Author Topic: from the laptop of Princess Sparkledance  (Read 5335 times)

Offline Tripsky

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from the laptop of Princess Sparkledance
« on: November 29, 2015, 05:08:32 AM »
[from the laptop of Princess Sparkledance]

I've been carrying this laptop around for weeks saying I’m going to use it and it has become apparent that it's dead weight, and 'dead' isn't a word I use casually nowadays. Besides watching an informative documentary on barn owls and rifling through some 12yo girl's media folders (see: unicorn wallpaper) I haven't done anything with it. I said I was going to use it to write, but write what? How everyone is dead? Well, sort of dead?

I open it up and I just sit here staring at the screen wondering what sort of psychosis the end of the world is giving me, but at least by writing down what I'm thinking I'm… hold on, am I offloading to a computer? How therapathetic.

Currently I’m sitting in the kitchen of a house with everything locked. Catdoor included. The curtains are drawn and the only light is the feeble glow from this laptop (hello laptop) which is more than enough. Everything is so still even the sound of me typing. this. sentence… is freaking me out.

The house was a lucky find. The guy who owned the place had solar put in, so there's a bit of power. And power = luxury. It was a bath, painstakingly boiled pot by pot on the stove, and yes, it was amazing. The first time since this all started that hygiene for me has been anything more elaborate than being caught in the rain. If I’m quiet I might be able to break out some tools and give my bike some of that tender loving, too.

But that's only if I’m quiet, which I quickly learnt is the very best of things. Stay quiet! Say it proud - in a most minute whisper!
To summarise: everything that lived and made sound is dead. Gone. Any footfall now, any bump in the night, every little scrape you hear is from something that wants to shred the flesh from your bones - and if they hear you they will come for you. Tirelessly.

So sound for me is now associated with unpleasant things - or at least as the precursor to unpleasant things.

Even so, there is a type of silence that surrounds places like this. Places where people used to live. Whole suburbs of silence - whole towns. It engulfs you, this absence of anything. You’re sitting in the kitchen of someone you'll never meet with this emptiness all around, and the only sound - anywhere - is coming from you. You’re being quiet as a mouse but everything you do, even your heart beating, rings like a bell when there's only dead silence. In the dead silence you think about what's happening, where your family is, your friends, the government, anyone, anything? It pushes and pushes until all you can do is close your eyes and cry. Cry very quietly.

Ah but who would have thought that sitting alone in the dark at the end of the world could make one morose?

There was an old pickup in the garage. The keys were in the ignition and it had half a tank. All wrapped up in a bow, it was as easy as that. I was there for about half an hour, sitting in the driver's seat with my hands on the wheel, just breathing in that car smell. Whoever owned the house had been a fan of the great outdoors. There was a tent and some camping gear in the attic, even a little generator in the garage. I could take it all, stop scrounging, go all nomad self-sufficient style. But as good as that sounds, my first experience with cars post shit-storm had left me more than wary of such temptations. I’ll go with bicycle for the win. It’s quiet as the night, I have quads of fucking steel, and I can take it on the backpaths with everything I need. Everything except a carload of camping gear. 

I’ll save being sarcastically excited about a full sweep of the house for tomorrow. Whoopee. I don't enjoy going through people's stuff, but I need new pants and this is how I shop nowadays. I’ll leave the morning after. This place is on the outskirts of what I would barely call a town, so I don't think there's many of... them? Zombies? Whatever. I just need to find a way home and for some reason I can't get google maps. Or internet. Or takeout. The end of the world is so backwards.

But first, sleep… in an attic. An attic not designed for sleeping.

Goodnight laptop.


…………………………


The next morning I woke early. Too early. My heart was beating out of my chest like it already knew and was trying to warn me. Something was wrong. Then I heard it. A sound so familiar and yet so forgotten that it took a moment for my sleep addled brain to catch up. Someone was trying to start a car. No, not just a car. It was the pickup downstairs. Coughing and spluttering over and over - oblivious to what its sound would bring.

Suddenly, I was very awake.

I was already running downstairs. My body was on autopilot while my brain focused on more important things - like what the fuck was going on?!!? Who was in that god damned truck? Who - or what?! I looked down to find my trusty metal pole in my never-letting-go-for-anything, white knuckled grasp. Thank you again, auto pilot. Then before I knew it, and well before I was ready, I was standing in front of the closed garage door. Autopilot disengage. Cue fear. But as scared as I was, if I didn't stop that noise they would come, and that was more terrifying than anything that could be waiting for me in the garage. Maybe.

I took a deep breath, raised my pole and threw the door open.

Now I’ve seen some pretty messed up shit since the world went to hell. I think the part of my brain that deals with the unknown was just sitting back with a big bowl of popcorn and watching by this point. This made it throw its hands up in consternation and walk straight out the door.

