyone but you.” He told me.

“I was just checking to see if there was any way to live in these mounds of rubble. And if my parents still lived.” I said.

“Hey, want to stay the night with me? I have some food to eat and I have set up a makeshift shelter. Tomorrow we can search for survivors.” He suggested.

I bucked at the idea and he said: “Even if there is no one here to enforce the rules, we can still obey them.”

“Okay.” The Bible was still pressing against my skin. I took it out and read a few pages of Matthew.

“Hey,” the guy interrupted my reading. “Is that a Bible?” He sounded excited.

“Yeah. I believe in God. That’s why I bucked when you suggested that I spend the night with you.” I confessed.

“Does it happen to have the Marriage Rite?” He asked.

“It just so happens that this is a Bible and a hymnbook. So, yes, it does have the marriage rite in it. Are you suggesting something?” I said, as I looked into his eyes, so deep.

“Well, not for another few days, but we might have to repopulate the earth, because as you can see, the world is destroyed.” He pressed.

“Yeah, that is true, but let’s see if we can find anyone alive first. Before we jump to conclusions.” I told him. For that matter, he was cute.

“Okay. The sun is starting to set, so we probably better get going toward my shelter. We obviously will not have electricity anymore.” He mentioned to me.

“Yeah, so lead on.” I told him. We drove away from my old home and on to a different life. We drove on in silence. We passed solitary shadows of burnt out cars. We passed the school’s building where my friends’ bodies still rested. We passed large piles of rubble, which were all that was left of the great New York skyscrapers. Nothing but rubble and dust choked the streets. No moving cars, trucks, buses, humans, or any form of motion was seen. Not even animals.

“Here we are.” He said. We had stopped in front of a bank. He lead me inside and I immediately noticed the bank’s vaults were open, but no wrecked to rubble. There was plenty of money to use as cushioning. It was perfect. Now the only thing we needed was a source of food and water. I noticed that he had put buckets under every tap in the place and a few other buildings.

“Oh, it’s almost as good as heaven!” I remarked to him. It was better than I had expected, I had to say that.

“Is it?” He replied. He was already laying on a pile of money in one of the vaults. I lay down on a similar pile of money and tried to sleep.

“What’s your name?” I asked of the air. I had realized that I did not know his name yet.

“Michal. Very simple and easy to understand.” Michal said.

“That helps a lot. Now I can address you and start a conversation. My name is Ellen, by the way.” I told him.

“Ellen, such a nice name…zzzzzz…” Michal said as he fell asleep.

I couldn’t sleep, so I listened to Michal’s steady breathing. Soon the sound of his slow, regular breathing lulled me to sleep.

*                    *                       *

The next day was sunny and clear, a beautiful day if the world was alive to see it. I woke up to the smell of warm bread, which Michal was toasting over a fire. I sat up, rubbed my eyes and said, sleepily, “Good morning.”

“Good morning, Ellen.” Michal replied. “Ready to eat?”

“Yeah. After that night of sleep, I am ready for anything. Tell me, what’s your plan to today?” I asked.

“Well, I figured that we could start by searching the surrounding building rubble. Then, when we finish searching that, we should bury the bodies we have found. They need a proper burial, don’t you think?”

“Yeah,everyone deserves to be buried, at least. It would be horrible if they were eaten by vultures and carrion birds. Ugh. I’d hate it.” I agreed.

“So, as soon as we eat, we should start our tasks.”

Michal served the toast and we ate. We ate quickly, so as to complete the most work each day.

I went into the rubble of the factory next door and started my search. I found several bodies, which I pulled out and laid on the sidewalk. I did not find a single living soul.

When we met back at the bank, Michal reported the same. However, he found another loaf of bread and a packet of seeds. We hastily planted the seeds in the bank’s courtyard and toasted more bread for dinner. Then we fell asleep around the fire.

*                   *                     *

The next day was similar. We toasted bread over a fire and went to work. Still we didn’t find anyone living. That night, we had a detailed discussion.

“I think it’s time we decided it.” Michal brought it up.

“Personally, the whole world’s dead, so what difference does it make?” I said.

“Fine, if that’s how you like it.” He shot back.

We settled down for the night, on our separate piles of money. I recited a few Bible verses as I fell asleep.

*                      *                      *

“I now pronounce me and you, man and wife.” Michal told me. We shared our first kiss in our life. It was wonderful.

“So, what do we do now? Should we make a small feast of toasted bread?” I asked.

“How about we take the day off from our work to find the remains of a supermarket. We can collect some food and make a better feast.” Michal suggested. “Then we can sleep the rest of the day away.”

