The Last Text Message

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.

Brb.

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

7.28pm

so can u come or not?

7.30pm

my mum said no. have 2 stay home 😦

7:31pm

sucks. u tell her we b bak early right?

7:33pm

doesn’t matter. she says its 2 risky. she wont stop watching the news

7:35pm

same here with my mum. its just a stupid flu thing. whats the big deal?

7:40pm

tell that to my mum. she went nuts when i said that

7:44pm

u could slip out thru yor window. she’ll prolly not notice

7:46pm

u go. have fun. tell me if Windy is there. don’t let him get 2 drunk k?

7:52pm

sigh. kk. l8rs

10:47pm

ur missin a gr8 party. Tommo yakkd in Jen’s parents bed! Windy didnt show up

10:52pm

ouch. bet her mum gonna be pissd when she sees that. wonder what happnd 2 Windy?

11:28pm

dunno. txtd him but no ansa. in bak gardn havin a smoke. fuckin freezin

11:31pm

hahaha. shouldn’t smoke. bad 4u

11:32pm

gotta die of somethin 😉

11:34pm

rather be eaten by sharks than lung cancer. idiot

March 1, 2014

12:35am

place is fuckd up. police came and draggd evry1 out. shit scary

12:35am

wtf!? police? that’s gotta b an autocorrect fuck up?

12:41am

Henry? what’s goin on? r u still there?

1:15am

soz. had 2 go. police took evry1 away. i climbd the fence & ran across the fields

1:17am

why? tried 2 txt Molls but she not talkin. tell me what’s goin on. pls!

1:28am

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

1:29am

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

1:32am

omg. where r u now? this best not be a joke hen

1:49am

no joke. dunno where i am. dark & frezin. gonna get bak 2 road an waljk 2 town

2:10am

Moll’s sis txtd me. they were all taken to hospital. something about the flu virus. an outbreak in town

2:22am

Hen. r u ok?

2:29am

text me. yor fuckin scaring me now

2:58am

all gud. made i 2 town1. nrv been so clod inmy life

3:02am

bastard. u scared me

3:08am

soz. polic evrywher. hid in busxhes. dont kmo wat 2 do

3:10am

go home. don’t stay out all nite. promise me u r goin home?

3:24am

k. txt u l9tr

4:11am

home. stop yor worryin.

4:12am

k. ty 🙂

11:06am

grounded big time. mum found out about police raid. blokkd my net access. 😦 have u heard anythin?

11:08am

you’re lucky. no one knows anything. no rply frm any1. u think they’re still in hospital?

11:10am

dunno. whats on fb? cant get on & dont have enough net credit left on my phone

11:12am

nothin about the party. no 1 been online. no party pics either

11:18am

did u txt Windy?

11:20am

yes. he’s gone to stay with his nan down south 😦

11:23am

gotta go shoppin with my mum. txt me if u hear anythin

11:24am

k. have fun shoppin 😀

5:28pm

FB has gone mental! ppl evrywhere talkin about this flu bug. hav u seen the news?

5:31pm

ye. watchin it now. looks bad. think thats what theyre in hospital for?

5:33pm

spose. hope Moll is ok. we have a video presentation 2 do on monday

5:36pm

reckon the doctors will give her a sick note?

5:38pm

not funny

5:39pm

liten up Cas 😉 joke

5:41pm

news says this flu thing can kill u. so no. liten up not gonna happen

6:11pm

Higgs txtd me. his mum & dad taken to hospital 2. health guys & police searched his house & burnt a load of his clothes

6:12pm

why?

6:14pm

said they were killin the virus. sum othr guys came and sprayd this foam crap on the floors. theyve blockd his net access

6:17pm

why would they do that?

6:18pm

dunno. anythin more on fb?

6:27pm

keeps crashin. lots of pics of police & men in white suits. like those hazmat suits u c on tv

6:34pm

twitter crashed too. service over subscribed it says

6:36pm

or blockd like Higgs net. u think theyre trying to stop ppl frm talkin about this?

6:38pm

they can’t can they? you can’t shut down the internet can u?

6:45pm

dunno. maybe. or 2 many ppl on makes it crash

6:58pm

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

7:01pm

top up ur credit. just in case 😉 i got £50 credit earlier. mum must be worried 2

9:15pm

Cas? u bak from shop yet? mum just told me college is cancelled monday 😀

9:56pm

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

10:12pm

insane. got any pop tarts there?

