How Far We've Come

How Far We've Come

A Story by Natalie Sherwood
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Another story based on a song, How Far We've Come, by Matchbox Twenty. Caveats include terrible stream-of-consciousness writing and the end of the bloody world.

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Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep!

What?

Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep!

Not now.

Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep!

Ten more minutes.

Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep!

Come on.

Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep!

You have to get up.

Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep!

Alright.


Alarm button, swing your legs over the side, ow ow ow that’s the floor!


Idiot, you don’t have a bed frame.


Camisole, white, no trim. Shirt, sheer black blouse with the white birds on. Tights, the ones that look like lace. Black body-con skirt, and a mismatched pair of socks. Always mismatched.


Brush your teeth, no, I don’t care, fine then, eat breakfast, alright.

Cereal, the one in the green box, they’re magically delicious, eat all the marshmallows first.

TV, it’s the news already, missed the weather, late late late.

What’s that attractive reporter saying?

Oh.

Well.

Asteroid?

End of the world as we know it?

R.E.M.?

Heather! Not the time for 80’s alternative.

Are we gonna die?

Yes?

Perfect. Just a fabulous way to start your day.

Evacuation?

From what?

An all-consuming ball of hellfire from the sky?

Alright, I’ll just nip off to my friendly community military bunker! And why am I doing this?

Government mandate?

Well, attractive news lady, that clears things up.

I suppose they won’t be doing anything to help us get to where we need to be?

Fine.

Suitcase, bottled water.

Is this really going to happen?

Shirts, just t-shirts.

Why didn’t we know about this before?

Jacket.

Can’t satellites detect stuff like this?

Lots of sweatpants.

We’re probably going to die if it does happen.

Socks.

Why don’t I care?

Combat boots.

OK, I’m nervous.

Good book, iPod, charger, should have a flashlight.

That it?

This is actually kind of depressing.

Finding out that the human race is going to be gone, over a nice breakfast.

So why don’t I care?

Car, keys, highway, oh good god.

I’ve never seen so many cars.

Bruce Springsteen.

Magic.

Last To Die.

What’s my life gonna mean?

What did I do that’ll make people remember me, or at least have some intention of doing so in the case that we all die?

I saved a squirrel from a car once.

I was voted ‘Cutest Couple’ with my sophomore year boyfriend.

What else did I do?

Is that really it?

Oh, look, that woman is waving at me.

Waving goodbye.

Why don’t I care?

But I do.

Heather! Don’t, stop, awww, why do I have to start crying now?

Maybe this is the end.

I’ve survived like ten other apocalypses, though..

Y2K.

6/6/06.

The Rapture.

Mayan Apocalypse.

Oh. My. God.

There it is.

Right up in the sky.

A little speck now, but how long have I got?

That asteroid is real.

That asteroid is real.

This is real.

Tears are seriously rolling down my face.

That asteroid is probably going to kill me.

Everybody in all of these cars is probably thinking the same thing.

Open the door, grab the suitcase, the iPod, get out.

Leave the car, screw the car, it’s worth nothing now.

Maybe I should do one of those mind-numbingly heartwarming personal awakenings that people in movies do when they’re doomed.

Like in that movie The Bucket List.

Love that movie.

In any case, I should call my mom.

Cellphone, contacts, there she is, under ‘Lifegiver’, when was that ever funny?

Booooooooooop.

Booooooooooop.

Booooo- Hello?

Mom, it’s Heather.

Heather?

I’m sorry. For anything. Or everything. I don’t know what, or how much I’ve messed up over the years.

It’s OK.

I love you.

I love you too.

Mom... I have to go.

I do too. I’ll find you at the shelter.

You won’t.

Why?

I’m not going. I’d rather die having been happy than die having been angry, nervous, and sad.

But if you get to the shelter, you have a greater chance of survival. I want you there.

Mom! They say that the asteroid is the size of Australia. Even if we’re in the shelter, we probably won’t live. I just need to be alone.

But...

Mom... It’s nothing personal. It’s just what I feel like I need to do.

Heather, there’s no arguing! You’re going to get to the shelter, now!

Mom. I can’t do this. I can’t die unhappy. We’re going to die, Mom. I love you, but this is something I need to do. For me.

Fine. If you want to go out chasing some crackpot suicidal ideal, I can’t stop you. But, for the record, I’m not happy about it. When you eventually get scared, which I know you will, just come over to the shelter. Find me. I want to see you.

I love you, Mom.

I love you too, Heather.

She hung up. Talking to her, really, the whole huge tragedy of the thing hit me. The human race, gone. And all the destroyed empty McDonald’s will stand as a memorial to a race too fat and stupid to get up and save itself when it needs to.

Could they have destroyed it?

Had they known?

It’s still there, up in the sky. It’s bigger now.

