View Full Version : Untitled Post-Apocalyptic Novel

March 30th, 2013, 04:17 AM
The brick buildings that once stood proudly around the city, have crumbled into disgusting dens for crackheads and the homeless. With gaping holes in the walls and fire escapes rusting away, the city has become a breeding ground for battles between the Factions that now claimed different sections of the once great metropolis. Four major gangs have staked their claim in the dominate neighborhoods and have been at war with each other for the past six years. Those who were lucky got out of the city early, when the emergency channels were still broadcasting and the government was still providing transport to safe zones. The Event changed everything.

In the dark alleyways, creatures lurked, waiting for the chance to strike and feed upon an innocent and unknowing prey. The creatures were once human, at least that is what the stories said. After The Event, people started to mutate. Some would just become hunchbacks while others' skin would fall off and leave open wounds and sores all over their body. After some time, the devilish creatures would grow claws and their teeth became sharp enough to bite through metal. The monsters were forced away from the markets and were no longer allowed to live in the homes that were located in the neutral zones.

No matter how many times Arthur went scavenging for food, he would always return with a few dead squirrels or a can of carrots that someone managed to leave behind. With a family of three to feed and the troublesome neighbor who stole their food when Arthur's family was sleeping, he couldn't allow himself to come back with less than a dozen things to eat. The slender dark haired boy had been doing food runs for his family for the past four years. Now, at eighteen years old, Arthur could defend himself a little better than before, which meant he could now go deeper into the gang territory.

The buildings towered over Arthur as he made his way towards the Dragon's district. The Dragons had been the first gang to establish themselves publicly. Their leader has never been seen, nor has anyone ever spoken his name. Most of the destruction in the city is actually the work of The Dragons. They love explosives, fire and acid. If it can burn or destroy something within a matter of seconds, The Dragons have it in their possession. Stories of the leader using acid to take intruder's arms off have flooded the neutral zones, which lead to many people obviously fearing The Dragons and never stepping foot near the dock that faced the direction of their territory.

Arthur walked past the alley that would lead him directly to an old grocery store, but going through that shortcut would mean risking an attack from the creatures. Although he was armed with his hatchet, a hunting knife,and his Truman; Arthur was in no mood for a fight. The red Akita, Truman, has been in the family since Arthur was only eight years old. Arthur would rather not have to fight anyone or anything on his way to get food, so he took the long way. “Let's go, Truman. The store is this way.” Arthur said as he nudged the aging dog with his leg.

The store was in Arthur's line of sight now. The neon sign was barely hanging on to the building. Some of the letters had bullet holes in them, probably from some kids testing out their father's guns. Unfortunately, Arthur wasn't allowed to use a gun. His father was very strict, it was a battle to even let him have a hatchet. The windows of the store had been busted out, leaving shards of broken glass lying around the entrance to the store. “Could be a trap.” Arthur said under his breath, as he grabbed the old hunting knife that was strapped to his belt.
Knowing that he would have to be quick to kill whatever would be lurking in the store, Arthur tightened his grip of the knife and grabbed his hatchet from his bag. The broken glass crunched under his feet as he walked into the store. Truman followed closely behind, sniffing the air as they walked. “You smell that, boy?” Truman started to growl then slowly walked towards an aisle. The smell of something burning invaded Arthur's nostrils and made him light headed. As he turned the corner of the aisle, he noticed a jacket laying on the ground. “I'll take that.” Truman ran over and picked the jacket up with his mouth and brought it to Arthur. “Thanks, boy” He knelt down and scratched Truman's head.

The sound of something falling rang throughout the store. Truman's ears perked up and Arthur moved himself against the aisle. Someone was running. The footsteps grew louder and they were heading right for Arthur. “They can't possibly know I'm in here. We've been quite the whole time.” Arthur had never taken another human's life or even the life of one of the creatures that lurk the city at night. The footsteps stopped. Whoever was in the store might have left.

