Pip

Pip

A Chapter by MightyMouse

The sun is just coming up lighting the deserted city and casting ominous shadows in the littered streets. Pip doesn’t know what city, somewhere in Arizona or New Mexico. She stopped paying attention to state signs a long time ago having no need to know where she is. Cities make her nervous, and she usually tries to avoid them, but she’s out of food. A walmart begins to take shape in the distance as she creeps along the sidewalk. Pip doesn’t like to look in walmarts for supplies because most people go there first. It’s a logical decision, walmarts tended to have everything anyone could look for. But one year into the apocalypse, Pip didn’t hold out much hope of anything being left over. Still, she needs food, and the gas stations certainly didn’t have much left in them either.

Pip has been alone the last year. She had seen other people, but she hadn’t talked to them. In fact, they never even knew she was there. She made it a point to keep herself out of trouble. It was a promise she had made to her older brother the last time she had seen him. She had been leaving for school. Pip takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly. She doesn’t want to cry thinking about her brother right now. She has been thinking about him more and more since she celebrated her nineteenth birthday, alone, locked in an old cellar during a particularly bad storm. Her brother had promised her a trip in an airplane when she turned nineteen. She had never flown before. Pip freezes and squeezes her eyes shut, shaking her head to focus on her task and not her past.

She opens her eyes and forces herself to take in her surroundings. She’s in front of the walmart now, a bit of hope weaving it’s way into her. The door is bolted shut. She walks around the walmart still forcing herself to pay attention to everything else. She glances down at herself. She’s wearing her favorite t-shirt. It’s solid black with a picture of the tardis from her favorite tv show doctor who on it. The doctor is on the front, all thirteen versions of him, and he’s surrounded by faces of every companion he’s ever had. The shirt used to fit her beautifully bringing out her almost non existent curves, but now it hung loosely on her starving body. Her black jeans are too big now also. She had to tighten her belt three holes before it would hold them up. She had fallen on a shard of glass ripping a hole in the knee a few weeks ago. The skin underneath shows through revealing a pink scar, the remnants of her injury. She’s wearing almost knee high black boots with buckles all the way up them. They are her favorite boots, her only boots, but they are half a size too big, making her feet wiggle around inside giving her blisters. She makes a decision to find a thick pair of socks while she’s in the walmart. Her reflection shines at her through one of the walmart windows. Her face is thin making her cheekbones stick out in sharp angles. Her small chin is smeared with something black. She assumes it’s oil from a motor she had put her hand on earlier in the day. She has tired dark blue eyes.Purple bruises line them making her almost look like a raccoon. She rubs at them wondering if the bruises will ever go away. Pip reaches up and pushes her almost white hair out of her eyes. It’s longer than she prefers it. Usually she kept it at about two or three inches long because she didn’t like the way longer hair got in the way. Sweat drips down her forehead and she wipes it away. She looks up from herself out into the parking lot. Cars are strewn about the parking lot like the drivers had been agitated before they were abandoned. Most of them are on their sides, or upside down, or crashed into poles and each other their metal frames bending and twisting together like a bag of oversized, car-shaped pretzels. Pip pictures the scene.

The apocalypse is starting. People are scared, running. They grab their kids and their shopping carts and race for their cars. Everyone is screaming and crashing into each other. Few cars make it from the parking lot only to crash on the road. People are stealing things from each other, food and supplies. Fights break out, murder in the parking lot, children left alone crying for their mothers. It’s a horrendous scene. Pip blinks tears out of her eyes and takes a deep breath. She’s walked all the way around the walmart. It doesn’t appear to have any way in that isn’t locked or blocked. She stares out into the city wondering where she’s going to look for bolt cutters to break the bolt on the door. A home depot across the street catches her eye, and she wonders if they might have what she’s looking for. It didn’t seem logical for there to be a high demand for bolt cutters so she takes a walk across the street.

