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View Full Version : Wild Blue - A Dystopian Fiction: Chapter One



coraelise
June 13th, 2014, 10:54 PM
The tour must have just begun when I stumbled upon it in my woods. It had actually interrupted my search for firewood, which had intensely irritated me. I'd spent the last three early fall nights adjusting to the deep cold that suddenly began arriving between midnight and sunrise - the Rockies were fickle in that sense; when the seasons changed, there was no transition period to adjust. Right on the dot, it always started to burn, rain, or freeze. My hunt days had taken up all of my week and today was my only free time to gather tinder. I had just found a perfectly dry fallen pine when I heard the hum of a City vehicle cutting through brush about a quarter mile West. I leapt toward a thick Maple branch that hung above and pulled myself up, struggling to get out of sight.

I watched from my hiding spot in one of the towering maples at the base of the mountain as the large, finished steel-colored vehicle hummed by a collection of decomposing wooden houses and wily overgrowth. A couple dozen faces of all sizes and colors peered through their thick windows and gawked at the sight of them, children’s tiny fingers pressed hard against the glass-like material as they questioned their parents about what they were seeing.

I’d heard of these tours before whenever I’d sneak into the city. The government would organize large groups together to show the people the “dangers” of life outside the walls. I had never seen them myself, since their location apparently changed every tour. However, I didn’t recall these little houses standing where they did the last few years of my residency on this part of the mountain. Strange…

I observed the vehicle come to a halt and a man wearing a dark blue old-age cap with a brim, displaying a holocuff on his palm stepped out as the door disintegrated open. I longed to hear exactly what he was saying from my post, but the distance was too far. I could only catch every other phrase or so, things like “before the war,” and “far too dangerous”. The risk of finding a closer spot was simply too high to listen to what was undoubtedly a history lesson - a fake one, at that. I had to wait.

As the man made his way out of the vehicle, so did several armed men and women wearing large suits of dark, padded, material. They held up their guns, spreading in all directions as they checked over the area. After about two minutes of wandering around, finding no apparent danger, one of the guards held a thumb up, and the tourists piled out, their relentless gabbing echoing in the valley. The adults all had holocuffs enabled, their fingers and eyes mindlessly dancing across the interfaces as they looked through historical documents and typed notes, ignoring the massive mound of pure Earth that lay before them, displaying hundreds of shades of green and brown, alive with nature’s bountiful trees, grass, and wildflowers. How could you not gasp in wonder when all you’ve seen in person is made by humans? The children meekly hid behind the legs of their parents, peeking out curiously to observe the glow and beauty of the morning mountainside. At least the little ones seem to care.

One small girl, probably a mere six or seven years old, stepped out from behind her mother and approached a tree. Eyes wide with wonder, I watched as she put out her tiny hand to touch the pine’s rough trunk and a guard swiftly ran to her and barked “No touching!” The little girl whipped her head around to see his towering, gun-toting figure shadowing her. His harsh words echoed to me and I gritted my teeth as she ran back to the safety of her mother’s legs.

It’s just a tree, you monster, I yelled in my mind and took a long, deep, sigh. I felt a knot in my stomach as my anger silently seethed in my core. Children do not belong in a world that doesn’t allow their curiosity to roam free.

I eyed one of the guards as he crouched behind a bush, out of view of the tour group, tapping on the interface of his holocuff. From the small chunk of plastic, a digital, pixelated human figure began to glow on to the ground. As the resolution gained traction, I could gather that the figure was splayed on the grass, covered in bright red. The thought crashed into realization:

They’re holographing a dead person. My back stiffened and my arm hair stood on end as I felt that knot in my stomach become heated with hatred. What a cheap ploy to scare the people.

Satisfied, the guard stood up and bellowed, “Get the citizens into the tour craft, immediately! There is danger!”

The tour guide nodded and the men and women snapped out of their digital bliss to pick up their children and rush them to the craft. Their chatter turned into urgent commands, “Get in the craft, hurry!”

The curious little girl who’d almost touched the tree hesitated to hold her mom’s hand, looking longingly toward the guard and his bush. As her big, wondering eyes blinked, her mother yanked on her arm, pulling her into the tour craft. I felt a ping of sadness through my anger as I realized that after this tour, this curious little girl would soon be a dutiful Citizen of The City, scared to leave the walls and expose herself to the wonders of our beautiful and plentiful Earth.

As the craft door assembled itself again with all the people in its belly, the guards began to stage the dramatic discovery of a woman’s death, dragging the holographic body into the open, barely shielding the people from the view as they performed a mock anatomical analysis with their holocuffs and yelled for the craft to depart back to the city. I saw through the craft’s glass-material wide, terrified eyes latched onto the fake body as they hummed off at quick pace back the way they came. I couldn’t imagine what was going through the minds of the people on the tour. They had no idea how to react. The only death they experience within the walls are those of old age. Murder is not present, in fact - it’s unheard of outside of history lessons.

As soon as the tour craft was out of sight, the guard from the bush held out his holocuff and it sucked the holographic dead woman back in. The rest of the guards wandered around the area of houses, holocuffs out, sucking in the decomposing houses and scattered items that I’d recalled hadn’t been there before. That explains it.

