You can call me a pessimist if you like. I won’t blame you. If I’m still around to place any blame that is. These will probably be the last words I write for a number of reasons. Firstly because I don’t much paper to write on and there’s no way on Earth I’m going outside to find any. I’m hungry, starving in fact, but I’m not risking what would likely be my final moments looking for scraps of paper.
Secondly I can hear more of them moving around outside which means my time is running out. I hardly make any noise but they know I’m in here. Don’t ask me how. Smell maybe. Or some twisted ass sixth sense. Whatever. It’s only a matter of time before they find a way in. Waiting for it to happen is driving me insane. Last night I had a conversation with my mother. We chatted about stuff, nothing in particular, then she slipped away.
Funny. She died eight weeks ago.
The only thing that keeps me from losing the rest of my marbles completely is writing this. I stop and start. I question whether it’s worth it. I know I’m talking to myself, whispering at the darkness. Sometimes the darkness answers. I find that strangely comforting. I’ve been tempted to smash down the door and leap into the hungry arms of the crowd outside. Every time I stand at the door listening to them scratching and breathing on the other side I pull back.
I return to my bed and close my eyes. I say bed. I mean dirty mattress on the floor. One more day. I promise myself this every time. Maybe things will look better in the morning. So you see I’m not all negative. I’ve been writing in tiny letters, trying to preserve what paper I have left in my note pad.
Back. Thought I heard something on the roof. Ha. Old habits. Brb. Technology bred a generation of abbreviation addicts. Who did I think I was saying be right back to? Habits are hard to scrape off. Just thought of another reason why I’m writing this. I want someone to find it one day. Yeah, wishful thinking I know, but perhaps way in the future someone will read this.
If that’s you: HI! I’m Henry and I’m dead, or will be by the time you read this.
I’m guessing you don’t understand what text messages are but you should understand the conversation regardless.
All I ask is don’t think bad of me. I tried, okay?
Feb 28, 2014
so can u come or not?
my mum said no. have 2 stay home 😦
sucks. u tell her we b bak early right?
doesn’t matter. she says its 2 risky. she wont stop watching the news
same here with my mum. its just a stupid flu thing. whats the big deal?
tell that to my mum. she went nuts when i said that
u could slip out thru yor window. she’ll prolly not notice
u go. have fun. tell me if Windy is there. don’t let him get 2 drunk k?
sigh. kk. l8rs
ur missin a gr8 party. Tommo yakkd in Jen’s parents bed! Windy didnt show up
ouch. bet her mum gonna be pissd when she sees that. wonder what happnd 2 Windy?
dunno. txtd him but no ansa. in bak gardn havin a smoke. fuckin freezin
hahaha. shouldn’t smoke. bad 4u
gotta die of somethin 😉
rather be eaten by sharks than lung cancer. idiot
March 1, 2014
place is fuckd up. police came and draggd evry1 out. shit scary
wtf!? police? that’s gotta b an autocorrect fuck up?
Henry? what’s goin on? r u still there?
soz. had 2 go. police took evry1 away. i climbd the fence & ran across the fields
why? tried 2 txt Molls but she not talkin. tell me what’s goin on. pls!
police said music 2 loud. ppl complained. then these other guys came in. all in white. masks on their faces. said something about health hazard
tommo tried to punch 1. they handcufd him. put him big grey van. nevr seen police do that. me&Higgs escaped ovr fence. lost him out here in the fields
omg. where r u now? this best not be a joke hen
no joke. dunno where i am. dark & frezin. gonna get bak 2 road an waljk 2 town
Moll’s sis txtd me. they were all taken to hospital. something about the flu virus. an outbreak in town
Hen. r u ok?
text me. yor fuckin scaring me now
all gud. made i 2 town1. nrv been so clod inmy life
bastard. u scared me
soz. polic evrywher. hid in busxhes. dont kmo wat 2 do
go home. don’t stay out all nite. promise me u r goin home?
k. txt u l9tr
home. stop yor worryin.
k. ty 🙂
grounded big time. mum found out about police raid. blokkd my net access. 😦 have u heard anythin?
you’re lucky. no one knows anything. no rply frm any1. u think they’re still in hospital?
dunno. whats on fb? cant get on & dont have enough net credit left on my phone
nothin about the party. no 1 been online. no party pics either
did u txt Windy?
yes. he’s gone to stay with his nan down south 😦
gotta go shoppin with my mum. txt me if u hear anythin
k. have fun shoppin 😀
FB has gone mental! ppl evrywhere talkin about this flu bug. hav u seen the news?
ye. watchin it now. looks bad. think thats what theyre in hospital for?
