One of my current projects is writing game content for ‘The Seed’, a post apocalyptic adventure graphic novel-cum-computer game. Below is a (draft) extract from one of the chapters I have written for The Seed. Hope you enjoy the dark reality of this tortured world:
The morning is cold, the dust lower and thicker than usual and we huddle around a fire in the middle of the street. Burnt out cars provide some buffer to the wind but Bear stacks wooden pallets to further improve the wind shield. The wood and steel re-radiates the heat on our backs and for a while I feel warm.
It’s my turn to stoke the fire. I stand up freely – they seem to trust me now. Despite eating from my stockpile last night my stomach gurgles. I know I shouldn’t be surprised. I’ve had so many brushes with starvation that any calorie I ingest is bound to have dozens of body parts screaming for it. I say nothing – no one else has eaten this morning. I carry on to the nearby park, hands in my armpit. The air is so thick but I can still see my breath in front of me.
I scavenge for fallen limbs. I’d rather not exert the effort of ripping limbs from the trunks. I find an arm load and return to the fire. The wood is husky and desiccated and nearly dissolves in the fire as I toss it on. I realise I’ve haven’t seen it rain since I left the bunker. Perhaps the changes to this planet have also affected the seasons.
I’m about to sit when Polk – my new name for the leader – grabs my arm. Hard enough to make my heart race. I’m pulling away as I spin, but there is no malice in his face. In his other hand he holds my backpack.
“Yours,” he says. I take it gingerly and nod my thanks. I open it. All my possessions are there. I feel I should be grateful, but I already had my GPS, the small link back to dad, and the bag just reminds me of Katya. My nose feels full and I have to turn away. I find a gap at the fire and sit down, concentrating on the dance and flicker of the orange flame. Fossilised sap explodes with a spit.
My stomach grumbles again and I remember the depth of the shit that my life now inhabits. One of the men grabs his stomach and cries out in Ukrainian. I can guess the message. Polk shakes his head. Perhaps they are all out of food? I think of my stockpile. No, I need to keep that up my sleeve. I’ve found food through Oryol; I’m sure we can find more. I just have to deal with the cramps a bit longer.
As the light patch in the cloud struggles to its apex the dusty fog lifts. Polk gestures up. We kick the fire apart and leave it to die on the asphalt. Polk points to the men in order then points in different directions. He points to me and toward my church. He puts two fingers up. Two kilometres. He puts two fingers up on his other hand. Two hours. Polk walks off in the opposite direction.