View Full Version : An Apocalypse Story Pt. 4ish of ? (LANGUAGE)

September 30th, 2015, 04:28 AM
This next part is from the perspective of Matt. I thought I'd use it as a way to break up the action from part 3. I'm not completed with it yet but you guys can go ahead and take it apart. I will update it when it is ready. Thanks!

Two months after everything went to shit I still hadn't found my mom. I was staying in a makeshift refugee camp set up in a park by the city centre. I spent most of the hours of daylight out, searching. The days were getting noticeably shorter. Winter would set in soon. The military officers in charge of the camp were doing their best to ensure everyone was prepared. I hoped to find my mom before then.

I had managed to pick up a one person tent and a sleeping bag from a camping store during a raid organised by some men from the camp. They light enough for me to keep on my pack and I frequently brought them with me on search trips. Sometimes the weather would get bad and I would be stuck away from camp. There wasn't much of an atmosphere of trust at the camp either. Quite frankly, I didnít feel all that safe about leaving my stuff there.

On another raid I picked up a Glock 19. Not the prettiest of firearms but it would do in a pinch. I also found a flashy revolver that I traded to a soldier for a couple hundred rounds of 9mm and a few MREs.

The camp was set up outside in the shelter of several office buildings ringing the park. Most people had managed to square away a room inside but some of us younger people lived outside. The soldiers had set up a field hospital in one building and another building was a makeshift administrative office. We could have easily spread out and inhabited some more buildings but few people were willing to live even that much further from the relative safety of the soldiers.

The main camp area comprised of an open air mess hall, a smattering of tents, and a few latrines to supplement the few working toilets in the buildings. One of the tents served as a little PX from which one could purchase anything from a toothbrush to the newest cache of semi automatic weapons.

I wasn't the only teenager there. I was, however, the only teenager without a family member or friend at the camp. The few adolescents at the camp rarely interacted with me and I usually kept my distance. There was no point making friends. I think everyone just assumed I was going to disappear into the concrete jungle one day.

This particular day I was sitting inside the food court of what was left of a shopping centre. Ordinarily this place would be bustling with life; instead it was completely dead. The air was thick and infused with the smell of decaying food.

I rested for a brief moment and then shouldered my backpack. I had heard rumors that a group of survivors were holed up either in or around this shopping centre. So far I had seen neither sight nor sound of them. It had taken me half the day to get to where I was now and it looked like I would have to spend the night here. Not the most ideal situation. The nights were the most dangerous.

About three hours after I left Sam on her driveway the group responsible for the bombings transmitted a single, short broadcast on the radio. They claimed that their mission was to create a 'new better America' and that those deemed "unfit" would be purged slowly by the process of natural selection. One of their methods of "natural selection" was to go out after dark and attack, capture, or kill any survivors they encountered.

I walked through the lower levels of the shopping centre, thankful that in this situation, there were no zombies. I don't think I would have lasted this long if there were zombies. I'd probably be a zombie too.

Shards of glass crunched under my feet. The entire mall probably had been looted completely in around two weeks. The stores themselves were empty and shelving was strewn about. Something fell from not too far to my right. I froze for a brief second and then reached for my gun. Whatever it was I wouldn't go down without a fight. There was another clatter, this time to my left.

My heart was racing and I began to move very slowly into the cover of one of the shops. I slipped quietly behind a unit of shelving and crouched there, almost too nervous to breathe. From my position I had a partial view of the walkway I had left. There was some more clattering and then some footsteps. I took my pistol off safety and prepared myself for the worst.

Harper J. Cole
October 4th, 2015, 01:45 PM
This is a well written section. The only errors I spotted were ...

They light enough for me to keep on my pack

Missing word

So far I had seen neither sight nor sound of them.

Here 'seen' isn't appropriate (as you can't see sound).

I'll look forward to seeing where you're going with this ...


October 4th, 2015, 07:47 PM
Your multi-national experience is showing in your voice. At first it felt like England / Europe, then your current location.
I know this section is first-person narration, but I could use just a bit more detail for the setting. Aside from it being cold and militaristic, I don't feel a lot.

