Part I

I hear them. They’re coming again. Their empty steps, they’re tepid groans that replace the comforting inhale of the living. They’re always coming. I thought this time we had covered more ground, I thought we had more time.

I tighten the laces on my knee high army boots, as I fling my feet over the side of the cot. I slip my small, double barrel shot gun into the make-shift holster on the outside of my right leg. I swing my four inch knife into my belt and load my hand guns into their holsters which hang next to my ribs. Nothing fits right these days, we don’t have much of a choice.

I hear the soft groan and realize they haven’t smelt us yet, at least that’s how we think they find us. Personal hygiene is somewhat of a luxury now. Even I have trouble coping with the smell. But the senses weaken when you die, they need to be close to smell us. This time we’re in a bunker, the smell must not be getting through. It would seem that they just wandered in, perfect.

Once I’ve equipped my arsenal I wake the others. No need to rush if they haven’t found us yet. First I wake Sal, he always takes longer than anyone to rouse. I shake the aging man’s shoulder, “Sal,” I say in a whisper. The man groans and brushes a hand along his uneven, knife-cut beard but doesn’t wake. I shake him harder and speak directly into his ear. “Sal, get up. Sal, it’s migration.”

Sal’s eyes open in a panic, he scrambles to get to his feet causing the cot to squeak. The absent minded groaning which alerted me to their presence turns and is directed our way. I grab Sal by the mouth and arm squeezing until I’m about to draw blood. Sal froze.

“We haven’t been found yet,” I say. “But they’re here. So keep your panicking to yourself and get your shit together. I’ll wake Gia.”

As Sal makes attempts at quietly packing his things I walk over to Gia’s cot. I stroke her shoulder. She opens her eyes with a soft moan of annoyance.

“Gia, it’s migration.”

The fourteen year old girl looks down at the floor and sighs as her dark hair falls over her face. I back away as she flings he sneakered feet over the side of her cot and beings to pack her backpack.

I swing my green army duffle over my head, hanging it from my back. Sal fills his old hiker’s pack and clicks the straps into place across his chest, rifle at the ready. Gia tightens the straps of her backpack, pocketing her switchblade and loading her hand gun. Sal was skeptical about giving a fourteen year old girl a gun, but after a few lessons with makeshift ammunition her shot has become quite accurate.

The slow shuffle and groan of the dead came from the front entrance of the bunker. We dawn our usual formation, me in the lead, Gia behind me, and Sal bringing up the rear. I lead the other two to the back door of the bunker, which is proceeded by a narrow stair case. At the top of the stairs the doors out are directly above us. The doors are thick steel and it takes me nearly all my strength to dislodge them. I’m going to have to use all my strength to throw them open, causing a substantial amount of noise. Not knowing exactly what awaits us on the other side of the door makes this a terrible escape route, but the alternative is waisting ammunition we don’t have and most certainly risking our lives. There isn’t much time to think about it, I hear the shuffling feet behind us find purpose and quicken, they’ve caught our scent.


Whatever happened to the pen-pal?

I remember writing to someone in grade school, a girl from across the country I believe. She wrote on snowflake stationary as it was a Christmas assignment in my third grade class. But I’ve never once had a pen-pal since, not even a type-pal on email.

Don’t get me wrong, I send letters to my friend on occasion and use email in a formal fashion for university and work and so forth, but there is no one that I bare my thoughts and opinions to through words, typed or written.

Yes, I blog. But that is not a correspondance. This is me sending my thoughts out into the great internet abyss and waiting for an echo of a reply. Sometimes I get it, sometimes I don’t.

But what happened to the pen-pal? Why don’t we write to one another anymore? I would love to have a pen-pal, preferably through letters, but more realistically through email. Does anyone still do this? I would love to know someone only through their words, through their textual representation of themselves. Names and other trivial social facts are irrelavent. I want to know the thoughts of another, because this would allow me to know this person, not superficially like I know so many people.

We should resurrect the pen-pal. Who’s with me?

My first Steampunk

So, I gave up on The Shadow Children series. I got to a point where I felt as if I were torturing myself, so I decided it was time to put down the children’s fiction and move on to adolescent fantasy, which is much more entertaining.

I originally picked up The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross because of the awesome cover (yes, I faux pas-ed), then the title also intrigued me. I bought the copy which included “The Strange Case of Finely Jayne,” the short story that proceeds the novel. 

“The Strange Case of Finely Jayne” was alright. I was a little bit disappointed in its abrupt ending. It felt a little cut off, there should have been more of an explanation to some things. But it was entertaining to read none the less.

The Girl in the Steel Corset was a fun read, but only if you are anticipating classic fantasy action and the traditional love triangle. It’s technically a young adult novel so there’s no escaping the main female character debating with herself to choose the bad boy or the suitable boy.

However, the plot does have some interesting twists, but only when it came to understanding who the characters are. The main adventure plot is so obvious that I guessed the ending from page 10. Unfortunate, but if you’re looking for an entertaining read purely for mind numbing enjoyment’s sake you’ll like it.

The book is written very visually, although Cross does throw in a sensation or smell now and again. I found myself feeling as if I were watching a movie rather than being engulfed in a book. I find that the best reads are ones that accost all your senses and immerse you in a world entirely unlike your own where you can’t possibly sense anything around you. When the whole book is written visually I equate it with literary junk food, easy, fast, and pleasurable while you’re in the middle of it, but on occasion it can end with repercussions and it is in no way nourishing.

If you’re looking for a fast, entertaining escape into 19th century steampunk than you will love The Girl in the Steel Corset.