spose. hope Moll is ok. we have a video presentation 2 do on monday
reckon the doctors will give her a sick note?
liten up Cas 😉 joke
news says this flu thing can kill u. so no. liten up not gonna happen
Higgs txtd me. his mum & dad taken to hospital 2. health guys & police searched his house & burnt a load of his clothes
said they were killin the virus. sum othr guys came and sprayd this foam crap on the floors. theyve blockd his net access
why would they do that?
dunno. anythin more on fb?
keeps crashin. lots of pics of police & men in white suits. like those hazmat suits u c on tv
twitter crashed too. service over subscribed it says
or blockd like Higgs net. u think theyre trying to stop ppl frm talkin about this?
they can’t can they? you can’t shut down the internet can u?
dunno. maybe. or 2 many ppl on makes it crash
txt u ltr. mum & dad takin me to Tesco. dad talkin about stockin up on essentials. just in case. not seen my dad look worried b4
top up ur credit. just in case 😉 i got £50 credit earlier. mum must be worried 2
Cas? u bak from shop yet? mum just told me college is cancelled monday 😀
ye. heard that too. sorry. our kitchen looks like 1 of them emergency bunkers. took both cars & filld em up with so much food & stuff
insane. got any pop tarts there?
heh. about 100 tons of rice. gallons of bottles of water. dad is goin out 2moz to get boards 4 windows
March 2, 2014
rly? what 4?
he says ppl will kill us for food. talk about over the top
hes no right scaring u like that
not scared. he’s just bein silly
did yor power go off?
ye. all street is dark. this is getting well stupid
turnin off phone 2 save battery. txt u 2moz
k. will be all ok u know. dont worry
Hen. power came bak on. fb is down 😦 gmail still works. have 560 emails. my dad saw pics of ppl with flu virus & told me 2 delete them
ppl in our street packin up cars & leavin. news on tv says to stay in doors. ok. now am scared
no one else rplying to txts. Hen. pls rply
Soz. some1 stole our car last nite. found a guy in garden. thought he was sleepin. he was dead. had to call ambulance out
omg. who was it?
dunno. was still in his pj’s. skin was all messed up. pale and veiny. gross. heard anythin from Moll or the others?
no. nothin. was it the flu that killd him?
hazmat guy wouldnt say. told me to bak up then took my blood to test. asked me if id touched the guy
course not. not stupid
but i did poke him with a stick
idiot. u didn’t touch the stick after did u?
no! i threw it away. yor soundin a bit paranoid. like ur dad
been watchin the news?
go watch. this is really bad. u need to see it
if it makes u happy
Hen. keep ur phone off. txt bak in 20mins. i’ll do the same
did u see london? and the ports? gov has orderd a curfew
am glad we went shoppin. cant believe ppl are rioting in the sprmarkets
did u see that report about the rescue effort in iceland? must be pretty fuckd up there to send the army in
it’s bad everywhere. that expert guy on bbc news said there hasn’t been a plague like this since spanish flu in ww1
mum says we’re stayin put. if we leave like evry1 else we’ll just get stuck on traffic jams. any news from Higgs?
same. Higgs not rplyin. mum tried 2 call her brther but message said try later. phones must be all jammed up
tv says to use txt messages only. they get thru. keep your phone on charge. if pwr goes we will need to save battery. do u have a spare?
no. just plugged it in
MISSING TEXTS BETWEEN MARCH 3 – 7. COMMUNICATION ERROR.
March 8, 2014
Cas. still no txt frm u. hope u gettin mine. we r ok. street is empty. kind of. have u seen them walkin about?
1 tried to get in our garden. dad pushed him bak with a spade. guy lookd fuckd up. all cuts on his face. gross
power keeps goin off. will turn phone on evry hour frm now on. hope ur ok
internet is down. mobile signal very shitty now. did u get my txts?
no. soz. think network is failin. did u get mine? are u ok?
no i didn’t. yes. we’re ok. there’s lots off ppl in our street. hav u seen them?
more keep coming. weve covered our windows. do the same. theyll come if they see a light
a bunch of them tried to get in. dad went out to drive them away. he hasn’t been back for 20 mins
is he bak yet?
no. Hen am scared. what if he doesn’t come home? how can they be walkin around like this? the news said the flu kills ppl
that doesn’t make any sense. mums goin ape shit here. she wants to go look for dad
dont let her out. last thing i saw on the news was a guy in thailand sayin the flu isn’t the flu. its some sort of bug no ones ever seen b4
whats goin on? is yor mum ok? what about yor dad?
they’re gone. am hiding in dads car. they’re everywhere
im comin to u. keep doors lockd till i get there
NO! u hav to stay inside
March 9, 2014
no choice. they got inside. they grabbd dad. he yelld at me to take mum and run. we got to the high street but there were so many
where r u? where is yor mum?
