~Kate T

United States

Call me Kate.
14 yrs old.
If you need any help with ideas for characters/plot, just ask.
I let my writing speak for itself.
Comments make my day!
Happy writing!

Message from Writer

“If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.”
― Toni Morrison

Always Watching

November 19, 2018

“That’s the best looking can we’ve had in months,” Maria announced,  her high-pitched voice echoing off the walls of the deserted grocery store.

Isaac reached out a sinewy arm and took the can from Maria, scrutinizing it, “Yeah, it's not even leaking. Or dented. Whaddaya say, Vestia, should we open it?”

Exhaling, Vestia and ran a hand through her hair, several strands of dark curls tangling around her calloused hand as she did. She had considered chopping off her hair with the cleaver they kept back at camp on more than one occasion but had never worked up the courage to do it. It was too long, and it got in the way, but it was also a reminder of her old identity. Chopping it all off would be like she was killing the old Vestia, something she wasn’t quite ready for.

“I say you open the goddamn thing and see what’s inside before we all contract It and die. We don’t want to spend our last moments wondering what was in that can,” Vestia sneered, thrusting a can opener at Isaac.

“You’re such a downer. We’re immune to It, remember? Jacob said so himself,” Isaac said, a slight tremor working its way into in his usually cheery voice.

Vestia still found it funny how easy it was to toy with Isaac. He was a head taller than her, with bulging muscles, blue eyes, and a shaved head that made him look like an escaped convict, yet somehow he was the most sensitive person she’d ever met. Maria, with her mangled silver bob, humorless expression, and deep-set grey eyes had made Vestia think that she was the toughest girl in the group, but that was far from the truth. Maria sobbed the loudest at night, but at least she was the last to complain. Not once in the three months that Vestia had known Maria did a single complaint come out of her mouth. In an odd way, Vestia admired that. Looks were deceiving, she supposed.

Maria stepped out from behind a shelf and clapped Isaac on the back, raising an eyebrow at Vestia, “Of course we’re immune to It. If we weren’t, we’d be dead along with just about everyone else. Logic, you should try it some time. Now open the damn can, will you?”

Isaac cast the lid aside and peered into the can. He let out an annoyed sigh, “Pea soup,” he muttered, cheeks reddening as he handed it to Maria.

Maria gave Isaac a lopsided grin, “It’s good enough for me,” she crooned.

“Will you lovebirds quit it? We need to focus on food. Now, is this the last can of the day?” Vestia inquired, glancing around the store wearily. She was beyond exhausted but refused to show it.

The grocery store was mostly empty. That wasn’t surprising, almost everything was empty, or at least it felt empty. Even the walls seemed bare. No pictures, with peeling paint and boarded up windows. It was strange, how a once bustling place could become nothing more than a memory of the past. They had spent hours searching through the store, looking for anything that resembled food. Every shelf had been searched, every nook and cranny of the store inspected. So far, they had found four cans of food, unopened. It wouldn’t last long.

“It’s the last can of the day, for sure,” Isaac grumbled, his cheeks still bright red.

Maria cleared her throat, “Alas, the day ends, and the survivors have scavenged the four cans of saving food.”

Vestia picked up a can and rubbed her finger over the pattern of its exterior, “Food that won’t last us very long, that’s for sure. I wish that grocery stores restocked themselves.”

The transition into starvation had been gradual at first. After It came, hospitals were full, and that was when the panic set in. People would stay in their houses for weeks on end, praying that they wouldn’t get It, protecting their stockpiles of precious food. In the beginning, markets would run out of something irrelevant, a specific kind of chocolate, or a brand of flour. Then it had progressed into isles almost completely wiped out, with only molding bread, random cans of food and spoiled milk left over. Eventually, nothing remained but empty shelves and rotten food. One by one, people began to die. The silent killer she came to know as starvation. If you didn’t get It, by some miracle, the hunger would kill you. The memories still haunted her. Memories of collarbones like clothes hangers, sunken cheeks and shoulder blades protruding out of too small clothing. The memories of unseeing eyes and limp bodies. She remembered the bodies. All of those bodies and no graves, piling up on the streets with nowhere to go. She remembered, no matter how much she longed to forget.

Blinking tears from her eyes Vestia turned to Maria, “Do you-”

“Be quiet,” Maria hissed.

Her face was dark, eyes narrowed, eyebrows knitted together. An expression that Vestia knew meant trouble. She saw Maria reach for her knife, and instinctively, Vestia reached for the gun in her pocket, but it wasn’t there.

Vestia felt her breath hitch, “My gun…”

“What about it?” Isaac whispered, his voice so soft Vetsia had to strain to hear him.

“It’s gone.”

The horrified look both Maria and Isaac gave her set off alarm bells in Vestia’s head. Without her gun, she was vulnerable. They were vulnerable, and Vulnerability was never good.  

“Looking for something?” Came a voice from behind her. A girl, with a round face and a mop of blond hair, stepped out of the shadows. The girl smiled, holding up Vestia’s gun, her face alight with what Vestia was sure had to be sheer joy. She should have known better, someone was always watching in this strange new world.

Without a moment’s hesitation, Vestia watched as Maria, lightning quick, reached into her belt and pulled out her knife. Maria threw the knife at the girl with deadly accuracy. Maria never missed. She wouldn’t miss. The knife sailed through the air and hit the girl square in her chest.

The girl didn’t wince.  Didn’t fall to the ground. Didn’t so much as whimper. Instead, she pulled the knife from her chest and let it drop to the floor.

“That sort of stuff doesn’t work on me. Besides, I just want to talk.”

The girl glanced at Maria who stood frozen, her face a mask of horror. Then her eyes moved to Isaac, a similar expression on his face. Finally, her eyes settled on Vestia, “Shocked? That’s the reaction I was hoping for. It always gets people to shut up. Spare me the drama- will you? I have a headache.”

All Vestia could do was stare.

Need to cut off 130 words... open to suggestions. :)

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  • pencils.and.paper.roses

    Whoa, this is the best thing I've read all day! I seriously love it! If you ever decide to turn it into a full-length novel (or is it already?) I will be reading!

    over 1 year ago
  • janice

    I would try cutting out some (not all) adjectives and adverbs. For my competition piece, I had to cut almost 350 words... I had to leave some paragraphs. I know it's hard to cut, but maybe some sentences, too?

    over 1 year ago