The home depot door has been ripped from it’s hinges and is leaning awkwardly in front of the opening. Glass is sprinkled on the ground and it crunches under her boots. She ducks into the opening getting her green army backpack stuck. She huffs and annoyed and takes it off to unstick it from the door. It put a hole in her backpack. Not a large hole, but one she wants to fix before it gets larger and all her stuff starts falling out.

She wanders around the home depot and eventually finds the bolt cutters she’s been looking for under a shelf. She barely found them. On her way out, she passes a section with lots of craft books. Hand sewing appeals to her since she doesn’t actually know how to sew. She stuffs it in her backpack along with a needle and thread she finds hiding behind it. She also passes by a gardening section. Most of the seeds are gone, spilled, or growing. But a few aren’t. Tomatoes, cucumbers, beets, and other types of vegetables she stuffs into her backpack as well. She spends some time looking for fruits, but she doesn’t find any. Disappointed, she leaves the home depot through a different door than the one she entered through. It’s the back of the store, where deliveries are made. A fence surrounds it, locked.

Movement catches her attention inside an old, rusty red pickup truck sitting in the empty space between the door and the gate. A small hand is waving in the passenger side window. She stares intently, a look of deep concentration on her face. She’s trying to decide whether to move on or inspect the vehicle. Her heart is pounding as she begins to move towards it curiousity stronger than her reasoning. She peeks nervously inside. A small child sits on her dead mother’s lap, her tiny hands pressed to the window. Her white and pink dress, small round face, and tiny hands are covered in a dark burgundy substance. Her mother’s blood. A gun rests heavily in the mother’s right hand, a piece of paper in her left. Her head is leaning to the left, a hole about the size of a quarter in her temple. Pip can see maggots squirming around in the hole and some spill out onto her shoulder. She turns around and gets sick. It isn’t the first time she’s seen death, and it’s not the reason she gets sick. Pip really doesn’t like maggots. She peers back inside the vehicle. The little girl presses herself against the window almost snarling as she begins to pound on the glass trying to break it. She’s smearing red along the glass blurring her face.

She turns to walk away, back towards the walmart and her task, but she pauses staring at a broken brick on the side of the home depot.  “I’m sorry for what happened to you.” She says after a moment, still staring at the brick. It’s the only white brick on the entire wall of orange, and for some reason, it holds her attention. She stares at the brick long enough that it takes up her entire line of sight, her vision blurring around the outsides. She eventually closes her eyes and listens to the sound of the little girl pounding on the window. She turns back to the rusty red pickup truck, and takes a deep breath in anticipation. She can’t walk away from this.

An image of her brother forms in her mind. Her brother wouldn’t leave the child here. Pip lets her breath out slowly and takes her knife from her side. She grabs the handle of the door and opens it quickly letting the baby fall to the ground. She lands on her head on the dark asphalt. The smell of death assults her senses. She takes a step back covering her mouth and nose and her eyes begin to water. She coughs into her arm and wipes the water from her eyes. She focuses on the girl.

The child was too young to have learned how to walk and lays on the ground reaching and growling a small human growl with a look of hatred the likes of which Pip had never seen on a child before. The little girl glares at Pip furiously and tries to roll into a crawling position. Pip places her foot on her small body stopping her. The little girl continues to growl and begins clawing at Pip’s leg, biting the toe of her boot and trying to shake her head like a rabid dog. Pip can feel tear welling up in her eyes, but she blinks them away. She continues to stare at the snarling baby wondering in what kind of a world it’s normal for the innocence of a child to be twisted into this. She sighs. “This is going to become normal isn’t it?” She asks the girl. “A few more years and I’m not going to think twice about stabbing a baby in the head.” She’s horrified by the thought. “I don’t want to be a monster.” She admits.

