08.24 a short piece about the zombie apocalypse or maybe a pandemic

A little while back, I entered a micro-fiction (100 words or less) challenge. It was fun to spend time in a short prose medium. Less hassle than novels or even short stories, but more satisfying than poetry. I’m thinking I’ll try to post pieces more often but probably with a different limit (the piece below is 300). There are some skills I need to work on, especially plotting and pacing, which can be aided through this sort of practice.

08.24 a short piece about the zombie apocalypse or maybe a pandemic

I was sleeping when grandpa came into my room and told me to put my coat on. I found it wedged in a gap between the wardrobe and the wall. For the first time in months, we were going outside.

On Z-Day, the reporter on the radio said to hunker down, so we stayed and waited. Dad made the rules, but one loomed above every other: Grandpa and I were forbidden from going out. “We can’t take the risk.” Dad said, and that was the end of that. There were no more reports on the radio.

If grandpa resented being inside, he never said so, but tonight he led the way as the two of us tip-toed silently through the back door. Outside, a crisp wind was blowing in from the North, one that would stay. It marked the end of the summer. Without speaking, grandpa gestured towards the path, which looked clear as day under the full moon even before our eyes adjusted to the dark.

Silently, we made our way down to the pond as we had every summer for as long as I could remember. The path looked the same as it always did, although tonight it felt unfamiliar, like it was harboring some unknowable, invisible danger.

When we finally reached the pond, we dangled our legs over the dock. This year, I could reach the water with my tippy toes.

“What are you thinking about, grandpa?”

He breathed deeply and said, “Out here, you can almost imagine the world without the monsters.”

“That world’s gone, grandpa. There’s no use dwelling in the past.” I kicked at the water and watched the ripple stretch to the far edge of the pond. 

He looked over at me and smiled. “Not the past, son. I’m thinking about the future.”

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