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The Journal: Prologue

Synopsis – A woman, surviving in an apocalyptic world, finds a journal, and decides to chronicle her remaining days.

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Prologue 

Only the hand is visible. Black, ivy-like vines cocoon the body, pulsating rhythmically. Tilting her head, she studies the hand, and wonders whether it’s a man or woman, then she wonders how they killed themselves.

Usually, she ignores any bodies she happens upon, especially if there’s this amount of infection present; there’s a reason she’s still alive after all.

She’d stumbled upon the body while walking through the rubble of the city, on the edge of a field of dirt. She remembers when there’d been grass, healthy and so green. She remembers the wildflowers, the daisy’s had been her favourite.

Her attention drops to the notebook gripped in the hand, which is stretched out, as if they were holding it out for some unknown person.

She glances at the infection. Thin black veins had reached the wrist. The hand is free of it so far. She crouches down, eyes flickering to the infection and back, as she grabs the edge of the notebook.

She tugs, but the fingers are stiff around it. The infection seems to sense a presence and the veins begin to travel over the wrist and across the back of the hand.

She should let go, walk away. She knows what happens from even the slightest contact. Instead, she grabs it with her other hand and yanks. The notebook comes free sending her tumbling backwards. She shuffles back until she hits the edge of the pavement on the other side of the road.

When she looks back at the hand, any evidence of it is gone, buried underneath the infection.

She tucks the notebook into her backpack and sets off for a spot to settle for the night. She finds a rubble of an old bank, its rusty sign beside it and clambers up it. From the top, it’s almost like a birds nest.

She pulls out her sleeping bag from the front of her backpack and lays it in the middle of the rubble. She plops down, wiggling her bum to find a position that doesn’t mean she has a rock digging into her behind.

She pulls out the notebook, flicking through the pages while there was still enough light left. A lot of it looks like complicated maths equations, (though even High school maths had been a struggle for her), long with mentions of planet and infection between them.

But there are snippets of personal moments, like…

I saw some roses the other day. A bright spot of red on a dead landscape.

It’s a warm evening. I spent it beside a lake. It’s water looked crystal clear. Still, I resisted the urge to dive in, who knows what i could catch.

Last night, I swear I heard bird tweeting. Must’ve been dreaming. Still…

I almost broke my ankle climbing up this damned hill, but it was worth it for the view of the sunrise.

In the last few pages, there’s no little notes. It looks to be all dull jargon that she doesn’t understand. She wonders why the scientist stopped writing those little moments and knows she’ll never find out.

She stops on the last written page. It’s less like a science journal and more like diary entry. She places it against her legs and begins to read,

To the person who reads this,

Most likely you know how I came to my end. I’ve been studying the infection, not for any foolish reason such as to find a cure or some kind of what, weed killer? But because, well, what else am I to do? I’m tired of waiting for the end, the true end,  not this awful limbo.

Planet X is definitely on its way, sooner than the scientists thought. It’s picking up speed the closer it gets. Earth will not survive this one, along with humanity. Unless, the infection finishes the rest of us off before then.

It feeds on the organic, plant, animal, human. It needs a host to survive, that much I can tell.. Unfortunately, I don’t have the knowledge to figure out much else.

I’m sorry if this is all a little depressing, but

The infection caught me in national forest in Albion city.. I’d gotten distracted. I…swear, I saw some sort of animal and it didn’t look infected. Isn’t it funny? Even if we survive the infection, the planet will still kill us off.

Well, I won’t have to wait around anymore. I sure as hell am not waiting to turn into one of them.

It finishes there. She looks up, lost in thought, and watches the last of the orange glow fade into night. She tugs off the torch strapped to head and winds it up, then places it back on her head.

She pulls out her radio from her backpack and flicks it on, filling the quiet with static. She places it beside her before she looks up at the clear sky, the moon glints off a car’s shattered window. Beside the moon, is the planet. It’s half the size of the moon, and looks like a mini-sun.

She looks down at the notebook, stroking a hand over the tan cover, before opening it up to a fresh page. Only 20 odd pages have been used so far.

She unhooks the pen from the page and presses the nib against the empty page. Minutes pass, ink bleeds onto the page. She breathes out, then writes,

Day One

I just realized that I don’t know the date, seems like the person this notebook belonged to didn’t either because there’s no dates on any of their entries.

I’m not sure how I’m supposed to react when I discover my expiration date. Still not sure how I’m supposed to react when I see the giant ball of death heading this way every day.

Guess there’s no supposed to anything nowadays.

I don’t know much about it, only that one day it’ll crash into Earth, and this time there won’t be an ice age. There won’t be an anything.

The scientist, (they gotta be some sort of genius brain), mentioned she saw an animal, one that’s not infected in Albion City, which is some Forty miles from here.  I haven’t seen a person, that isn’t infected, in years, (I think?) And the same for animals too.

She pauses in her writing. Her wrist aches from writing that short while and her thumb’s cramping, but mainly what hits her is that, not that she’s been alone for years, but that it’s been years full stop.

In that time, she’s never left her home city. (Even before the end, she’d never left the city.) She knows it like the back of her hand. It’s like a safety blanket for her.

A faint breeze causes goosebumps on her skin and she shivers. She writes one last thing before hunkering down for sleep.
I’m going to go look for that animal.

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Originally, I was going to use a different font for the journal texts, but I can’t figure out how to change fonts for individual pieces of text in a WP draft. :/

A new idea I’m working on. It’s more writing practice than a serious novel attempt. I’ve not planned any of it, so the events will be as much as a surprise to me as to anyone who reads it.

I’ve used Planet X simply because I read about it when I was working out a name for whatever was heading for Earth.

Critique is welcome. I always appreciate those who take the time to help me improve. 

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