hiding on roof of recycling bottle bank
they took her
we have 2o find them. we need 2 get our parents back
bastards want my phone. theyre like moths to a light. we will find them but i need 2 get 2 u 1st
so hard to go anyweher. every time i run they chase me. stuck on that flat roof on the chinese takeaway place
cant move. stay put. will come when it gets light
k. pls don’t do anythin stupid. can’t lose u as well
i wont. weve been friends since nursery school. not gonna lose me now
cant belive i fell asleep here. are u ok?
yes. they r still here. all around the car. pls hurry
jesus. its like a swarm outside yor house. climbed a ladder over the road. am on the roof. can u see me?
yes! see u wavin. what r we gonna do?
dunno. think they like sound and light. maybe i can distract them
Cas. when they go make a run for it. get in the house and lock the door
what about you?
ill lead them away and come back. ready?
don’t like this. pls be careful
i’ll be fine. ready?
MISSING TEXTS – COMMUNICATION ERROR.
gott j8~hh insiode butr lots still8 all asro7und the!2 car
fuck me that was close. sorry. had 2 run like a crazy bastard. r they all clear? did u make it inside?
am hiding out in the back of UPS truck. cant hear them. r u ok?
Cas? i cant risk movin till i know ur safe
dont know if ur phone is dead or what. will try and come 2 u anyway. if not will find place 2 lay low & figure out bettr plan
gotsx ^ bi*te’ om < kleg)) bleedim w2evrywhsere heklp
jesus. bandage it up. im comin now. b there in 2 mins
Cas. am so sorry. they keep comin. cant get to you. place is swamped. found a boarded up house 1 street away. 1 they plannd 2 knock down
will stay here 4 a while. hope ur okay. drink some water. keep bandage on yor cut
paoin£4 gett1n weors*- 2 mhuch bolod J1~f scaerd Hen
jesus fuck shit. Cas. i cant go anywhere. i can hear them outside. reckon Windy had the right idea gettin out of this place
:hes probly sat on the beach now. miles from the chaos and shit. lucky fuck
too dark to go out now. pls stay safe Cas. will come 4 u in the morning
March 9, 2012
Cas? still with me? had a peek othru hole in boards on window. 100s out side. don’t know what 2do
pls txt me. cant be the only 1 left
txt me. pls
hsiu*~lss#@ bittee legH >I k n owo am dueieing
CAS! dont say that. i can help. i just need to work out a way. dont u dare txt me that shit again
|a~-9n luv &S u aLwys ❤
come on cas. well be ok. hang in there. this is bullshit. 1 street away & cant do shit to help
i can hear them again. so many walkin the street outside. pls txt me cas. hav 2 know ur ok
nothing. u cant txt. i know. i dont want this. evry1 is gone. but me. nothin but silence & moanin.
March 10, 2014
im sorry Cas. sorry for evrythin. wish id done it better. didnt think theyd get u.
Windy was a lucky guy. he had yor love. i admit i was jealous. easy 2 say now but there it is
i know you r no longer with me. but i hav 2 say this b4 they get inside. i need to get it out just once before the end
i love you Cas. always have. always will. even in death. rest in peace
This short story was inspired by Indigo Spider’s Sunday Picture Press – a challenge to write between 50 and 1500 word piece of fiction using one of 4 photos as a prompt. The twisteroo this week was to write a story using only 140 characters, a Tweet story, or using the popular and ever so cool #sixwords Twitter style.
I love the creepy poster on the side of the road. I’d love to know what it was for!
Again this story sort of ties in with my novel, The Range, as it follows the first days of a strange flu like virus that grips the planet. It’s a bit dark and twisty but hella fun to write! I liked the 140 characters idea so instead of writing one story in just 140 characters, I used a series of them to create a story based on text messages sent from one friend to another. I’ve tried to keep it as realistic as possible so the spelling mistakes, text speak lingo jargon stuff and abbreviations were done on purpose.
As I’m in editing mode I’m enjoying the idea of writing different pieces but tying them in with my novel. This short piece is a lot closer to the action so to speak than Honesty Box or That Day, but they do tie in with the overall theme of my novel.
NOTE: Indigo Spider has moved to a new domain – http://www.indigospider.org – If you were a previous subscriber to her blog you’ll need to re-subscribe.
This picture prompt is called Street Scene by David Ross – http://www.flickr.com/people/davydubbit
Excellent picture prompts from Indigo. If you want to join in and write a short piece of fiction clicky-click Indigo Spider’s link above and wrap your imagination around one of the pictures.