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Redeye
I lied
I lied


Joined: 07 Mar 2005
Posts: 4138
Location: filth

PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2016 6:55 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Dogmeatlives wrote:
Booo!!!!


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Dogmeatlives
Living Legend
Living Legend


Joined: 27 Feb 2006
Posts: 3184
Location: Junktown, Phil's doorstep

PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 10:43 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Hey everybody, so I'm nearly halfway through writing a Wasteland Radio book and I thought it was getting to be about time to share some of it and get some feedback. Anyway, here is Chapter 1 and I'll eventually post each chapter as I finish them. I'm looking for some specific feedback: questions you have about characters, grammatical errors, areas where I need to add details, and anything else you think I need to know before I try to publish the book. Anyway, here is the first of about 14 chapters I have so far. Please let me know what you think-

I.


The boy was grubby, and his crude shoes made of animal hide stuck to hot pavement as he walked east along Route 40 toward an ancient roadside gas station.  The setting sun was still strong enough along the horizon to draw beads of sweat from his body. Instinct told him to be off the road by nightfall or the things out there would find him and snatch him up and only if he was lucky would they cook and eat him or sell him into a nearby labor camp.  If he was unlucky he would be sold back into the camp he had just escaped from. Ending up as either someone's slave or their dinner was the most likely outcome of an encounter here in north Texas where a particularly cruel strain of humanity had flourished.  

The boy stepped into the shade of the gas station’s awning, and took a moment to survey the wasteland in all directions.  He found only sand and road and mountains, and then there was the filling station which would provide some protection for the night.  A little voice in his mind, his Father's voice, reminded him that it could also prove an attraction for nearby wildlife seeking shelter of its own.  The boy told that voice that he had to take the risk.

He promised that he would only sleep until nightfall, and then he would have energy to protect himself against anything that might come hunting after small boys in the dark.  He had his slingshot of course, and was a sure enough shot to at least wound an attacker.  The boy entered into the station’s lobby through a screen door with no latch.  He let the wind catch it and send the door swinging open and shut, open and shut, clapping back against the frame each time.  Behind the  clerk’s counter the boy found only a dulled pencil, one end of which he stuck in his mouth and chewed as he eyed the faded walls around him, the paint chipped away a century ago.  

He rocked back and forth on a loose tile beneath his feet and chewed away at the pencil, deep in thought.  Since he had run, the boy had become very good at finding hiding places in plain sight, and as he stood in the room he examined the possibilities here.  He could tuck himself in underneath the counter and stack some rusted old chairs around him, or he could keep looking.  There were two doors leading to rooms beyond the lobby.  Behind one, he discovered a dusty broom closet which contained, ominously enough, only a human shin bone poking up out of a bucket. Behind door number two was the service garage and in one corner lay a large refrigerator fallen on its side.  

‘Just right,’ he thought, and with some effort lifted its door, and slid inside, leaving his small burlap pack stuffed in the gap to keep the door propped open just slightly.

Hours later the boy awoke to a hovercycle gang passing by out on the highway, their turbine engines screaming on through the night like the ghosts of elders who still stalked the blasted Earth, mourning their lost paradise.  The cycles weren’t ghosts though, not really.  The boy thought they were more like undead mechanical corpses from the Elders’ time, reassembled from wasteland scrap, mounted by men, and ridden out onto the great blackened paths the elders had laid down before they destroyed their own world.  They had all kinds of words for these sinister passageways from place to place- roads, streets, turnpikes, and highways.  There were also bridges which spanned great gaps in the Earth.  The boy’s brother, Flint, had shown him photographs of such structures in a book he found out scavenging.

Flint could read okay, and he taught the boy what he knew, and the boy had taken those seeds of learning and nursed them into an understanding of the Elder language and a respect for their ancient knowledge.  They had worked such magic upon the Earth, and as the hovercycles’ roars faded away into the darkness, the boy, tucked into a rusted old refrigerator somewhere along what was once known as Route 40, slipped back into sleep imagining those miracles in his mind’s eye; the ferris wheel and the skyscraper, the carnival, and the movie theater.

