We Were Here

yoinkie (@yoinkie) 8 years, 9 months ago

My name is Gentry Unitas, and from this day on, I refuse to lay down for anything or anyone. I was 14 years old when the world ended. I was skipping third block Geography with two of my friends, Gary and Heather. We were wandering around the mall, like we usually did. Not buying anything, due to having no money. Just sort of, wandering around. It was a place to be, so there we were. Gary was trying to buy a pack of cigarettes off the old Russian lady who sells odds and ends out of her funny little store, when we saw everyone around us start rushing. I could here “gasps” coming out of the mouths of the people who were now gathering around the TV store window.

Of course, the world didnt literally end that day. But figuratively speaking, it did. The way of life we had come to know and understand was over. My phone, that my parents reluctantly paid $300 for, was useless. My skinny express jeans, and my short sleeve Armani shirt were just as useless, although not as immediately. Its funny that I think about those kind of things, nowadays. Sometimes I wish I had lived a little longer in those days, learned to be more of a good person, and enjoy the simple things that were oh so free. But at the same time, I thank my non-existent God that atleast I got 13 years of that life, as so many people alive now dont even know a thing about the old world.

Its been 9 years since that world ended, and this new world is nothing like its predecessor. Nothing is the same, and no one is the same. I cant even remember the last normal conversation I had with another human being. “did you see the newest episode of South Park? Cartman is a dirty son of a bitch!” That sentence has no meaning anymore. Neither does “did you watch the game last night”, or “How are you” or even, “are you happy”.

No, the only things people care about now is how they will eat tommorow, how much ammo they have left in their artillery, and which is the safest route home. The elders, they still love talking about who was really to blame for everything. I think they talk about it so much, because its one of the few things you still can debate about.

I was 13 years old in November of 2012 when World war 3 officially began. I cant tell you exactly what happened because no one really knows for sure, but I can tell you what i’ve heard over the years from the grapevine. On November 27th, a day before thanksgiving, a bomb went off in Downtown L.A. It wasn’t a large bomb, but a bomb in an American city, nonetheless. The world was already on the verge of a complete mental breakdown, and this became known as the tipping point for the biggest Pawn in the chess game. Weeks before, a U.S. Navy ship had been torpedo’d by an unknown sub. Intelligence department declared the country of Iran Responsible, and so began 2 weeks of mental warfare. Each pushing each other farther and farther mentally, seeing how the other would react. Imagine a seesaw, suspended 500 feet above the ground. On one side sits America, and on the other, Iran. Each gives a little to see if the other minds. Both know that if either gets off, both are dead, but both are still willing and even coercing the fact that they could do so at any moment. The Torpedo on the Navy ship was Iran pretending to get off the seesaw, and waiting to see how America would react. The bomb in L.A. was probably some extremist thinking he was doing good for his people, but he was really doing was making dents in a seesaw that was already fragile. The US decided it had enough, so that night, they got off the seesaw.

That night, 6 nuclear warheads reigned death on the City of Tehran and 5 other major Iranian cities. 3 hours later, 1 nuclear warhead exploded 15 miles outside the city of Shanghai, sent from whom, still unknown. 1 hour after that, 17 Russian and Chinese Nuclear warheads made 7 US cities their new homes. You think at this point, someone would have thought about getting back on the seesaw, maybe discussing other ways where both could get off it without facing sheer annihilation. But instead, we did the exact opposite. More nukes found new homes, more countries joined in on the sadistic fun, and one month later, the world had lost 65% of its population. Satellites fell from the skies, cities built walls to hide from their once friendly neighbors, and technology was worse off then before the dawn of civilization. But that was still just the beginning.

The people of America needed someone to blame, and since they had no communication with the outside world or each other, they relied on blaming the people they always blamed; the government. The Nukes had stopped falling, but we were now in for a new kind of war. Someone shot the president, but I cant be too sure about that because sometimes people tell me he just went into indefinite hiding. His party collapsed, and soon lost control of their country. New governments arose; each with their own motives, and each providing a different, “better” life. No one could decided on which one should run the country, so they all did. And so began the second America Civil War. The northwestern states joined with the Canada, everyone east of the Mississippi had a collective peace agreement, but didnt agree with each others policies, and the Southeast became Texas’s bitch; mostly because Texas controlled most of the countries remaining heavy artillery, and no one really wanted to fuck with the Texans anyway. California became its own sovereign Nation, choosing to not side with any other state, no matter how much Nevada, Oregon and Utah asked them.

