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Wasteland Boy: Chapter 2 – In a few years

Dec 31, 2018
0

written by Gilbert

Over the years, it seemed all the adults became way closer to Clyde. Rather than neighbors, they all felt like a family, not only to Clyde, but to each other. The responsibility they all felt for him, the group effort they put into teaching him and taking care of him for the past three years, have been very bonding for all of them. Although they put all of their effort into replacing Clyde’s mother, he sometimes felt lonely. He tried talking about her many times, but most of the adults had really strange reactions when he tried mentioning her. They never stopped him from talking, but kept their answers short and tried changing conversation topics. Clyde assumed they all missed her and that was something he was sure about. The person he grew most attached to was a very self-respecting man with the golden pocket watch. Mr. Morrison. One of the things Clyde loved about Mr. Morrison is that he never panicked. He wasn’t quiet like Clyde, but he never lost his pride and confidence, no matter what. He had a spark in his eyes that said “Trust me. I know what’s best” and Clyde trusted him. Along came the day where there was nothing useful left in the garbage that was relatively near Clyde’s home. The groups that went out for food came back empty for days and Mr. Morrison suggested to find another bunker. Everyone began panicking, but he simply got out a suitcase and began packing, making everyone follow his lead. He wasn’t one of the elders, but he wasn’t the type of people you could easily disobey. That was the longest trip across the waste land in Clyde’s six year life. When Clyde got tired, Mr. Morrison scooped Clyde up and let him ride on his neck.

The new place they moved to required some adjustments, but was generally similar to the previous one and soon enough, they were all settled in. There was a supply of food in the kitchen as well as much more all over the wasteland. Another year went by quickly. By the end of it, Clyde had memorized some basic math concepts, could write in cursive with an ink pen and showed overall fast improvements in his development. Although he was curious and childish, he was way more grown up than an average seven-year old. He was responsible and seemed to have picked up Mr. Morrison’s confidence. By then, he was let out into the wastelands more often. He loved digging through random scraps, searching for interesting little machine parts and photographs. He spent lots of time outside, staying in a reasonable distance away from the bunker. His skin stayed pale, but the sun added millions of ginger freckles to match his hair.

One day, Aunt Lisa asked him what his motivation was to put so much effort into everything. As always, Clyde gave her his honest answer- to make his mom proud once he finds her. For a moment, Lisa’s face resembled the one she had four years ago, the morning she announced Clyde’s mother left. That very day, another adult meeting had taken place, which hadn’t happened in a long time. Curious as ever, Clyde listened to their conversation. He heard his name a few times. He heard his mother’s’ name.

“Maybe another year? He is still a kid…”

Another year. The two words repeated over and over in his mind. He stepped away from the door, shaking his head, rejecting those words. Did it mean he would have to wait more to see his mother? No. He couldn’t take it. And he wouldn’t. Clyde went to the kitchen and grabbed a few cans of meat, beans and a flask of filtered water. He went all over the bunker, collecting some necessary things. Once he made sure he had everything, he walked up to Mr. Morrison’s suitcase and pulled out his watch. It was heavy in Clyde’s hand. He could feel the gears shifting, clicking inside it. After slight hesitation, he put the watch in his vests’ pocket and proceeded to the final preparation. He took his pen, dipped it into ink and wrote a message to everyone he knew. He felt the need to hurry, therefore wrote only a few sentences, thanking everyone and promising to come back. One line was specifically dedicated to Mr. Morrison, with an apology for taking his watch and a promise to give it back as soon as he finds his mother. Clyde closed the ink bottle tightly, put some paper, his pen and the ink in the bag and headed to the lid with the note. He thought the best place to leave it at was at the entrance. He pushed the lid open, climbed out and placed the note carefully, so that the lid, once closed, would hold it in place. Very slowly, he lowered the heavy lid on top of it and took a deep breath, letting his gaze wonder across the wasteland. the sun was beginning to lower itself down towards the horizon, but was still up, shining brightly. A thought entered his mind that he might not be doing the right thing. Some small part of his mind told him to stop. He was only standing outside the bunker, but already felt homesick. Clyde exhaled, remembering Mr. Morrison. If he decided on something, he never lost his confidence. The watch ticked reassuringly in Clyde’s pocket, making him feel like he was Mr. Morrison himself. He picked up his bag, threw it over his shoulders and began walking away quickly, heading east, where the sun rises. He didn’t know where he was going. He didn’t know what he would find. His senses told him that his mother was there and that’s all he needed to make his feet move.

Chapter 1 – Clyde, my dear Clyde

Dec 17, 2018
0

The acidic rain trickled down the bunker lid. There were no windows to see the lightning, but the loud thunder reminded Agnes of bomb explosions. It has been a few years since the last bomb was dropped anywhere near, the war was finally over. Her sister shivered each time she heard the rumbling outside, clutching to her book and pretending to read as she silently fought her paranoia of bombs. She wasn’t the only one in the bunker with a similar condition. Many people in the bunker were shrieking, whimpering and whispering calming words to each other as the storm outside progressed to its loudest performances. Agnes looked down at the child in her hands and smiled at his peaceful sleep. He never seemed to be bothered by anything. He grew up in a loud, chaotic world, but was on the contrary quiet and calm. He had shiny ginger hair and grey eyes. His relaxed pale face had a few freckles, even though he rarely went outside.

