Zombies and Global Warming: a modern society breakdown

  I’ve been thinking a lot about the end of the world. One of my current projects is building a fictional world so that I can destroy it. My hope is that my heroes have some pretty epic battles to fight for. I couldn’t possibly be having more fun working on this project. It is a passion project of sorts, an itch I’ve needed to scratch.

    I am utterly obsessed with the post-apocalyptic concept, so much so that I crave it in most of my media if not all of it. I’ve figured out three different possibilities that I work on regularly.

    I have spent countless hours of figuring out all the possible ways this could happen. My browser history ranges from environmental to extraterrestrial with pages and pages of illnesses between.

        All of it has left me with one question: What’s so appealing about modern society being destroyed?

Post-apocalyptic fiction is a fan favorite to consume right now. It only takes seconds for five different post-apocalyptic shows to pop in my head. Elementary schoolers play zombie tag.

    Visit any news outlet and you will have an assortment of horrible acts, political propaganda, and trends shoved down your throat the second you hit the home page. Modern society buzzes loudly and moves rapidly (and let’s face it, at an unsustainable pace.) Honestly, one doesn’t have to think that hard about how our current reality could break down. I think that plays a part as to why it is so consistently reached for entertainment. Perhaps the idea of our self-perpetuated internet bubbles collapsing is comforting, possibly appealing.

    

We are humans. Therefore, we are predators—something I believe we too often forget. There has been fiction entertainment surrounding the end of the world as early as 1805. Le Dernier Homme is noted as the first speculative fiction novel to depict the end of the world. I’m sure it goes back way further than that. Society is built and seems to have the pattern of falling apart. Over the many years, the causes have been anywhere from aliens to disease, to human decline. Natural disasters is also a common cause for the collapse of a modern society.

    

    In Final Fantasy Ten, which was released in 2001, an advanced civilization is threatened and destroyed by supernatural forces.

    The ideas of an unknown force coming and taking what’s ours is not really a fear without cause. Think how our country was founded, or the centuries of war that took place across the entire planet. The fact that there are beings or places we haven’t discovered yet is certainly possible. Isn’t that how America started?

    The idea and lure of the supernatural is very appealing. We as humans constantly seek new information. But there are some things we don’t have answers too. Death is a big one. We don’t know what happens after we die.

    Vampires, an undead being that feasts on the living, is a mythical creature that has been a presence in many ancient legends belonging to many cultures. In 1954, Richard Mathewson turned the horror genre on its head with a pandemic that caused vampiristic symptoms. The Walking Dead is a fan fiction among the television and comic book crowds. When it comes down to it, people are scared mostly of other people.

    As the world continues to grow more hectic, which I truly think it will, perhaps, we get closer to a drastic change in humanity’s future.

    Global warming is something quite real; it’s happening right now. I’m not convinced everyone releases exactly what that means. The last two decades of the 20th century have been the hottest in four hundred years. Polar ice caps continue to melt. The knowledge of environmentally friendly products and awareness is much more in the spotlight that it was even just ten years ago. That being said, how much can really be done? Emissions of carbon dioxide get pumped into the earth atmosphere on a daily basis. Greenhouse gases stay in the earth atmosphere for many years. As we continue to grow and change at an increasingly high rate, our already well-used environment continues to take hits.

Does that mean walls will be built around cities and electric will go out forever, not necessarily. Is it possible? Oh, definitely.

On Hold Considering My Familiar

“I wasn’t sure if you were going to come?” A young woman spoke. Her lips a wide and grateful grin. Her hazel eyes pierce him in the near dark world they were now in.

“I said I’d meet you here,” his voice trailing seconds slower than he intended. A shock and awe of being there in front of her shook him more than he imagined.

“I’ve been waiting for twenty-one years,” she says tugging at the ends of her dark curls, surprised at how reserved she’s behaving. Night after night while sleeping in the passage between the lights, granting wishes and hoping for freedom she pictured what it would be like when he was ready for their journey. Waiting is frowned upon, but she didn’t really have a choice. A destiny that is chosen and a destiny that is picked are two different adventures entirely. No, she knew what she wanted, and that’s how it would be. It didn’t matter how she had to wait.

