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(New post-apocalyptic story, 2 gen. after crash, still untitled)

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AlienGirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-11-10 03:49 AM
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(New post-apocalyptic story, 2 gen. after crash, still untitled)
One

To take the Blessing, it helps if you had a mother or aunt who took it and lived. I figured I had a good chance there because my grandmother, whose name I have, was Blond-Becky and she was Blessed when she was just a little kid. The story I got--which is different from what my cousin got--is that Blond-Becky was stuck out all night in the woods after a lightning bolt struck down a tree and her path home was blocked. Then she took the Blessing and the path shone clear for her in the moonlight, but when she arrived home, her father had killed her mother with an ax, so Blond-Becky ran off again into the woods and had her babies there, and that's where we came from.

Grandma Blond-Becky was a tough old woman, that's what we heard. She took a man, and had all of our mothers and fathers, and she kept them safe when there were bears and when there was frost, and even through the waves of people who swarmed through the woods from the cities when their food ran out. She always knew how to keep her children safe because of the Blessing, and here I was, her great-granddaughter, so instead of marrying Simon or taking up a gun I decided I'd get myself Blessed, too.

***

It wasn't that Simon was objectionable, really. He was steady, like my mother wanted, and he could hunt, like my father wanted. But I'd known Simon from the earliest time I could remember, and he had always been...Simon. Just so tall, as tall as Simon. Just so big, as big as Simon. And with just so much inside him, just so much as Simon had--and that wasn't quite enough. Simon would never want to follow any old road to see where it took him. Simon would never stay up late to listen to the night-sounds of the woods and try to understand what they meant. Simon would always be just Simon the fletcher, concerned only with the feathers on his arrow-shaft or the curve of a new bow. Steady, steadfast Simon.

But I'd tasted more. I had followed roads without knowing what they'd lead me into; and I'd dug into the banks around the old city to find papers with pictures of the mythic days; and I'd once watched a doe birth twin fawns, one white and one red, and I had sat perfectly still with breath abated until both stood on shaking legs and their mother led them off into the bracken-fern. I didn't know, yet, what that portended, for I'd not been Blessed and I knew it was a secret too big to share with anyone: still, I knew it was important, important enough to guard with my life.
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AlienGirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-11-10 04:05 AM
Response to Original message
1. ...
Edited on Thu Nov-11-10 04:38 AM by AlienGirl
If I didn't marry Simon and have babies, the other thing I could have done was take a gun and join the company. There was an honorable career in that, and my brother Jimmy was already a captain so I could expect I'd be promoted fast. It wasn't as if I feared the loud noise, or disliked the smell of powder, or even had a worry about shooting someone that might shoot me. I liked target practice, enjoyed playing with the bolt-action rifle, and had been versed in the rules of war from the time I bounced on Daddy's knee. What turned me off from the armed service was more visceral; some horror of losing myself in a uniformed horde, combined with a horror that in a melee I might kill an innocent who had not first struck at me.

So at sixteen, faced with either marrying Simon or joining up with my brother's regiment, I fled on a moonless night into the swamp, where only foxfire and starlight marked my path, and I laid myself down on a mossy stump and prayed to grandmother Blond-Becky that I, small Becky, would take the Blessing and would not die.

The moss was club-moss and it was plush and luxurious beneath my cheek. I knew this stump: as children, Jimmy and Simon and I had play-pretended that this was our house, or sometimes our meeting-room, and the moss was our carpet. This stump had a hole in the bottom that was the shape of a bullfrog's mouth; in one dry year a skunk built a den in the hole and we had to stay away until fall when the smell was gone. Usually the frog-mouth hole was empty except for a little pool of water, and that had been where we all as kids used to hide a message-bottle for each other. Back then the messages were of world-shaking import; but now they seemed to have been trivial, such things as, "The avocados are ripe on the Durnell farm," or, "Jimmy: Maymie knows you took her pie, you better watch out."

Instinctively and by tropism, I reached down again, into the puddle, and brought up the old bottle. Though it was covered now with silt and algae, I could see a leftover scrap of paper inside. I knew, without looking, what it said: the same thing I had written on it years ago, when I--the last of us who could reasonably be called a child--had left a message to no-one in particular.
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nuxvomica Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-31-11 07:15 PM
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2. Is there more to this?
It sounds like the beginning of a novel. Beautifully written but I need to know where it's going. :hi:
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yellerpup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-02-11 03:53 PM
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3. Nice!
I could read more of this. Don't stop now!
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