Sitting in the driver's seat with her hands on the wheel was a tiny waif of a girl, maybe 8 or 9 years old. The fact that she was naked threw me a little, but it was the glistening brown fur that covered her from head to toe that made me stand there mouth agape. Turns out my fight or flight response didn't have anything prepared for small furry girls, but she was all over it. She looked up at me with her two very human eyes and began to scream. A long scream of terror, at a pitch and volume only attainable by small girls.

I just stood there waiting for something to make sense. She just sat there and screamed.

Things didn’t start making sense, but my brain decided that life could continue with furry little girls in it and kicked back into gear, albeit a low one. The first thing it noticed was that she was screaming real loud, which was bad. The second thing was that she wasn't the only one making noise. It sounded like a brick being dragged across cement, if the brick was vomiting and weighed two tonnes. My knees knocked, my boots shook, my skin pricked and my bowels voided. I’d heard it before, and it was getting closer - fast.

That’s when the wall behind me exploded.

Chunks of mortar pummelled my back as I stumbled headfirst into the garage then headfirst into the pickup. Nothing like your head striking a car door to make you not come to your senses. I scrambled to my feet and froze. Ripping its way into the house was one of them. A big one of them. A 10ft tall one of them. It was like Frankenstein’s monster if Frankenstein had decided to add more muscle and didn’t care how he did it. It was tearing through the wall with ease and its dead eyes were fixed on me.

Suddenly a hairy little girl wasn't high on the priority list.

TBC

Offline nomzynomnom

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Re: from the laptop of Princess Sparkledance
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2015, 07:48:12 PM »
This, now. This is pretty good.

Offline Cataclysmic Days Await

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Re: from the laptop of Princess Sparkledance
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2015, 01:54:18 AM »
mmm..new tasty story....
Seriously though, great.
*quiet applause*
-CDW, your friendly idiot/nerd/horrible writer combo :)

Offline Tripsky

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Re: from the laptop of Princess Sparkledance
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2015, 12:04:54 PM »
cheers guys, appreciate the kind words. more to come.

Offline Nighthawk

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Re: from the laptop of Princess Sparkledance
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2015, 03:42:06 AM »
This is quite excellent. Puts my cataclysm-based work to shame, easily.

You have a nice conversational voice with this character. That's what really pulled me in from the get-go. Looking forward to seeing more.

Oh, and...
It sounded like a brick being dragged across cement, if the brick was vomiting and weighed two tonnes.
... this simile is amazing.

Offline Chezzo

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Re: from the laptop of Princess Sparkledance
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2015, 07:28:16 PM »
Awesome story!

Offline Tripsky

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Re: from the laptop of Princess Sparkledance
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2015, 07:26:24 AM »
The pickup however had skyrocketed in value.

I’d only tried driving once since this all started and it had almost gotten me killed. Not that almost getting killed was a unique experience nowadays, but this one was at the top of my highlights reel.

I’d been staying with a friend back in his hometown for the holidays, but things got awkward after his dad bit his face off. The world had turned into the most chaotic of shit storms and I’d forgotten my umbrella. Everyone had forgotten their umbrella. Hell, umbrellas didn’t even exist anymore. I wanted to see my mom, my dad, even my little bro. I wanted a hug that wasn’t going to end with my guts being ripped out. I only had a vague idea of where I was and even less idea of which way was home. My friend had driven, I had slept. Vague was good enough though. I jumped into his shitbox car and hightailed it.

Getting out of town wasn’t that hard. Only a few dead folk were wandering the streets and I could drive around most of them. If any got in my way, well, cars are made of tough stuff. I wasn’t though. I cried the whole time. I knew they weren’t human anymore, but they still looked human when I ran them over. Everything was so messed up, not least of all me.
Once I was on the open road life got easier. I could pretend things were normal again. Yep, driving around in my dead friend’s car with the windshield wipers on, vainly trying to wash off the blood and chunks. Super normal. At least it was better than the process of getting the blood and chunks on the car. I’d still pass the occasional side-of-the-road scene of destruction but did my best to ignore them. That was until about three hours out of town when something happened that was a bit more confronting.
I was driving through some woods when I noticed this noise. I thought it was the car at first, which tells you how much I know about cars. A gravelly sound that just kept getting louder and louder until finally it was all I could hear, and definitely not the car. I checked my mirrors. I shat my pants.
Bearing down on me from behind was a huge, undead monster. I was doing about 50 and it was gaining, running on all fours like an ape. Actually, it was nothing like an ape. It wasn’t like anything I knew. It was Bruce Banner at his angriest. On steroids. All the steroids. A twisted, rotting giant made of muscle and off meat that might have been human once but now had fists the size of white goods. White goods that half a second later were smashing through the back of the car.
The moments that followed were a bit of a blur, which I chalk up to all the spinning and flipping the car was doing. There were a lot colours, shapes and bangs to the head, but when the world finally stopped moving I was alive, I was whole, I was a James Bond martini. Shaken and real groggy. They say any crash you can walk away from is a good one, so a crash you can drunkenly run from must be one of the best – and drunkenly run I did. While the thing of nightmares was busy ripping into the back half of the car, I was busy legging it into the forest – and I’d only snapped two fingers. Christmas. Fucking. Miracle.