Why am I still looking at it? Why is it so intriguing?

That godawful space rock is my own death, so why am I still looking at it?

It’s kind of beautiful.

Like the alien mothership nobody can tear their eyes from as it abducts them in the night.

Huh.That was kinda deep.

Too bad I’ll be alone when I die, and won’t be able to share it with anyone.

What do people do when they’re about to die by apocalypse?

Do they just think?

About life, the universe, and everything?

Sounds alright to me.

Do I really have any regrets?

I wasn’t too much of an impact. I would have liked to be something more important. This is kind of my piece de resistance, here, laying in the ditch on the side of the highway, staring at my own death miles above me.

It’s a bit... depressingly beautiful, this whole scene. I want it to stop but in the same right I love the romanticism... yeah, romanticism, of dying thinking, unafraid.

I’m scared. Just a little. Ok, a lot.

Death is the next great adventure, right? That’s what that guy said, in that book? “To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.”

Adventure.

Haven’t you always wanted adventure?

I guess this is it right now.

Look at it.

It’s starting to overlap the sun...

I wonder if it’ll turn dark.

How fast is it going?

It must be about twice the size it was an hour ago, when I first saw it.

It must be a lot closer.

What happens after we die? Nothing? Something?

Say goodbye, you aren’t done with goodbyes yet!

Phone...

Contacts...

Marie....

New TXT Message...

hey marie, you’re my best friend and if we all die today i just want you to know that the day i met you in a high school bathroom october of freshman year was the best trip to the bathroom ever.

Send...

Sent!

There. My affairs are now in order.

Vzzzzzzzzz....

Oh!

New TXT Message...

From Marie Jameson...

heather if we all die today let me tell you this. you are the only one person on this tiny planet about to be rocked by a... well a rock, who i trust.

Reply, don’t cry now Heather, you already did that!

i love you

Tears, tears, stop it! Not now! I’m supposed to be accepting! And brave, and cliched! Maybe this wasn’t a good idea...

It’ll be OK. You promised yourself you’d die happy, right? Right.

So just lie down. Wait.

Stargaze.

Asteroid-gaze?

I hear it.

Like an airplane landing, roaring.

I see it, closer, closer, faster.

A burning fireball, glaring.

Ow, my eyes.

Searing heat all over my body.

Fire in the grass.

Oh well.

Shrapnel.

Tiny bits.

Falling.

Stinging me.

That hurts!

Deafening sound.

I probably have less than three seconds left.

GOODBYE!!!

Light.

Noise.

Blackness.

© 2013 Natalie Sherwood


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Author's Note

Natalie Sherwood
Um. I'm rather new to stream-of-consciousness, so please tell me how that was, and please tell me if that term is hyphenated because I have no idea.

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Featured Review

I don't know anything about stream-of-consciousness but that was pretty entertaining. It was dramatic, funny and emotional. Although I would have used the word "dial tone" instead of saying "she hung up", after talking to her mom. And I got a little confused about who Heather was the first time with the R.E.M. I thought someone else was in the house so when she left I was like "oh crap she left Heather." But maybe that just means it was thought provoking. Very nice though.

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

Yes, this was very entertaining. If this is your full story and not an excerpt, the reader should witness some kind of change in the main character. One of the purposes of stream of consciousness is to give a microscope to the reader and live the moments of change with the character. You almost nailed it. Add a few lines about how she transitioned from scared to wanting to die peacefully. Is it because she thought she made little contribution to life anyway? No. You said she wanted to die peacefully. Expand on that. Her thoughts on watching everyone in the shelter fail at their quest for safety could shake her too much or watching her mother die. And I am confused if she is still in the car at the end. If her goal was to go into a peaceful mindset, she didn't really have time to do that, right? But, as I said, this may just be an exercise or excerpt in which I am being waaay too picky. :)

I love it. Stream of consciousness is not easy to do. You did a fabulous job on how scattered our thoughts truly are. You took her from dazed just waking up to wide-eyed and scared. Thanks for sharing.

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Natalie Sherwood

7 Years Ago

Thank you very much, and your nitpicking is appreciated. It was an exercise, for a school project, a.. read more
tracey liz

7 Years Ago

Well, it was also inspiring. I am going to try it for myself. I don't know if I can do it as well.
I don't know anything about stream-of-consciousness but that was pretty entertaining. It was dramatic, funny and emotional. Although I would have used the word "dial tone" instead of saying "she hung up", after talking to her mom. And I got a little confused about who Heather was the first time with the R.E.M. I thought someone else was in the house so when she left I was like "oh crap she left Heather." But maybe that just means it was thought provoking. Very nice though.

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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2 Reviews
Added on June 30, 2013
Last Updated on June 30, 2013
Tags: song-inspired

Author

Natalie Sherwood
Natalie Sherwood

Normal, IL



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