“Well did you really want me to come any earlier?” His smile made everything snap into perspective as a lens whipped clean

“Well, no, I suppose not.” She picked at her badly chipped red-lacquered nails. “It’s been cold.”

He touches her face. “I’ve missed you terribly. It’s been too long since I’ve gotten to see your freckles.”

“My freckles? That’s what you miss?” Her nose wrinkled in a playful nature.

“I’ve missed a lot of things. Your freckles were the hook. They have a special meaning to me.” His hands are holding hers now. The last moments before seeing each other again fade into the nothing they always were. The ‘now’ and the ‘then’ weren’t thoughts that crossed their minds.

Different things matter where they were now.

A welcomed parade of stars chase their kings in the sky close enough to touch.

“Well, I guess we should get moving?” She glances at the road beyond the stars to the far left of the gully. Thousands of lavender plants grow wild causing the air to be thick this it’s calming sweetness. A bitter taste touches their tongues. Joy and sorrow meet in a line near the river but not past the mountains of the north.

“Where will we go first?” His whole face widens with excitement and wonder.

Guilt in her satisfaction tugged at her toes. “First we must go to the Forrest of Truths.”

“What happens there?”

“I don’t know. I’ve been here this whole time.”

 

something between them

My eyes were still heavy as I came out of my room fully dressed and ready for school. My hair was down and covering my shoulders. I was wearing my lucky jeans and favorite blue and black bird sweater. Finding brown hair stuck to whites and yellows made me crazy, so I only would wear darker colors. I saw my dad sitting at the table, eating cereal and reading a magazine. I walked by him and saw pictures of train sets.
“Plotting out a new collection?” I asked as I grabbed the box of cranberry, almond granola.
“I’m researching buying an entire collection of model train sets. Historically accurate setups, pretty impressive, but I’m unsure of the value.”
“We don’t have room for that here,” I said as I poured chocolate milk overtop the cereal.
My dad saw this and shook his head, “I honestly can’t stand watching you eat certain things,” he said.
“It goes awesome together.” I sat down across from him as I said this.
“I see you found me online,” he said with an embarrassed smile.
“Yeah, well Stevie told me of course.” I took a bite of my favorite breakfast. The days started with a little bit of chocolate are always better.
“Yeah, well I wasn’t exactly hiding it,” he explained, “I’ve been finding out about a lot of cool toy shows I wouldn’t have known about otherwise. I’m hoping to find that last robot soon. It’s always fun to close out a collection.
Ignoring this and changing the subject I said, “I didn’t know you liked cats so much.” I had accepted that my dad and I wouldn’t have long talks about the future. I wished that I could talk to him about what I was experiencing, but I knew he wasn’t taking it well. He didn’t want to talk or think about it, so I left the subject alone. But, I had to dig into the cat thing.
“Oh, yeah you know I do. I had two awesome cats growing up.”
“Why don’t we have a cat?”
“Oh, well your mother is highly allergic to cats.”
“She’s not here, now. You should get a cat.” I was thinking especially since I would be leaving soon.
“Well, she’s gonna be back eventually,” dad said this not seeming certain at all.
“Is she? Do even want her to?” I didn’t talk to my dad like that regularly. Anytime I said anything negative about mom; he would jump on it and put an immediate stop to it. I always wished that he would have done that when I was young, and my mom would get on me during her off moments. He never did anything, and I never knew how I felt about that. I think I chose to ignore it because that was easiest.
My eye’s looked far away. For a moment, he didn’t speak. Just as I was about to say something to break the silence he said simply, “I suppose I’d honestly answer probably not to both of those.”