So that had been my previous attempt at driving, and though it hadn’t gone well, a hulking undead brute tearing its way through the house was just the motivation I needed to give it another go. My furry friend had retreated to the passenger seat, and was far less intimidating, so I threw open the truck door, jumped in and put pedal to metal. Opening doors was a nicety I had no time for, so as the thing burst into the garage we were bursting out of it. Classic action movie stuff. The streets outside were the usual charming mix of death and destruction, but this time with the craziest of chase scenes thrown in. My foot never went near the break and roads were purely advisory. I drove like the majestic gazelle trying to evade the lion, but gazelles, as majestic as they are, are not known for their skills behind the wheel. I ploughed through front yards and back. Mailboxes were run down with wild abandon. Shrubberies, birdbaths, swing sets – nothing was safe. I was living out the dream joyride of frat boys everywhere, but with way more terror screaming. The craziest part, though, was that it was working. Turns out Frankenstein’s love child was good on the straights but not too great at cornering. For every white picket american dream we destroyed the distance between us and certain death grew, until finally both it and another small town were left far behind.

The mind boggled - I was still alive. I laughed. Uncontrollably. It was the first time I’d laughed since the world broke, but it was the hysterical, unhinged laughter of someone who waves their genitals at cats for fun. I pulled over to catch my breath. A bit of my sanity had just slipped away and was never ever coming back – and why would it want to? That’s when I remembered the girl. I turned slowly and there she was, looking up at me with those big eyes, just another anomaly in bizarro world. She raised a furry arm, pointed straight at me and with a tiny, unmistakably human voice proclaimed ‘You’re bleeding.’

She was right. My shirt was drenched. Good thing I pulled over, because I’m really bad at driving when I’m unconscious.

……………………..

Offline egomassive

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Re: from the laptop of Princess Sparkledance
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2015, 04:24:13 AM »
A very good read so far.

Offline Chezzo

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Re: from the laptop of Princess Sparkledance
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2015, 10:09:05 PM »
Awesome story!

(What are white goods?)

Offline Tripsky

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Re: from the laptop of Princess Sparkledance
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2015, 04:43:24 AM »
again, thanks for the kind words. there's always a bit of apprehension in making a creative work public so the response has been encouraging.

chezzo - white goods are fridges/freezers/washing machines/dryers etc. basically any large, heavy household appliance you wouldn't want dropped on you. I'm australian, so I've been trying to americanise/americanize my writing for this. pickup instead of ute etc but i'm sure there's some I'm completely unaware of. Is white goods an example of this? feel free to point any out, though i still can't bring myself to spell colour without a 'u'.   

might be a slight delay on the next installment. I updated my 6 year old operating system the other day and it pretty much broke everything. slowly ironing out the kinks, though

Offline egomassive

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Re: from the laptop of Princess Sparkledance
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2015, 05:45:16 AM »
White Goods = Home Appliances; Americans interpret "white goods" as household linens such as bath towels and bed sheets.

Shat = Shit; Americans would understand the meaning from the context, especially since it is common to replace foul language with similar sounding words or British equivalents. Americans familiar with shat will see it as a British substitute word used in an attempt to be slightly less offensive. It feels fitting for your protagonist to speak this way based on their personality. However, combined with the "white goods" mistake it made me wonder if the protagonist (or author) was born overseas.

Offline Tripsky

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Re: from the laptop of Princess Sparkledance
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2015, 11:59:20 PM »
White Goods = Home Appliances; Americans interpret "white goods" as household linens such as bath towels and bed sheets.

haha, okay, i did not know that. I might have to edit - having linen like fists would be noticeably less scary. i debated whether to americanise or not. I decided after i wrote 'ute' and realised most readers probably wouldn't know what that was, that even if i don't go full US, i should at least de-australianise it.

