Oldie but a Goodie

I forgot this thing existed.  I wrote it almost three years ago as an entry into a story that had to be under 500 words, so I went ahead and made mine 499.  You may notice I was heavily influenced by Fallout at the time.

Enjoy.

The two of them looked at one another with desperation, each hoping the other had a solution to their current dilemma: their food supply was depleted. They’d been in the shelter for weeks, but in the solitude of the cold, damp shelter, dimly lit only by a single lamp in the center, there was no way to distinguish the end of one day and the beginning of another. After two days of deprivation, they decided to go above ground, casting one final glance toward the bodies of their long-dead parents before exiting the shaft.

It took some effort to open the outer hatch, but once outside, they encountered a sight not previously imaginable. What was once a city was now reduced to rubble, the once-tall buildings now collapsed, some still aflame and illuminating the smoke overhead which was blocking out all signs of the sky. The children made their way over the giant concrete boulders and steel beams for over a day, spotting no signs of life, food, or water. With all hopes of survival abandoned, they soon found a restful area in the form of an office building, the undercarriage of the shattered desks providing the tiniest bit of security, which was more than either of them had felt in this past month.

She awoke before her sibling, and, fearful of leaving her new dwelling, threw a small stone at her brother’s desk. His head shot out immediately, his face gray from his concrete pillows. Wordlessly, she pointed out and over her desk. The boy arose and took her hand, leading her out to where she claimed she heard something move. Desperate for food, he grabbed a small, sharp rock and clutched it firmly in his hand, but quickly froze in place as the sounds came again. Together, they listened as something on the other side of the rubble mountain clambered down the side in what seemed to be a hurry, followed by a low growl, silence, and then—

Crrrack!

They both jumped at the sound, and decided to sneak to the top and have a peek. Upon cresting the hill, they were met with yet another horrifying sight, though this was much more revolting. Three men were sitting in a circle around what was clearly a human corpse, feasting on the raw, dead flesh like rabid beasts. Occasionally, one of them would finish a piece and dismember another section of the body, helping themselves to seconds. The group soon realized they had company, one of whom moved toward the children in a very threatening manner. The boy, panicked, threw his rock at the man, who them fell and tumbled back down the face of the hill, blood pouring from an open wound in his face. The others stared blankly at the boy for a moment, then moved to feast upon the freshly deceased man.

The children soon joined, and after having eaten their fill, informed their new friends that they knew the location of two more bodies.

The Hotel

“Hello there, friends! My name is John, I’m the hotel manager. What can I do for you today?”

This is how I began every meeting in my life for the last seventeen years, the only variation being whether or not I pluralize ‘friend.’ The guests always come shambling in with their bags in tow, each of them drowning in their miseries. Sure, some came with families and were nothing but smiles, but I knew the truth. It was all a facade, a mask. Their true faces would be revealed in time, of that I was certain. How could I be so sure, you ask? Well, the answer is simple.

Because I’m going to rip that mask from their faces and tear it to shreds.

Cruel? Perhaps. I’ve heard that word before and it may be applicable. But if that is cruel, then that is the kind of man I am. The only mask I wear is this one, right here in the lobby. I meet and greet with an absurb amount of politeness, all in the name of good manners and sociability. These men and women, however, never seem to show their true selves, constantly hiding in plain sight, long-since overcome with the fear or rejection.

I am here to remedy that. I will tear down that wall and let the world see the real you. Your fear will become evident, palpable. Your vulnerabilities will burst forth and control you. And when it’s all over, the world will judge you for it.

And you know what? They’ll love you for it. Every person that meets the real you will be caught in a trance, amazed at your level of openness, wishing they could be more like you.

“I wasn’t always like this,” you’ll say. “No, it was the Hotel Champaign de Fleur. Something happened there…”

They’ll come to me then. They’ll come in droves, flocking to my humble abode and filling my rooms with their expectations, all without knowing what it is they’re even waiting for. But I will show them, in time. I will give them everything they never knew they wanted and more.

And though the world may love you for it after I’m done, you will undoubtedly, undeniably, unequivocally hate me.

Consideration and Work Ethic

I’m currently contemplating entering the as-yet-untitled zombie book for Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award despite the fact that it’s less than halfway done and the deadline for entry is January 27th.  This would require me to write roughly 2,500 words per day for the next ten days AND have all of my required editing and formatting complete.

I’m going to try my hardest.  Even if I don’t finish it in time, it’ll certainly move things along for this book rather quickly.  The real question is, do I have the perseverance to work that much on something that may ultimately (and in all likelihood WILL) fail?

I suppose we’ll find out together.

In other news, my other short is still available for free for another 26 hours.  Grab your copy here:

http://www.amazon.com/From-the-Hollow-ebook/dp/B00AY7A0KO/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1358202643&sr=8-2&keywords=from+the+hollow

The Futility of Requesting Payment

Things seem to be going well, all things considered,  25 people have thus far downloaded the currently free copy of my short entitled “From the Hollow.”  It can be found here:

http://www.amazon.com/From-the-Hollow-ebook/dp/B00AY7A0KO/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1358202643&sr=8-2&keywords=from+the+hollow

Clearly this is proving to be the best option.  Maybe people want to read it without giving me a dollar.  I’m cool with that.  Honestly, I am.  Still waiting for some reviews, though…

How to Shamelessly Self-Promote (Example Inside!)

One week ago today, I self-published a short 12-page story on Amazon Kindle. In celebration of that often regrettable decision, I’ve decided to put it up for free for two days.
Any reviews, criticism (constructive, please), or general thoughts about it are greatly encouraged.
From the Hollow is something that started out as an off-handed remark I made one night and ran with it. This was the result.
Enjoy. And again, anything you have to say about it, I want to hear. Don’t hold back.