The little girl has had enough of Pip’s talking. She opens her mouth and sucks in a huge gulp of air. Pip panics and flings herself on top of her, covering her mouth just as she begins to scream. “Oh no you don’t. I don’t want any trouble.” She says and pushes her knife into the back of the baby’s head before she can think about what she’s doing anymore than she already has. The small body jerks and goes limp. Pip stands and stares down at the now lifeless body of the girl again. She cleans her knife on the seat of the pickup truck without taking her eyes off of the child. She doesn’t want to think anymore. She doesn’t want to feel for the baby. So she lets herself become numb, robotic, as she takes the gun and piece of paper from the woman’s hand. Pip unfolds it and reads the woman’s final words.

Her name was Sarah. She was only 11 months old.

                                  5-14

Pip glances at her watch. The date today is exactly one month from the date the woman had written. “Happy birthday, Sarah.” She whispers. She stands and walks away, the sun climbing higher in the sky. “And the world keeps on spinning.” She mumbles returning to her task.




© 2016 MightyMouse



Author's Note

MightyMouse
Alright, spent some time editing this chapter. Have I fixed it? I tried touching up on setting a bit and the character herself. I'll be working on the other chapters too.

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LM
Wow this is very intense! Great intro into your story, apocalypses are always an interesting front runner in a story but I like your interesting spin very much. Your descriptions were on point and helped me clearly imagine the setting and everything thats happening very well. Will definitely be reading more! Amazing job!

Posted 1 Year Ago


MightyMouse

1 Year Ago

Thanks. I'm working on a new chapter. I'm going to finish it before I read anything else. I've alrea.. read more
Wow. Prior reviewers have hit on some things that will make this story better- tense being the prior issue - very important but can be corrected as you edit and polish the work. Continuity issues - also fixable - like was the baby a zombie - if so why did she breathe - this can be addressed in edits as you work the story. What impressed me was the vivid descriptions throughout. The sprinkled broken glass, the maggots - the bruises under her eyes - the fact she was wearing her favorite shirt - very nicely done. Also, you nailed the conflict right away. That's key. Hooking your reader in the first few paragraphs is a must and you did very well. Also- the end of the chapter OUCH! well done there too. I'll read more.

Posted 1 Year Ago


MightyMouse

1 Year Ago

I didn't explain what the baby was because it's supposed to be a mystery. You're supposed to think i.. read more
I like the idea of this story. I do think it needs a bit more work. Third paragraph "...her favorite TV show who doctor on it." Doesn't make sense. Paragraph structure needs regrouping into shorter or more of a one concise purpose to each paragraph. Think of it as an outline. with each sentence supporting a theme to the entire purpose of the paragraph, if this helps. But overall it caught my attention and with a bit of reworking it would even be better. I will finish this book. It is worthy material so glad you took the time to get it down. That is effort in of its own.

Posted 1 Year Ago


MightyMouse

1 Year Ago

Thanks, I still have to do one more edit before I'm done with it. I'm taking in all the advice I can.. read more
I was really just looking for grammar stuff here as that’s my strong point. Sorry if some of this seems pedantic, but that’s what I do. Also, I apologize if this sounds all negative, but I’m not going to point out every time there isn’t a grammar mistake. One positive thing that I will say is that, especially towards the end, I got so engrossed in the story that I had to keep snapping myself out of it to check for mistakes.
In the first sentence, I feel like there should be a comma after “up.” It might not be 100% needed, but if you can take the end of the sentence and move it all to the beginning, it should probably be separated by a comma (or moved). There’s a similar situation after “ago” in the third sentence and after “walmart” in the 4 sentence of the second paragraph. There are a lot of cases like this actually: after “fit her beautifully”, after “wiggle around inside”, et cetera. The fact that this comes up so often tells me that you should try using different sentence structures,
The fourth sentence needs to be split into two sentences. Don’t be afraid to write short sentences; switching things like that up is a way to keep the writing more interesting.
Walmart is a proper name so it should be capitalized, same with Home Depot. Also, Home Depot is an “it” not a “they.”
There should be a colon after “logical decision.” You could use a semicolon, but a comma makes this a run-on.
There should be commas around “doctor who” and it should be capitalized.
There should be a comma here: “tired, dark blue eyes.”
Fifth paragraph, first line should be “its” with no apostrophe. The second sentence needs a comma after “ground” or it’s a run on. Third sentence has an extra “and.”
Make sure your pronouns are clear. When you say “some spill onto her shoulder,” the her could be referring to the dead woman or Pip.
Third to last paragraph should have “Pip can feel tears” not “tear.”
Also, whenever Pip speaks, her quotes should end in a comma and the next word shouldn’t be capitalized. For example, “I don’t want to be a monster,” she admits.


