Censored

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Here is another snippet from the larger piece I am working on which at the moment I am calling, The Misterious. At this point it is not necessary to read these in any sort of order, but if you go to the menu bar at the left and click on stories, you will find a tab that gives you all the posts related to this story. Sometimes deciding what to post is tricky because at some point, things I would rather leave out now will be plugged in later. For one, the place I am writing about, I think I intend to base on a real place, but I want to leave that out now.  Just think of it as a journal of sorts written by a person in a place that may or may not exist as we would know it. Okay. I am explaining too much. Enjoy!

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CENSORED


Despite being physically isolated, we do get physical things from the outside world and communication isn’t completely cut off. It’s just spotty. As I write this, I’m not sure that anyone out there will ever read it. Getting through to someone via the phone or internet is an unpredictable venture and once you do get signals you can’t count on them to go as far as you would like. You can get on the internet but you can’t see everything. Strangely enough, you can almost always get communication within the city itself, just try to reach anywhere outside and success is a toss up. There’s no explanation or even acknowledgement of this. When you try to talk to anyone from out there about the weird things going on in here or if you ask, what the heck is happening where they are, the connection drops or you get interference. I suppose it’s a bit like what people have dealt with for years in countries where the government controls everything. There’s no, “access denied message” or warning. What you are looking for is simply not there.

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It would be nice to find out something tangible. Coming up on two years and I still don’t know who’s in charge out there, why we’re stuck here or whether that weirdness is really anything to be concerned about. After all, it hasn’t made me sick. I think I’m still sane. I haven’t seen zombies or anyone with an arm growing out of their forehead. Then again, I stay the hell away from that part of town! Why take chances?

Today, I talked to Quinn. Quinn was lucky enough to be visiting family down south when the barricades went up. I say, lucky, assuming that things aren’t as screwy out there as they are in here. But I don’t know because every time we try to talk about it; static. This time, he was trying to ask me questions and the line kept cutting in and out. When we discussed more benign topics, however,  we heard each other perfectly.

Quinn has two cats, Beans and Lucy. For all practical purposes, they’re my cats now. Lucy, a small black ball of plushness is ancient. Lately, she seems to be failing and I don’t know whether it’s time to tell him or if I should just avoid giving him something to fret about that he can’t control. Quinn is not generally a worrier, but I am sure this situation tests that enviable trait. I am not even sure we have a veterinarian here anymore to take her to, but I am searching. The city is so empty now. I told Quinn I had loaded up some photos to my web page, but he said that parts of my posts were just blurred out. He didn’t see any photos.  Owl can see them. I can see them. But outside, they are out of focus. Owl says he is working on a way to circumvent this. I’m not tech savvy enough to begin to think about how to do that. I probably shouldn’t mention this. Will they, whoever they are, be watching us now?

tumblr_inline_nm0avoT28s1smxh5i_500It’s strange. It’s frustrating. Still, I take what I can get. It’s good to talk to Quinn. It’s nice to hear his voice. There is comfort in the connection. Even if it is censored, it’s grounding. I suspect the news is edited, but it brings a sense of normalcy. Though I can’t find everything, I’m able to boot up my computer to search the web for information and giggles much the same as before. For now, some things remain hidden. I hope they won’t always be that way. While I generally enjoy a bit of mystery, being left entirely in the dark is wearing thin. I have no idea if my words will find their way out. I just write because it seems someone should be keeping a record of this. Even my trivial words feel weighty, like evidence of my existence. We are here, those of us left behind. We matter.

For now, we live indefinitely in a figurative bubble. Sometimes I like to pretend that I am actually alone, that there is no other human living within the miles of rectangles that dot the landscape. I think about what it must have been like when this place was untouched by humans, primordial and blanketed with trees. I wonder if the trees will someday find a way to reclaim the territory; libraries, houses, schools and supermarkets buried like ancient temples under the roots of the jungle. I tell myself that I am the last human on earth. Sometimes, I even think I would be fine if that were true. It’s a peaceful place to go in my head, but in reality, I’m glad for the connection, any connection. I am here. You still see me. I see you. We are separated but not alone.

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Ghost Town

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(At this point it is not necessary to read these in any particular order)

I’ve been on a roll of late posting a lot of things that aren’t stories or even bits of stories. I have been writing fiction, I just haven’t been posting it. I suppose if I ever get in the habit of posting daily or a few times a week with regularity, more will get here.

