Saturday, July 31, 2010

Hollow World Chapter 3


A loud explosion shook the house around them early the next morning. Zachariah was sitting on the ugly green chaise with a bowl of Cheerios, Kyle sitting next to him, picking at his own bowl of the same. Amy had just finished cleaning Zachariah’s arm, and was making a list of items she would need to extract the bullet. Peter and the rest were still sleeping.

As Amy, Zachariah, and Kyle all crowded around the front door, to see if it was safe to open, Peter came bounding down the stairwell, still pulling his shirt on. “What the hell was that?”

“I don’t know, but it was close.” Replied Amy, "we were just wondering who should go check it out."

“I will,” both Peter and Zachariah said at the same time

“You’re not going anywhere, Zach,” Amy said, in a motherly tone.

Peter opened the front door, and stepping off the porch, looking around. The house whose occupants had shot at Zachariah was smoking, and from this angle, it looked like the back half of it was completely missing. He turned towards the door, where Amy, Kyle, and Zachariah were all crowded around, and said, “I think they tried to start the car. It’s the house those bastards that were shooting at Zach were in.”

“It’s Zachariah. If you pull the bullet out of my arm, you can call me anything you want.”

“I’m gonna go investigate.”

Amy replied, “Ok, be careful.”

“Wait,” Kyle said, pushing his way past Amy and Zachariah, before returning carrying a Colt 45. “Take this.” He held the pistol out by its barrel, presenting the handle for Peter to grab. His posture said he had done this hundreds of times before, but the quiver of his lip said otherwise.

“Thanks Kyle, that is a great idea.” Peter walked up, took the gun from him, and tousled the boy’s head.

Peter started off on the walk, and the first thing he noticed was the fire that was in the process of engulfing the house. The second was the wheelbarrow, still with what looked to be canned goods in it, sitting at the foot of the steps leading to its porch. Deciding not to brave the fire, Peter grabbed the wheelbarrow and noticed that while the fire did not appear to be moving toward their house, the house on its other side looked like it might go up any minute.

As he thought this, the chimney of the burning house collapsed, and carrying burning lumber, across the side yard and hit the last house on the road. Peter turned back towards there temporary home, pushing the wheelbarrow, and saw Zachariah standing there shouting at him. Over the crackling and popping of the fire, he could not tell what he was saying, but he looked panicked.

Before Peter could take another step, Zachariah was running toward him, his right arm hanging uselessly at his side, making his lope seem unbalanced.

“Got to get the dog,” was all Peter heard as Zachariah ran by, almost bowling him over.

Pushing the door open, Zach plowed down the hallway, which had already filled up with smoke. He could feel the heat coming from the right side of the house, where the fire had already taken over the living room and dining room. Bursting into the kitchen, he found that the dog was cowering in a different corner, opposite the side of the house that was lit up. At least he had moved Zachariah thought.

Zach grabbed the dog’s food and water dishes, and said “Come on,” leaning against the kitchen door so it would stay open. The mutt did not need to be told twice and ran as fast as it could through the kitchen door and out the front door, which Zachariah had left standing wide open. As Zachariah ran through it behind the dog, he noticed a leash hanging on a coat hook by the door and grabbed that too with his right hand, the bullet wound screaming in pain. He registered that he was bleeding again as the fresh air struck him full in the face, and as he reached the bottom of the porch steps, he collapsed, exhausted, and was greeted by a rough tongue, licking the side of his face.

“Shoo! Get!” Peter barked as he approached.

“No Peter, it’s okay.”

“You sure? Is he what you went in for? You crazy sonofabitch.” He strung the words together, but he was smiling as he said it.

“Come on, help me get him back to the house, and we should try and soak our roof and at least the house next to us to keep that fire as far away as possible, otherwise we may all be looking for a new place.”

Peter took the leash from Zachariah’s hand and caught the dog. Clasping the leash to the dogs collar, he read the tag. “His name is Rocky, Zack…ariah,” he caught himself.

“You know, as long as you don’t call me dead or bait, Zach is fine, come on.” With that he stood up and started his off balance shuffle back towards Amy, and the rest of the group, all of which who now stood on the lawn.

“You idiot,” Amy said, looking at the blood that was trickling down his arm. Rocky walked up to her and nudged her hand with the top of his head. Absently she scratched it. “I need to go get some supplies. Sarah, come with me, I am going to need an extra set of hands”

“With an H,” was Sarah’s reply, but she was nodding. “Maybe we can find some bikes or something!”

“Take this,” Peter handed the Colt to Amy, he was still not sure of Sarah’s state of mind, and she made no move towards the gun, but she also did not shy away from it.

“There used to be a drugstore about two miles from here if I remember correctly, let us try there,” Amy said, pulling the list she had made from her pocket. “Does anyone need anything else, razors or anything?”

“Yeah, bring me a razor and a some shaving cream, grab any food you have room for, and maybe some extra medical supplies, gauze, band-aids. You’re the expert here.”

Sarah and Amy took off down the street, away from the smoldering remains of the house that had blown up, and the fiery remains of the one Zach had rescued Rocky from.


1 comment:

alphabete said...

YAY the dog is back! I'm so happy. In such an intense story featuring a scary world, the dog made me feel so good. Go Rocky!

I noticed a couple things:
-Amy had jut finished <-- Just missing an "s"
-“I don’t know, but it was close.” Replied Amy, we were just wondering who should go check it out. <-- I think you might have wanted quotes there
-did not appear to be moving towards <-- There's that "s"! It migrated!

I like this chapter, it's much more uplifting than the previous ones (by necessity, I realize) and seeing the characters in action and thinking on their feet is satisfying. I would like to know more about the ones who shot at Zach(ariah) and why they did it. It does seem interesting though, that just as things with gas are mysteriously and randomly exploding, people are mysteriously and randomly shooting at other people, even though so far there hasn't been a whole lot of crazy violence.

I think that what might make this pop a little bit is some description of just how quiet and deserted it is, to frame the seeming normalcy of their time in the house. This is such an interesting story and I am really glad that you're keeping it going.

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