***

I crossed the street as I made my way to the bus stop. Benny was standing there wearing a smile and holding a paper coffee cup. As I approached him, I realized the coffee was for me. The sky was bright, even though the air was chilly, I could tell it was going to be a beautiful day—proof it would be May soon.
“One caramel latter as promised,” Benny said as he handed me the green and white paper cup. “Sorry it took awhile, I honestly forgot about it.”
“Thank you,” I said, feeling awkward.
“Sure thing,” Benny said looking over my shoulder. I followed his gaze, to find Stevie and Pike walking toward us.
“Pike, a rare treat,” I joked.
“My parents are at one of my mom’s conferences for a few days,” Stevie said partially blushing.
“Oh yeah, that’s right,” I said remembering Stevie saying something about that.
“Hey man,” Benny said to Pike, they bumped fists, “What do you have in store for the students of Roosevelt High this weekend?” He asked.
“That’s what I needed to talk to these ladies about it. It’s only Tuesday, my Monday felt like most of the week, so it’s for sure time to distract myself with planning. My parents want me to be a doctor, but I’m like guys just let me take pictures.” He shook his head.
“Me too,” I added. “Let’s do some list item craziness. Something, major,” I said taking a sip from my latte. It was a really good one, but probably party because Benny got it for me.
“Seriously Sam, you couldn’t have gotten me one?” Stevie scowled.
I just smiled at her.
“But, yes, I agree let’s rock the list,” she said pulling it out of her pocket.
“I’ve heard mention of a list many times but I’m not quite sure I understand the magnitude of it. The rollerblading in the dark was on the alleged list, right?” Benny smoothly crossed his arms in front his chest. He was was wearing a brown sweatshirt that said, I AM ASLEEP, in large, white capital letters.
“And the tattoos,” I added.
“Sam and I have a list of things we need to do before we head to New York. In part because it’s a fun distraction and in part because it matters to us in this strange, unexplainable way.” I smiled, “It’s one of those snowball effect type things, I guess.”
“Sounds like my bag,” he smiled. Benny seemed to always be smiling in some compactly or another.
“What is next on the list?” I asked Stevie who was studying it like it was in a client treasure map. She was wearing a trucker her hat today; it had a big hot dog on the front. Her hair was loose under it.
“Well, the next thing is our ten-mile low tide hike, but we need extreme low tides to go that far. That needs to be one the last thing we do before me leave,” Stevie said all this as her eyes stayed stuck to the crumpled notebook paper. “But, we have a three-day weekend coming up. We should do the Leavenworth weekend. I bet we could totally find a place near there for parachuting!”
“Maybe we can even pull off staying up forty-eight hours during,” I added starting to get really excited.
“Yes, we can leave on Friday,” Pike chimed in, “That is plenty of time to get all the needed ducks in a row.”
“Can I tag along?” Benny asked, looking directly at me.
Without a hint of hesitation, I said, “For sure.”
He smiled at me as the bus finally hissed toward us.
Steve clapped her hands together, “This is gonna rock!”
“It will, but we have lots to do first,” Pike said starting to get serious.
And, we were off planning for the ultimate weekend as we piled onto the bus. At that moment, everything else washed away, and my world felt tiny and safe and almost perfect.

Looking For Pieces

I will always miss him. It has become clear that I have a piece of me now that will always belong to that loss. The train sped past without stopping creating a rush of wind to take hold of my scarf. As I grabbed the plaid bottom, I naturally glanced up. Two red balloons flawed methodically overheard. Suddenly, I remembered my feet were cold so kept walking past perfect house after another stack along the side of me. A whisper from the back of my head so discreetly reminded me that coming back wasn’t going to be easy. Leaving was easier than I expected it to be. Coming back on the other hand has been challenging—close to impossible.

It took my nineteen years to escape, fear of being in again was definitely present. An invisible vortex lives in the center of their chaos. I have been apart of it for so long now I don’t truly remember what it was truly like to be under their feet. They are different and wholly unrecognizable. Who knew things would get worse after I left, which led me to wonder if I was a more important part than I thought.

Time is an immense force that isn’t worth fighting. If time gives enough of itself to once event or person, it can make them disappear. Add even more time onto and the glimmers and hints or memory that it once existed can also be erased. My feelings: this feelings scares everyone.

