“And then I woke up” tale

AND THEN I WOKE UP

5

I woke with my face in concrete. Wet concrete. Not concrete – meat. Meat and blood, and it was in my MOUTH! Yuck!

I sat up, spitting. Then I saw the bodies all around me. No-one else was waking up, like I had. But a few others, like me, had blood dripping down their chins.

Wasn’t I just in maths class? I shook my head, trying not to scream. Hysteria took over, and I said aloud, “Please, not the maths!”

6

I sheltered overnight in an abandoned apartment. The homiest part was the curtains (burnt) but I found an unopened tin of baked beans.

Evidently even apocalypse survivors don’t eat baked beans. Also there was no can opener. I began to understand my own cannibalism.

My body was different, too – not just thinner. With a mirror, I discovered I was now in my twenties. What!?! Did I go to the prom or not?

7

I watched through burnt curtains as a group of people walked slowly down the street. They walked upright, and they weren’t as thin as me.

My belly rumbled, so I broke a two by four off the bed for a weapon, and went downstairs to follow the tall ones.

8

One of the tall ones kept sniffing the air and pushing his child in front of him. He looked around, and almost saw me.

Perhaps the tall ones knew why I was ten years older, why the whole city was burnt, and why I couldn’t remember anything since math class.

“Mustn’t sleep,” I told myself. I had to keep watch. They had food! And bottles of water! I was so thirsty it didn’t hurt any more.

9

“Gotcha!”

My eyes snapped open but it was too late. The man had me by both arms. I struggled, but I was so weak my vision blurred.

Their leader leant over me. “Stop moving. We’re not going to hurt you.”

I wanted to yell at her but instead I whimpered, “He took my beans.”

“Give her beans back, Z,” she said, and he did.

“I’m Dell,” she said, “and who are you?”

“Fay,” I whispered, and clung to my precious can.

10

All night they fed me sips of warm water, and in the morning they let me have half an old banana. Where did they get fruit from?

I tried to stay awake, but I slept. When I woke up, there were three times as many people – hungry-eyed, bloody-mouthed people like me.

“We need water,” Dell said to Z, “or they’ll die here.”

He nodded, and he and the child went back along the windy street alone.

11

Z and the girl returned with water and jerky. Dell made us say a prayer before we ate. For the first time, I wondered where my parents were.

When I was strong enough to stand, I asked Z for my weapon back.

“What for?” he said.

I said, “To protect me while I look for my parents.”

“Riiight,” he said, and showed me his gun.

I blinked.

“Wait until tomorrow,” he said, “and Dell will tell you what to do.”

12

Dell stood on a dumpster and addressed us all. “Go,” she said, “as far as you can in every direction. If you find water, let off a flare.”

“East!” I blurted out. “I’ll go East!”

Z smirked at me: “Fine then. So will I.” He stuck three flares in his belt, and we started walking.

“I’m called Iris,” said the girl, slipping her hand in mine.

“Fay,” I said, “and I wasn’t much older than you when I fell asleep.”

13

We searched every building for running water. “Someone’s got to have their own generator,” said Z.

“My parents do,” I said.

Iris screamed, and I instinctively threw her behind me. A stranger burst out of a hole in the wall and made a grab for my empty bottle.

Z drew his gun but the man kept fighting me. I remembered what my Mum taught me so long ago, and kneed him in the groin. He howled and fled.

14

I had a nightmare that I opened the door to my parents’ flat and found nothing but burnt curtains, a tin of baked beans, and two corpses.

We waited all day for the man to attack us again, or at least come back, but there was no sign of him. “Let it go,” said Z. We kept walking.

I found my courage. “Who did all this, Z?”

“People invented a way to make others into puppets. Be glad you’ve forgotten those years.”

15

Four men with guns stopped us entering an abandoned bank, and I noticed Z hid his. “Just move on and no-one will get hurt,” they said.

“You have water,” I realised aloud. Iris began to cry. Z crossed his arms. In the distance, someone else’s flare went off.

“You have guns, and water,” I said, “which means you can save hundreds. Let us send off a flare – please.” Their leader nodded.

16

We stayed overnight outside the bank, and drank our fill as more ragged people gathered. “So few,” I said to Z. He didn’t reply.

As we attempted to digest a breakfast of jerky, someone turned up wearing brilliant purple and a top hat. He grabbed rubbish and juggled it.

Iris laughed for the first time, and we asked Hugh to join us. His hands shook with hunger as he ate, but he told jokes (with a full mouth).

17

Hugh and Iris guarded yet another door as Z and I checked for supplies inside. We found mouldy bread, and a cat with three kittens.

“Wait!” I told Z. I found an empty box and used a scavenged knife to make holes in the lid. Then I called Iris inside for her present.

Iris’ eyes widened, and when the box meowed her mouth dropped open. “Can I keep it?” she said. Z shrugged. And “Fluffy” made five.

18

Fluffy liked jerky no more than I did, but she caught herself a mouse. “She’s the most useful provider here,” said Z. Iris giggled.

“This apocalypse isn’t so bad after all,” said Hugh. I said, “Speak for yourself – I missed half my adolescence.” “Even better,” he said.

“Who stopped it? Why am I awake now?” I asked. Z interrupted, “Same man that started it all. Seems he regretted it. He’s dead now.” “Good.”

19

Yay! Finally some more running water. We let off another flare and settled down to wait for people to arrive.

