Daily. 05.04.

Want to help me out? Tell me what information of a larger story you glean from this chapter fragment from a novel I’m working on. I’d appreciate it.

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Gentle waves of blue, rolling in against the soft sands – washing it away. The red sky bleeds down across the horizon, paint mixing with the sea into a tide pf pink and orange. Sand sticks to my skin, the weight of salt clings to my lungs.
You sit next to me on the beach as we watch our fathers standing waist deep in the surf. Fishing lines in hand, a strange kind of a feeling to know their fun is a life or death struggle.
“You think we’ll ever come back here?”
You ask me.
“Yeah.”
I lean in a little closer, your red skin peels back from me, raw and unengaging. I lean a little harder.
“I hope not.”
I glance down at the sand, “Why?”
“It’s boring.”
“But, I’m here.”
You shrug, “Yeah.”
I sit back, plant my hand in the sand to keep my balance and watch the sea-gulls swoop deep red water. The tiniest specks of blue glimmer out at sea, jewels as bright as the setting sun.
“But it’s still boring.”
Your hand slips down along mine, coming to rest against my forehand, fingers curling around my palm.
I glance at you, my skin turning violet. You look at me, and smile. I look away, your squeeze my hand tighter. All the blue in the ocean has stained red, the gulls have flown away, full bellied and satisfied. A shift in the wind stirs the waves in at odd angles and our fathers are starting to haul up from their wading. Neither of them have fish, for that I’m thankful.
Sand scrapes against my legs as I shift uncomfortably, the wind blows it against my face but not enough to even make me blink. The salt in the air lightens, the heat of the day shifts tolerably into the heat of the night.
Your fingers uncurl from around me, you jerk your hand from mine as our fathers approach with fishing rods and bait boxes.
“Come on girls, we better stop by the chip-shop on the way home.”
We get up and follow my Dad to the car, they talk as they pack up their gear and we sit in the car next to each other in the back seat.
You hold my hand until our father’s rush to the car.
“You’ll be right mate,” my Dad tells your’s, “We’ve got a proper kit at the house.”
We both try to sneak glances around the sides of the front car-seat. You see something, “Dad?”
“It’s alright honey, I just pricked me’self with a hook.”
“Don’t worry girls,” Dad reassures us, “A little blood, he’ll be right.”
Your father chuckles, “Easy for you, John, you’re the one who forgot to pack the clippers.”
Your father holds his hand the whole way back to the vacation house. A nice little home someone has rented out to us for the summer.
I head into our bedroom and crash against the bottom bunk, it smells like you. Salt, sand and skin. The red sheets curl up around me like your fingers, dragging me in. I shut my eyes and hold my breath. I know what is happening, but I’d rather just let it take me. There is no point in struggling.
I was damned the moment I met you.
I roll onto my back and look up at the wall, a tiny man on a cross stares down with pity in his eyes. At least he isn’t real, I wonder if you know that.

Daily. 28/03.

Departure.

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From the ground it seemed unbelievable. Floating overhead lost in the blue of the sky. A slight glimmer of light reflecting off of a white painted hull. A pillar of white clouds rose up from the sea, carrying upon it a rocket soaring for the light – reaching up to caress the soft powder blue before disappearing entirely as it pierced the void.

It was as though time stood still, because for that briefest moment it did. It was a memory that she wanted to keep in mind as she stepped into the shuttle a month from then. It was a memory she wanted to keep in mind as she slipped into deep cryostatic sleep for a six century voyage.

Truth be told, she could have stayed awake. For her only a year would pass if even that. Her destination was a meagre two million lightyears from home, and from the moment they engaged the initial interstellar jump and skipped across the dead space between galaxies, only six centuries would pass back home. But time was a strange thing – had she been awake she could have watched decades disappear in a day. What would have been a year to her, would be six centuries to everyone outside.

And then, she woke irrevocably separated from everything she could have ever known. Everything she had once seen, was no doubt gone, washed away by time. She woke not even knowing if Humanity still existed outside this tiny cluster of a new and alien galaxy.

Doctors woke first, then the engineers needed to resume maintenance, then essential military personnel. A new galaxy meant a new series of potential threats, but it almost meant there was plenty out there to explore. She woke as one of the Pathfinders – a group of people who would help find a new home amongst these distant, cold stars.

