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The Last Child; guys i wrote a story what do you think of story
Topic Started: Aug 27 2010, 01:04 PM (235 Views)
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You hate kings and you think kings are really stupid. They are petty, bossy tyrants and are really full of themselves and are basically awful in every way.
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I wrote a story. Tomorrow I'm presenting it to a writers' club for their criticism and comments. I realize that you guys are also sort of a writers' club, and I would appreciate criticism and comments from you too! So here is the story, tell me what you think. And yes, it is pretty much fan fiction of a comedy sketch. And no, I am not in the slightest ashamed of that.


The Last Child

When they found me, I was sitting in a room with books stacked high all along the walls and a pile of the things around my feet. When they found me, I had eaten the last of the food long ago and started to stack the empty cans atop each other so I could make believe they were cities. When they found me, I had not seen my mum and da for a long long time and they told me we could not wait for them to come back.
When they found me, they did not ask me my name. They took me outdoors and pointed their guns at anything that moved, and then they took me indoors to another building. When they talked about me they called me the Last Child, which was not my name. I wanted to speak up and tell them that, and that it was a silly thing to call me regardless because I was quite sure that I was not the last one. I did not speak up, because I thought it might be rude. I did not meet another child at the new building, so I started to thing they might be right. I did not not tell anyone the name that I had before, so I started to forget what it was. And so I was the Last Child.

The largest room in the compound is called the studio, where we play the Quiz Broadcast. There is a man named Milton- he is called the presenter- and he asks us questions. He asks us, three of us at a time, questions about what it was like before the Event. We have forgotten a great many things since then. We try to remember. We try to answer. Sometimes we are right, so Milton tells the soldiers to give us prizes. Sometimes the prize is food, or fuel. Sometimes the prize is something we do not know, and if you can tell Milton what it is, you get another prize.
Once, when I was very hungry, I asked if I might be allowed to play the Quiz Broadcast. I remember the soldiers looked very confused, but Milton- he has always been kind to me- said I could play. After that, I was not hungry or cold for many days. They asked me how I had known so many answers, and I said that I read them when I was in the room with the books stacked high all along the walls. They asked me why I had not called out an answer while I was in the audience, and I said that I thought it might be rude. They asked me, time and time again, if I was feeling hungry. They asked me if I might play again.
By now I have played the Quiz Broadcast a great many times. Milton asks me about what it was like before the Event, and I tell him what I learned from my books. Sometimes the other contestants do not even look at Milton, but instead turn their eyes towards me like the audience does. They look very hopeful and a little scared, and when I answer they all clap and cheer. When I do not know the answer, they look very very sad. I do not like it when they are so sad, so now I make up the answers I do not know.
"What," I remember Milton asked me once, "are these?" They were great hard cones, orange and tall. There were holes in their tops, and nothing inside. They were light enough to lift, and you could stack them atop each other. They are everywhere. I have no idea what they are.
"You would make walls out of them," I told Milton. "You would put them around your building, and they would keep you safe from lions."
"How would they do that? The lions could knock them down." A voice from the audience.
"Lions hate the color orange. It scared them away."
After that, I was not hungry or cold for many days. And I had one of the cones.

The first thing I noticed about Emily was her eyes. The others did not see them, because her hair fell over her face and she walked with her head bent low. But I am not very tall, and I saw them through her hair when she stepped into the compound. I thought they looked very very curious. They were, except for their red irises, entirely black.
The first thing Emily said to me was that I should stay back. She said this many times, to everyone, to the soldiers most of all. She held her hands out in front of her as she backed into a corner. The soldiers looked at each other for a long time. I do not think they knew what to do.
"Are you infected?"
She hesitated. Bit her lip.
"Are you or aren't you?"
"No." Shook her head. "Not exactly."
"Then we have to search you, come on now." Took a step towards her.
"No!" Backed up further. "Can... can you just take me to who's in charge?"
They looked at each other again, and I do not think they actually knew who it was. We all like Milton, and we listen to what he says, but I do not think he is in charge of us. They looked back at Emily and one of them spoke up.
"Why do you want to see him?"
"I have a message. It's important." Wrung her hands.
"We can take you to him. But you have to let us search you."
She hesitated. Shook her head.
"Why not?"
She was quiet for a long time. Bit her lip. Looked up at the soldiers. "I'm one of Them."