They quickly found a supermarket’s rubble and collected a few cans of food. They went back to the bank and cooked the food over the fire. We ate the food straight from the can. It was so good.

Then we slept.

*                *                *

“Isn’t he cute?” Michal said.

“Isn’t she cute?” I crooned soon after. We have had several kids. All were named from the Bible. There was Michal Jr., Daniel, Rebekkah, and Sarah. Daniel and Rebekkah are twins. We continued to reconstruct the world for our children.

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11 thoughts on “Guest Post – A Science Fiction Love Story

  1. I’ll offer the first comment here:

    1) I think you have a real gift for creativity. You took a pretty classic situation – post-apocalyptic event, and you inserted some interesting elements. I especially liked the idea of them sleeping on the money. What in the world would they do with it in this kind of world anyway, right? Although I wonder if that couldn’t be developed a little further for the sake of character… would they spend some time hoarding the money, or thinking it had value for a time, then eventually give up on the idea? Just a thought.

    2) One little mechanical detail. In writing dialogue into your narrative, the period at the end of the dialogue is always replaced with a comma, like this: “The sky is blue,” he said. However, if you’re using an exclamation or question mark, then they are not replaced, like so: “I’ll kill you!” he shouted. “Why would you kill me?” she asked.

    3) Your characters are forced together out of necessity, but it seems like they very quickly move from recognition of their circumstances to acceptance of their circumstances, to willingness to join together in marriage. It seems a little abrupt. Perhaps doing a little time jump forward before they end up deciding to marry would allow you to work in some character development, some explanation as to why they have resigned themselves to repopulating together. Just a thought.

    4) I think one theme that seems to come out of what you’ve written here is that not all romance is about physical attraction, sweet feelings and chocolates and roses. The real heart and essence of love is the decisions we make to care for another person regardless of, and some times in spite of, the reasons we may have not to show love. I think you did a good job of developing that idea here.

  2. That theme was unintentional. This was supposed to be a story from the “Last Christian Alive” prompt though. Works as romance, but I would have developed the romancy part more.

  3. Oh… hah! I didn’t realize this came from that prompt, I thought it was something you started back with the Valentine’s prompt. Go figure. Well, even if the theme was unintentional, I definitely saw it in there.

    Yeah, to work that theme up you would want to develop the romance a little more, but I see where you were going now with the last Christian alive thing. It works.

  4. Hey, comments!

    I agree with Brandon that some separation between the Event and their acceptance. The proposal and Ellen’s acceptance of it seem abrupt; adding some time would be helpful. I offer this with a caveat, though:

    Is Ellen not “normal”? I ask because you’ve dropped some hints that her processing of circumstances are different from others. For instance, she narrates the story in present tense, which marks her telling as unique. She does not remember the other girls in the school, though it is clear that at least one remembers her clearly. She also seems to process the death around her as a matter of fact, while most other people would probably panic for at least a little bit. (Or were you conveying shock?)

    If you intend Ellen to mentally process things differently, the seemingly sudden acceptance of her surroundings makes much more sense. Is that your intention? If so, well done in putting those markers in there.

    Another note: Why did your two main characters escape the Event? I understand the “why” is far from the main focus of your story, but I found it odd that Ellen escaped while everyone around her burned. Michal gets a pass because we don’t see where he was; perhaps he was in the vault when the Event happened, which afforded him extra protection. What made Ellen so special, though?

    And a technical note: I’m used to seeing Michal as the spelling of a female name. I may be the exception here, since I work with the Jewish community and Michal is the name of one of King David’s wives. It threw me out of the story temporarily.

    I agree with Brandon, though, that the money bed is a potent image and one that sticks in the mind. Well done!

  5. ARE YOU CALLING ME GAY!!??

    or promoting gay marriage? I can’t write that in depth…not that sci-fi… (girl-girl kids?)

    Yeah to Brandon.

    Ellen was supposed to be normal except for the fire part. That’s just my bad writing. Her lack of emotion was unintentional. If it sounded good, I will leave it like that.

    The money bed idea was something my mind put forward when needed. I didn’t really think about it.

  6. Bookspirit, I knew that Michal was a man because of the masculine pronouns (he, his) and you description of him. Just the name, as spelled, I’ve usually seen as a girl’s name. It simply means his parents used an unconventional spelling.

    If you can “amp it up” on the unemotional, if you choose to take that route, it would work.

    What made you choose the present tense?

  7. I think, perhaps, we read different books! Most books I read are written in the past tense. For instance, many authors will write, “he said,” instead of “he says.”

  8. Ah. Yes, first person (I) can be very effective, as can third person (he). Using second person (you), on the other hand, I’ve only seen done well once.

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