When everything was as nature had left it, the guards called for a vehicle and a small, empty one arrived seemingly out of nowhere. They hummed off, laughing about the poor quality of the woman’s holograph made my the guard from the bush.

I let out a deep breath and let several follow. I wondered how long I’d been holding my breath. For the first time since I first spotted the tour, I loosened my fisted hands and relaxed, letting my legs untangle themselves from their crossed position and dangle from the limb.

I had no clue that it was this bad. The city is staging deaths to keep the people in. No wonder the tour is always somewhere different - they can’t have the same thing happen in the same place every time, it would rise suspicion.

I shook my head and looked down. There lay my triumphant tree, the key to warmth tonight.

The echo of the first chop bounced about the surrounding trees as I brought my axe down.

Warmth.




~~~



The fire crackled in the main room through my doorway and I snuggled into my blankets as I stared at the popcorn ceiling from my resting spot on the pile of random cloth I called my bed. I repeated every detail of the tour that morning in my mind’s eye but found myself in a state of disbelief.

Before he was taken all that time ago, John had told me how bad it was and I’d refused to believe him. Life within the walls was pristine, even perfect, I’d assumed. No disease, endless nourishment, protection. Though I knew the outside wasn’t “dangerous,” I had wanted to think it right that the people had walls and turrets to secure the City in case another war began. The only protection I had from the other Cities was my ability to hide.

With the cool breeze shifting through my dimly-lit room, I felt the angry knot in my stomach from earlier loosen up, and I felt tears rush to the corners of my eyes as I realized that everything John had told me about the City was right.

‘That’s insane. People aren’t crazy like that anymore! This isn’t the old age,’ I remember yelling at him. He would just shake his head and tell me I was wrong. ‘You’re wrong, Elise. You’ll know one day. I just hope I’m not there to see you realize that.’

Salty droplets left wide tracks on my cheeks, and I rolled over with a heavy exhale. Morning was fast on its way, and I had a lot to do. I hope John finds a way out. He deserves a way out. I drifted off to sleep, feeling the burden of denial sink into my dreams.

Sir Sloth
June 14th, 2014, 06:35 AM
I'm already enjoying this! Particularly the "Life within the walls" concept, reminds me of brave new world.

WechtleinUns
June 15th, 2014, 02:13 AM
Hmm... as far as dystopian fantasy goes, what you have here seems pretty mundane. To be perfectly honest, I've been seeing a lot of writing similar to this form. The institution of "The Cities" is keeping people from realizing how awesome the real world is. The plot is pretty much the same as The Giver, Brave New World, Gathering Blue, and a lot of other Young Adult Fiction, now that I think about it.

Heck, even The Hunger Games is pretty similar. There's this great and large police state that is oppressing the lives of normal people in some way or another. On a technical level, there's nothing bad with your writing. Grammar was good, and characterization was good, if a bit rushed.

I think, perhaps, that pacing is always difficult to get right, so I don't fault you with that. Then again, the trend appears to be towards books with faster pacing anyways. My problem is I prefer books that take much more time to gather steam. I guess I'm just getting old and ornery, I suppose.

This is not to say that I absolutely hate you/your writing/your self esteem/your dog, etc. In fact, I think it's far too soon for me to judge your work. I do like your style, which is very clean and straightforward. I'll keep reading this to see if it tickles my fancy. Thanks very much for posting this, and welcome to Writing Forums, Coraelise.

ShadowVafel
June 18th, 2014, 12:21 AM
not much that i can say at this point since its the first chapter, but as was mentioned the concept of 'life withing the walls' is used often and seems unoriginal. though truth be told the core concept is what it is...the core. the basis. what you build around it counts the most regarding the characters, the plot etc...so just because the core idea is mundane does not mean the story will be mundane as well, as long you'll direct it to the right place.
hoping to see the next episode soon, im curious how it'll continue.

Nippon Devil
June 20th, 2014, 12:32 AM
Not bad... No. I'm going to say this one is good.

There is a choopy sentence or two. In particuler: The fire crackled in the main room through my doorway and I snuggled into my blankets as I stared at the popcorn ceiling from my resting spot on the pile of random cloth I called my bed. ...Is a very busy sentence. Other than a few other spots I can't recall, it was a smooth read.

It did bother me a bit that the point of view character wasn't very well described. At least by the end I knew the character's name was Elise and that she was a nimble person. I'm also old and ornery and would have liked to see a bit more buildup first. I like to become familiar with the world I'm being dumped in.

I don't read much dystopian fantasy, but what you have seems somewhat unique. Instead of taking the point of view of a trapped city dweller, we are instead looking at the world from someone outside of civilization. Yes, "the walls" are obviously overused in this Genre, but you're showing us the other side of them first, which I think is grounds for originality.


I'll read your next chapter(s) tomorrow. So far i like what I see and I am interested in what comes next.

jnamake3
June 20th, 2014, 05:55 AM
This is really neat. I already found myself caring for the characters and wanting to know more about their world, which makes it an effective first chapter. Contrary to what others might think, I don't believe you need to paint a detailed picture of the present character right out of the gate, especially in first-person. Abrupt over descriptions can seem contrived. I think what you've done here is very nice. Even nowadays, wherein dystopian future concepts seem to be flooding the world of fiction, this holds its own identity. If you keep the focus on the characters and their context within the plot, you should have something truly original.