Saturday, September 25, 2010

Hollow World Chapter 11



That is what he was called. Before he broke loose, he had another name. It was funny, but now he did not remember what he used to be called.

A tray containing the bland slop that the prison called food had just been pushed into his cell. He was reaching for it when the explosion took the back part of his cell off. He had been on the second story, and the remains of the building left him enough handholds to get down to the exercise yard.

By the time his feet touched the earth, two more explosions had occurred. One of the buses lay in a twisted mess, two dozen or so orange jumpsuits lying on the ground around it, some were stirring, some not. A pile of rubble was all that remained of the wall next to the bus. Looking around, he knew that this was his chance to escape. He just needed a clear path.

The guards were shouting, chasing after the other orange jumpsuits. He could hear gunfire and screams coming from all directions. He noticed a chunk of concrete, part of the wall, rebar sticking out of it at odd angles, bent, almost like the legs of a spider. Crushed underneath this cold, stone and metal arachnid was, another orange jumpsuit, his eyes staring blankly towards the hole in the wall, as if to say go. GO.

I have plans for you. I have set you free. I have plans for you.

He had heard the voice plain as day, but no one seemed to be around him, at least no one alive. “Had the crushed corpse just spoken to him?” he remembered thinking. It would be almost two weeks before he knew the truth of it, but until then, he had to get out. Amidst other scrambling bodies, other orange jumpsuits, he climbed the pile of rubble, running across the east field, leaving Lancaster Correctional Facility a thing of the past.

As he passed Lincoln Airport, the voice came to him again, telling him where to find weapons in one of the hangars. He climbed the perimeter fencing, ignoring the barbed wire as it bit into his hands, and found himself a shotgun and a handgun, but not a change of clothes. The next thing the voice told him was a destination. The University of North Texas. He would find help there.

He started south, and once he found a grocery store, he took a map. Amongst other things, he stopped and ate a rotisserie chicken they had, and grabbed himself a shopping cart full of sodas. An old, blue haired lady had tried to stop him, but she ended up lying face up in a pool of her own blood, a hole from the shotgun smoking in her chest. He headed south along the 77, looking for 35, and upon finding it, took it straight to the school. He walked for ten hours a day, twice walking through the night. The voice sustained him, the caffeine from the soda kept him awake.

During the trek, he saw two people, and left two people dead. Scavengers had begun to come out of the fields as he walked, and although they were brave, they paid him no mind. When their gaze fell upon him, they knew his purpose and left him to it. He heard the explosions, and reveled in hearing the gunshots, and occasionally just shot his gun into the air, hoping to stir up something. Once, upon doing this, he heard five more gunshots in rapid succession. Had he chosen to search, he would have found three more dead people, and one still breathing, her lungs filling up with blood. A silent why on her face.

When he arrived at the campus, there were fourteen others, two from right there on the campus, and the rest from all over. The voice had thanked him for arriving in one piece, but some of the others doubted the plan. He shot them. The shotgun causing the first one's head to explode. Wordlessly, the other one walked up and knelt before Graham, ready for what was to come.

He did not remember pulling the trigger. He did not remember much of anything now. He just did. The voice was a part of him, no longer telling him what he needed to do, but making him do it. They left the campus, heading east across 380 before coming to a parking lot with a school bus parked in it. One of their number had approached the bus, the others hanging back. The bus’ engine had roared to life momentarily. That was how their number became twelve.

He had entered the apartment through the front door, it was unlocked, looking for the jersey with the name Graham on it. He found it and a pair of jeans, a little to long, in the closet. Finally taking his jumpsuit off, he put on the pants, and the jersey. He was Graham now, and the voice was in charge.

If you read something you liked, didn't like, or just have a question about the story in general, I would love to hear from you. even if it is as minor as an misspelled word or a misplaced apostrophe, it made it this far so someone obviously missed it.

I take feedback seriously, it is the best way for me to improve and the easiest way for you to hep me improve.



J. A. Platt said...

I've finally caught up. Interesting stuff so far. I'm really curious about the fuel explosions.

Now for the nitpicking!

That is what he had chosen to call himself. Here he's picked his new name, but at the end, it sounds as though the voice picked it for him (guiding him to the jersey).

He was been reaching for the tray with his food on it that had just been pushed underneath the bars, when the explosion took the back part of his cell off. Should either be 'he was reaching', or 'he had been reaching' (though that's a bit passive). Also, the order is a little confusing, him reaching, then the tray comes in. Maybe change it to something like, 'A tray had been pushed under the bars. (description of the prison food) He was reaching for it when the explosion...'.

The wall along which the bus had been parked was nothing more than a pile of rubble. This is a little choppy, could be, 'The wall next to the bus was nothing more...' Though this makes it sound like the whole wall is down and in the next paragraph it's a hole in the wall.

I like the rebar spider image. This: He noticed that next to him was a large stone could be cut to, 'He noticed a large stone' or chunk of concrete (considering the rebar).

Amidst other scrambling bodies, other orange jumpsuits, he climbed the pile of rubble, running across the east field and stopped to look back, his eyes focusing on the Lancaster Correctional Facility for the last time. This could be two sentences. '...running across the east field. He stopped to look back (why?), his eyes focusing on the Lancaster Correctional Facility for the last time.'

The barbed wire made me wince, biting into his hands. Very vivid.

He had been told he would find help there. Could be condensed (because he's already been told) to, 'There was help there.'

The tone here doesn't quite match the rest of the chapter: He began his trek south, and upon finding a grocery store, took it upon himself to locate a map. something simpler would work, like, 'He started south. When he found a grocery store he stole a map.'

This is extremely creepy (in a good way): During the trek, he saw two people, and left two people dead.

'Upon' appears five times in this chapter.

He shot them, the shotgun causing one of their heads to explode, the other one that did not believe had walked up to him, without saying a word, and knelt before him, ready for what was to come. This gets a little confusing (about who he's shooting) and could broken into a few sentences. 'He shot them. The shotgun made the first one's head explode. The other one walked up to him, without saying a word, and knelt before him, ready for what was to come.'

Now I want to know why everyone is shooting. Has the voice possessed a bunch people?

Tyler James said...

It feels a bit rushed. I liked what you covered, and in a way there is so much revealed that it was good to just say it matter of fact. But as a whole, you covered in one chapter far more action then the other 10 combined. There was a ton here, and good, but aggressively rushed.

Just the 2 cents. This stuff is really intriguing. I have a background in Pentecostal Christianity, so the idea of a voice coming to a person and leading them to murder others is especially chilling. Good work.

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