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Part 2(revision)

Part 2(revision)

A Chapter by Jordan

Life at the tent city.

 We set up our tent, threw our bags into a corner, and tied down our dog. Dad started talking to the people in the tents around us, asking them what all they knew about what was going on and where they came from. They all said Cheyenne just left them without explaining a thing. Some soldiers walked by and he stopped them to ask what was going on. They told him for the time being Cheyenne had to abandon our zone to conserve an already short supply of resources. They also told him that everyone needed to stay calm and try to live life normally. After they walked away my dad kicked dirt at them, cursed at the wind, and came back to our tent.

 "Yael," he said, "remember what I told you. Keep your hopes high, and your head low." It was becoming his favorite phrase. He told me that he would try to make life normal again and apologized that he couldn't do more. I'll never forget how we both just broke down crying and hugging. The moment was broken by a food truck pulling up with soldiers handing those disgusting MRE's to everyone. Sadly the taste of the MRE's is another thing I'll never forget. It was like eating vomit in the shape of tuna, spaghetti, or whatever else they managed to put in those ungodly things they called meals. Honestly, thinking back about the first time we ate one make me laugh. Seeing my dad gag as soon as it went in his mouth was priceless.

 The days turned to weeks, and every time he asked the guards for news about the Cheyenne Republic they always told him the same thing, "Just be patient." How can anyone be patient when there are rats the size of dogs running around a place full of people who haven't put forth the effort to visit the showers since they got here? Not to mention what my dad called "tent tramps," a bunch of women who went tent to tent offering to trade "stuff" for MRE's. The "stuff" was probably bugs because they smelled worse than anyone else. There were just some things that 10 year old me shouldn't have seen or heard.

 The weeks turned to months, people began getting claustrophobic in the tent city. They were picking fights with each other, sometimes they would steal from other tents, and the soldiers still didn't give my dad any news. I just wish there had have been more kids. The kids that were there my dad didn't want me around, and I didn't blame him. We had gotten used to living in the tent city. The sight and smell of it all was just part of life, although that didn't make it any better smelling. People that died were buried in a field outside of the tent city. Anyone that killed someone else was buried with them. You'd think that would have deterred people from being violent, but as time went on brawls become more and more common.

 The most terrifying moment came when a man came in our tent while we were sleeping. The dog woke us up barking, the man tried stabbing my dad, and my dad fought the man for the knife. When the man dropped the knife he tried grabbing me, but my dad was quick enough to get the knife and stab the man in the back before he was able to get to me. The man fell down yelling, and my dad stabbed him again and again. I wasn't sure who I was more afraid of at the moment, the stranger or my own father. I had never seen him violent, and I never thought he could kill someone. 

 Soldiers came running to the tent. When they saw my dad holding a knife they pointed guns at him and told him to drop the knife, walk out of the tent, and get on the ground. I was worried they were gonna bury him with the stranger, but after he explained what happened they decided they wouldn't give him MRE's for the next day as punishment instead. Something about seeing him smile and laugh, begging them to do anything but that made me feel better. They brought us a different tent, and carried the old one away with the stranger. It took us the rest of the night to get it set up, and when we were done he held me and apologized for what happened. I told him that it was okay and I understood he was just protecting me.

 The months went on and my dad threw me a birthday party. It was more like sticking a match in an MRE sandwich and singing to me, but it's the thought that counts. Finally one of the soldiers gave him news about what was going on. He told him that Cheyenne had abandoned several zones that it considered less important than others. The soldier told him to not worry, they had more than enough food stored for everyone and had ways of getting more. My dad asked him what the Cheyenne Republic expected everyone to do without them, the soldier just said that it was everyone else's problem. I could tell my dad wanted to hit him.

 When we had been there for about a year, the truth behind it all really came out. It was a rumor at first. It was started by newcomers to the camp who claimed to have worked for Cheyenne. "They've abandoned everyone," they said, "the entire government is shutting down and hiding in their damned mountain. If you're outside, you're on your own." It made people furious. When a mob started forming, my dad knew it was time to go. We grabbed all of our things and headed for the gate. While he was asking the guard to open it for us, the sound of gunfire and screaming rang out from across the tent city. My dad pushed past the guard and threw his body against the gate. 

 We ran as fast as we could with the sounds of gunfire behind us. We didn't slow down until the tent city was out of sight. By the end of the day, the soldiers had either ran out of bullets or things to fire at. We sat by the pumps of an old gas station listening to the eerie quiet as we caught out breath. We only saw a few people from the tent city, and none of them wanted to talk about it. I can't blame them. After losing everything the first time, we were all homeless again. This time with less hope than ever. No more Cheyenne, no more tent city, no more MRE's. Life was pretty bleak.

 We walked with the other people for a while, but they decided it would be better for everyone if we parted ways. They said it would keep us all from fighting over any food we found. I like to think they made it, but they probably died not long after. Even though there was a lot more to scavenge back then, it's harder to eat a rusty hammer than a can of beans. We just walked. Looking for whatever we could find to make it another day and another mile.


© 2018 Jordan

Author's Note

A much more padded version of the original tent city story. I hope it reads well.

Let me know what you think about this version. What did I do wrong? More importantly, what did I do right? Because I need to do it a lot more than whatever I did wrong.

My Review

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I like this version much better. Yael and her dad feel much more real, and the reader gets a better sense of who they are, their relationship, and how they're surviving in this tumultuous world. The details you added, kids, tent tramps, lack of personal hygiene, are good. And dialogue!!

There's some repetitious phrasing, but that's a line edit thing for later.

Posted 7 Years Ago


7 Years Ago

To be honest, I laughed envisioning him eating an MRE too. Those things are horrible. You can use th.. read more

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Added on July 19, 2015
Last Updated on February 18, 2018



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