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Serial Collaboration Project: Post Apocalypse

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 11:40 pm    Post subject: Serial Collaboration Project: Post Apocalypse Reply with quote

Morgan took a deep breath of the mountain air, deeply inhaling the salty sea air, smelling a touch of ozone from being so high up; the cold waves lapped slightly at his dark leather boots, sloshing about the surrounding pebbles. He liked to come down here sometimes, just to make sure the water wasn't getting any higher.

Things had been bad since the first reports of the polar ice caps melting. Global warming had snuck up on the world, and nobody was prepared. Flash flood appeared on the coasts, tropical storms spun off of Africa, and hurricanes and tornadoes sprung out of the clashing temperature differences.

Carson City was lucky to be near mountains
, Morgan thought. When the water levels rose so quickly, he had time to get into the mountains. He'd designed a log cabin for one of his architecture classes, and he'd built it with the help of some friends. He had intended to surprise Shelley with it, propose to her on its doorstep. But global warming had struck.

"Hey, tiger," a woman's voice said behind him. Morgan turned around and smiled. Before him stood Shelley, his model girlfriend. Her platinum blond hair had graced several Kohl's ads, and it was currently blowing behind her like a comet's tail. Morgan was convinced that she could be tossed into a hurricane and buried by a mudslide and STILL look perfect. But I may be biased.

"Hey, hon," he said, pulling her into his embrace. "Did you get the bottles?"

"Yeah. I washed them and dried the insides as best as I could," Shelley said, giving Morgan a quick squeeze, a peck, and shrugging off her backpack. She produced two wine bottles, the dry corks poking out slightly. Morgan wondered if these were the same bottles they had used to clean his cuts from a few days ago. His thigh throbbed at the thought of the cleansing alcohol.

"Great," Morgan said, taking some worn paper out of his back pocket. Paper was a luxury these days, as were most things. Factories were underwater now, so most people had to deal without or figure out how to make them by hand. He unfolded the letter and read it over once more. Shelley took a piece of paper out of her own back pocket and rolled it up into one of the bottles, pushing the cork in until it was guaranteed no water would seep in.

As he finished reading the note, he took his own wine bottle and put his note in, sealing it tight. "Are you sure this is the right side of the island?” he asked, the wind tousling his own hair.

"I don't know..." Shelley said softly. "In all likelihood, it'll probably just wash back up on our shores."

"I know," Morgan sighed. "But if it does get there, if it does reach them..." The cool fingers of the breeze began turning into the sharp, cold edge of a gale; Morgan shivered as it pierced his coat. His thigh protested the frosty change in temperature.

"Then they'll know we're safe. But they're a long ways away. They might never find you," Shelley said, her own ice blue orbs trying to look into Morgan's deep brown eyes.

"I know. I know. But I can hope, can't I?" Morgan smiled his crooked little smile. Gripping the bottle by the neck, he flung the bottle as far as he could, far into the gray, ever-present mist that seemed a permanent part of this new world. He heard a little PA-LOONK and knew it didn't break.

Shelley threw her own bottle into the fog; Morgan really admired her. She had adapted so well after the disaster. His little mall-rat girlfriend turned into a girl that did what was necessary to survive. A couple years ago, she couldn't have thrown a tennis ball that far, let alone a glass bottle.

Hand in hand, they waited the damp beginning to settle into Morgan's wool coat. Waited for the bottles to come back. Waited for an answer to their message. Waited for their families to respond. Waited for something to happen.

After what seemed like hours, a drop of water fell onto Morgan's head. The perpetually overcast skies never really gave an indication of when it would rain again; really, this was the first time in weeks that the deluge had abated. His thigh joined with the water to jog his memory of the present.

"Let's go," he said, squeezing Shelley's hand. "We might get caught in the flash." Nodding, Shelley squeezed back. Together, they turned around and hurried back up the rocky mountain slope.
Keeper of Zaebos' and Jormand's powers.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2009 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Morgan’s glass bottle floated away from the mountain peak, caught in a current which took it rapidly South. An insignificant speck on a globe of blue, grey, green and black. The changing heat made the glass expand and cool, straining it to the point that when it did eventually fetch up on a shore it shattered with the impact, shards of green glass glittering on the sand. The waves and tides took their toll until all that was left of the message carrier was a handful of green sand on a beach.

