10 Oct Write A Chapter competition winner – Mary Doyle
The “Write A Chapter” competition has closed.
25 people entered with each producing a 500 word chapter following a pre-set prologue.
The standard was high. The quality of the entries was absurdly good.
The winner was Mary Doyle with a fantastic entry.
The two figures stopped at the edge of the tunnel, peering out into the early afternoon light, eyes blinking rapidly as they acclimated to the sudden change.
He turned to the woman standing just behind him and whispered, “Just be careful, we don’t know what we’re going to find after all the shit that’s gone down”
She nodded quickly in agreement to the figure standing silhouetted against the bright sunshine, before replying softly “Yeah, you’re right. Let’s just have a quick look round, like we agreed, and see what it’s like before we make any decisions”
They looked out apprehensively at the devastation that was once one of the largest cities in the world, mentally preparing themselves for whatever they might come across.
He took a deep breath, hoisted his bag onto his shoulder and, readying his blade in its sheath on his hip asked, “Ready?”
“Ready” She replied, having also prepared herself as she saw him adjusting his kit.
Taking a last look at the safety behind them, they set out into the unknown, footsteps echoing on the broken and raised roadway.
Chapter: (Mary’s entry)
Everyone had told them they were crazy for taking the mountain pass, but Berger was Roman in his route selection, always choosing to travel by the straightest line possible. Gloria liked that about him. The man didn’t flit about.
She looked down at the wide river, the path they could have taken, and watched all manner of canoes, kayaks, rafts and small boats as their ragged passengers rowed, poled and paddled their way to the docks.
“I told you the river would be a mess,” Berger said, his words clicking in a dry mouth.
“Drink,” Gloria said, smacking him in the chest with her aqua skin. “You’ll be no good if you’re dusted up and dry.”
They picked their way toward the city they’d heard so much about, with growing apprehension. The throngs slowly increased like the pulse of a runner to a steady thrum. Everyone seemed to be going in every direction. Gloria gasped for breath feeling claustrophobic in the density. She’d never seen this many people in one place before.
“Where do they all come from?” Berger almost shouted to be heard above the din.
Gloria wiped sweat from the back of her neck, her eyes wide in shock at all manner of people, dark, pale, old, young, most of them dirty and starving. Some had the telltale sign of salz addiction – dry, chapped lips ringed by a wide, white line. Gloria had heard that salz made you feel hydrated for a time, even cooled down, as if your entire body had been doused with aqua. She wondered what that must feel like.
But the drug wasn’t aqua. Only aqua could keep you hydrated. Those who went down the salz road had chosen a short trip to insanity.
“Doesn’t matter. We’re all here for the same reason,” Gloria said.
“Gaming.” Berger smiled. Gloria realized it had been a long time since she’d seen that look in his eye. Excitement.
Berger towered over the throngs. His size and muscular build did not go unnoticed. A pair of young boys, barefoot and wearing rags that barely covered them, danced around them, weaving in and out through the crowds. “Gamer. Gamer,” they said, pointing at Berger.
Gloria grabbed one of the boys by the arm. “Where’s the Taggert School?”
The boy gave them directions before running away, kicking up dust in his wake.
They had to ask directions twice more and still only found the place by chance, having heard the clash of swords and shouted instructions over the street melee. They followed the sounds until they stood before the closed fence.
Through the heavy gate, they watched the yard full of gamers. The more Gloria watched, the more nervous she became. Sword, shield, mace, whip, knives as long as her arm. “That’s insanity.”
She looked up at Berger, hoping that finally, after seeing it for himself, he’d understand that this was crazy.
The smile on Berger’s face, told her she’d never get him to give up on this idea now.
Mary Doyle is a fantastic writer. Her works can be found here:
All entries will be kept within The Living Army Facebook group stories and sonnets page.