Posted 1 Year Ago


MightyMouse

1 Year Ago

Omg, this made me smile! I am so happy you spent the time to check my grammar that way. Grammar is d.. read more
This was a great first chapter, setting the tone for the rest of the book. After reading through it, I'm not entirely sure what the nature of this apocalypse is - I assumed it was zombie-related all the way through, and when it got to the little girl, it continued to seem like it. But when the girl took a deep breath, that seemed like a very un-zombie thing to do; whether it was about to scream for help, or do something else entirely, I'm not sure. And Pip stopped her by covering the little girl's mouth, which seemed like a pretty unsafe thing to do to a zombie. Plus, you never actually use the word 'zombie', so I'm thinking there's most likely a bit more to this. If I'm mistaken, and it's zombies, you may want to go back and be a bit more clear. Otherwise, if your plan is to slowly introduce the nature of the apocalypse, you're doing a great job so far at keeping me interested.

That said, there were a few things that I feel this chapter still needs to polish it up:

Please, unless there's a specific reason your narration is in present tense, switch it to past tense. Present tense is extremely distracting, and has a weird way of draining any suspense out of a scene.

The third paragraph seems to be your info dump for describing Pip. It's good that you put so much thought into her description, and most of the descriptors are very good (especially using her shirt to show how much weight she lost, while simultaneously describing her figure), but you may want to take that entire paragraph, and scatter it across the chapter. Let the flow of the chapter introduce her description for you, instead of making the reader hunker down and trying to remember everything at once. Let her footsteps echo eerily in the empty building, and use that as an opener to describe her boots, and how they're too big. As she's taking veggie seeds, let her stomach growl; she puts a hand on her stomach, and adjusts her shirt - NOW introduce her shirt, and the accompanying descriptors. Combining descriptions with relevant actions in the narrative also makes it easier for the reader to remember.

When describing the little girl and her mother, you put it as the little girl is sitting on her dead mother's lap, which is a great scene to include, but I think you should remove the word 'dead' from the opening description. There's no punch packed as is, and I can tell you want me to be shocked. By not immediately revealing that she's dead, I'm going to automatically paint a different picture in my head. Then, when I get to the part describing the mother, and finally read about the quarter-sized hole in her temple (which is its own "she's dead" description, making the first one irrelevant, anyway), I'm more likely to be shocked, because I probably didn't immediately picture the mother dead. My brain's over-eagerness to picture the scene before I've gotten all the important info is my undoing.

And finally, I liked the white brick part, but if you're going to have a character focus every last bit of their concentration on an object, you usually want to include 1000% more details about it in the description. I know there's probably not a whole lot to write about a brick, but including any chips taken out of it, describing the texture Pip thinks it would have if she were to touch it (is it cement, cinder block, classic red-brick-painted-white, or some other material?), or maybe describing how (since it's the only white brick) it seems to absorb the surrounding sunlight, making it almost glow against the surrounding bricks would work, especially since this is a segway into her thinking about her brother, who seems to be her role model who could do no wrong, putting a heavenly glow around something as ordinary as a brick could be a double whammy here.

So great first chapter. I know I included a lot of issues, but take it as I like to be thorough instead of you made a lot of mistakes, because I really did enjoy it, and plan to read the next, when I have the time.

Cheers!

