Fiction Fragment Friday
I’m so happy to report that I am currently at 31,592 words on my Ricochet NaNoWriMo project. It has been an interesting experience just pushing myself to get the story out there. There will be a lot of edits and rewrites to come, but I think this might be a new method of writing for me. Plan, Outline, and then sprint my way to a first very rough draft just to have something to work with. It is exciting times for me.
Another announcement is that a Kickstarter has just gone live for a flash fiction project that I am included in. It is called Worth 1,000 Words and my story in it is based on one of my Skies of Glass: Metropolis characters that I created when I did serial fiction for a while. It works as a purely stand alone story with no setting needed, but adds some depth if you have read that. You can find and support it at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/brickcommajason/worth-1000-words-a-flash-fiction-anthology
With my announcements out of the way time for Fiction Fragment Friday. I struggled to pick something for this week. I didn’t want to just keep grabbing out of context parts of the Ricochet novel because I don’t want to share spoilers and it really will need some rewriting when it is done. So instead I’ve picked out a small section from the very first time I tried NaNoWriMo. I was in the middle of a datacenter move that year and failed miserably. The backstory here is that an event has occurred overnight that unleashed an EMP like effect killing all electronics in a small rural down.
There was only one grocery store in Silverton Missouri. The town was far too small to attract a chain of any kind and most people didn’t mind driving the 20 miles to the next town over to shop. Well, that isn’t entirely true, but there really wasn’t anything they could do about it so they at least accepted it. The one store they did have was really nothing more than a convenience if you ran out of something at the last minute. In fact, if it wasn’t for beer, cigarettes and lottery tickets it would have gone out of business years ago. Even that couldn’t keep it open much longer. In the entire store’s history, it had never had over five customers in it at any given time. The middle-aged clerk certainly wasn’t ready for a line stretching down the street waiting for her to open.
“Sorry I’m late everyone, my car wouldn’t start this morning. Just give me a few minutes to get set up and then I’ll unlock the doors.” Jan tried to hide the fear in her voice. She had never dealt with a crowd of this size and just kept wondering why they were all here. The fact that the power was out in the store just made her even more nervous. “Great, not only do I have a line from here to New York, but I have to check each one out by hand without the register. I knew when my car didn’t start that I should have just stayed home this morning.”
Jan unlocked the door, and a flood of people came rushing in. She was knocked back into a pyramid of soda cases and hit her shoulder on the way down. “This morning just keeps getting better and better.” The swarm of people continued to enter the store until there was barely enough room to turn around. People were bumping into each other and the tensions just seemed to be growing.
“Everyone please just calm down! I don’t know what is going on here, but this is still my store and I won’t have this kind of behavior in it.” Jan rubbed her sore shoulder. “We have seen our share of power outages around here before and you’ve never acted like this.”
One of the customers came over to help Jan up. “You don’t understand. All those times we were able to drive into Augustus and get supplies. None of our cars are working this time. Well, I have seen a few old, rusted trucks and Luke’s 69 Charger go by, but other than them nothing is on the road. I don’t even know how that’s possible.”
A young girl came over with her cell phone in her hand. “Even weirder than that, everyone I’ve talked to has a dead cell phone. Not like it isn’t picking up a signal, but like the batteries are dead. It’s really weird and everyone is all freaked out.” Suddenly a loud crash came from the bottled water isle. “No way, Principal Anderson just decked Mr. Brown.”
Jan’s face had a look of fear as she watched what was unfolding in front of her. “The police office is two blocks down; somebody get the sheriff now!” She screamed as loudly as she could, but no one seemed to be listening. Even if she would have been willing to leave her store the front door was blocked and the crowd was between her and the back door. The screaming and shoving seemed to be intensifying by the second. Jan turned to the man and the teen girl that had come over to help her. “Look you two seem to be the only sane people around here right now. If we don’t do something quickly to calm this crowd down that fight is going to turn into a riot and people are going to get hurt.”
The man who had helped Jan rushed behind the counter and grabbed the fire extinguisher from the wall. Before Jan realized what was happening, he had unleashed a burst of it above the heads of the unruly crowd. The deafening sound and falling white cloud shocked the crowd into attention. “Look at yourselves. We have been without power for less than a day and you are already going crazy. Principal Anderson, how would you treat your students if they were behaving like this? How would all of you treat your kids? I know there are some strange things happening here, but this is unacceptable. Look we don’t even know how widespread this is. Now I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m going to head over to City Hall and try to come up with a plan to find out just what is going on and how far it reaches.”
The crowd parted as he walked towards the doors. He paused only long enough to hand Jan back her fire extinguisher and then he was on his way. Jan watched in shock as half the crowd followed the stranger out the door and down the street. She certainly didn’t envy the mayor, but at least he had the police force in the same building. The remaining crowd rushed in to fill the vacuum created by those that left. Jan realized that the crowd was far more than she could handle by herself. She turned to the teenage girl still standing besides her. “So what is your name?”
“Hi Samantha, I’m Jan Williams. How would you like a part time job?”