Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Entry #152

Apocalypse Now?
by Charlene Watters


Today was the day; the day that he would leave the mess that mankind had made of the world and live in one of the few unspoiled places that remained.

Paul had searched for years, afraid that he would run out of time before he found a place that suited his needs. It had to be isolated, close to a fresh water supply, and within his budget.

But he found it. He immediately started preparing. Every weekend, he trekked in rations of freeze dried and canned food until he had stored enough to last at least three years. That would give him enough time to prepare himself to live off the land.

He had learned how to trap and hunt. How to identify plants that could be consumed and plants that could kill.

He was finally ready. Ready to survive. He quit his job, closed his accounts and moved into the cabin.

After six months, he realized the flaw in his plan.

How would he know? How would he know if civilization still existed? The cabin was a nine hour trek in from the road. No planes had ever flown overhead. How would he know?

A shadow drew his eye skyward and his heart leapt for a moment at the thought that it might be a plane. But it was just a hawk.

As he watched it soar, Paul felt a yearning so fierce it almost stopped his breath. He realized he didn’t want to survive.

He wanted to live.

22 comments:

lena said...

I like how your MC realizes what is really important. Hope he gets back to life in no time.

Laurel said...

I LOVE THAT LAST LINE!

I also love the conflict between his romantic notion of a life off the land and the harsh reality of being cut off from community. Men are social creatures. We need more than sustenance to be fulfilled.

Great piece.

Bernita said...

Nice job!

wrath999 said...

Cool! Nice message

kashers said...

Excellent last line. People can be a pain, but it's a real pain without them.

Anonymous said...

The last line certainly gives your story an added punch. The difference of survival and living has so many different variations to it. Nice job. --JR

laughingwolf said...

love it!

pjd said...

I, too, really enjoyed this. But come on... a nine mile trek where no airplanes fly? Is that outside anyone's budget? :-)

austere said...

Fabulous. In its sheer simplicity.

catvibe said...

I really connected with this piece. It is amazing the way we make all these plans to do things, and we go off and do them and realize, like the good witch said, 'there's no place like home'. It ain't easy being a hermit, we need people. We need them to feel alive. I totally get that. Nice job, really liked it.

Craig said...

Nice twist.

CJT said...

I really enjoyed this piece, and it is more unique than many I've read - it goes on the fav list too...

Deb Smythe said...

Nice writing. And, yeah, the last line is perfect.

Charlene said...

Thank you for your comments. The feedback is very much appreciated. :)

truevoid said...

the initial few paragraphs reminded me of 'into the wild'

JaneyV said...

Charlene - that last line packs a punch. Well done,

Sarah Laurenson said...

Existing - Living

It is a tough choice until you find yourself only existing. Well done.

Preeti said...

Whoa...

Superb last line.

How mistaken he was... you know... when he outlined his plan i felt...wow that's a cool, lovely decision. he's a lucky guy. but then at the end of it. at his realization... i sat back and i thought...what does it all boil down to then...??

Aimee Laine said...

The grass is always greener isn't it? :)

Aerin said...



my caveat

Something I Would Keep

I like the take, and the philosophical questions posed, the realities of hunting and trapping and plants.

Something I Might Tweak

Try to show the action a little more than just a summary of what has happened. For example, starting with the moment he realizes, in the cabin, that no planes fly over, and looking around to see his rations, and so on...

Chris Eldin said...

Truly enjoyed this one. Who hasn't fantasized about getting away from it all?
:-)

Charlene said...

@Aerin: Thank you! I was not happy with this story. It felt bland but I couldn't think of how to improve it. I think I need to repeat over and over again until it's second nature, "Show, don't tell."