Laughter danced over to me from a bunch of teenagers talking excitedly to see this made me smile.

“We all have to come so far,” a voice behind me said.

I turned around to see a tall guy, around my age with kind, tired eyes, and an easy smile that I recognized instantly as Josh, the only one my heart belonged to.

“Where did you come from?” I asked, not expecting to see him here.

Josh smiled big and wide as he reached over, gently tapping my head, “From in there,” he whispered I closed my eyes, then opened them again even quicker. He was still there, and still staring right at me.
“What do you exactly?” I asked.
“To find out what you’re looking for,” he said, his voice soft and sweet. I felt my shoulders ease back down where they belong.

“Who’s asking?” I grabbed his hand with very little thought.
“Well, you are obviously,” He spoke in a soft tone before vanishing from my site.

You By My Side

“Well, I for one am excited about the new addition to our routine,” Stevie said taking a sip of her self-made mocha latte. “And, I am one talented latte machine,” she winked. Her strawberry blond hair was mostly stuffed into one of Stevie’s many baseball hats. She says her dad wanted a son, so he treated her like one. I personally think it was because one day Stevie discovered how awesome they looked on her, but I let her tell her stories.
“I know, I’m way more excited about the job than I thought, but the book cafe rocks, so it’s the right fit.”
“For sure,” Stevie smiled.
I took a sip on my caramel latte. It was good, but I wasn’t quite as please with my latte making abilities as Stevie was. My phone buzzed four times in a row.
“Who’s blowing you up?” Stevie asked. She had on a navy-blue, woolen coat that went down to her calves.
“Probably Jared still,” I said as I unwisely pull my phone from my pocket. I took in the four text messages from Jared, two missed calls from him. I shook my head, then saw a single MyFace notification. Benny sent me a friend request, and I felt a shameless smile on my face.
“Who on your phone smiling?”
“Benny,” I hung my head, “He sent me a friend request on MyFace.”
Stevie giggled, “Something is going on there isn’t it?” She pressed her lips in a tight, very knowing line.
“Look, I don’t know what that is, but I do know I don’t need it.” I took another sip from my cup and decided I’d need more practice.
“Did you accept it?” Stevie’s mouth widened into a grin.
“Well, yeah sure I did, we are friends,” I rolled my eyes.
“Did you know that I’ m officially MyFace friends with your dad.”
“Oh man, really? He mentioned he made an account so he could connect with other toy collectors. I haven’t checked his page out.”
“Well, you really, really should,” Stevie nodded at this, “I’ve learned things about him.”
“Like what?” The wind had both of our hair again.
“I had no idea your dad was so cat obsessed. He either posts about toys or cats.”
I shook my head, “My dad.”
“Why doesn’t he have a cat?”
“You know, I didn’t know he liked them, honestly.” I scanned my memory and couldn’t place my dad around or talking about a single cat or cat-related subject.
“Then, you should look up his page,” Stevie nodded.
“It sounds like I don’t have a choice,” I laughed. Silence hung over us as we made it through the wooden part of the park. Just as we made it to paved paths and panic benches, Stevie said, “I’m finding living in the present difficult,” Stevie said this and then quickly following with a deep breathe, “Saying that felt good.”
“You are feeling it too?” I asked.
“Big time. My world feels fake, weak almost, like at any point everything could just fall over.”
I tossed my almost empty cup into the trash can, as we passed one. “I feel pretty much the same way. It’s like all the sudden I forgot how to just be, and I’m obsessed with what’s going to happen.” I shared, also feeling a sense of relief. Of course, we were in the same boat.
“It feels so much more unsettling than working toward it,” Stevie added.
“I agreed,” my words came out quiet.
“Things with Pike are different, weird almost. Ever since I forgot out, I got in,” Stevie twisted her wind-grabbed hair and shoved into her coat, “I feel like we are partying more, more focused on doing crazy stuff, and less like Pike and me, ya know?”
“Yeah, I get it,” I looked over at her, taking in her sad eyes, “It must suck that you and Pike are at this split-path. You guys are great together.”
“We are,” she said this in a way that said everything else she needed to say about their change. We continued to walk in comfortable silence until we came to the playground. Stevie had to go left, toward her house, and I went right to the apartment building. A sense of knowing I wasn’t alone, that I had Stevie, and were both going on a similar enough journey that our friendship will maintain. I knew at the moment we would always have each other. Knowing that made me feel like I could do anything.