Which crunched under a bare foot.

The foot was attached to a grubby leg belonging to a young girl clothed in an eclectic jumble of hessian sacks and tarpaulin. The whole ensemble was crusted with sand and pieces of seaweed clung in the fibres of the hessian. Her hair was tangled from the sea breeze but clean, showing it to be an appropriately sandy hue. She was currently shambling along, head bowed, apparently searching the tideline for something. She whisked a bunch of seaweed behind her, obscuring her tracks and every now and then she would stoop and pull up a thick wiry plant and tuck it into her clothes. A curlew’s lonely cry echoed along the beach and the girl jerked upright like a startled deer. It sounded again and she flung herself down on the sand and froze, her hessian covering blending instantly with the sand to give her the appearance of nothing more than a small hummock in the beach. After a wait of half an hour the curlew sounded again and the bump in the sand moved cautiously. After scanning the beach for movement the small figure leapt up and sprinted towards the dunes she had come from, all the while whisking all trace of her flight into oblivion.

When she reached the dunes she made the curlew call herself and disappeared inside the opening which emerged in the side of the largest. The “dune” was in fact an overturned boat, which the wind had coated in sand, and provided the nearest thing to home that the girl had ever known. As soon as she was inside the safety of the shelter she shed the heavy outer garments to reveal a skinny frame made skinnier by a harsh winter and persistent fear. A taller figure hauled the screen back in front of the opening and turned to survey the girl. As she did so her face was caught in a shaft of light leaking through the sides of the shelter and revealed to be quite unconventionally beautiful. A shock in a place of such rude commodities. Seventeen years of this harsh existence had made her cheeks a little too pinched, and her brow a little too furrowed, but there was a clarity to her eyes and a light in her face that had nothing to do with the feeble sunlight which illuminated chestnut hair and olive skin.

“Did you see them?” She enquired in a voice hushed with fear.

“No, and I never do! I reckon you’re just imagining things again Seil.” The younger girl threw her outer clothes on the floor and started rummaging around in them for the plants she had gathered.

“Samphire again?” Complained Seil.

“It’s all that’s out there, you know that.”

“But Abbi, it’s icky and salty.”

“It’s food. Eat.” Abbi watched her sister eat, years piling on her young shoulders and clouding her face. Her short life had not been easy.
He who does not eat cheese will go mad. ~ French proverb.

Keeper of the fallen leaves. 'Cos they're still pretty.
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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

(The first two posts seem to be set in the same setting, but the first post of the planning thread mentioned different stories in the same setting, so I hope this fits.)

Into the night, from the open door of her home Monique LeNoir passed quietly onto a small deck. The sea breeze, so balmy, brushed her hair. She rested her head in her left hand and balanced it on the railing. In her right hand was water chilly from little ice cubes. It clinked as she sipped in slight motions. From her former summer home, now permanete home, she listened to the rhythmic sound of the waves breaking and retreating down by the bay. The moon, partially shrouded in fog, illuminated the small collection of buildings down the path they now called Nouveau Paris.

Monique lowered her head; her hair fell over her face, and she found it comforting to listen to the ocean's breath. Her thoughts swayed in her head like dancers in perfect harmony with the waves. A dancing boat, her boat, came into view, and the little men fell into the sea, but grace made them look more like divers. She opened her starry eyes. A door closed behind her, and the old wood creaked. Monique brushed the stars out of her eyes and flung her hair over her shoulders out of her face.

"It so very late, what are you doing up and out of bed?"

"I was thinking...this place looks different. It's not the same Alps I used to vacation in as a girl." Monique turned to face Paul. "The snow never falls anymore."

"That's all you thought of?" He rested his back against the railing next to her.

She lowered her gaze a little, "Have you seen the moon tonight, it's so lovely when it's full."


"Yes, Paul?"

"You've avoiding the question."

"...I was thinking about my last voyage."

He put his arm around her, "It wasn't your fault."

She sighed, "I know, but I'm just trying to get there."

Paul took her hand. He started to lead her towards to door, but she held her place, "I just need time." He kissed her on the forehead.

"Ok, I'll be waiting inside." He walked back to the door.

He started to open when she blurted, "How I am supposed to tell her I had to kill him?"