Offline Kadian

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Re: from the laptop of Princess Sparkledance
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2015, 07:05:54 PM »
Do not forget: There are also a lot of europeans (and probably a few asian people?) in this forum as well ; And thus, english is not their native tongue. Using Slang (Or colloquial language) of any kind is therefore rather problematic and can interrupt the Reader because he has to check up on the unknown words.
Take me for example - I'm german, and I consider my english to be above average for a non-native speaker, but I wouldn't have known what 'white goods' or an 'Ute' is ;) We do have a term for white goods, which is basically the direct translation ("weiße güter"), but it's somewhere between archaic and obsolete - i assume this is similar for other languages as well.

With that said, you won't be able to please everyone (for obvious reasons), but it is definitely a good idea to write in US or UK English, since this is the language a lot of people with be most familiar with.

Offline Tripsky

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Re: from the laptop of Princess Sparkledance
« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2016, 06:56:53 AM »
……………………..

It was like waking up to the abusive, junkie mother of all hangovers. My mouth was parched, my head was pounding, and just being awake made me want to go back to sleep forever. But it wasn’t a hangover and I wasn’t holed up in bed. I was sitting in the driver’s seat of a battered pickup, smack bang in the middle of George A. Romera’s wet dream.

I cracked open an eyelid, then another. It was painfully sunny. Correction: it was painfully everything. I let my head flop to the side and watched as crusty little snowflakes of dried blood rained down. Memories of why I was covered in blood started to trickle back and I quickly turned off the tap - I'll save the PTSD for later. Instead I decided to focus on the present. I let my eyes wander to the passenger door, which was wide open. Just outside in the middle of the road was the girl, crouched with her back to me, her little dog ears twitching side to side. Huh. Dog ears. Upright, alert and more endearing than any anime character. You'd think I would have noticed those sooner, but I guess I'd been busy with all the manly screaming.

She’d found a t-shirt somewhere big enough that it fit her like a dress, albeit not a very stylish one. It was for an old 20th century band called ‘the Grateful Dead.’ Funny, I'd picked her more as a Snoop Dogg fan.
When you're living through the end of humanity this is about as good as comedy gets, and I let out a chuckle that was almost as painful as the joke. Almost. My friend's afore mentioned dog ears pricked up at the sound and she turned, flashing me a big grin. My chuckle died instantly, as did another piece of my sanity. Bits of bloody fur and entrails dangled from her teeth, and I'm just guessing here, but it was probably from the half devoured rabbit clenched in her hands. It was all I could look at. You know when someone has something stuck in their teeth and you're trying not to stare but it's a big hunk of fresh rabbit guts and the person is half dog? No?

She wiped her whole arm across her mouth and beamed me a smile of pure happiness. It was such an innocent, child like motion, reminding me of my brother when he was little - though he did it sans gore. My brain couldn't figure out if it was disarming or disturbing. Either way it was distracting, which is why I probably didn't think to scream as she bounded into the car and wrapped her arms around me. It took a moment of frozen terror before I realised she was hugging me, and without the disembowelment so common in today's society.

'I thought you weren't going to wake up, or that you would wake up like them.'

Her voice came out muffled, her face buried dangerously close to my armpit, but it was just so god damn human and happy that a little bit of sanity couldn't help but come crawling back. Her dog ears were tickling my face so I gently pried her off and sat her back at arm's length. She was still smiling and I was surprised to discover I was too, albeit a little nervously. Never discount the endorphin inducing power of a good hug.

'My name's Sasha.'

She stuck her hand out in a way that someone had obviously taught her was the polite thing to do in such situations – though I guess they'd neglected to tell her not to go hugging random guys in pickups. I wasn't quite ready for pleasantries, as I was still processing all the weird, so I did some more gawking. Up this close she looked different. Her teeth were a little more pointed than was commonplace and her ears had migrated upwards and gone full Lassie, but her eyes, those beautiful, intelligent, emerald eyes were definitively those of a human. It's like they put the rest of her into context. She had all these dog-like features, but they were dog-like features on a young girl. A young girl with the best halloween costume around. A young girl called Sasha.

I looked down at the human hand extended in greeting towards me, the back of it covered in a fine short fur that shimmered in the sunlight. Beautiful in its own way if you didn't mind a bit of rabbit blood now and then. I looked down at my own hands. Calloused. Scarred. Unhygenically filthy. I think I'd prefer the rabbit blood.

Her smile was starting to go rictus, like when you're smiling for someone taking you're photo but they're taking forever to push the button. I looked back at her eyes and some decision making part of me determined that even though she was some sort of mutant dog-girl, she wasn't a scary mutant dog-girl. I reached out, took her hand in mine.

'Grant. My name's Grant.'

I couldn't remember the last time I'd used my voice for anything other than screaming.

……………………..

Offline vulpes133

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Re: from the laptop of Princess Sparkledance
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2016, 08:31:57 AM »
Alright, I'm in love with this so far. I can't wait to see the adventures of Sasha and Grant continue!