A scar and dirt on a corporal? His hollow eyes looked like he hadn't slept in days? Blood splatters and (God knows what) on a bayonet or his rifle? Torn tent fabric? Mud?
What does Matt see? And smell (odors in a camp, like human waste)? The sounds of people crying?
And, perhaps, someone looked at Matt a certain way. A way that brought comfort, or terror.

The mall scene was good. Maybe just a bit more build-up of tense details.

And, sorry for further nitpicks, but I don't see a government camp allowing the free trade and open carry of weapons.

Keep going and thanks for sharing.

Doc Martin
October 5th, 2015, 12:03 AM
Your story is well written and very interesting. I am also interested in post disaster stories and have one in progress. You wrote about portable toilets and decaying food. I would continue to describe the camp conditions which will draw the reader even closer to the action. The porta-potties will soon be overflowing due to lack of service. You will probably have power failures once the grid goes down. The heat will cause illness and body odors among other issues.

Also, if you introduce Marines into the list of characters, have them be addressed by their full rank. For example, US Marine sergeants are never called sarge. A staff sergeant and above is never addressed simply as sergeant. One other important thing. Your last sentence had the character taking off the safety of the firearm. Glock 19s generally do not have manual safeties. They come with trigger safeties. A manual thumb safety is available as an after market installation.

Great job. I look forward to more.

October 5th, 2015, 12:32 AM
Thanks for your feedback. I figured there'd be a lot of holes. I typed this out to figure out where I'd go next. I'll fix it up. A few of my mistakes are due to a general lack of experience in post-apocalyptic scenarios. Yeah and I should have known about the Glock, my dad's friend has one. I'll post a better version soon! Thanks!

By the way, does anyone have any suggestions on how to work in description, like the doc said, without drawing away from the story and the current voice? Thanks!

October 27th, 2015, 10:18 PM
Showing your character's action is superb. Definitely one of your stronger points.

Also it's good to see more details in the environment too. Which I thought lacked a bit in parts 1 to 3.

October 30th, 2015, 05:31 AM
As mentioned above, I think a deeper/more detailed scene description could really boost this story to the next level. As far as how, well, there may be better ways, but I would say, try to mix the scene description with the character's feelings, this way it's more of a showing instead of a telling.

This could be an example: I rested for a brief moment and then shouldered my backpack. I had heard rumors that a group of survivors were holed up either in or around this shopping centre. So far I had seen neither sight nor sound of them. It had taken me half the day to get to where I was now and it looked like I would have to spend the night here. Not the most ideal situation. The nights were the most dangerous.

"Accompanied by a deep sigh, I let my backpack slip from my burning shoulders as i briefly rested from the twelve hour trip here. Even then, looking around the barren shopping centre, I couldn't help but shudder at the thought of spending an entire night in a place like this. A place where, despite hearing reports of survivors, I certainly hadn't seen any."

Probably not a great example, but hope what i mean is coming through. it's just like trying to use sounds, smells, environment stuff to evoke a feeling in the reader that supports what you want to say, if that makes sense lol. anyway, enjoyed the story, hope this is helpful and good luck.

January 8th, 2016, 03:26 AM
Alright, another question!

Zombies or no?

I've been playing with the idea of having zombies be the main enemy in the story for a little while now. It would make things a little more action-y.
But I also like the idea of the political group. Cos then, it would give Sam(SPOILER) a reason to go back after getting rescued and lead the fight against the terrorists (for whom I've settled on the name of The Founding Fathers at the moment).

but then...zombies. They could be the result of a flu epidemic (which there was prior to the opening of the story).#

I dunno.

Am I coming off as too Walking Dead here?

January 8th, 2016, 09:26 PM
You already have "bad guys" (The Founding Fathers). I'd consider making them the "lawful evil" (pardon my geek). You could have other antagonists, but I'd differentiate them by making them "unlawful evil". Perhaps they are religious zealots, with a disease that they think they can cure by murder and mayhem? Not a new plot concept, but may work well here.
Buenos Surete.