This is the first thing I’ve posted from a longer work that has been percolating for awhile. I have decided that I need to do some research on things like climate change, natural disasters, geography, politics and economics, among other things before I flesh it out in any serious way, not because I am going to need them all that much in the story, but because I personally want the foundation to build it on. I guess it’s sort of SciFi, maybe more speculative fiction. I’m vacillating between it taken place somewhere that exists now vs somewhere completely imaginary. Oh, it’s a hot mess that wants to come out!

Anyway, the title for working purposes only, is, The Misterious, so that’s what it will be tagged as when I post other fragmeants of it! I’m not entirely happy with this bit, but it wanted out of my head desperately so, here ya go:

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GHOST TOWN

I try to time my late night ramblings so that I will have the lowest chance of running into another soul. If I head out too early in the morning I’ll likely catch maintenence, blowing off the sidewalks, cleaning the glass and storefront trims, watering plants  or hosing off the benches. Sometimes during the day or early in the evening  I’ll see a lone vehicle or run into an actual human being on the street or sweeping their porch. Too early in the late evening and you might run into a PigBot, have to explain yourself or worse. Too late in the late evening and you might run into a wild animal you can’t handle or the Red Eyes. Jimmy likes to call them the Cylons. That makes me laugh.

The perfect time for me is the middle of the night. Lights might still be on in some of the buildings. I make a game of guessing which yellow squares of light are actually occupied and which simply had lights on when the inhabitants left, with no reason to suspect  they wouldn’t return. Building lights are mostly on automatic, but individual apartments and houses are more intriguing puzzles. For weeks, after it happened, my attention was fixed on a large television screen visible through an upper window in a building about a block from my place. It must have been set on a timer as  it came on early every evening and shut off at one every morning. I walked past the apartment building it sat in nearly every day. It’s my habit to scan windows, doors and porches in particular.  One day, I could see it was gone. Presumably, a neighbor finally decided they might as well have it.


There are small clues. Sometimes bulbs will burn out and you know there is no one living there because once they go dark, they stay that way. Keep watching and more lights in the same place will go out and stay out one by one. On the floor below the place with the TV is another apartment that caught my eye.  It has four long curtains, knotted at the bottom which make striking silhouettes at night. I assumed it was unoccupied, especially after one evening seeing the window was dark. I assumed the light had gone out. But the next day I  looked up to  realize someone had merely closed all the drapes. A few days later, I noticed they were knotted up again. Hello neighbor! Were you hiding your new TV?

When I decide to stay somewhere else for a few days or head up to The Bunker, I always set lights and things that make sound on varying timers. Owl showed me how to rig up some techy things that sound like conversation, cooking sounds, a dog. So far, no one has broken into my place, only another neighbor would be a likely burglar anyway and they all know I’m here, but I have gone many places I did not belong. That concept is slippery for me though. I’m not sure it’s breaking and entering or stealing when the likelihood is, no one’s coming back.

In the middle of the night benches look inviting, yet eerie. I find myself wanting to sit on them, but at the last second, I balk, feeling like an intruder.  A presence is there, the heavy presence of nothing.  It’s become a ghost town, except that it isn’t. I think everyone has to leave for a place to become a ghost town; population zero, only ghosts. Our populace has been dramatically reduced, but people still occupy the buildings. They live, but they aren’t really living. How do you get up and go to work when you can’t leave the city or your job in the city no longer exists? Few of us know what to do with ourselves. We shuffle about this place that isn’t  an actual ghost town. The city is a shell, populated by shadows of lives that once vibrantly filled it. We are the ghosts.

It should creep me out walking around my neighborhood in the wee hours thinking about this stuff. But the buildings in daylight are much more disturbing. They all look abandoned so of course, you can just feel someone watching. You squint at the squares of grey and you think you see a shadow staring back. The emptiness is pronounced. The loneliness is oppressive. At night, it’s peaceful, a perfect stillness. All I can hear are the sounds of water, wind and night birds. Sometimes I even hear the occasional car. It’s not that different from the way it was before. I’m lulled by the comfort of warmly lit apartments, the illusion of life. I can almost forget.

Almost.