It wasn’t until a minor disaster had been averted that she finally got the chance to look out at those new stars. The familiar sparkle of nebulae and the deep boding abyss of black holes. It seemed so familiar, a constant reminder that no matter how far she travelled – everything is made of star dust.

She wondered idly what music the cosmos played out here, if it would be a different tune, or if the entire orchestra was connected even through the dark space between galaxies. And if when Andromeda where she stood and the Milky Way coalesced together, would it bring the music together, or simply change it entirely. The strings of the universe were plucking along all around her as she watched the gentle radiation of a star through her shielded bedroom window. Aboard her ship, out in the middle of a new, unexplored star system.

If these new colonies succeeded, would they ever make contact with home again? Or would they just reunite one day in billions of years once the galaxies became one? If so, she hoped it was in peace.

Daily. 24/03.

Robot. Shipping Container. Sunrise.

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It is a little known fact that nearly half of the world’s shipping containers contain robots. Or at least this is what Luke had told her. The sun was coming up, and Stef waited on her perch in a hotel roof overlooking the docklands.

The giant container ships slowly drifted into port, Stef watched as sunrise struck, the cranes and trucks swung out the leviathan boxes over into neat piles away from the waterfront. And as the last of the first ship was stowed the workers left to start on the next while managers inspected manifests along the metal boxes. She spied on them through her telescope, barely able to make out the words on the manager’s little phone-tablets.

Luke had also told her that sneaking into a shipyard was super illegal. But that didn’t stop her. The hard part was getting in over the chainlink fence. She had been casing the place for days, right near the carpark was the employees building – where she could pinch a hard hat and a safety vest. No-one would stop her if she looked official.

She remembered the numbers on the containers she had spied on. She had them on her phone. A shipping container headed to Darwin was bound to have some bots in it.

She found it, sneaking past a group of workers. It was locked, but a padlock never stopped her. It popped open after a little fiddling with a hairpin and she opened the doors.

She wasn’t prepared for what was inside. It exceeded even her expectations. It wasn’t a robot though, so it doesn’t really matter does it?

Daily. 17/03.

Post Office. Rain. Graveyard Shift.

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Graveyard shift down by the old Post Office. Rain pinged off their shovels, drenching them and turning their freshly dug hole into a pond. The headlights of a car their only illumination, the growls and moans of the nightlife beyond the fences growing louder as they dug at the earth and bailed out the water the best they could with flat spades and a single bucket.

Sam supervised, sitting on the back of the ute’s cab, watching the one weak point in the fence surrounding the Post Office.

“Fucking hell.”

Sam snapped to attention, the gravediggers were squabbling again.

“Watch where you throw that shit.”

Sam glanced over the fence line where a single shadowy figure loomed.

“Cool it you lot,” Sam raised his rifle, “just watch each other’s fingers. We don’t have time for a hospital trip.”

Hell, they hadn’t last time either. It was torture hoofing it down the motorway at two in the morning with four whiny civilians.

The shadow was looking for a hole in the fence, but Sam didn’t take a shot, it was a fair bit off getting through and gunshots only drew more in.

The rain was starting to get heavier the closer it grew to one AM. The shuffle of shovels in wet dirt was lost in the patter of raindrops against the ute tray. Sam stood up, alert now that he lost sight of the looming predator on the edge of the fence. A few others though had appeared, prowlers stalking towards the gate. Only a small lamp illuminated that direction, it was getting washed out and shadows scattered everywhere through the chainlink.

The Post Office was looking more comfortable the longer they lingered. The crumbling storefront was cleared out, indefensible with only one rifle and the processing area where they were busy digging would be too easy to break into with large rusted roller doors.

“You guys anywhere near-“

He snapped silent, the gate’s chains rattled. He raised his rifle square at it, flicked off the safety and fingered the trigger ready.

“We’d be much fucking faster if-“

He waved behind his head with his free hand, the digger shut up. He could barely see the gate, he stepped a few centimetres closer, steadied himself.

“Bury the fucking shit already, we need to leg it.”

The diggers stopped their slacking and raced into gear, grabbing the coffins by the side of the ute and nearly throwing them into the dirty-water pit they had dug. A few of them continued to try and shift the water so they could lay down tarps but there was no use, the rain was too heavy.

They covered it up with almost a metre of dirt, just enough to cover it, then jumped in the car just as the first of the shadowy predators slipped through the gate.

Sam opened fire, clipping one, taking down a second.