Arthur grabbed a few cans of beans, carrots and diced potatoes. He stuffed them into his canvas messenger bag that had been repaired with duct tape and some patchwork done by his sister. Just as he was finished putting the food away, the footsteps made their presence known again. A voice accompanied them this time “I know you're in here.” The voice sounded female, but the footsteps were too heavy for a woman. Arthur knew that there had to be more than one person in the store with him. Which meant he had to leave immediately, or risk dying. “Come out now. We won't hurt you.” the voice was closer. Arthur had an idea. He threw a can across the store. “Found you!” the voice shouted. The people ran over to where the can had landed. Seeing his opening to escape, Arthur and Truman ran to the door. “Got you” said a deep voice. A hand grabbed Arthur's neck and forced him to the ground. The man knocked the hatchet from Arthur's hand and forced the knife against his cheek. “Where do you think you're going?” The voice belonged to a bearded man. Blocked headed and sporting an unruly black beard, the man started to breath heavily.
Arthur struggled to find the words “I-I'm going” He lost his breath. Arthur pawed at the man's face, took in a deep breath “Let me go” Arthur looked over at Truman, who was being pinned to the ground by a younger guy, no more than a year or two older than himself. “Truman” He whispered. “Attack.”
The dog wiggled free from the man's grip and immediately snapped down on the forearm of his attacker, sending the man into a screaming fit and caused him to roll around on the ground. Truman leaped on top of the man and with one solid bite, ripped the man's cheek right off. The canine then turned his attention to the man on top of Arthur. Truman lunged at the back of the neck of the heavyset man. Simultaneously growling and digging his teeth deeper into the man's neck. Truman released the man and laid down next to his owner. With his fur covered in the blood, the dog rubbed his face against Arthur's. “Thank you, Truman.”

March 31st, 2013, 02:59 AM
What would you think about putting this story into the first person? Interesting premise and I like the final scene, where the dog comes to the rescue. Do you plan on keeping the mutants largely in the background and making it more about simple survival in this disaster-ravaged world...? I think the fact that you've got plenty of purely human threats as a simple result of the collapse of society means that maybe mutants ought to be used sparingly, perhaps...? Like, maybe spoken of more than seen until some big moment...?

March 31st, 2013, 03:04 AM
The mutants will rarely show up. There will be attacks, but the attacks will be rare. I am setting up a scene where Arthur will run into the mutant, but it will be short. As far as first person goes, I might. Personally, I'm torn between third and first person. I'll rewrite this is first and see how I feel.

