Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Entry #12

Not A Dove
by Chris Allinotte


By the thirty-fifth day I’d lost everyone.


On the fortieth day, I found someone new.

On the hundredth day, she succumbed.

On the three hundredth day, I lost myself, and screamed myself hoarse at the fates. “Unfair! Cruel! WHY!?” In response, the sky opened and the killing rain came again, but not for me.
On the four hundredth day, I found myself again.

I am a survivor, nothing more; given my first and only opportunity by a genetic fluke. My lungs refused to fill, my legs refused to swell and blacken. My eyes stayed clear. This was not the case for Laura, or dear, tiny David. I watched them go before I went.

A phrase from before rolls over in my mind. Worse than a song you can’t stop singing, the phrase grows louder until I can think of nothing else. “…you will know us by the trail of dead.” I know them all too well. The masters on both sides of the fence made it abundantly clear that all Gods are vengeful and they hate us all equally. I eat the leavings of civilization, and cook the remains of the animals until they are black.

In the Arctic, I hope to find people again. I hope that there are animals, and music and motorcycles. I hope the rain has stopped, and that the snow isn’t poison.

On the six hundredth day, I saw the crow … and wept at what it meant.

I hope this is just a cold.

49 comments:

Sarah Laurenson said...

Wow! Wonderfully done and love that last line.

catvibe said...

Very excellent, it really hooked me. A chilling potential future I would not want to endure.

Craig said...

A lot of differing emotions crammed into very few words. Well done.

Aniket said...

Great way to end the piece. And the hidden message(warning?) for mankind. Good work.

pjd said...

I really like this and the way it progresses, and the descriptions that explain the events indirectly.

I think I understand the last two lines, but I'm not sure, especially given the title. I could interpret them in a few different ways.

emeraldcite said...

I really liked some of the images here and especially the post-apocalyptic suggestions.

Some great allusions here.

Bernita said...

Nice mesh of general and particular detail. Well done.

Leatherdykeuk said...

love the voice - reminiscent of early Hawkwind. Nicely done.

Kartik said...

Very nice take to the theme :)

lena said...

Just wow. Very intense and powerful.

Chris Eldin said...

Wow. I love your take on the photo, and how well your title captures your story. Very nicely drawn!

wrath999 said...

Very captivating

Lexie said...

post-apocalyptic for the win :)

the last lines chilled me, though the entire tone of the piece made me cringe. my worst fear: to be the last one.

Tara said...

Chilling. A dark and scary tale, so not written that way. Great job.

Jared Culpepper said...

vivid. in the best kind of way, i can't decide if i really want to know more about this character's journey--and if so, am i more concerned with the past or what's to come? a tough ride you're glad to take. a definite re-read.

Stephen Hill said...

Hooked me from the first line on - the atmosphere is just heaped on in wonderful ways, and it leaves a lasting impression. Great stuff.

Chris Allinotte said...

Thanks everyone.

Phenomenal picture to work from. Can't ask for better inspiration than that.

I'm awed at the other entries here. Glad to be among them.

JaneyV said...

Chris - I think this is amazing. I do sometimes wonder if the survivors of apocalypse are in fact the unlucky ones. This particular flood leaves no room for hope - no rainbow, no dove with an olive branch. I too hope it's just a cold.

Terri said...

What I like most about this piece is that it's what is unsaid that is most descriptive. You hint, and leave the worst up to our imaginations. Powerful stuff.

Amias said...

This reminds me of Noah's Ark, I enjoyed it.

PEOPLE, PLACES, VOICES, FACES... said...

To me, the crow can be seen as both omen and hope. I really like the duality and also the tenacity of the protagonist as he (I assume he's a he) holds on.

Meghan said...

I agree. The last line is fantastic. A chilling tale.

Four Dinners said...

We both know mankind will never listen don't we?

Brilliantly written all the same old bean.

maybe genius said...

Gripping and emotional. You capture the desperation/desolation well.

laughingwolf said...

crafted very well...

Lee Hughes said...

"I eat the leavings of civilization"

That one sentence spoke volumes. Great piece Chris.

K. Soles said...

Well done. Fun to end up in a place one doesn't imagine.

kashers said...

Loved the boldness of the intro. It was like someone coldly pulling a trigger, firing over and over again... and all shots hit bullseye.

I had to re-read the second half to fully appreciate it, but was glad to have done so.

Well done.

Anne Connors said...

Intense,powerful, great images and very well done. My interpretation is that seeing the crow meant life and hope.Would it be better if the piece ended there without the last line? With respect...Anne.

Paul D. Brazill said...

Fantastic. Scary, vivid images but also sad. perfectly put together.

MRMacrum said...

I could envision these thoughts going through the mind of a survivor. Nicely done. The line about the gods hating us all equally was excellent.

David Barber said...

Could have sworn I left a comment earlier...........

Excellent take on the image, Chris. Really enjoyed the imagery.

Regards, David.

Michael Solender said...

Engrossing and captivating. A magnificent piece of work.

Kurt Hendricks said...

The counting of days lends an authentic touch to this survivor's tale. Well thought out.

Preeti said...

Very beautiful. I loved reading it. The last line is especially good.

Laurel said...

This is the literary equivalent of drawing negative space. Spare, detailed, hollow, brutal. Great depiction, story, details and the tone is spot on post-apocolyptic. Fantastic last line.

Rock solid.

Enchanted said...

Excellent use of imagery and tie-in to the assignment. What else could it have been but the symbol of sorrow? I liked it.

illyriataylor said...

this is a serious contender for the prize. Very well done.

CJT said...

Very well written for sure! This is one of the more original pieces I've read as well.

truevoid said...

liked it, its fresh. has some message for mankind i suppose towards the end.

Lily Childs said...

A truly powerful fight between desperation and desire for companionship.

Brilliant delivery. I loved it.

Katherine Tomlinson said...

Fierce and forceful--the end of the world as we know it, in less than 250 words. Strong words! Excellent story.

Liz S said...

Chilling! Great pacing paired with an intriguing story.

Rabid Fox said...

The last half of the story was very good, but that first half didn't click with me at all. I guess it was just too "staccato" for my tastes.

stacy said...

Chilling! You took my hopes up and down several times in just a few sentences. Good job.

McKoala said...

Effective and harrowing, and the ending is so powerful after that momentary sense of hope.

james r tomlinson said...

Some birds symbolize death, while other symbolize hope. Nice take on the prompt.

Deb Smythe said...

That was a good story, Chris. Well done. I really liked the structure with the countdown, I mean count up, of days. Very effective.

Aerin said...

Dear Entrants #1-105,

I have read your pieces so that I can fairly participate in the Readers' Choice vote. (I read all of them through last week, before I started commenting.) I will be coming back around to offer my keep/tweak comment, but I didn't want anyone to snark.

Cheers,
Aerin (#236)

BTW, it's perfectly fine if you still want to snark, but this way you can choose a more appropriate subject, like the merits of Mafia Wars or whether Katie Holmes should demand a divorce