This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
Maybe the choices we make are interdependent. Or maybe they disappear into a sea of crystal ice and despair. I’ve learnt not to regret anything, however difficult it prevails to be.
I was only young. Young enough that my ignorance could be excused and glossed over.
My name is Elektra.
I am 19 years old.
I hadn’t even been born when the world fell into darkness.
They talk very little of the day the lights went out; it is almost as if the world underwent a mind wipe, removing any memory of that day. Well, it seems more interesting that way I think. You know stupid conspiracies about little green men in spaceships with futuristic technology powerful enough to destroy the planet. Even these days people believe that Taurus faeces.
My parents talked about their theories a lot, I think. They believed it was some kind of retribution from some cloud deity. They were kind of religious fanatics or something; I don’t know, whatever it used to be called. That was before they went. I don't even really remember what happened. They were there and then, gone. No memories whatsoever. Went or died; is there any difference between them now? The answer to that is a resounding no. They’re dead. They’re dead and I have accepted that; I was only young when they disappeared into the great abyss that is the world. They left me so why the hell should I give a damn whether they still travel this mortal coil?
I’m not being harsh. I don’t think I am. They left a nine-year-old child to fend for herself in this world, without any form of protection and not even a pot in which to piss.
The world in which I live is different from the old world, from what I can gather. After the power lines died on the day of darkness, humanity fell into chaos. I mean people began to insane, murdering people for generators and for any form of energy that would restore their gadgets and gizmo’s. People began to try and restore the power lines to no avail.
However, people decide to move into the cities from the countrysides, which lead to the overpopulation of the cities. When the virus came, poor buggers didn’t stand a chance against it. Everyone was so close. So close. If it had been a bacterial infection, they still would have been screwed due to the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. At least that’s what I think. Me and the rest of the living population, I guess.
Looking out of the window, it’s a pretty sorry sight to be honest. Most of the buildings have fallen into disrepair. Their foundations cracked into minuscule particles and debris everywhere. It’s difficult to imagine a world where there were not buildings falling to pieces on every street. It’s almost possible to see dust spores floating away from the scene, as if snowflakes from the sky. I sometimes wonder what it must be like for those who were born before the death of society. They have a comparison. Something to yearn for and memories of a better time. A well on which to draw.
Oh god, I sound so pedantic.
This flat’s not too bad I guess. I could have got a lot worse from the department but I guess being a star pupil had and continues to have its advantages.
The flat stinks. It stinks of putrefied fish and stale cigarettes. When Erin, my key worker, first introduced me to this monstrosity I gagged. Nowadays, I’m lucky to have this place so I don’t tend to complain too much because I’m always reminded how lucky I am and that I should be grateful to not be on the streets. That is a good point. The décor is typically garish, with damp stained yellow chequered wallpaper in every room. It looks like someone has ‘phlegmed’ on the wall. It’s vile but it’s almost comforting in some respect. I feel like that woman in that novella about insanity and yellow wallpaper. I can’t remember what it’s called...oh yes, The Yellow Wallpaper. I commend the author on her imaginative title. I’m kidding, kind of. Well...anyway that is not important.
All of the furniture had been subject to fire damage and general ageing. The wood has begun to rot and there is a painting about a vase that no long exists. Just a gold frame stands where a canvas image should occupy. In the bedroom, the bed is tattered and the duvet ripped. To be honest, the duvet is covered in all kinds of stuff. I mean urine, crap, blood (I do not want to imagine where the hell that came from) and a substance that I am pretty sure is vomit. I hope it’s vomit. Vomit is a best-case scenario, that’s not a statement you hear often. There have been a few times where I have sat down and thought how many people died in that bed? How many people died, gasping for breath and calling out for someone or something?
To think about that is not right. To think about that is not decent and could drive me into physical insanity. I’m done with that kind of useless crap; I am alive, that’s all that matters to me. Should matter.
The doorbell doesn’t ring often. What I actually mean is that the doorbell is so ancient that it will only work on occasion. So when it does ring, I get slightly worried because it means that someone has hammered the crap out of it to work or, I prefer this option, the stupid, bloody thing has decided that it likes me today. I walk over to the door, which I must say is barely attached to its battered hinges. I never like the feeling of opening doors; it must stem from some traumatic memory of school or something but, I still hate it. Solitude is my only salvation. I relish in it. That is not strange, I am not strange.
As I open the door I can’t hide my disdain. Roman.
“Hey Ellie, I have not been able to stop thinking about your beautiful face and your endless scruples...”
“What do you want, you dickhead?”
I don’t mean to be snappy but my tolerance only serves me to an extent. Roman and I have never seen eye to eye. This may be partially down to the fact that he is 6ft 4 and I am a regular height at 5ft 5. However, I don’t want to agree with him on anything. He is a misogynistic, narcissistic bastard with about as much personality as a cadaver. So I am rather indifferent towards him. Sarcasm fully intended.
“Ah, did someone wake up on the wrong side of the mattress? Aw don’t scowl at me like that princess. You know you love me really.” He flashes me his most charming grin, as he always does when he wants something badly enough.
“First thing, I slept in the armchair so it is not possible for me to wake up on the wrong side. Second thing, call me ‘princess’ again, I will not be responsible for your injuries. What do you want Marius? No offence but I want to spend as little time in your presence as is possible.” I say with a tone of unmistakable spite.
“Really, all that hostility. My poor heart. I was just wondering...if you happened to have a first aid kit. One of the girls fell. Lot of blood. I have it all under control of course but I would appreciate the kit.” The smile does nothing but irk me.
You probably think that he’s a decent guy, that I am being too harsh on him because after all, he gets off his arse and looks after the youth, right? He only does that to suck up to his boss; he’s hoping by doing a good deed he’ll be recruited for the research team which he has been rebuffed from many times already. He genuinely believes he will be the one to discover a cure for the virus and he will save the Earth. This is exactly why he deserves the title of narcissistic git of the decade.
“You know, first aid kits are extremely valuable these days. You want my kit, I’m coming with you. It is not leaving my sight. Comprende?”
“Of course, even better. Come along my dear; patrol starts in five.”
“I’m not your ‘dear’, dickhead.” I mutter.
He’s so unctuous he makes my skin crawl.
Alex Reltin: This is a great story! I love how well you go into detail and emotions of Capri, and Mel. You have amazing dialogue and overall it's just a thrill to read!The only critique I could find is that some of the paragraphs should be separated. For example:-"If Nia would have just let me take the car an...
gunter1987: I just want to say here that this is my first review, but I really wanted to review this story. I apologize if I don't write English to well, I am French.Reading through the many science fiction stories posted here and other places in the world, I started to see a few linking themes: heavy-hande...
Diane April: Really liked the concept of this story. The beginning had a great explanation about how things worked in the real world that people tend to overlook. It was a nice change from the usual zombie story that just makes things up as they go along and actual facts don't matter.
Deleted User: This is a very clever story in the style of 19th century (and turn of the century) Gothic writing, very reminiscent of Stevenson's The Body Snatchers or even of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (less so of Frankenstein itself, since the author is more minimalist than Shelley's florid, Romantic rhetoric). ...
FreakyPoet: "you made me laugh, made me cry, both are hard to do. I spent most of the night reading your story, captivated. This is why you get full stars from me. Thanks for the great story!"
Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."