Chapter 5.1- Slimy Green Algae

23 Aug

Hello and welcome to generation 5 of Zombies and Yu. If you’re feeling happy about it, go away and don’t come back.

Sorry… it’s been sad around here with all the deaths. And also I’ve been crazy busy becoming an adult and stuff. Finished uni, got a car, applied for jobs, got a real adult job. Once it starts in September my schedule will be back to normal and I will be able to write more… yay!

Anyways, we ended on a bit of a cliffhanger last time. Like, Briony literally jumped off a cliff. Let’s see how that went down.

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The sun climbs over the horizon. As the scarlet light of a new day takes hold, the waves relent and give way to the calm stillness of morning.

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The rays of sun bring warmth to the upper layers of the water, coaxing life back into the things that make their home there, as well as the things carried along by the current.

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By mid-day, anything that had been sleeping in the cool cradle of the waves has awoken to the rays that set the water’s surface ablaze with a piercing white light. Fish, insects, and other creatures drift along, following a course set by the earth and wind and waves.

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Amidst the usual fragments of life and death that dwell on the surfaces of seas floats a girl, hovering somewhere in between the two extremities.

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While undeniably awake, she lies perfectly still as she drifts along. She has already tried moving today, but the painful complaint of her limbs and ribcage keep her convinced that her best option is to relent to the will of the waves for now.

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In truth, there’s nowhere else for her to go anyways. Even if she were to make the effort of forcing her stiff limbs to swim, she knows there would be nothing on land to welcome her back.

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So, she carries on drifting, slipping in and out of consciousness. As she stares up at the blue abyss above her, she imagines the relief it will be when the blue abyss below her finally swallows her and she disappears.

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While out on the surface of the water it seems as though the world has stopped in favour of endless blue, elsewhere life carries on.

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“Any luck there?”

“No. The fish here don’t bite for worms, they’ve gotten so used to rabbit entrails.”

“Oh, well. Fish would be nice, but we have enough for tonight as it is.”

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A shout.

“Gran, look!”

“That’s not one of the dead ones.”

“I’m going to check it out. I’ll be careful.”

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Under the water, Briony can hear the stirrings from the shore.

“Hey, are you alright?”

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Her limbs scream against movement of any kind, but she forces them into motion.

“Stop, come to shore.”

But that’s the last thing she wants to do. She pushes forward, away from shore, back out into the blue where the sea can swallow her up in peace.

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The boy’s calls grow more distant, and Briony presses on. She rounds a curve of the land, and then he’s out of sight.

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She groans and rolls over to face the sky. Something resembling sleep comes over her, and the water takes her.

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Tangerine-hued light permeates her eyelids, bringing her back to consciousness. She becomes aware of the sensation of the pebbly sea floor brushing against her feet and fingertips. A wave swells, and then her shoulder is pressed up against a rock. The sensitive side of her ribcage protests, so she rights herself in the water and looks around.

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The mouth of a grotto looms before her, illuminated in orange light. With the setting sun comes the cooling of the water, and Briony’s not sure she can last another night drifting out here.

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The slick rocks offer little handhold, and she repeatedly scrapes her knees and wrists as she laboriously drags herself out of the water. The pain and exhaustion of her body keeps her moving at a snail’s pace over surfaces she could have stepped over any other day.

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The sun is long set by the time she reaches flat ground. Her whole being screams for sleep, and she barely notices the twinge of her ragged knees and palms as they bleed against the rock surface.

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And then her body simply collapses, and she sleeps draped over the damp boulders of the cave.

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Morning light filtering through the rocks reveals the struggles of the night.

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Looking over, Briony only remembers flashes by moonlight of bashing in heads with a rock she found on the ground. It seems to have done the trick, but for all she knows she could have been bitten. Every inch of her hurts, and she doesn’t have the strength or motivation to check herself over for bites.

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If she turns, she turns. But in the meantime, she needs water. There’s no way she could safely get herself down to the bay and then back out again right now, but a stagnant little cave pool proves her saviour.

She crawls to the edge of the pool, finding that the water rests in a depression and is nearly too far for her to reach. She extends her arms to try to bring some water up to her mouth but it too weak to support herself. She tumbles down the rocky bank and lands in the shallow pool, earning herself some new cuts and bruises.

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As she moves herself back into an upright position she can feel the squelch of algae and slime against her skin. Strange cave creatures swim away to hide from her, but as she again loses consciousness they accept her as part of their new landscape and carry on their lives around her.

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Some time later she awakens and remembers to be horrified by the slimy little creatures making a home out of her. She’s beginning to feel some strength coming back into her body, and is able to pull herself out of the pool without too much pain.

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For the first time in two days she’s feeling fully awake, a fact she hugely resents. With consciousness comes memories of storage lockers creaking open, a rusty car on a precipice, the words, “Briony, go!”

There’s also the smell. Two zombies wasting away in the sun fill a cave with rancid air quickly, and Briony knows she’ll need to do something about it soon.

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She stands, and her head reels. Having not been upright for days, the blood rushes out of her head and there are a few moments of unsteady blackness before the world comes back into view. While she’s glad to be able to stand, the ordeal has left her with a pounding headache.

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The most she can do now is drag the corpses to the edge of the water and tip them in. They drift around below the surface with vacant eyes staring up at her, and she hopes the waves will take them away.

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Her throbbing head falls into her hands, and a crying spell shakes her. It only ends when she becomes distracted by the debris and knots built up in her hair. She absently tries to comb out a thick mat with her fingers, and then gives up and heads back into the cave.

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The next days pass in much the same way. At first she cries, but later she just waits for sleep. Weeks go by, and her cuts heal and her hair grows into a wild tangle. After a few months her clothes become tattered and thin from constantly being scraped against the rocky cave walls.

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She learns to choke down whatever she can pull out of the stale pool. Snails, minnows, sometimes just slimy green algae. She becomes one of them, just another part of the food chain in the mucky little ecosystem.

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Years might have gone by, but still it feels like the car and the storage units was yesterday, and everything since has been one long grey today.

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In the time Briony has been in her cave of depression Carys has grown into an adult and married some guy called Saul.

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Graham, the weird looking one, is now a teen. He’s a good kid I guess.

Join us next week to see what kind of cheery stuff our cave-dwelling, raw fish-eating heir does next time =/

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3 Responses to “Chapter 5.1- Slimy Green Algae”

  1. notjustabook August 23, 2015 at 9:08 am #

    You can always trust this legacy to be super extra cheery! Or maybe not. Nonetheless it always puts a smile on my face because it’s so good. It doesn’t matter, then, that by the end of a chapter I’m always like 😦 *sad face*

    • thronepie August 23, 2015 at 9:17 am #

      Aw I’m sorry! Haha I feel like it’s time I worked on making a few happy faces too…

  2. ixot August 23, 2015 at 12:58 pm #

    Poor Briony. I ache all over just thinking about it. Eating slimy algae made me think of a really weird Swedish movie called “Egg! Egg! A hard boiled story”, where a guy gets stuck in a lake with his foot in some water lily roots – for months. The only things he feed on are algae and the insects that drift by.

    Anyway, I hope there’s some cheer in the future for Briony.

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