Chapter IA Chapter by Preeti
Chapter I of Semantic Blends: A Chain Novel, written by Preeti.
Written by Preeti (http://www.writerscafe.org/p.raveena)
Written for Semantic Blends: A Chain Novel Experiment
Cursing loudly, Josh stuffed the sheet of white paper he had been holding into his backpack as he walked along the cracked sidewalk through the crisp autumn air. A strong breeze sent his curly brown locks flying around his head and he shivered. He always dreaded report card days. He knew he wasn’t the brightest of students but he had had some expectations. And when he finally received the white paper placed so impersonally in his hand, as if it really was just piece of paper and not a measure of his self-worth, he had eagerly turned it over and felt his heart crashing over as his eyes skimmed over the numbers. Not a single mark over 80. How pathetic, he thought bitterly as he kicked a stone that had done nothing wrong except lie straight on his path, that I can’t even score an 80 in any subject. Even Modern English! Modern English was a class many seniors took as a way to balance out an otherwise heavy course load. ‘Easy A’, it was, according to the majority of the student population. F**k school, he thought, unintentionally giving a cold stare to a little girl with a Cinderella backpack who also evidently walking home from school, I’m probably meant to do something bigger and better. After all, life was not always about grades, right? So many people around the world work so hard for something…only to have it cruelly snatched away. That was certainly the case for many in Thousand Oaks.
The earthquake had come with no warning. It was always said that animals could somehow sense an impending disaster, sense that there was something wrong with the world when something major was about to happen, but they had had no warning. The dogs continued to bark and play and the cats lounged around, gazing at their owners with big, round eyes as if to ask, What will you feed me next? Then, the world around them shook and tossed them about like dolls. Houses had crumbled to dust, mirrors had broken and blood had run through the streets like rainwater. And the lives of every single person in Thousand Oaks had been shattered.
But that did not stop them from reopening the police station, the fire station, the hospital and (to Josh’s disdain) the school. Of course, it wasn’t entirely the same. The elementary, middle and high school had been combined into one building and high school teachers were sparse due to the crumbling of the high school and subsequent deaths of eighty percent of students, teachers and administrative staff during The Great Quake so many high school classes were now taught by unemployed parents and volunteers. The town was slowly rebuilding itself, had been rebuilding itself for six years now, and things were almost returning to normal. Why, Josh whined to himself as he passed the mailman, do things have to be normal? I liked the chaos. It meant I didn’t have to study…only survive. The world was returning to normal and that meant that survival no longer meant to be the strongest or the most logical but to be the best at remember historical dates, analyzing outdated literature and solving calculus problems. Josh hated it.
He suddenly stopped walking and turned to his right to gaze at the ruins before him. The memories came flooding back: standing out on the porch at twilight to catch a glimpse of the largest space station in history as it flew over his head, playing Indians and Cowboys with his cousins on the front lawn, getting his first kiss (oh, lovely Gail Lewellin) in the third upstairs bedroom…there were a lot of pleasant memories floating around this place. His old house. Of course, there were some terrible ones, as well: his sister falling through the crack in the living room and him, trapped underneath a heavy bookshelf as he watched his sister’s terrified face pass into the darkness, the panicked screaming of his father as he was electrocuted by a broken wire, the trail of blood that slowly ran from the babysitter’s body and onto his shirt…
He didn’t know what made him do it but Josh took a step towards what was left of 1342 Herming Way. He was not particularly eager on going home, especially when it meant that he would have to explain his dismal report card to an already depressed mother. So why not linger for a while? Dropping his backpack on the sidewalk, Josh walked through the overgrown weeds and dirt and into his house. Or what was left of it. The roof had completely caved in and there was only one floor now, rather than two. The door was lying some fifteen feet away from the doorstep but he paid no attention as he carefully made his way through what was once the foyer. He knew the house wasn’t safe, wasn’t stable. But it had been six years and he didn’t want to go home. Josh knew the place he most wanted to see again, his old bedroom, no longer existed so instead, he made his way to the kitchen. Part of the wall had fallen and broken tiles, paint chips and dirt littered the floor. He felt something catch in his throat as he spied what looked an old family photograph but made no move to get it.
Josh spent several minutes looking around (not that there was much to look at) before deciding that he had lingered long enough. But as he turned to go, he heard a strange noise coming from the backyard. He stiffened and stood quietly, waiting to see if the noise would pierce the silence again. And yes, there it was! It was a sniffle. Was someone in the backyard? Was someone crying? Just when Josh decided to investigate further, he heard another noise that made him stop dead in his tracks. A crack. And then a loud bang. Feeling the hairs on his neck rise, Josh took a step back. Whatever it was that was in the backyard could wait. And as he turned to go, he heard a harsh, raspy voice call out to him:
“Join us, boy.”
And everything turned white.
© 2011 Preeti
Added on February 26, 2011
Last Updated on March 5, 2011
Semantic Blends: A Chain Novel (Volume I)
San Diego, CA
AboutCollege undergraduate with an inconvenient tendency to drift into imaginary worlds. Half of what I think isn't original (as there is so little these days which truly is 100% original) and the other ha.. more..
People who liked this story also liked..