Friends In The Park

“I’d like to think so,” I said, my voice trailing off. My mind went back to Jared. On the way to the warehouse, I was thinking how good things had gotten between us and I didn’t even have a clue about how bad they were.
“I can tell she thinks the world of you; that’s special. People like that don’t grow on trees,” Benny said, his voice was a strange mix of distance and warmth.
“That’s the truth,” I nodded.
We followed the path to the right of our apartment building. The air was bitter. I slid my hands into my pockets. Benny noticed this, “Are you cold?” He asked.
I honestly couldn’t help but to smile a little. “A little, but I’m fine.”
“My uncle is a real mean guy, always has been. I think being mean comes from somewhere deep enough that it is close impossible to extract once inside. My mom, before she died was so upset when her sister, my aunt, married this guy. He treats her like shit. It makes her sad, but she doesn’t do anything, she just takes it. My uncle tried that shit with me a little after I moved in with them. I beat him down, and he leaves me alone. He’s easier on my aunt when I’m around. I worry about her once I’m gone. But, I have to leave. There isn’t a place for me here; I know it’s somewhere else.”
“Why are telling me this?” I asked.
“Because, you will get treated badly if you allow it,” Benny said, keeping his voice kind. We both let his words hang in the air between us.
“I will admit to ignoring stuff but I found out about a lot I didn’t know tonight, “ I said. It felt good to hear my own words acknowledged it out loud. “I hear you about the needing to leave. I realized I needed to be away from my family to be healthy and find a place I belonged.”
“What are you doing about it?” He asked. Benny was now walking closer to me than he was.

Together We Can

We grabbed each others hand. My heart was pounding in my chest. The wind was moving faster on the cliffs. Our brown and strawberry blonde hair danced together in circles as water smacked against the rocks, way too many feet below us.
“Are you ready?” Stevie asked. Her green eyes sparkled. She was so excited looked wild.
“My nerves are very present,” I said. Straight down was cold, rather fast moving water. I was a strong swimmer; it was the jumping for twenty feet first I was nervous about it. “….But a list is a list.”
“It is on the list!” She squealed. “Let’s count.”
“Let’s jump on ten.”
“Ten? No way! How about three?”
“Five,” I said, my voiced wavered, “That is as low as I’ m going.”
“Fine, but we jump on five.”
“Deal!”
Stevie’s hand tightened around mine. “One. Two,” we began in unison, “Three. Four.” This time, it was my hand that was getting a tighter grasp.
“Five!” We yelled as we ran and jumped off the side of the cliff. Cold air pulled at our skin. I felt so incredibly alive, and every part of me was scared. We fell toward the unknown water. I let go of Stevie’s hand and pulled in a really deep, last-minute breath. Freezing cold water caught us, swallowing us whole. A cold shock slammed through my body. I hustled up to the surface. My heart was racing as I pushed my head out. Fresh air stung my lungs. I cast my eyes, waiting for Stevie. We hit the water at the same time. It only takes a second for worry to find a place at the center of my mind. She’s a major part of my world.
Of course, Stevie popped up, her strawberry blond hair stuck flat to her back. Her eyes were glowing with excitement. I never needed to ask Stevie how she was feeling. Her eyes always said it all. “We rocked that!” She yelled.
“Yes, we did!” I yelled back. “I’m freezing! Let’s swim back.”
“Let’s party!” She squealed. Stevie broke out in a breast stroke. I followed. Giant evergreen trees and colorful cliffs hugged The Sound. Freezing cold, salty smelling water started to overwhelm me. Patches of brown stood among the outline of dark greens. Like every other time we completed something off of our crazy list, I felt accomplished. I felt brave.