There is a word I saw in one of my books. Zombie. It means a very slow and dumb creature that is nonetheless very frightening. A zombie shambles around and bites people- maybe it tries to eat them, maybe it tries to turn them into a zombie. It looks like a man or a woman, but it is very sick. Its colors are all wrong. It is always hungry. It used to be us, but now it wants to kill all of us. And there are so many of it. When people in the compound talk about Them, I think they are talking about zombies.
Emily was not a zombie.

The soldiers had surrounded her and pointed their guns at her and shouted a great many things. She did everything that they told her to, and the whole time she looked very serene. It was not until they brought her to the studio and made her wait for Milton to arrive that I thought she might be getting scared again. She tugged at her dress and she held her head low again. But she did not say anything.
By the time Milton arrived, we had all of us crowded into the studio. The seats were all full and there were many of us on the floor between the seats and the podiums. And there was Emily at one of the podiums, and Milton stepping towards another, and there were all the soldiers with their guns pointed straight at Emily. And there was me sitting in the very front, because all the men and women had been kind to me and let me past them.
Milton cleared his throat. He was maybe a little nervous. "Why are you here?" She did not say anything, but tugged at her dress some more. The soldiers started to look at Milton, but he shook his head. "Take your time," he told her.
"I want to help you." We were all of us relieved, I think. We knew that there had to be a reason, and it had to be something like that. Milton asked her what all of us were thinking and a few of us were murmuring.
"Did you betray Them? You've switched sides? Or- or are you an outcast?" And we knew the answer must be yes, and so we started shouting the next questions.
"Can you protect us from Them?"
"How can we kill Them?
"Can you help us wipe Them out?"
And we knew the answer must be yes, and we started to quite like her for helping us so, and so we started shouting the next questions.
"How can we pay you back?"
"Is it safe for you to live with us?"
"Can we make you human again?"
And all of a sudden Emily looked very sad. I remembered how sad I used to get when I did not have the answers that Milton and the audience wanted, and I wanted to shout to Emily to make a nice answer up. But it was very quiet in the studio and I did not speak up. I mouthed the words to her, but she was not looking at me. So instead she gave the worst answer of all.
"No, I'm- I'm not a traitor. Or an outcast. But I want to help you. We all want to help you."
And so all our hearts sank at once. When Milton spoke, his voice was quiet and dark. "If They want to help us, then They should all leave us alone."
"Please, I don't want to-"
"No!" I do not think I had ever heard Milton raise his voice before. I did not like how it sounded, and I think he must have not liked it too, because when he spoke again his voice was level. "No deals, no tricks. We're not letting you come near us, we're not taking any gifts, we're not letting you turn us into... you. Just... please. Leave us alone."
She tapped her fingers and kept on looking sad. Her voice was barely more than a whisper. "You don't need to suffer like this."
"And we do NOT suffer! We are strong, we are healthy, we are brave. We can take this. We've persevered so far. And if we don't have to fight off attacks from Them all the time, we will continue to persevere." He was not quite telling the truth, and a great many of us in the audience must have known it. A great many of us were hungry, or cold, or ill. But we nodded along with Milton. It was nice to believe he might be right.
"You don't need to live this way," she repeated. She started to speak a little more loudly. "What we have is a gift, and you can have it to. You can eat all the food you want, you can stop worrying about disease. You can go outside without getting cold, or sick, or attacked... you can go outside, for heaven's sake! Haven't any of you ever... haven't you ever wanted to see the sun?" I had read in one of my books that it was dangerous to look at the sun, and I had told this to everyone once when we were playing the Quiz Broadcast. So we all shook our heads, and Emily started to look even sadder.
She tried looking looking around at all the people in the audience. I think she may have been looking for a face that was not telling her that it did not trust her and that she ought to go away. She found mine. "Are you hungry?" she tried.
"Don't you take another look at that Child." Milton had always looked out for me. "Don't you say another word. I swear to God I will have these men kill you where you stand if you speak another word to the Child."
"You'd kill me for offering food to a child?" She looked so confused.
"No, there is no food. You have no food to give. All the food outside is poison. It's radioactive. Or it's the bodies of those you've murdered. You're lying, you're trying to steal our Child away with your tricks."
She opened her mouth as if to protest, but if she said anything I did not hear it. We were all of us shouting at her, some of us demanding she be killed, some of us demanding she be locked up forever. A few demanded that she leave right now and tell Them that They should leave us alone. These were the kindest ones.

