In the After

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On Dry Land

On Dry Land

“Aww.” I say as I’m tossed around the storm I rocking the boat violently. The day started out with the team of four guards and myself boarding a sloop. I, like everyone else on Trigg know how to sail. But I was viewed more as a piece of equipment by the guard and the team of two women and two men were very happy banish me to the galley. I would happy to stay because we should have reached Baltimore by now. What we didn’t know was that there was a storm coming. We anchored about fifteen miles from land hoping to ride it out. I believe it’s the universe telling us we won’t be welcome on dry land.

The guards fall into the galley. “Are you alright?” I have to yell over the sound of howling winds.

“I don’t know how much longer we can hold out.” A female guard says as a wave rocks the boat nearly overturning it.

“We should radio Trigg send out an SOS.”

This time it’s a male voice speaking. “We can barely move.”

Another wave hits us and we all hear the main sail snap then it crashes into the galley. As the rain pelts us I reach up to touch my forehead, it’s wet with blood. The whole world is spinning I manage to sit up looking to the west I see it Dry land.


Two Weeks Earlier

“Why does it have to be you?”

Sitting on my sister’s bed in my parents pod I’m looking out the window at the starry sky. There’s no moon out tonight, so the ocean is calm a mirror of the sky the stars reflected on the vast black sea.

“It just has to be.”

“I can’t tell anyone.” Ana is taking this hard we’ve never been apart more than a mile apart from each other. They say that twins feel each other’s emotions its true right now we’re sharing our fear.

Raising my eyebrow I scoff trying to be a brave big sister. “Not if you want to stay out a cell.” Toby was still in a cell. He wasn’t dined privileges, he could talk to his family and he had a Tab. But, he was closely monitored when on the net and couldn’t leave the cell without a guard. Mickey was still the opposite of that he hadn’t said a word in two weeks. Still, he was working while I was taking a crash course in defense training.

The last two weeks I had learned how to punch and use the electric prods that all guards carried. I had studied the maps of the old cities, I read everything I could about the people and tried to image what they would be like. No amount of reading could prepare me for where I was going tomorrow.

My twin says it for me. “Dry land.”

“I don’t want to leave.” I was born on this ship my whole is here. Most of the old people still see dry land as home. My parents and me and every generation after don’t see it as home. It’s a mythical place like Mount Olympus, I know where it is and I know that shouldn’t go there.

Ana leans on me resting her head on my shoulder. “What if we stop feeling it?”

“That’s impossible.”

“We’ve never been that far apart.” She’s worried about the connection we share. Ever since we were born, we’ve been connected to each other, I have never not known where she is or how she’s feeling. There is a climbing wall on the rec deck Ana and I would see who could climb the fastest. One day we’re climbing and Ana misjudged her footing I felt her fear as she fell down onto the hard ground. She break her arm, I felt it the pain of her arm was in my arm too.

“Remember when I broke my arm?”

I laugh. “I was just thinking about that.”

“How long will you be gone?”

“I don’t know.” The quick fix of steel coils would last for a year maybe eighteen months if we were lucky.


When I wake I feel the gentle rocking of the ship and I think that I just had the weirdest dream. I smile at my own imagination until I reach out my hand touching the water. That wakes me I bolt up looking around I see that the sloop is still floating but, it’s half filled with water.

The storm has forced us to dry land. “Hello?” I softly call out into the boat all get is the sound of gulls calling.

Standing I touch my head feel the dry blood. “Is anyone there?”

No, answer my guards are gone taken by the sea. Moving through the broken boat I pull bits of useful cargo. My bag survived checking it, I find that satellite phone is still there safe in the waterproof bags. I also find a knife so I’m not completely defenseless. I take objects that are floating putting them in my bag as I make my way to exist. Mostly it bottled water, I do manage to find a sleeping it could be worse.

Going up onto what’s left of the deck the sun is out bright I look at my wrist is solar powered it give me accurate time 1:38 p.m. Staying on the boat I set out my wet clothes and the sleeping bag to dry. I scan the ocean for any other sign of life. All I see is the endless blue water beckoning me home. Then I turn to face the dry land.

It’s not the ruined city I was hoping to see it was a beach white sand that goes on as far as I can see north to south. Eight feet of white sand end at a forest a real forest with trees taller any of the six ships. Also the animals here are different little things that I’ve only seen in book. The only animals on my ship chickens and goats. And, birds they fly overhead some would come to the upper decks.

Pulling out the sate-phone I dial the number. “Identify yourself.”

“My name is Delia Wicks.”

“Miss. Wicks this is Captain Spencer we lost the signal are you okay.”

Looking around at the boat I say. “I’m alive, but the rest of my crew are gone status unknown and my boat is…it’s not functional and I won’t be able to fix it.”

The captain groans. “Okay, we have your coordinates you are approximately sixty miles from your destination.”

“Great.” I might as well be six hundred miles away given the danger I’m in. A woman with no real training in the most hostile environment I can think of.

“Miss. Wicks what is your supply situation.”

“No food I have three bottles of water. One knife, no matches, I have a sleeping bag and this phone that’s it.”

In my head, I am praying for a rescue party Captain Spencer has other ideas. “Can you make it to the city?”

This is where I should say no wait here with what little water I have but I find myself saying. “I can try.”

“Good make contact when you can.”

“Yes Ma’am. Could you tell my family that I’m alive?”

“Of course.” The line goes dead and I turn the phone off I have to conserve the power now that I can’t recharge it.

Looking at the dark forest I say out loud. “That the hell did I get myself into?”

Carefully, I gather my bag, pulling it onto my back, I jump off my ruined vessel onto dry land. The first thing I notice that the ground is soft beneath my boots. Also my way of walking different on Trigg we all feel it the slow sway of the massive ship. Here it’s different I’m the one whose sawing not the ground.

I make it a grand total of five steps before I fall onto the ground. The sand clings to my hands. Getting myself into a sitting position, I look out at ruined remains of my ship and the ocean beyond it. My body is still swaying and my stomach is churning. Taking deep breaths I smell the trees, they are pine trees, it’s a semi-sweet smell that would be pleasant if my stomach on the verged of emptying itself.


That night I try to make a fire I really do, but it doesn’t work out I can’t sleep. My makeshift hammock, which did in the beginning help the gentle rocking calmed me. At least till the bugs showed up they were an unwelcome discovery. The little black ones would land on my exposed skin and suck my blood. Also, every little sound made me jump, it wasn’t the wild animals I feared. We learned that animal would leave you alone if you left it alone

People are different, especially Drylander’s, they were the bogyman of the Colonies. The savage people that would kill you like the re-landing party, twelve went out two came back. If I was lucky I could follow the coastline right to the city fined what I need and get the hell out of here.

Looking out on the ocean I think of my sister, I can still hear. She’s worried about me, I’m worried about her too. Everyone really if I don’t make it, they’ll all die or worse, they’ll have to come here. I prayed to every god I could think of that the savages didn’t know I was here. While I don’t know what they would do to me, I know it won’t be good.

The stars are the same I can’t see them all the trees are blocking my view. I never imaged they would be so big I knew that could be that tall I just never thought I would see them. They are imposing giants yelling at me to stay out of their domain. Curling into the sleeping bag I feel the need to sleep, but I just can’t this place is just too strange.

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