I write to keep me sane. I write so that my words may outlive my life. I write to find redemption

Friday, January 11, 2008

This is After

Timestamp: 12 March 2067

The worst part is the lack of light. Though your eyes adjust to the stony blackness quick enough, there are always things you can’t see. Like the hinge on the door at the top of the concrete stairs. When it jerks open, it whines, creaking its discontent at being forced into action. When you hear that sound, you have three point five seconds to grab a weapon- not four, never four. You wait four and you’re dead.

In this six by ten foot space, a storm cellar on what- during a time that no one likes to talk about anymore- was once idyllic farm country in Iowa, I wait to hear that screech. Sometimes I eat, just enough beans to keep my energy up. Sometimes I search the room for what I need to survive. But most of the time I just stand still and wait.

Three generations ago, no one huddled in these little caverns. Terror alerts were still a novelty. Everyone knew something could happen, would probably happen, had happened before and they should be ready. The news said: Stockpile water. Horde supplies. Having a gas mask handy wouldn’t be a bad idea. You will be on your own. Don’t expect FEMA. FEMA isn’t coming.

Still, no one was ready. When they invasion came, few had places like this to hide in. Most did what was common in those days during a crisis, what made sense to them. They got in their gas guzzling SUVs and hit the highway. Everyone there died first.

Time started to tick slowly in that new reality. The sky looked different. The air tasted bitter. The lights didn’t come back on for over seventeen months. I thought the world had ended and I was left behind.

But it didn’t end. Maybe it can’t end. Maybe the human spirit is too resilient to allow it. Or maybe Earth is God’s favorite, and so like any hopeful father would, he just can’t give up on it. Maybe we were just lucky. Or just fought hard enough. Whatever the reason, we were not, as a people, wiped out during the winter of 2007.

We lived on. And learned how to hide underground. And what to do when the storm door opens.


My hand is on the weapon but its too late. This time I moved too slow. The sound I hear as it swoops down the stairs is inhuman, and not quite any animal I ever would have imagined either, until the invasion, that is.

Light floods the room. My eyes pop open. I am in my bedroom, controller in hand.

My son tells me “You went too slow again.”

“I know.”

The virtual training game has improved my speed, as I train in a variety of different scenarios, pretending I am at home, or the office, or the local park when the sky goes dark and they come again. Everyone does these drills. Old people like me, the only ones who saw the first attack, do them the most often, knowing what it means to once again be caught unprepared.

“You’ll get them next time,” he assures me. His hand rests on my knee. There is sympathy in his eyes.

His is middle aged and has his own children. None of them have ever seen what can come out of the air, come for you and your family and your neighbors. It is almost not real for them- something out of a school book.

“Next time,” I agree.

I hate the darkness of that storm cellar. Though it isn’t real, it feels it. I smell the dirt beneath my feet. Feel the cold beans slide down my throat. I hear their voices beyond the door, never able to understand what they are saying but knowing they understand each other and are plotting how to find me. The computer monitors their condition- giving them various injuries and ailments- and mine, recreating what was once all too real, what I lived through without anyway to pop out, like I can now.

“Ready for lunch? I cooked while you were under.”

FEMA isn’t coming.

“I better go one more time first,” I tell him.

He thinks I am a silly old man. I think its only a matter of time before the sun goes dark once more.

As I pick back up the controller, my son reaches out to press the button to start the game again. Over his shoulder, the light streaming in the window disappears, like a lampshade turned out. Its midday.

The sun is gone. They’re here.

He’s in shock. Staring at the darkened view with his mouth gaping.

I’m the one who has to grab his shoulder, pulling him to his feet, and then we run to get underground. An alarm shrills through town. Pretty little Iowa, once upon a time. The siren wails and wails, the only sound for miles. All children have been warned: do not scream, just run.

This is not a drill.

By Sara

Written for Brand New Aspiring Writers
Prompt: Find a song and write a story inspired by it.
Song chosen: Virtual Insanity by jamiroquai
You can read the lyrics here

By the way, this was my first attempt at science fiction.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Short Story?

Right now I am trying to tackle a prompt from Brand New Aspiring Writers.

Pick a song. Write a story inspired by it. It can stick closely to the song or veer as far left field as you want.

Some suggestions for song choices:

Last Dance with Mary Jane by Tom Petty.
Jack and Diane by John Melloncamp.
It's the End of the World as We Know It ( And I Feel Fine) by R.E.M
Country Boy Can Survive by Hank Williams Jr.
Fancy by Reba McEntire
If I Could Turn Back Time by Cher
Brenda's Got a Baby by Tupac
Runaway, Love by Ludicris
Citizen Solider by Three Doors Down

Or find a song of your own choosing.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The new year is kicking off with a bang already for me. I will be starting this month by attending our First Annual Anniversary Celebration and ending the month at a progressive dinner party, The Soup to Nuts Gonzo Carnival on January 30th, 2008.

Kilroy, from Fear and Loathing, will kick off the night with a virtual cocktail hour in the form of blog enteries submitted to him at his blog. Then my writing group will host the first course at Brand New Aspiring Writers.

Other bloggers will jump in to host the main course and the dessert. It should be a fantastic time, jumping all around the blogosphere, finding new sites to explore.

To submit a post to me for this event, email me with a link at You must put Progessive Dinnerin the subject line. The post can be about anything you like, from a poem to a personal story to photos or advice.

You could also submit different posts to:
Kilroy, who will serve hors d'oeuvrers and drinks.

Isabella Mori will serve up the appitezers.

Anja who hosts the main course.

Fiction Scribe dishes up dessert

Only one post per course is allowed to be submitted by you. You can submit to just one course, if you want.

If you send a link to, I will make sure you are part of the first course. But make sure you mark the subject line with Progessive Dinner, or you risk your mail being confused with a Nigerian Lottery scam or some other kind of spam.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

An online writing friend has started a fic blog you might want to check out, if you enjoy chick lit.

A fic blog is a fictional account of the life of a character as told in first person POV blog entries.

Wavelengths by A. Writer