I am not lost…

October 14, 2016

NANO FICTION FRIDAY: Dana Cantrell

So let’s take the character from Monday’s adventure, and start throwing him into some mess, shall we? You’ll see as I start to write this how quickly the rest of the world begins to form around him, how setting and character and plot start to get all jumbled up together. I’ve tried to keep this fairly firmly on Dana himself, but…well, it’s hard when there’s no mirror around. At least, I don’t think there is…

===

The door slammed shut behind me, the dark and silence inside worlds more welcoming than the howling chaos outside. What the hell is happening? I couldn’t see where I’d been running; I didn’t know how far from the house I’d gotten. Had I actually gotten away from the house? Looking around, I wasn’t with anyone, as far as I could tell. The tiny little room was entirely devoid of people. I could just make out the edges of some shelves, but aside from that…I was alone.

Alone and the world was falling apart around me. Why did that feel like the story of my life?

Maybe whatever was happening would pass, and I’d make a break for…somewhere…in the next lull. I let my back hit the wall as I slid to the ground, closing my eyes and trying to make sense of something–anything.

Your name is Dana Cantrell. You live in Ithaca, New York. You have a sister named Chloe, a mother named Robin and a father named Russell. Your girlfriend’s name is Elizabeth and she’s the most amazing thing you’ve ever had the pleasure to come across in your life. You’re a mechanic. I chuckled. I sounded like some soldier who’d been taken prisoner. Name, rank, and serial number. Dana Cantrell, mechanic, 24601. I can just pick a number, right? I tilted my head back and forth, letting my shoulders roll out some of the kinks. I’d only been outside for maybe an hour or two, and it felt like I’d run a marathon and hadn’t put in any training. Not my favorite feeling in the world.

I wonder if anyone else is out there in this. I blinked hard, hoping that eventually a little ambient light from somewhere would help them adjust, but it wasn’t seeming to happen. If I couldn’t go back out–and from the sounds of the wind outside, I definitely couldn’t–then I’d need to explore the room I was in. Maybe I’d find something useful.

Like a flashlight. A flashlight would be great. Why didn’t I carry these things around? Oh right, because who thinks of flashlights when they’re packing whatever bag they’re bringing with them everywhere? Not me, apparently. Some mechanic I was. I had a screwdriver, but God forbid I actually bring something immediately useful.

But hey, now if I came across a loose screw, I could fix that right up in a jiffy. Fan-tastic.

I pushed myself off the floor, pulled my hair back away from my face with both hands, letting them unknot a few wind-blown tangles. Moving away from the wall, I kept both hands out in front of me, trying to keep myself from running into anything. Easy enough to do; about ten steps out my hands hit a metal shelf, just a half-shade away from being way too sharp. I hissed and pulled my hands to my chest. “Fuck. Ow.” I squinted, trying to see anything that was on the shelf. Most of it was empty, just shelves of dust and shadows. Why is this bunker so empty? Every fallout shelter I’d ever seen or heard of was always stocked to the gills with anything and everything we could find…but this one looked lived in. Why would anyone have been in here? It didn’t make any sense. No one was here now, so why had people been in here and then left…? Why had they come so early in the first place?

Finally I managed to find a flashlight, and lo and behold, the batteries actually worked. “God bless small miracles,” I muttered, letting the dingy light shine over the floor. Not that I really thought any particular all-powering divine anything really had much to do with my life nowadays. With anyone’s lives. It was a mess out there, and who caused it? Probably us. But no one was really sure, were they? Maybe it was some God figure up in the clouds who we pissed off enough to try and smite the whole damn planet in one fell swoop.

I knew humanity sucked, but this was something else entirely.

The flashlight didn’t help much, but it was enough to keep me from bashing myself into any more shelves. All the shelving units were pressed up against the left hand wall, leaving just about enough room for me to walk down the line without having to turn. Not much room; no one was expecting to be running around in here. The shelves themselves were probably four feet long at the most; if they were more than five I’d be astounded. This was a narrow room–and as I reached the back wall, I could still see the door I’d come in through clearly when I shone the light back. This was tiny. No one built shelters this small. They were supposed to fit people as well as supplies. Was there supposed to be a connection back to a living area? I didn’t see any doors other than the “front” door, as it were. So this was just a storage closet…half-empty…and with no obvious connection to any people.

Where the hell had I landed myself?

—I think I’m going to have fun writing this character. 🙂 Tune in next week when I start talking about setting, and how to balance it with everything else.—

 

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