“Clyde…”

Agnes stroked some hair away from his face with her gentle hand and sighed. It was terrible to think that he grew up in such a pressured environment. A childhood spent in a bunker wasn’t the best choice, but it was the only choice at a time like this.

“My dear Clyde.”

She closed her eyes and pulled her son closer, sharing warmth. Her thoughts eventually calmed down and she began falling asleep. Somewhere in between her dreams and reality, she heard an airship landing outside. An image of a soldier flashed in her memory. She forced herself to open her eyes and looked around. No one seemed to pay attention, trapped in their own thoughts. Agnes carefully put her sons’ head on her sisters’ lap.

“I’ll come back soon Lisa, hold on to him for a bit.”

Her sister nodded slowly and continued staring at the ground, crinkling her skirt.

Agnes quietly made her way to the exit. She put her shawl over her head and lifted the heavy lid, making the storm sounds in the bunker louder for a moment. Over the monotone of the rain, she heard propellers, saw something large in the sky shine in the lightning. She began running towards it desperately, yelling something to it, trying to get its attention. The thunder blocked out three gunshots and her body collapsed in the garbage. The rain fell on her, quickly expanding the wounds, washing away blood and with it, Agnes herself.

By morning, the storm has calmed down and the sun rolled out from the horizon line, lighting the wet wasteland with its warm, orange light. Rusty gears, metal plates and plastic wrappers glistened and sparkled under it. Vapor began rising from the garbage and soon everything was covered in light fog, making everything enchantingly beautiful. The bunker residents have finally fallen asleep when Clyde opened his eyes. He looked around instinctively for his mother, but didn’t spot her among the sleeping adults. He looked up at aunt Lisa. He could never figure out why she smelled so strangely if everyone ate the same food and washed at the same time. He sat up and rubbed his hands together to warm them up, then stood up and did his daily walk around the bunker, trying to spot the first person that wakes up.

Nothing seemed suspicious about his mom’s absence. Maybe she climbed out for a walk? The little boy grinned and started walking faster. What if she is walking somewhere in the bunker, also looking for the first person to wake up? He stopped to pick at a wall. According to his estimate, if he picked a bit of the paint off this wall each day, in about a month it would be paintless and he would be allowed to draw on it. He didn’t have any specific numbers down, but he knew he was right. Somewhere down the hall he heard Aunt Lisa call his name. He ran back to her.

“Clyde!”

Lisa kneeled beside him, taking his hand instead of her skirt.

“Where is your mommy?”

Clyde shrugged. Aunt Lisa always asked stupid questions and worried about everything. It was only natural for her to panic at the absence of her sister. To free his hand from her grip, he mumbled that she might have gone outside. Lisa clutched to her skirt again and ran to the exit, causing an unusual commotion, waking up a few of her and Agnes’s close friends. It all happened so quickly, Clyde couldn’t memorize who woke up second and third. They all climbed out and told Clyde to stay inside, which he obediently did, returning to his morning routine. Soon enough, the rest of the bunker residents woke up. A few asked Clyde where his mom was, to which he replied that she is out with Lisa. In about thirty minutes, according to a golden pocket watch Mr. Morrison had, Lisa and her crew returned. They all looked like they’ve aged. Clyde ran up to his aunt and asked where mommy is. The way she looked at him sent shivers down his back. His smile curved down and he stepped back. Everyone in the bunker looked at Lisa and everything became dead silent. Clyde could hear a light bulb flickering somewhere. Such silence scared him even more.

“Agnes…Your mother…”

Lisa forced a smile onto her face and scanned the room, looking at each person’s face before returning her gaze to Clyde. His grey eyes Blinked a few times, tears forming in them. Lisa felt her heart ache as she imagined his reaction to what she had to say. She opened her mouth and closed it, unable to say the truth.

“I don’t think mommy is coming back. She left somewhere.”

Her voice trembled. For once, her hands let go of the skirt and dropped down to her sides. she couldn’t stand looking at Clyde’s face and walked past him, to the meeting room, with the rest of the adults following her. Clyde stood in the room, frozen, processing what has happened. He tried to think optimistically, but tears went out of his control and began streaming down his cheeks. He went to the nearest corner and cried for a bit. He knew adults wouldn’t lie, but he couldn’t understand why mother left. More importantly, why she didn’t want to come back. Still sobbing, he walked over to the meeting rooms’ door and leaned his ear against it. He could only catch a few muffled phrases.

“-Yes. In a few years when he is grown enough, we will… For now, let’s leave it as it is… We will all raise him to our best ability.”

Clyde heard chairs moving and footsteps heading towards the door. He walked as far away from the door as he could, wiping away leftover ears. A smile made its way back to his face. Mom was probably in a better place, waiting for him. All he had to do is find her. In a few years, the elders said.

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