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

June 24th, 2014, 01:20 AM
After careful deliberation of the comments I received from a few of you as well as reviews from other writing sites, I chose to use the second version of chapter two. Please refer back to it if necessary, as this chapter follows it.

The next morning, unlike the previous, I woke up at dawn with my face smashed against the haphazardly crumpled pages of the open “History of the World”, shivering but surprisingly awake. I removed the book from under my head and tried to flatten out the pages, giving up and slamming it shut, leaving the book to fend for itself on the hard wooden floor. I had read the entire thing throughout the course of yesterday afternoon and evening before falling asleep and had yet to process any of it.
In my sleepy stupor, I almost forgot that Thompson was present. As I stumbled out into the main room to get to the kitchen, I peered through the glass balcony doors, only to see a dark silhouette sitting cross-legged on the red wood, surrounded by the pink and orange of the sunrise. I jumped in surprise and almost ran to my room for my rifle when the memory of yesterday came rushing back. It’s Thompson, you idiot!
I quietly slid open the door and observed Thompson engaged in what seemed like meditation, his hands resting on his knees and his breathing slow and even. I chose not to disturb him, as I had not had enough time to gather what kind of man he was - quick to anger or the opposite.
As the morning wore on, I ate my fill of deer jerky and sat on my blanket in the main room, sewing the holes in my shirts and cleaning my rifle. All the while, until the sun was halfway to it’s midday position, Thompson sat steady on the balcony, not once moving. When he did finally move, he rose with no haste and made his way into the main room, sitting on his blanket and facing me. I put my rifle down, resting the cleaning cloth neatly on top, waiting for him to say something. It took him a moment, stroking his beard and nodding his head as he took in a deep breath and opened his mouth.
“John was correct,” was all his said.
I waited for him to continue. When he didn’t I felt the need to inquire further.
“...Correct about what, exactly?”
Thompson’s answer startled me, “He was correct. You want to go get him. You are foolish and impulsive.”
“Excuse me? What exactly are you talking about?” I thought him rude for being so direct, though I did want to get John, I hadn’t said a word to Thompson about it. It was a thought I’d had locked away inthe back of my mind since I first discovered the house empty and torn apart, John missing. But that was two years ago...
“I can sense it. I showed up out of the blue and told you my connection to him and your first thought was, ‘He can help me.’ I can, but it will take time and research.”
Thompson had blown my mind with his words. He had just offered to help me get John. Sure, the thought had crossed my mind, but I hadn’t believed it possible. Did he look into my soul?
“My meditation this morning was focused on you. I wanted to understand why I was here in the grand scheme of things and I came to the conclusion that since I had my freedom because of John, he deserved freedom as well. Even more so since he has a wife on the outside,” Thompson nodded his head again and stood up, “You seem more than able to help. We’ll travel into the City tomorrow to gather information.”
What?! “I’m not prepared, I need time. And who are you to order me around? John is my husband, not yours. I need to process this!” I was angry with Thompson for having the audacity to tell me what ‘we’ were doing. In my own house, nonetheless!
Thompson’s next statement weighed heavy on my soul.
“Do you think John doesn’t mean anything to me? He may be your husband, but he was my only friend in the cell we occupied. We have experienced things you cannot imagine,” Thompson averted his eyes from the ground to me, “I’d suggest you spend the day scrubbing off the rough parts of your skin and washing your hair, among other preparations. We must be able to fit in with the clean-cut Citizens. We leave at dawn.” With that said, he walked away, and I heard him pick up the shotgun from its perch next to the door and leave, closing the door softly behind him.
I was dumbstruck, unsure of how to take in Thompson’s words and surprised at the fluttering excitement that had just arrived in my soul. We’re doing this. We’re...we’re going to get John!
I squealed and stood up, darting around the house and yard, gathering a rough rock, one of the full water containers, and my sharpest knife. Thompson was nowhere to be seen, but I was more concerned with turning myself into a stereotypical Citizen. He knows what he’s doing out there.
A new fire heated up the water nicely, allowing me to take the large, full pot off of its spot hanging over the flame and carry it to the bathtub to dip my feet, elbows and hands in. With my body warm and softened by the water, I used the rock to scrub the rough, hard calluses into fresh, pink skin. I lightly scrubbed the rest of my body with the rock to scrape off any dead skin and then poured most of the remaining water over my head to massage as much of the grease out of my hair as I could. I dried myself with a large square of absorbent material I’d been using as a towel for the last few weeks and prepared to face myself in the mirror that was so unforgiving yesterday.
I gasped as I stepped in front of my reflection. I was glowing with the pink color of fresh skin, and my normally boring, greyish eyes were vibrant green-blue, accentuated by the color of my clean hair, which now looked more golden brown than mousey. I smiled in excitement and the entire feeling evaporated when I saw my teeth. Yellowed and dull, they stood out like a wildfire on the mountainside, harshly destroying my image. I felt defeated when a voice interrupted my despair through the door.
“I assume you’ll need to clean your teeth. I have some Ex-Age baking soda. I read somewhere in an old book that it helps to whiten teeth when turned into a paste.” Thompson startled me with his silent arrival but I yelled for him to wait a moment and put on my newly sewed shirt and leather pants. I opened the door and he stood there holding out a disintegrating little orange box.
“Ex-Age stuff doesn’t last. It’s been 72 years,” I said with doubt as I grabbed the box and glanced at the “best if sold by” date. Of course, Thompson had a reply.
“Baking soda is a mineral. It doesn’t rot. It may just not work as strongly.”
“Why aren’t you using it?” I asked him.
He smiled, displaying a full set of pearly white teeth, “The synthetic food they gave us did my teeth a lot of good, I’ll give them that.”
I shook my head, but gave in.
“Fine, I’ll try it. Quit reading my mind, by the way. It’s uncomfortable.”
Thompson grinned and turned from me, making his way to the main room. I picked up the pot from next to the bathtub and looked in. About a cup of water rolled around the inside of it. I shrugged and poured a bit of the white powder from the orange box into the pot, mixing it together with my finger. It quickly transformed into a thin paste and I dipped a large amount onto my finger. The mirror assisted me as I began to rub my teeth with the bitter, white substance.
When I was satisfied with my work, I went into the kitchen for a bottle of fresh water, came back to the bathroom, took a swig, and swished it around my mouth and through my teeth. The water was foggy and made me gag when I spit it out into the sink, but when I looked up into the mirror and smiled, I found a beauty staring back at me. My teeth had whitened at least two shades and although they were not nearly on Thompson’s level, they would have to do. My excitement was back in full force; I was giddy as I stepped out of the bathroom.
I need to gather more water, pack food, and discuss tomorrow with Thompson. John...I’m coming for you.

July 3rd, 2014, 04:22 AM
Your chapter is clear and straightforward. I may be at fault here, but it reads somewhat dispassionately, like someone might recite an experience for evidence in a court proceeding. Is the main character desperately wanting John, her husband? Is it life and death for her? Is she falling apart because she's worried sick about him or is she going through procedural motions? The POV character is sensible and pragmatic, but is that what you're intending for this story? She's acting like this situation happens routinely.

Even if I'm far off point, there may be other readers like me and perhaps you could help us along in our weakness.