Join Date: Jan 2012
Re: The Survivor - sci-fi (Chapter 2) Part 1
The air was hot – stifling, in fact – when I woke, laden with dirt and dust and the strong stench of something awful. I was unsure at first as to where I was or what had happened.
Good opening line.
The bus! I realised. And Edinburgh.
The small shuttle bus – that had taken both me and the few other passengers that had boarded it to the city centre – or what was left of it, was seemingly bathed in darkness. My somewhat sluggish memory was then quickly and violently kicked into gear as I tried to move and my right hand touched the stitched-leather carrying handle of my suitcase. You mention the suitcase but then it has no part in the storyline, so why mention it? The sights and sounds of the Scottish capital shot sharply into my mind and the dazzling display of light that had preceded the alarming tremors invited a barely subdued sense of panic back into the pit of my stomach. I’m not sure what this last line means.
After several unnerving minutes had passed, I mustered the strength and the courage to move. My attempts were slow at first. In the blackness I could feel pieces of twisted metal protruding from everywhere comma maybe? and I came to the conclusion that this small and incredibly uncomfortable luggage compartment had ultimately saved me from being impaled by any number of objects: handrails, glass windows, or from being crushed like an insect in the wreck.
In the darkness there was one thing that gave me hope, a small pinprick of light that shone like a heavenly beacon upon a section of the floor. As my eyes adjusted, I began to make out other details. There were more suitcases in the aisle. Some had their contents spilling out like the regurgitated effects of a laundrette while others remained firmly closed. Shattered glass glittered on a nearby seat and there was grit and dirt everywhere.
Less is more sometimes, shorter I think has more punch, but as this is the introduction so some info is needed. So here, the wall of info does not feel too bad, later is more of a problem.
I looked towards the front of the bus and was shocked to see another pair of eyes staring back at me. They were blank and empty and clearly devoid of life. Below them was the barely recognisable sight of a uniform. It was the bus driver.
‘Help,’ I whimpered. ‘Can anyone hear me?’
In pain, what, is he ok, etc?
Only the steady groan of twisted metal and falling dust provided a reply.
After a heavy sigh I pulled myself from the luggage compartment, hitting my head on the way out, just as I’d done when I fell in. My headache intensified, but I maintained my footing as I clambered out into the aisle.
I was not aware he had hit his head, needs to be clearer earlier please.
I looked up at the thin beam of light and yet again found myself gripped by the familiar compulsion to explore. My curiosity had returned. I carefully made my way to the rear of the bus, picking my way through the wreckage, hoping to find a fellow survivor but those I found were clearly dead. The young male passenger that had been thrown and knocked unconscious earlier had then been impaled by a sheet of twisted metal. There was no way to tell if it was part of the bus or just some other piece of debris, thrown violently in our direction. Either way, I doubted the man had any chance anyway. He had been unconscious at the time and then thrown around the interior of the bus like a ragdoll as it rolled. And it showed. His body was contorted in positions that defied the dexterity of any skeleton.
Very long, for me too much information.
The other passengers were no better off. As in, they were dead? And even in the low light, I could tell there was a lot of blood – all of it dry, of course. Why of course, would all the blood be dry, I have no idea of how much time has passed?
With my hopes of company Company? Is this a meeting/party? dashed, I made my way back towards the luggage area and the pinprick of light.
I needed out.
I stood on the nearby seat that was covered in glass and reached up. The ceiling of the bus was lower than before, crumpled and crushed, no doubt, by falling bricks and boulders. My hand touched the light. I savoured the moment before reaching further and eventually pulling myself up, using the seat to extend my reach. I moved cautiously at first, clearing aside what I could until the dread-filled pit of my stomach demanded otherwise – it demanded a speedy escape. Then, I clawed and clambered through dirt, rubble and something else, something stale and sickly. More and more pinpricks of light stabbed at my vision and I could feel blood on my hands, knees and face as I dug my way out. Until, at last, I emerged, and was immediately greeted by something that I did not expect, daylight. I expected daylight, you said there was light so I was not surprised. Also very long, again.
After being dazzled by sunlight, my vision cleared, only to reveal a sight that made me regret my escape. A bus with dead people, I’d be very happy to get out! Around me lay a scarred and battered landscape, a scene of complete desolation. Almost every building had been razed to the ground; burnt and mangled cars littered what was once a proud and popular city This is Scotland, well ok, a writers licence to create!!!! and everything was still and silent. But despite the destruction all around me, there were no raging infernos sweeping the landscape. Should there be inferno’s? No other movement or light, only a partially-clouded sun in the distance.
As I looked upon the broken Earth change to city before me, I realised – with disgust Not the emotion I had expected – at what had become both my tomb and my shelter what shelter/tomb is this the bus or city?. I had, of course, been buried among the rubble and the remains of a twisted and battered bus, Yes, you had said, repeating which in itself had fallen victim to the sheer brute force of the shockwave that had forced it from the road, onto the wide path and into the remains of a nearby building. How would you know all these details road/path if the building had fallen on the road/path?? Slabs of concrete and masonry had inevitably fallen on top, crumpling then crushing/confusing the roof of the bus and crushing see crumbling/confusing or pinning those unfortunate enough to be caught underneath. But it was the topsoil topsoil, I thought it was a city of that tomb that revealed to me the full extent of the destruction that had taken place here. The dead were everywhere. The unusual unusual?? stench that had filled my nostrils earlier earlier – has the smell gone? was from a sea of bodies that were laid out, as though on display, like a collection of felled trees. On top of all the buildings that have just fallen, so buildings fall then people come along and die later? Blood, puss, bile and the stink of decay filled the air and covered the ground.
My stomach immediately tried to surrender its contents but there was nothing to give. I was confused, weary, and half-mad it seemed seemed is a weak word here with thirst. I had no idea how long I had been unconscious in the bus or, Earlier in the piece, for a clearer timeframe please more importantly, if I was the only survivor. I pushed those thoughts to the back of my mind and looked upon the broken city before me.
In my destroyed surroundings, with little hope or optimism of my future, the one thing that I noticed about this dead world was – indeed – the lack of life, not just human life but everything. That was quick, he just got out of the bus!! There were no birds, rats, dogs or insects. There was no swarm of flies or even a single maggot to feast upon the countless dead that lay at my feet. There was nothing, only stillness and silence.
There is far too much information and descriptions being used which has allowed me to catch you on a lot of contradictions. I never really got much feeling from the character, but this could have been swamped by the wall of information you were trying to get across. The picture is an easy one, trust the reader to join some of the dots and not do all the work yourself. I think the above needs trimming down, it was a lot of writing considering all the guy had done was get out his bus. However, feel free to keep on bombing Scotland, they want out of the UK anyway!!!