I sat alone in my room- I had a room all to myself- for a long while and I thought about what had happened at the studio. I could not quite hear what was said, but I think Milton told the soldiers they should lock Emily up while we all figured out what to do with her. They might keep her there forever, or send her back, or kill her. Or they might send her back dead, with a note pinned to her asking Them to leave us alone. Or they might-
Or they might listen to me, if I were to say something to help her. They would always listen to me when I told them things about what it was like before the Event. I had not read anything about Them in my books, but maybe I could pretend. I thought of things I might say: that some of Them were not as bad as the rest, maybe? That she was one of the good ones, and that we should be kind to her? But Emily had said that she was not an outcast. She had said that They all wanted to help us. But we all knew she must be lying.
I wondered if she might not be lying.

The other people are kind to me, and I may come and go as I please, so I walked down to Emily's cell and nobody stopped me. There were no soldiers there, because I think Milton had told them to guard all the doors. I think we were all of us worried that They might attack. That Emily might be the first in an invasion, or that They might come and try to rescue her. I think we did not quite know what They might do, but we knew that it scared us.
When I found Emily, she was sitting in a corner and hugging her knees with her eyes cast low. When I found Emily, she was very gently swaying back and forth, and I thought she might be crying. When I found Emily, I cleared my throat and reached an arm through the cell bars and coughed up a hello. She turned and looked at me. Her eyes were still huge and black and red. She was not crying.
"So I guess you're hungry after all?" I did not understand what she meant at first, but she had a small smile on her face so I thought she must be making a joke. I laughed, but I did not quite know why.
"I'm Emily." This was when I learned what she was called. Milton had not asked her her name back at the studio. "What's your name?"
"I am called the Last Child."
She looked so confused. "That's a very strange name you've got." I nodded vigorously. I had always thought it was a very silly thing to call me. "Why'd you come down here?"
"Miss Emily, you said that all of Them wanted to help us." I spoke in a small voice.
"Did you really mean it?"
I did not quite know if I ought to trust her. Men who went outdoors sometimes never came back, foraging parties came back with half their members gone. The survivors would say that They had attacked. They would sometimes say that They were red-eyed and cunning and would set evil traps so They could snatch men away. They would sometimes say that They were what my books called zombies. I did not quite know if I ought to trust them.
"Miss Emily, do you know what a zombie is?" She nodded. "But you are not a zombie." I looked down and felt myself go red, because I thought this must have been an incredibly dumb thing to say. But I heard her gently laughing, and when I looked back up she was shaking her head and smiling. She had a pretty laugh. I had not read anything in my books about zombies having pretty laughs.
"I don't think so." She held out her arm and narrowed her eyes, looking it over. She seemed to conclude that she was not in fact a zombie, and looked at me with a tilted head and a little smile. "But I think I know what you mean. I think I maybe used to be one." I think my eyes went very wide then. I did not know that you could stop being a zombie. Her smile grew wider.
"H-how did you stop?"
She paused. I do not think she was in the habit of explaining this to people. "When you first become like I am... you sort of forget how to be a person. For a while."
"And you become a zombie instead?"
"Yeah. You forget pretty much everything but... how to be hungry. I remember I was really hungry for a really long time."
"Are you hungry right now?" I thought I might run back to my room and bring her some food I had won on the Quiz Broadcast.
She laughed again. "No, I'm all better now. Thanks." She tapped her fingers and looked happy. "We all are. Better, I mean. There's a whole city full of us, just a few miles north of here. But you lot never come close enough that you can see it."
I knew what cities were from my books, but I do not think I had ever seen one. I wondered what they looked like, what it felt like to be in one. I wondered- "Do you have children? In the city?"
She did not say anything, but she nodded. And I knew she must be telling the truth.