The grim faces of the undead, painted up in off-orange light. Teeth bared, they crouched under the chain and pushed through. Sam chewed through them, but every carefully aimed shot drew his magazine closer to empty.

“Leg it, come on!”

The engine churned before ticking over, purring to life. The ute sprung to life just as the undead broke into a rush, chasing them down as it peeled around the corner and erupted out through the side fence.

Sam fired off his last few rounds, clipping some of the faster ones still running after them. There was no way they could catch up as the ute turned out onto the main street, but fuck them. Sam slumped down into the ute tray so they could peel away, his steady feet no longer holding him up.

“Nice shooting, Sam.”

“Cheers,” Sam reloaded ready for the next site, the graveyard shift was a long one and it had only just hit half-past-one. At least the rain was starting to ease up.

Daily. 21/03/2017.

Prompt: Lit Up by The National.

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I press myself against the wall. Try not to stand out.
You stand there in all your friends. Laugh at something dumb.
I dream of being here all the time. The best part of sleep.
I’ll be dreaming a while longer.

Sand blonde hair gets me going. I can’t even tell you.
You’re like an angel amongst demons. So lost and afraid.
I dream of being with you, always. The only dream I have.
That might be a little sad.

I slip of the wall and creep over. I try to blend in.
Everyone notices immediately, I’m fucked. But you smile real nice.
“Hey, where’ve you been all night?”
My heart skips a beat.
“I’ve been here, just chilling, you know?”

They all look at me like I’m crazy. I’m so goddamn fucked.
But you just laugh and shrug, like no big deal. I almost die.
“I’m glad someone can have some fun.”
I don’t get what you mean.
Your friend starts saying, “So anyway.”

So, I’m in? Am I? Really? Fuck me. I never even really expected I’d get along with your friends. I’ve got… nothing. Nothing. At all. I’m doomed.

But then I start thinking of how I was just myself, just like everyone is always telling me. I spent so many years just trying to be cool, trying to be in my head and thinking of everything. I know you’re just another human being with like thoughts and dreams and shit but… why did I spent so god damn long trying to impress her if. I can just be myself – fuck… those afternoon specials I always laughed at were right.

Then you catch my attention with a wink. Is that to me?
My mind is racing again and I try not to let it. But I’m still here. Stuck in a crowd I have no clue about. And I’ve missed half the conversation. At least no-one is expecting anything from me.

“Him, really?” “Yeah, him.” “Why him?” “Dunno.”
You are talking about someone with a sly grin on your lips.
“I mean…” “Come on.” “What?” “Seriously?” “I like him.”

I realise you are talking about someone else. But that’s alright. I still want to be friends, you’re cool. Then again, your friends… I wonder what they’re into, how I can connect. Is that stupid of me? I mean, look at them all fancy and shit.

Meanwhile, I’m in my head and I’m thinking about trying to make friends with people. If I don’t I get so twisted up that I can feel myself choking. Like, anxiety hits me so hard that I freeze up mid-sentence. And that’d just make me look stupid, oh shit, I look stupid don’t I? “Hey, Luke, right? You coming back to my place for the after party?”

I snap up. Her name… Wanda? Maybe. I don’t know her name, shit… I struggle to think of it and nothing comes to mind but fucking Ws. Wendy? Wenona? Whitney? Wilma? “Uh, can I?”

I resist the urge to run away screaming. She smiles approvingly. “I’m Karen by the way,” she tells me. I turn my head away. “It’ll just be a few of us, nothing too big.” She smiles again, melting. “You know, if you’re keen.”

“Yeah, I am.” I am. “Sweet then.” “Yeah, sweet.” A few hours pass as I blend in, Karen hangs out with me all night as you fade into the crowd. I’m cool. I’m chill. Relaxed. Calm as. Calm as fuck.

Then we head over to Karen’s place for a little while longer. Midnight goes and we’re out in the backyard. One AM hits and it’s just me and Karen while everyone is inside asleep. I’m glad I’m so in my head, because this’d be fucking hard.
“This was cool. You’re a cool guy. Like, real chill.”
“Yeah, uh thanks. This was pretty nice, you’re pretty – nice.”

She just smiles. Leans in. Kisses me. On the lips.
I cup her cheek with my hand, she is deep cold from the frigid morning air. So sweet. So clever. So pretty. I’m swimming. In my anxiety.