April 1st, 2013, 04:45 AM
Arthur stood up, dusted himself off and picked up his knife. He grabbed a rag out of his bundle along with a bottle of water. “Lets clean you up.” The wet rag finally removed all the blood from the dog's face. Truman stuck his nose in the air and let out a quiet growl. Arthur quickly stood up and began walking towards the door. There was no time to waste and Arthur knew it. Just as he was about to cross the entryway of the store, an arrow grazed shoulder.
“Don't move.” commanded the female voice. The same voice that Arthur heard the first time had returned. “Put the bag on the ground.” Another order from the unknown voice. Arthur did as he was told. He knew if he could get the girl close enough to him, he could attack her and scare her off with his knife. “Weapons too.”
“I have none.” Arthur called back to the voice.
“I wasn't born yesterday. Drop them or this time the arrow will go through your chest.” the girl threatened. She dropped down from the ledge she was positioned on. Arthur threw his weapons down by his feet. “Tell the dog to leave me alone or I'll kill him.”
“Truman, she's okay. Don't bite.” Arthur hated lying, even if it was just to his dog.
The girl finally walked in front of him. A petite young girl with jet black hair started rummaging through Arthur's bag. “A few cans of food and a dead rat?” The girl looked up at Arthur. Her bright blue eyes flashed through the dark hair. Arthur was amazed. Most people have dead eyes now, vacant of all hope with little to no life hiding behind them. “What am I supposed to do with this crap?” She snapped. “This is worthless to me. I can probably trade the cans, but the rat is useless.” The girl tossed the rodent's carcass aside.
Arthur was ready to leave and he wasn't going to let some girl stop him. He threw a right hook into the girl's side. “I'm sorry!” Arthur yelled as the girl dropped to the floor. Dashing through the door with Truman closely behind, Arthur realized he had forgotten his hatchet. He looked back and saw the girl closing in on him. “Forget it.” He knew the only way he could lose her is if he took the shortcut.
The girl swung the bow off her shoulder and loaded an arrow, all while still chasing Arthur. She sent an arrow flying straight passed Arthur's leg. “I won't miss again.” She said under her breath as she loaded another arrow. This time she aimed for directly for Truman. “I'll take down that damn dog then.” She released the arrow. It cut through the air with a whistling sound. Just as the arrow was about to hit Truman, he and Arthur turned the corner. “Dammit!”
An old dumpster sat in the alley. “Quick, hide in here.” Arthur said as he lifted the lid. Truman jumped in and Arthur followed. “Stop that.” Arthur closed Truman's snout. He heard the girl's feet pounding along the cobblestone. The echoing of her footsteps lessened. As he peeked out of the dumpster, Arthur gave Truman the signal to exit. He threw open the lid and climbed out. Truman started to whine. “What's wrong, boy?” Arthur knelt down and started to pet his loyal dog. Out of the corner of his eye, a shadow emerged. A shrill scream was let out by a creature who was hunched over on the fire escape above.
The pale skinned devil looked down upon Arthur and Truman. It's teeth were dripping with blood. Crimson eyes glared down at Arthur. The creature let out another wail then dropped down on top of Arthur. The blood and spit covered Arthur's face as he held his forearm against the mutant's neck to prevent it biting him. Truman growled and stood his ground, but wouldn't dare attack. Death was only a few inches away from Arthur's face, staring into his eyes. He shut his eyes, preparing for the end and worrying about his family starving. Just as Arthur was about to let his arm fall to his side and allow the creature to take his life, he heard the voice of the girl.
A whistling sound shot through the air. Arthur opened his eyes and was greeted by the blood covered tip of an arrow. Shocked, Arthur laid still as the body slumped on top of him. Truman, now feeling a bit brave, walked over to the body and sniffed it. The dog let out a reserved whine as he cowered away. The girl made her way over to Arthur and the corpse that lay on top of him. “You need to be more careful.” She kicked the body off of him. “First, you had a run in with me and my guys, which I'm still pissed about. Then, you had the pleasure of being on the receiving end of a creature attack.” The girl laughed then immediately grabbed Arthur's bag.
“Are you kidding me?” Arthur snapped. He got up to his feet and snatched the bag away from her. “I know you just rescued me and all, but-”
“Yeah. I did just rescue you. Time for a reward and I want those cans.” She retorted, grabbing onto the strap of the bag. “I could have let the creature kill you and waited till it left to take your bag. Now, I just did you a favor.” She added. The strap was straining and looked as if it were about to rip.
“Let go.” Arthur pulled out his knife. “I'll kill you” He said as his hand shook.
The girl took notice of his hand. “Wait a minute. You've never killed have you?” She curiously stared at Arthur.
“Did you see what I just did in there to your men?” Arthur replied
“Your dog did that. Don't take credit for that.”
“I've killed. Just last-” Arthur tried to defend himself.
“Shut up. Give me the bag and I'll go.” The girl was clearly annoyed by Arthur.
“I'll give you one can and some bandages I found. You can trade them.”
“What's your name?” She asked, easing her grip.
“And the dog?” The girl pointed to the dirty Akita sitting perfectly still by Arthur.
“Well, Arthur, do you want to die here?” She pulled an arrow out of the quiver that was slung over her shoulder.
“You wouldn't kill me” Arthur gulped
“Oh, I'd kill you. Then, I'd kill the dog. A girl's gotta eat, Arthur.” she replied
“Don't talk about Truman that way!” Arthur took a step toward the girl.
“Look at you. You're getting brave now.” she chuckled.
“Like I said before. I'll give you a can of food and some first aid supplies then we can go our separate ways.”
“You never asked my name”
“I do not care about you or your name” Arthur was getting angry. Truman could tell and started to growl at the girl.
“I'm Cara.” She said as she dug through her pack. Cara pulled out a bone with barely any meat on it and threw it to Truman. The dog quickly jumped up and started chewing on the treat.
“Come on.” Arthur groaned. “What was that?”
“A deer.” Cara smiled
“Where did you find a deer?” Arthur's curiosity had peaked. A deer could feed his whole family for a week or two and that meant no more runs out of the safe zones.
“Give me the bag and I'll tell you.”
Arthur struggled with the decision. He knew how great it would be to finally have a decent meal that didn't consist of beans, carrots and burnt squirrel. He shut his eyes, took a deep breath and let go of the bag.
“Thanks.” Cara flung open the top of the bag and started searching through it. “Done.” Arthur didn't watch her while she had the bag. It would have only made him regret his choice even more if he saw all his food being stolen. “Take your bag and get the hell out of here.” Cara kicked the bag over to him. She stood up and started to walk away.
“Wait!” Arthur yelled. “Where can I find the deer?”
“Use your brain, kid.” Cara kept walking until she was out of Arthur's sight.