Neither of us said anything for a long time. I leaned against the bars with my arms poking through, and she sat in her corner and hummed. I knew she must be telling the truth. About everything. I knew it. I knew there must be a city where there were more like me, and where you could eat and be warm even if you did not win at the Quiz Broadcast. I knew they must be growing and building there every day, that things were only getting better. I knew it. I knew I must go there. And find new books there. And learn there and live there. I knew it.
I do not quite know how I knew it.
"Miss Emily, do you think I could join-" I stopped. I did not know if it might be rude to call them Them. "Miss Emily, what do you call yourselves?"
She looked at me curiously. "We're people. We call ourselves people."
"Oh. Then what do you call us?"
And this time she smiled. "You're people too."
I thought this sounded nice, and that it must be right. I did not quite know what to say, but then I remembered I had been asking a question. "Miss Emily, do you think I could join... the people? Your people?"
She bit down on her lip, which made me surprised. I thought she would be very happy that I asked, I thought this had been her whole reason for coming to our compound.
"Is something wrong, Miss Emily?"
"I was hoping I could convince all of you to come. I was hoping you'd listen to..." She trailed off and started to look sad again. Like she had back in the studio. "But I don't think that's going to happen. And now I don't... you're the only child here. I don't know if I can just take you away from them."
"You are not taking me away. I will go because I want to. Miss Emily, I... please... can I?"
She smiled, though she still looked sad. She blew away a lock of hair that had fallen across her face. She tapped her fingers, and for a long time she did not say or do anything else. She nodded gently.
"If you want to make it to the city, if you want to be like me, you'll have to pay very close attention."

And so now I am writing myself down. I have a book, one that I brought with me when they took me to the compound long ago. It is greyed and it is yellowed and the words are starting to fall off the pages. The book is about all types of wild animals, and it has many facts about elephants and snakes and lions (though lions are not afraid of the color orange, I made that part up). I have a heavy black pen, and I am writing myself down in the book.
Emily told me I must write myself down. Everything about myself that I could think of. What has happened in my life, what I like, what I dislike, who are my friends, what kind of person I am. I am trying to be as detailed as I can. She said when you become like her, even though you eventually remember how to be a person, you do not remember anything about who you were. She said she was one of the first to become a person again. She said she has no idea who she used to be.
Now, when they turn one of our people into one of theirs, they make sure that the new people write themselves down. When they turn into- I do not know if they are actually called zombies but that is what I think I am calling them- they are kept in safe enclosed places. And they are given food so they are not so hungry all the time. And then when they become people again, their new friends hand their books to them. And they read themselves, and they know who they are.
I am writing myself down. I am writing everything I can think of, and a few things that are not quite true but that I like anyway. I am writing that, before the Event, I had a pet lion. I am writing myself a name. I know that the one I have right now will not do- for it is a very silly thing to be called when there are other children- and that I do not remember the one I had before. So I am writing a new name for myself, and I think it is a beautiful name to have.

I go down to Emily's cell again and I tell her I have written myself down. I tell her the new name I have chosen, and she looks confused for a second, but then she tells me it is a beautiful name.
"When I become like you, will my eyes..."
"Be like mine? Yes, we all look like this. Is that... is that bad?"
"No, no!" I shake my head vigorously. "They look beautiful. They look miracle." I worry I may have used the last word wrong, but she smiles. I think I got it right.
"Miss Emily, when I get to the city, will I see you again?"
"I... I don't think that's going to happen." And I must look very sad right now, because she says "No, don't be sad. I knew what I was risking when I came here. Hey. I'm happy that you're going. That's what's important, yeah?"
And I nod. And I stay with her for a long time. I am leaning against the bars and poking my arms through, and she is sitting. Not in the corner now, closer to me. And she is not hugging her knees anymore, or tapping her fingers. And we do not say much, but we smile. And we hum little tunes, and she teaches me how to whistle. And I think we are friends now.
After a long time I think I am ready, and I tell her so. And she nods and she walks up to me, and she bends down and she kisses me on the forehead. She says I will be like her now. She says I have to go quickly if I want to make it to the city before I forget. She says I have to make sure I do not lose my book, no matter what. She says there is a boy I need to find, and that I need to tell him that Emily loves him. She tells me his name, and what he looks like.
I promise I will do it. I promise I will do all of it. I promise so many times. And we say goodbye, and I start to cry a little. And she does not.
And I start to miss her.

I am going to start walking now. Out the door, then as far as my legs will take me. I think I will fall asleep for a very long time, and I might forget how to be me. But I think that I will remember. And I think that when I wake up again, I will have a name.
Jeremy Franco is alive. You can write a better ending, goddammit.

Charlie DuClare is dead. And nothing was easy anymore except to smile.
Julian Avery is dead. Courage was the man with a gun in his hand.
JJ Sturn is dead. Fuck it, all good things gotta come to an end.
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The faceless fear
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Hey Jonny

Not bad an idea. Though I wonder what quiz is. That being said, I think it's better to have an Us and Them rather than actually namedropping the word "Zombie". I think using that word changes the story a bit weirdly.

Selphie out.
Old v4 player.
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