Posted 1 Year Ago


MightyMouse

1 Year Ago

Wow, I'll have to admit, I didn't expect this long of an answer. Thanks for being so thorough. It's .. read more
When I read the first sentence I got so excited!! Cause it was a zombie apocalypse or some sort or abandon city! I was so excited1 Well done, you gave me the picture in my head of an abandoned city. But if I may suggest, it may be best to actually describe the city a little; that's just me, though it's your choice.

At first, I quick liked Pip, but she may be a little detached to the audience, she seems emotionless and not so energetic, My suggestion is to try and make her more emotional, not like overly emotional with crying all the time and all, but determined and strong, but it still your character and your story. But that's just a suggestion.

And I really love this story! It's very well done, I didn't have too much trouble picturing the story, but I did get a little lost while reading, so I might be best to add a bit more description - like a said before - but still it's your story and I will definitely be reading the rest! :)

Funny fact: I actually didn't know what a house depot was, I kept reading it and was like 'what the hell is that, is it a house department store or something?' and then I looked it up and found I was right XD I'm such an idiot. Guess that happens when you don't live in America XD

Posted 1 Year Ago


PenguinEmpiress

1 Year Ago

Yea, okay. Then I'd say he's probably a bit more feminine because he's spent more time with his moth.. read more
MightyMouse

1 Year Ago

Thanks for the advice. I'm trying to incorporate some of it in there. The first chapter with him in .. read more
PenguinEmpiress

1 Year Ago

No problem! I hope it helps in some way!!
I am kind of with the others on everything. I feel there is no real sense of setting. The character just does not connect with me sad to say. I assume all the chapters, seeing how they are titled, are from different character view points perhaps? I real feel you should describe Pip and who she is a bit. Does not have to be detailed. Another thing is the formatting, I cannot tell where one paragraph starts and one ends. I hope you do not take this as me saying your work sucks, because I do not think that. It needs work, yes, but I find it a very good idea none the less.

Posted 1 Year Ago


MightyMouse

1 Year Ago

I don't think you're saying it sucks. I expect people to be blunt and honest. And like I've told the.. read more
Wølfy

1 Year Ago

I am very blunt. I will try to read more later.
I will be honest
I was sitting in my chair reading this chapter, and I was getting to the screen with each line, at first I though Pip was a heartless girl who wont help the baby girl, but then I came to know that baby girl is a monster of somehow.

Great way of typing, your "full speed ahead" is working completely fine with this type of books, but I must add one small note: its alright to be a heartless Bi*** (referring to Pip) but I though she would cry at the end after knowing the baby monster just completed a year, you will add some humanity into her instead of turning her into a complete slayer.

add more information about the environment, so the reader can imagine the surrounding, the red rusty truck, the street, shops, signs ... anything would be great instead of leaving the reader with a black screen.

the most important note that Pip got no definition in this chapter (you just mentioned Blue eyes and a very long blade in her hand), how does looks like, what she is wearing, how old is she

great work i will rate it as 95, and I WILL READ MORE of this book for sure


Posted 1 Year Ago


MightyMouse

1 Year Ago

Pip is nineteen if you haven't read that far yet. She has blue eyes, whitish blonde hair, and she's .. read more
Haseo

1 Year Ago

telling me her age or the story here in the comment isn't helpful at all, its bad
you should.. read more
MightyMouse

1 Year Ago

I know it doesn't help, I'm still working on it. I'm in the getting it on paper stage. I have a lot .. read more
I have no clue what's going on here. It's just the first few paragraphs, so that's okay, but there's not even any tags for clues. How old is Pip? Why was a baby snarling? Am I reading a zombie story? If the baby was alive after a month in that truck, I'm imagining it must be so. A hint of setting in the description would have helped.

Posted 1 Year Ago



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Added on August 20, 2016
Last Updated on August 22, 2016


Author

MightyMouse
MightyMouse

Dayton, TX



About
I enjoy writing and I want to know if other people enjoy my writing. I live in a house full of seven people, three of them children, thirteen dogs, and ten cats. I have a twin sister with only one leg.. more..

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