A pregnant woman came first. Z gave her his gun and taught her how to reload. She said, “If you had a proper name I’d give it to the kid.”

20

The lady had her own loyal posse before we left. We were running low on jerky, and I was secretly grateful. Starvation looked nicer.

21

We found a huge storeroom full of cans – and a can opener. Too bad it was electric. Hugh laughed so hard I eventually joined in.

“Here!” said Iris. She’d found self-opening cans. Too bad it was cat food. I’d gone from sixteen to a senior citizen in what felt like days.

We feasted on jellymeat and seafood cocktail loaf, and loaded ourselves with more. Fluffy refused to eat it. Weirdo cat.

15

Four men with guns stopped us entering an abandoned bank, and I noticed Z hid his. “Just move on and no-one will get hurt,” they said.

“You have water,” I realised aloud. Iris began to cry. Z crossed his arms. In the distance, someone else’s flare went off.

“You have guns, and water,” I said, “which means you can save hundreds. Let us send off a flare – please.”

Their leader nodded.

16

We stayed overnight outside the bank, and drank our fill as more ragged people gathered. “So few,” I said to Z. He didn’t reply.

As we attempted to digest a breakfast of jerky, someone turned up wearing brilliant purple and a top hat. He grabbed rubbish and juggled it.

Iris laughed for the first time, and we asked Hugh to join us. His hands shook with hunger as he ate, but he told jokes (with a full mouth).

17

Hugh and Iris guarded yet another door as Z and I checked for supplies inside. We found mouldy bread, and a cat with three kittens.

“Wait!” I told Z. I found an empty box and used a scavenged knife to make holes in the lid. Then I called Iris inside for her present.

Iris’ eyes widened, and when the box meowed her mouth dropped open. “Can I keep it?” she said.

Z shrugged. And “Fluffy” made five.

18

Fluffy liked jerky no more than I did, but she caught herself a mouse. “She’s the most useful provider here,” said Z. Iris giggled.

“This apocalypse isn’t so bad after all,” said Hugh.

I said, “Speak for yourself – I missed half my adolescence.”

“Even better,” he said.

“Who stopped it? Why am I awake now?” I asked.

Z interrupted, “Same man that started it all. Seems he regretted it. He’s dead now.”

“Good.”

19

Yay! Finally some more running water. We let off another flare and settled down to wait for people to arrive.

A pregnant woman came first. Z gave her his gun and taught her how to reload. She said, “If you had a proper name I’d give it to the kid.”

20

The lady had her own loyal posse before we left. We were running low on jerky, and I was secretly grateful. Starvation looked nicer.

21

We found a huge storeroom full of cans – and a can opener. Too bad it was electric. Hugh laughed so hard I eventually joined in.

“Here!” said Iris. She’d found self-opening cans. Too bad it was cat food. I’d gone from sixteen to a senior citizen in what felt like days.

We feasted on jellymeat and seafood cocktail loaf, and loaded ourselves with more. Fluffy refused to eat it. Weirdo cat.

22

“Oh,” I gasped, and stood still.

Hugh said, “What is it?”

“I remember this park,” I said.

Z flopped onto a bench, “Lunch, then?”

I ate my share of chicken chunks and walked to the place where a pond used to be. There was a skeleton half-buried in mud, wearing pearls.

Iris blinked and said, “Couldn’t we just steal a chisel – for the cans?”

I slapped my head: “I’m so dumb! But can we find my parents first?”

23

We trudged endlessly through empty streets. “What about your family?” I asked Hugh.

“Got none,” he said, “and didn’t have none before.”

At dinner Hugh began to teach Iris to juggle. Z sidled up to me and sat so close we touched – for warmth, he said. We lay down side by side.

24

“One more sleep,” I said, “and then I’ll find out if my parents are alive.”

Iris said, “Do you think we could try to find mine – one day?”

“Z isn’t your dad?” I said.

They both snorted at exactly the same time.

That was apparently Hugh’s cue to do cartwheels. And why not?

25

“Go on then, wimp,” said Z.

I lifted my heavy arm and knocked. From within my old home, I heard footsteps.

For a second I thought Mum was Grandma, back from the dead. She was OLD. “Fay?” she said.

I nodded.

“Ben!” she screamed.

Dad came running.

All of us cried and hugged and cried, and Z excused himself. At last Mum stepped back. “Where HAVE you been?!”

I sighed and rolled my eyes.

26

We slept on the floor, more comfortable than anywhere I’d been since my old life. Mum had carrots, and potatoes, and far too much lettuce.

Dad took me aside: “You’re all grown now, and you should know the truth: we’ll run out of food in a matter of weeks. Even the garden.”

I hugged him and smiled: “One question: Do you have a can opener?”

“Of course,” he said.

I said, “Then don’t worry. It’s ALL good.”

THE END

“The Vampire Diaries” twitter tale begins on June 3 – because I have SO much more vampire mocking to do.

Published by Felicity Banks

I write books (mainly adventure fantasy for kids and young adults), real-time twittertales, and a blog of Daily Awesomeness. @Louise_Curtis_ and http://twittertales.wordpress.com. My fantasy ebook is on sale at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/278981.

2 thoughts on ““And then I woke up” tale

  1. Ok. This was one of your more confusing tales. I had trouble following this one. Oddly enough, the most controversial of your tales I found the most enjoyable – I can somehow relate to the idea of bashing vampires with a cricket bat 😉

    1. Incidentally, there’s more cricket bat VS vampire in the very next tale 🙂

      Louise

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