The waves crashed in and out while the balmy breeze blew under a bright moon.
Talked to a man who caught the
raninbow's end he found
That the pot of gold resided within
Fame~Citzen Cope

Nom d'amour~ Rolex
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rolling onto his side, Kenta rubbed at his eyes absent-mindedly with the back of his right hand. It was still very early morning but the sun was creeping into the sky, and it had to be at least nearly thirty degrees centigrade in Northern Honshu. It was also late October. Leon had said summer could last until well into November this year, but he’d never really understood what it meant before, the implications behind it.

He’d never really understood what it would mean for them.

He glanced at his battery powered travel clock – it was 5:34 am. It was time for his morning shift already? Slowly, he crawled out of his futon and set about the business of tidying it away. A few others were still sleeping away in the large tatami room; most of them had kicked off their covers during the night. The heat was getting too much for those who had been used to Tohoku’s cooler climes.

Glancing over his shoulder though, he noticed that Kazuya’s futon was already folded away neatly, piled against the wall by the door. Kazuya was his younger brother, and had been training to be a doctor, a surgeon of some kind, down south in Tokyo before the world faded away. He had only been part of the way through his degree when it all had happened, but Kazu and an old local family doctor who’d retired some ten years before where as close as they had to a working medical team. Organisation wasn’t so good that they had begun to train others intensively, so their shifts could get hectic, especially back during the August heat waves. Kazu wasn’t due on until about 11:00 hours though.

Kenta began to trudge downstairs, still in his vest and shorts that served as pyjamas, heading towards the dining area. He could hear movements and chatter of people who were already awake, and those having a quick repast before they turned in.

Not everyone had been able to follow the retreat and re-settlement plan that the government had scrambled to set up. Those left behind in the north had struggled towards the mountain alps and resorts. Kenta’s dad’s family had kept a traditional inn and restaurant on the outskirts of a hot springs area, they’d taken in a few refugees and somehow a base camp had ended up being set there.

“… madness! It’s madness Leon, and you know it! We’re not in a position to…”

That was his younger brother talking – the anger and frustration was there.

“We ain’t exactly in a position to be doing much, Hotei. Things are getting too tight here, and they can’t go on like this. You know that as much as any of us.”

As soon as Kenta put his head around the door, the room fell silent.

Kazuya, his ‘spirited’ younger brother stood over the large dining table, palms spread. At the table, sat Leon and Mrs Fujiwara – Mrs Fujiwara, an old farmer from Akita looked worried, frightened even. She was wearing a sensible worker’s tough trousers, and a plain white t-shirt, and it was obvious she had laboured her whole life. Leon just looked unruffled, blank. That wasn’t his real name, but it was the only name he’d ever offered. He was a tall guy, with his hair shaved close, almost in American military style, and a tradition irezumi creeping from his back, and down his arms, the bulk of it hidden beneath a green vest. His build marked him as an ex-biker, a former bozoku, but the way he spoke, you knew he had been in charge of something before.

No one would speak. Kazuya stood back from the table, folding his arms beneath his chest but he kept glaring at Leon.

“I guess y’all expect me to guess what’s going on, or is someone going to paint this one out nice and simple for me?” Kenta asked, taking a seat at the table, cutting past Kazuya, letting the full Tohoku burr creep into his voice.

Still no one spoke up. Leon flicked his eyes towards Kazuya and then Kenta, and Mrs Fujiwara simply stared at the table top.

“He wants to get us all killed, that’s what he wants,” Kazu hissed.

“Kazu, enough! No histrionics, I want to know what is going on in our family’s house!” Kenta snapped; he stared at Leon though, not even looking at his brother. “What’s happening.”

It was Mrs Fujiwara who spoke though.

“Kenta-kun… you know that what we planted this year… We tried a sustainable food plan, vegetable gardens, a proper rice field lower down the mountainside.”

Kenta just nodded. It had been discussed and planned at great length by all of the Resort Refugees some time ago. There were not many of them, but they had needed a long term plan, and a couple of suburbans had kept little vegetable patches before. It wasn’t much, but it could have been the start of something.

“The yield… it isn’t what we hoped. And we did find those SDF rations, that is true, but, well, it just isn’t enough. Not to carry us through this winter, certainly not all of us.”