April 1st, 2013, 01:04 PM
Hi there. I think it sounds interesting. I thoroughly enjoy the survival/zombie type theme and I think you are off to a good start. Personally I think your first few paragraphs are too rushed. You desribe a lot very quickly as an overview rather than a story. I think it would be better for a reader to feel what you see in your head as you write it by having the description of the city as part of an event happening ,which can allow you to add much more detail and bring an emotion with it, rather than a quick overview. Just my opinion though. I would also be careful with the 1 man 1 dog idea as its been done a lot. Try to keep away from the "i am legend" moments. But overall a good beginning. I would read more.

April 1st, 2013, 10:01 PM
Have you tried starting off with Arthur instead of world building?

No matter how many times Arthur went scavenging for food, he would always return with a few dead squirrels or a can of carrots that someone managed to leave behind. With a family of three to feed and the troublesome neighbor who stole their food when Arthur's family was sleeping, he couldn't allow himself to come back with less than a dozen things to eat. The slender dark haired boy had been doing food runs for his family for the past four years. Now, at eighteen years old, Arthur could defend himself a little better than before, which meant he could now go deeper into the gang territory.
This is a better place to start imo.

April 1st, 2013, 10:40 PM
Thank you for the feedback guys. I'm debating right now between making it all first person and ditching the dog or revamping the entire story with a different protagonist who would be the exact opposite of Arthur

April 2nd, 2013, 01:32 AM
This is really good, so far. I like the dynamic set up between Arthur and Cara. Also, is there something about the creature that makes Truman afraid, as opposed to regular people?

April 2nd, 2013, 02:31 AM
Truman, like all dogs, can sense the evil in a beings. The creature is basically pure evil, which scares Truman (who could blame him!) also, a little back story, he was hurt by one in the past but got away just before the mutant could do any real damage. Truman has no probably attacking a person, but a mutant is a no go

April 12th, 2013, 09:19 AM
This was good, interesting and a good concept. The beginning was a little rushed and the fight scene at the end of the first part could use a little bit of work. Just as an example, I don't think someone would roll around on the ground with a dog on their arm, they would most likely take a few swings at Truman before being knocked down by the dog, who would then go for the throat, not the cheek. the rest is good though, I'd like to see some more.

April 13th, 2013, 06:54 AM
A decent start, I would like to see the first part rewritten in first person since the story is based more around Arthur rather than anything else. It would be good to see some more.

April 13th, 2013, 07:02 AM
Its certainly interesting. My only issue is that, you might want to slow down a bit. A story is nice, and its great to get your concept out there, but it's also fun to let the reader figure out what is going on over a longer period of time.