12:13am

heh. about 100 tons of rice. gallons of bottles of water. dad is goin out 2moz to get boards 4 windows

March 2, 2014

12:15am

rly? what 4?

12:17am

he says ppl will kill us for food. talk about over the top

12:19am

hes no right scaring u like that

12:22am

not scared. he’s just bein silly

12:28am

did yor power go off?

12:39am

ye. all street is dark. this is getting well stupid

12:41am

turnin off phone 2 save battery. txt u 2moz

12:42

k. will be all ok u know. dont worry

7:08am

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

8:22am

ppl in our street packin up cars & leavin. news on tv says to stay in doors. ok. now am scared

8:43am

no one else rplying to txts. Hen. pls rply

10:17am

Soz. some1 stole our car last nite. found a guy in garden. thought he was sleepin. he was dead. had to call ambulance out

10:18am

omg. who was it?

10:21am

dunno. was still in his pj’s. skin was all messed up. pale and veiny. gross. heard anythin from Moll or the others?

10:30am

no. nothin. was it the flu that killd him?

10:31am

hazmat guy wouldnt say. told me to bak up then took my blood to test. asked me if id touched the guy

10:33am

did u?

10:34am

course not. not stupid

10:35am

good. relievd

10:37am

but i did poke him with a stick

10:38am

idiot. u didn’t touch the stick after did u?

10:40am

no! i threw it away. yor soundin a bit paranoid. like ur dad

10:45am

been watchin the news?

10:47am

no. why?

10:48am

go watch. this is really bad. u need to see it

10:49am

if it makes u happy

10:50am

Hen. keep ur phone off. txt bak in 20mins. i’ll do the same

11:10am

did u see london? and the ports? gov has orderd a curfew

11:11am

am glad we went shoppin. cant believe ppl are rioting in the sprmarkets

11:15am

did u see that report about the rescue effort in iceland? must be pretty fuckd up there to send the army in

11:17am

it’s bad everywhere. that expert guy on bbc news said there hasn’t been a plague like this since spanish flu in ww1

11:21am

mum says we’re stayin put. if we leave like evry1 else we’ll just get stuck on traffic jams. any news from Higgs?

11:37am

same. Higgs not rplyin. mum tried 2 call her brther but message said try later. phones must be all jammed up

12:27pm

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?

12:00pm

no. just plugged it in

MISSING TEXTS BETWEEN MARCH 3 – 7. COMMUNICATION ERROR.

March 8, 2014

6:45am

Cas. still no txt frm u. hope u gettin mine. we r ok. street is empty. kind of. have u seen them walkin about?

10:12am

1 tried to get in our garden. dad pushed him bak with a spade. guy lookd fuckd up. all cuts on his face. gross

12:51pm

power keeps goin off. will turn phone on evry hour frm now on. hope ur ok

4:36pm

internet is down. mobile signal very shitty now. did u get my txts?

4:38pm

no. soz. think network is failin. did u get mine? are u ok?

4:59pm

no i didn’t. yes. we’re ok. there’s lots off ppl in our street. hav u seen them?

5:27pm

more keep coming. weve covered our windows. do the same. theyll come if they see a light

9:41pm

a bunch of them tried to get in. dad went out to drive them away. he hasn’t been back for 20 mins

10:05pm

is he bak yet?

10:11pm

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

10:17pm

it does

10:21pm

that doesn’t make any sense. mums goin ape shit here. she wants to go look for dad

10:25pm

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

11:12pm

whats goin on? is yor mum ok? what about yor dad?

11:48pm

they’re gone. am hiding in dads car. they’re everywhere

11:51pm

im comin to u. keep doors lockd till i get there

11:52pm

NO! u hav to stay inside

March 9, 2014

12:48am

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

12:51am

where r u? where is yor mum?

1:35am

gone

1:45am

hiding on roof of recycling bottle bank

1:46am

gone where?

1:52am

they took her

1:55am

we have 2o find them. we need 2 get our parents back

1:59am

bastards want my phone. theyre like moths to a light. we will find them but i need 2 get 2 u 1st

2:36am

so hard to go anyweher. every time i run they chase me. stuck on that flat roof on the chinese takeaway place

3:55am

cant move. stay put. will come when it gets light

4:01am

k. pls don’t do anythin stupid. can’t lose u as well

4:07am

i wont. weve been friends since nursery school. not gonna lose me now

4:08am

🙂

7:21am

cant belive i fell asleep here. are u ok?