She let that hang there. Kenta felt his heart start to race, his stomach churn.

“I thought we had another raid planned, a long one to Hachinohe? We could split the teams, send them to multiple targets… We always have options,” he said, fear slipping through easily.

Leon shook his head.

“We’ve probably stripped every conbini, every vending machine, every supermarket in the immediate areas for long-lasting consumables and dried food. Local places, they ain’t going to have any fresh stuff left, and we’re lucky to have gotten what we could from farming villages up in the mountains. I think we’re going to have to go a heck of a lot further than Hachinohe to see us through this winter,” the former biker said slowly. “We can’t survive winter up here on half rations of Cup Noodles.”

Kenta dropped back in his chair. He had known that things weren’t going as well as hoped. Their group numbered less than fifty or so, it wasn’t like they had a huge community. It was definitely large enough to be a logistical nightmare when you had no practical experience of running an entire community. They’d had to go on little raiding trips every so often, trying to find materials that would last. Based in a resort area, there was a good amount of tinned goods, but fresh stuff, greenery, that was much harder to procure. It was one thing for them to say that things couldn’t go on like this, but to realise it was so much harder. It was the intellectual fact that they were up a creek without a paddle.

“So what’s the problem Kazu?” Kenta heard himself say, his voice hoarse.

“This idiot wants us to roll out, send out a large hunting party to see if we can find any others, and find a larger city to set up base in, one that’s maybe got more supplies.”

“And why’s it such a bad idea? We’re screwed if we hang around here, that much is obvious,” Kenta retorted.

“Surely Hotei-sensei, you must see that it is best for everyone if we leave here. We need food, and surely yourself and Terashima-sensei are in need of supplies,” Mrs Fujiwara added gently.

“I’m not going to deny that we need medicine and first aid kits. What we have here is very basic, and we’ve only been able to get stuff from little local clinics. I’ll admit it, I need more sophisticated equipment and drugs, but the people who need those medicines… They wouldn’t survive the kind of exodus to the south that Leon’s suggesting,” Kazuya said, sighing. “I mean, they couldn’t deal with the physical duress, and they’re at their limits as it is, and I don’t know how much longer they’d last.”

More looks skittered across the table.

“Well, sure as hell can’t stay here. We need the supplies, and they ain't exaclty going to pop into our laps, all magical like. We all need to head south for the winter, simple as,” Leon said evenly, leaning back in his seat.

He could see Kazuya getting worked up again, getting his hackles up. His straight-laced little brother, who always was quick to anger and slow to think. But he seemed to be thinking pretty hard about the repercussions right now.

“I’m not leaving these people Leon, not here, not by the side of the road when they collapse. If we’re going to head off anywhere, it should be that SDF base in Aomori. If we get there, we can at least try to contact whatever is left of this country,” Kazuya hissed.

“Please now gentlemen, it’s not just our decision… We must make a choice yes, but we must all decide on this,” Mrs Fujiwara cut in – she was a sweet old lady. She was obviously from a time when men of Leon and Kazuya’s age were still considered the babies of the group, and their open discontent to one another was upsetting her.

“They ain’t the only ones who’d be killed! We’ll all die if we don’t do something! And I ain’t going on a wild goose chase so you can give a handful of people false hope! The government, the military, they abandoned us here, to live like this, like freaking scavengers!” Leon growled, standing up slowly. He towered over Kazuya; he was used to his size intimidating others. “I ain’t running back to them. We don’t need them.”

“No, Mrs Fujiwara has a point you two. We need to take this to the others, everyone… It’s not our decision, not just us. But I want to suggest a third option.”

It sounded like Kenta’s voice. It was very strange, he didn’t normally speak up in these situations. Was it his voice? He could feel his brother’s stare on him, and cool, calculating look that Leon gave him. Well, he must have spoke then.

“Go ahead…”

“We’ll split into two groups. Me and Kazu… we’ll take whoever is sick to this SDF place. You guys head off… wherever it is you think will be best. But if Kazu says he can’t take care of these people much longer, I believe him. He’s smart, he knows what he’s about. If he says this old base is their best chance, and they want to, then I’ll take it.”
Bernard [about the job]: The pay's not great, but the work is hard.
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