Picture me in 1987: Twelve years old, seventh grade, short hair, bangs, glasses, and braces. Crushing on a boy named Joe who was fourteen and who failed seventh grade – not once, but twice. Dreaming of being a writer and changing the world with my amazing stories.
Today, for your reading pleasure, I have painstakingly retyped one of my earliest works of fiction. I have not fixed anything. Comments from me (today) are in red. Try not to laugh too hard.
I give a liesurely stretch and sit up. Where am I, I wonder? Something wierd is going on. I take a look around the room. Wow!! I’ve never seen so much silver and white in my life. All of a sudden, a nurse walks into the room. (A compelling opening paragraph, aside from a couple of spelling mistakes which my teacher underlined, and an extra exclamation mark which he did not.)
“Ah, you’re awake,” she says to me. (Notice my deft use of first person present.) “Welcome to the year 2005!” (No, I didn’t know you’re not supposed to write numbers as numbers in dialogue.)
“Say what?!” I cry. (It was 1987. “Say what?” was cool back then.) 2005! Who is she kidding?
“2005,” she repeats, smiling. “You’ve been asleep for about 20 years – some dumb sleeping sickness.” She motions toward a tray on the night table. “Hungry?”
“Yeah, yeah……. I am,” I answer. (Yes, seven dots, each one critically important to show my hesitation.) 2005! I still can’t believe it. This has got to be a joke. I’ll get whoever thought this up!
“Here, let me cut you a couple pieces of bread,” the nurse was saying, “and I’ll pour you a glass of decaffinated milk.” (Interesting how my teacher did not underline decaffinated.)
What?? (Because two question marks are so much better than one.)
I watched the nurse take a knife out of a drawer and begin to slice some very old-looking bread. (Okay, that present tense didn’t last long.) The knife slipped and she cut herself badly. So bad, in fact, that she cut her finger right off. I bit my lip, thinking of the pain the nurse must experience right now. I watched her face carefully.
She continued slicing the bread, until four pieces lay on the plate. The finger had fallen onto the floor – the nurse didn’t even realize she was missing her index finger! Another thought crossed my mind. Blood. There wasn’t any blood. Leaning slightly forward, I closed my eyes briefly before picking up the finger.
“My God,” I whispered, examining it. It wasn’t a human finger.
Looking closely, I saw hundreds of tiny little wires inside of it. The nurse must have noticed what I was doing, because she snatched it from me and hurried out.
I lay back against the pillow and thought long and hard. 2005. All of a sudden it hit me. Just like a fly on the wall with out a catcher’s mitt. (Say what?) I had to get out of here – fast. Calling on a reserve I didn’t know I had, I bolted out of bed and ran towards the bathroom. On the other side of the door hung a robe made of thin, shimmery fabric. I slipped it on. Heading back to the night table, I picked up the bread knife and cut off the hospital bracelet around my wrist. Then I crept towards the opened door and peeked out. The coast was clear. I stepped out cautiously. (I’ll give you a dollar for every cliché you count in this paragraph. Should be enough to buy you a Happy Meal.)
There was an exit at the end of the hall. I sprinted up to it, pushed open the doors, and ran outside, expecting sunshine to hit my face.
But was there sunshine? (Is this a rhetorical question?) No, it was dim and grey. (Guess not, since I answered it.) Fog covered the brightness of the sky, and there were dead plants everywhere. What happened?
“I can’t get over it, either,” a voice by my side said. I looked up to find myself standing beside a man of about 60.
“It was that stupid, crummy war. (Yes, war is often crummy.) Earth will be like this for a long time,” he continued.
“War?” I croaked. (I must have had a frog in my throat.) “There was a war?”
The man proceeded to tell me about a nuclear holocaust that had happened 3 years back.
“The only survivors,” he told me, “were the patients in the hospital at the exact time the bomb hit.”
“So that means me.”
“And me, sweet pea. We’re 2 of the 103 humans left in the world. The rest are androids.”
Androids. Androids!! The nurse…… (Yes, six dots.)
“My parents,” I mumbled, in a daze.
“Sweet pea, your parents are dead. You’re the only oriental human.” (Bwahahahaha! It’s even funnier when you consider that I’m not even oriental.)
“No!” I yelled. (Because my parents are dead, or because I just discovered I’m oriental?) “No!!!” (Because three exclamation marks are better than two.)
“Jenny, wake up!”
I opened my eyes, breathing heavily, but feeling relieved. It was a dream, just a dream. (Stories that turn out to be dreams are the best!)
“Jenny, you’ve had a nightmare,” Mom said. “Drink this. I’ll slice some fresh fruit.”
She padded downstairs to the kitchen and returned later with a knife. Then she began to cut up an apple. The skin was slippery, and the sharp edge of the knife sliced into Mom’s finger. I watched in horror as her finger fell to the floor. There was no blood, just wires.
|Click to enlarge.|
We all gotta start somewhere. My teacher liked it, anyway. And that was encouraging.
Happy long weekend! Be sure to check back here on Tuesday……. because I have an extremely important announcement to make. Did I say extremely?
Extremely!!!! (Because four exclamation marks are better than three!)