7:36am

yes. they r still here. all around the car. pls hurry

7:38am

im coming

8:50am

jesus. its like a swarm outside yor house. climbed a ladder over the road. am on the roof. can u see me?

8:52am

yes! see u wavin. what r we gonna do?

8:54am

dunno. think they like sound and light. maybe i can distract them

9:07am

Cas. when they go make a run for it. get in the house and lock the door

9:08am

what about you?

9:10am

ill lead them away and come back. ready?

9:11am

don’t like this. pls be careful

9:12am

i’ll be fine. ready?

9:13am

yes. go

MISSING TEXTS – COMMUNICATION ERROR.

12:01pm

gott j8~hh insiode butr lots still8 all asro7und the!2 car

12:29pm

fuck me that was close. sorry. had 2 run like a crazy bastard. r they all clear? did u make it inside?

12:45pm

am hiding out in the back of UPS truck. cant hear them. r u ok?

1:19pm

Cas? i cant risk movin till i know ur safe

1:36pm

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

3:21pm

gotsx  ^ bi*te’ om < kleg)) bleedim w2evrywhsere heklp

3:25pm

jesus. bandage it up. im comin now. b there in 2 mins

5:14pm

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

5:16pm

will stay here 4 a while. hope ur okay. drink some water. keep bandage on yor cut

6:58pm

paoin£4 gett1n weors*- 2 mhuch bolod J1~f scaerd Hen

7:02pm

jesus fuck shit. Cas. i cant go anywhere. i can hear them outside. reckon Windy had the right idea gettin out of this place

7:15pm

:hes probly sat on the beach now. miles from the chaos and shit. lucky fuck

8:32pm

too dark to go out now. pls stay safe Cas. will come 4 u in the morning

March 9, 2012

7:10am

Cas? still with me? had a peek othru hole in boards on window. 100s out side. don’t know what 2do

8:38am

pls txt me. cant be the only 1 left

9:10am

txt me. pls

9:38am

hsiu*~lss#@ bittee legH >I k n owo am dueieing

9:40am

CAS! dont say that. i can help. i just need to work out a way. dont u dare txt me that shit again

10:12am

|a~-9n luv &S u aLwys ❤

10:13am

come on cas. well be ok. hang in there. this is bullshit. 1 street away & cant do shit to help

10:59am

i can hear them again. so many walkin the street outside. pls txt me cas. hav 2 know ur ok

4:51pm

nothing. u cant txt. i know. i dont want this. evry1 is gone. but me. nothin but silence & moanin.

March 10, 2014

6:13am

im sorry Cas. sorry for evrythin. wish id done it better. didnt think theyd get u.

8:49am

Windy was a lucky guy. he had yor love. i admit i was jealous. easy 2 say now but there it is

3:30pm

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

9:50pm

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 Rosshttp://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.

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15 thoughts on “The Last Text Message

  1. This is one of the most powerful yet, wow. This really got me: “I k n owo am dueieing,” spelling errors and all. What a frightening thought not only to receive the text but the idea of knowing you are dieing, oh man. Somehow seems very real reading texts between them as they experience the horror.

    • Thanks Indigo! I was striving to bring that fear and helplessness into a simple text message. Took some time to get things right, not just the formatting but remembering that one character uses apostrophe’s and the other one never writes “your” but “yor” even though I kept slipping back into how I write at times.

      Amazing fun to write, I was totally focussed on the wording a lot more than other pieces I’ve written recently.

  2. Have to admit: this new abbreviation system is not working too well for me. It did get me thinking though: what do you think will be left of language another generation or two down the road?

    Very good writing though!

    • I think its entirely possible for a sort of 3rd english language to come. If you compare American and English language there are subtle differences but not enough that you can’t read one if you already know the other. Whereas the text jingo could bring about a 3rd class of language, lesser used but possible just as acceptable as it shows an evolutionary step.

    • Gosh. Thank you! I’m always stunned when someone says something like that. I keep writing, both blog and personal projects, and hopefully improving as I go. It always makes me happy when someone reads and enjoys what I have written.

    • Wowzers! Thanks Evelyn! Had no idea this story would be so welcomed and enjoyed! I have to admit about half way through I started to wonder if it was making any sense and if it would work the way I imagined.

      Stephen King is one of my favourite authors! Thanks for the compliment! Got me a big smile going on here!

  3. Pingback: Sunday Picture Press: Opposite | Indigo Spider

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