Slipping slowly into a dream, he imagined that Flint was with him and their mother was there, and their father too.  They were alive and seated on a blanket beneath a tall tree full of leaves and cool shade in a peaceful green place the elders had called a park. There were small birds flitting about and sunlight that didn’t burn at all, but was instead a calming warmth; a warmth made for napping.
“Play catch with me, bucko?” Flint was asking him.
“You bet,” he shouted and looked down to find a ball already in his hand, and Flint had a kind of glove on one hand, and the boy tossed the ball to Flint, watching it whirl through the sky, and as it landed Charlie saw the face of his brother; the dead face, with his skin melting down his scalp.  Beneath the dripping skin was skull and then jawbone.  His brother’s body burst into flames before him and glowed like the sun.  Beyond that death glow the Earth was falling away, distant buildings and trees and then people falling as the ground gave way beneath them, and then Flint was falling down into blackness, his jaw extended in a silent scream before skull and jaw and bones tumbled from his clothes, and all was gone.

Behind him, the boy heard his mother and father calling out to him, and he already knew they could not save him from what was coming; an up-rushing avalanche of nothingness.   He would join them all.

When the boy awoke again, with slingshot still grasped in one hand, he pushed the refrigerator door up just enough to squeeze his head out through the crack and listen to the night sounds.   Against the brick walls of the filling station sounded the sprinkling of sand carried upon a soft wind from the east, while out there somewhere far off upon the wastes came bestial howling, and further still, from the distant southern mountains he heard the beating of drums and imagined the frenzied death cults dancing before a great fire set to burning for an end that had already come.  Flint had told him, before mother shushed him quiet, that sometimes the cultists would throw themselves upon the flames, granting themselves their sacred oblivion.

The boy shivered as some secret thought plucked at his spine.  He managed to push it away and tuck his head back into the small refrigerator sanctuary, before reaching into his burlap pack for his most valued possession; a handheld radio, chipped and worn with more than a century of age and a few years in a boy’s possession.  He clicked open the radio’s battery compartment and then rifled around again in his sack before pulling out another priceless relic his mother had smuggled out of the glowing lands; an AAN battery.

Popping the battery into its slot in the back of the radio, he felt a little glow inside himself as the radio’s blue screen pulsed to life.  
‘Welcome,’ it displayed, and then ‘You are listening to 104.7.’
He was catching the signal mid-song and for just that single moment before he was able to turn down the volume with the flick of a dial, a rock and roll tune boomed out from within a rusted old refrigerator in the garage of a forgotten filling station.  Inside the little compartment, the biy sat curled up and listening to the words of Fats Domino, drinking them in.
‘... vows you made
Were never to be

Though we're apart
You're part of me still
For you were my thrill
On Blueberry Hill’

The music ended and the disc joskey cut back in.

‘I don’t know where Blueberry Hill is but boy oh boy would I love to be there right about now!  Dear listeners, it’s DK DJ working the overnight here on WRTX Radio, coming to you live from Amarillo, Texas.  We’re going to take a quick commercial break and head right back into the music. Coming up we’ll hear from The Ink Spots, Sons of the Pioneers, and Bing Crosby and the Andrew Sisters.  Stick around!’

The boy would stick around, all night.  He would be soothed by the sound waves humming from his radio’s speaker, and as he listened he gazed into one corner of the cramped little refrigerator, far off into a city of his own imagining, a place where he would find safety and kindness, and maybe one day they would even let him play the music.  The city was Amarillo, and he was determined to make it there by Spring time’s end.

The boy dreamed and listened while high above him, tens of thousands of miles from earth’s surface, slept a man from the past, frozen in time and orbit.  The man lay within a cryogenic pod crafted of an alloy hard enough to stand up to extreme heat, extreme pressure, and extreme time.  The man had entered the pod and remained frozen over two centuries before at the tail end of a mission to orbit Mars and test the effects such a trip might have on the human body.  The man, the astronaut, was shot off on his mission in a first of its kind spaceship designed to deflect the radiation that lurked out there in the deep of space. The mission had been a success, but back on Earth, in the newspapers, it was nothing more than a back page blurb.

Filling the front of the paper were headlines about unconfirmed reports of Soviet spies infiltrating the United States’ nuclear program, Chinese flying drones sighted off Alaska’s coast, and Congressional hearings into the potential nationalization of the U.S. oil industry.  The name of the man had been all but forgotten in the minds of the American public as Earth’s mightiest nations seemed moving ever onward toward a suicidal final war.  The astronaut re-entered his cryogenic pod upon completion of studies of Martian gravity and the effect of its orbit and the order was given from command central in Houston, Texas to put him back on ice for his return trip to Earth, where his wife, kids, and the family dog would all be waiting.  His last conscious thought was a memory of his home in Richmond, and his family standing out in front as he snapped a photo to send to the relatives.  He would be home in 128 days, and would kiss his wife, and boys, and then he would get down on his knees and kiss the ground beneath them.

Just about halfway into his return flight, however, as the astronaut hung in cryogenic stasis, a voice that would have been familiar to him crackled through the ship’s radio comm.  It was the voice of a friend and colleague.
“Peter, it’s me, Richard.  I know you can’t hear me or comprehend what I’m saying right now, but for my own reasons I need to explain.  No, that’s not the right word.  I need to confess.  Peter, the world is on the brink of nuclear war.   Here in Houston, the military’s taken over and shut down the city.  I’ve decided to stay here at command central until the end comes.  I don’t have anyone on the outside, and, hell, this place is as good a home as any I’ve ever had.  If this is where it ends then so be it, but now I’m rattling off about my own choices when I should be telling you about the one I made for you.  You see, there’s been some changes to your flight plan, Peter, to ensure that you will remain cryogenically frozen for much longer than we had planned.  

Don’t worry, I managed to round up some of the tech boys last night and convinced them to re-program your shuttle’s emergency procedure so that, on reserve power, you will continue your trip home, but once you reach Earth’s orbit  you’ll remain there for as long as you need to be.

  Best case scenario, the fears of an all out nuclear war are nothing more than media circus run reckless, but Peter, absolutely worst case is that by the time you and your ship re-enter earth’s atmosphere, there will be no more nations… and, well, we can only hope that radiation levels will have returned to normal by then.  It would be a long shot, but if you survived the landing you’ll find a new world… a world that will need your help.

 You’re an astronaut, Peter.  You were trained to explore harsh new worlds like the one you will encounter here on a earth a century from now.
I know, I’m probably being dramatic.  I’ve been at the bottle, and it makes me really fixate on the worst possible outcome down here on this little hunk of rock hurtling through the universe.  It’s probably for the best that your just a frozen turkey up there and can’t hear a word of this.  If this turns out to be nothing Peter, we’ll reprogram your ship for re-entry as expected and when you wake up you won’t even realize that you could have been up there for a hundred years or more.  I just, I felt like I needed to get this off my chest in case this whole nuclear holocaust thing pops off the way the military brass expect it.   Your wife and the boys have been taken to a deep con military bunker three miles outside of Houston.  They should be alright down there.

I have to go now Peter.  I hope you find some kind of peace in whatever world you return to.  Richard Byers signing off.”

Nuclear annihilation did befall the Earth and the astronaut, Peter Von Jensen, remained frozen in time, orbiting high above, while the planet bathed for one hundred years in nuclear fallout which ravaged all life, and left, in its place, twisted nightmare creatures hungry for blood.
but in time, as the radiation died away over the years and decades that passed, human life began to re-emerge from the precipice of extinction, first organizing into tenuous communities held together only by that human hunger for survival.  A few of those communities grew in power, either by force or by friendship, and then were born kingdoms once more, and the old machines of man were rediscovered and rebuilt; the gun, and the hovercycle, and the transmitter.

In a piece of the world once known as Texas the men and women etched out a meager and grim kind of life, clutching their lives to themselves with hands bloodied and worn.  It was the kind of life the boy with his beaten little radio in a rusted out refrigerator hoped to escape, while thousands of miles overhead, as the night wore on, the slumbering astronaut orbited in his spacecraft. The boy would move on and fight his way into Amarillo, while the astronaut would remain in a state of cryogenic stasis.
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SenisterDenister
250 Posts til Somewhere
250 Posts til Somewhere


Joined: 23 Apr 2007
Posts: 2960
Location: Cackalackyland

PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 10:49 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

How long is the book going to be?
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Dogmeatlives
Living Legend
Living Legend


Joined: 27 Feb 2006
Posts: 3184
Location: Junktown, Phil's doorstep

PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2017 1:20 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Most likely between 160 and 200 pages.
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SenisterDenister
250 Posts til Somewhere
250 Posts til Somewhere


Joined: 23 Apr 2007
Posts: 2960
Location: Cackalackyland

PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 7:21 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Sounds cool. I'll keep an eye on its development.
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