This way of life went on for about 6 years; every couple of months, we would hear news of a major border war, and a state now belonging to someone else, and a new name leading the way. While everyone was busy fighting with each other, no one bothered trying to rebuild this country. Everyone was left to fend for themselves, and supplies were always limited. The American dollar was completely useless; people would come from out of state and claim there dollar reigned supreme over ours, so in the end we all just forfeited all forms of currency and adopted the barter system, once again. No one was happy, no one was rich, and no one was better off then anyone else. If anyone even had the slightest hint that you had in your possession something far greater in value than someone else, they would kill you for it. In the middle of the streets, with everyone watching, and no one would lift a finger to help you.

We barely ever heard news of how the rest of the world was doing, but frankly, no one really cared. Things at home were getting from bad to worse, almost daily. 10 year old kids couldnt leave the house without a parent handing them a gun or a knife. Disease ran rampant, destroying crops and poisoning the drinking water. America was literally months away from a total collapse and 100% fatality.

This probably sounds like the worst part of it all. But still, it was just the beginning. No one could have seen what happened next. No one would have chosen the life we were forced into. Everyone, if given the chance, would have chosen to stick it through the poverty, disease ridden, world we had built in those 6 years of civil war. But we werent given a chance. In 2019, a new government, determined to put the country back to whole, began to rise. Do you remember when Obama ran for president? Do you remember how he promised “change”, and everyone fell in love with his words and gave him their vote? Well, the world in 2008 was a beautiful place, and people still thought wrong of everything, and wanted change. 9% unemployment, 15 trillion national debt, Corporations making shit tons of money, and the 99% feeling they didnt have a fair opportunity. God how I wish those were our problems today.

The new government soon did what everyone else had failed to do; they put America back together again. No one really knows how they were able to do it, but plenty of theories have been thrown out there. Their leader went by simply, “The Duke” and they renamed USA to UTA, or “The United Territories of America”. They came as our saviors, but soon became everything but. And once again, everything changed. And soon after that, I once again found myself saying “no water, people shooting their neighbors, and disease everywhere. GOD, how I wish these were our problems of today.”

With me are my friends Davis, Kyle, Heather and Gina. We no longer accept the way our world is, and we will no longer lay down for anything or anyone. This country needs to change, this WORLD needs to change, and we will do whatever it takes from this point on, even if it means our deaths. My name is Gentry Unitas, and this is my story.

TO BE CONTINUED. This is a story ive been thinking about for a couple of weeks. Its all very rough right now, and even this part isnt well written because I wrote it quick before I forgot it. I’m thinking about turning it into a novel perhaps if its interesting enough. What do you think, yay or nay? Also, ive been told that even this part here should be broken up into several chapters to set up the plot, and begin with character development rather then plot development. But sometimes I feel like having an explosive beginning. Do you think I should continue with the explosive beginning, or re-start it with multiple chapters setting up the plot?

February 16, 2013 at 7:32 pm
Joel (40) (@jp907) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

This is bad fuckin ass, first off.

If you do choose a novel to complete the story, I would certainly break up this backstory into at least two chapters. Don’t go into too much detail, though, you want to be able to break off from the narrative later on and explain how something became the way it is. Keeps the reading from feeling predictable and the reader falls into your universe more fully.

But keep this up, man. excited to hear more.

[Hidden]
yoinkie (1,498)C (@yoinkie) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

@jp907, First off, thank you for taking the time to read this. secondly, thank you for the input! Exactly the kind of feedback I was hoping for.

I agree with everything you said. Here is my dillema; For the next chapters(after I this intro is done), I want to immediately jump into the new government and why they are so evil/corrupt/whatever. I feel, maybe though, I shouldnt do that. Maybe just start describing them, then jump into the character development of the 5 main characters I mentioned and “the Duke”. Do you think its more important to first introduce the characters so the reader feels attachment for them and cares for them? Or is it better to set up the plot first so the reader gets hooked in and wants to read more?

[Hidden]
Joel (40) (@jp907) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

@yoinkie, Of course, man.

I would suggest injecting small amounts of character development in the early chapters’ backstory (how these drastic changes affected him, sacrifices, love interest, whatever it is) to get the reader to begin feeling the pain of the situation. Certainly don’t describe the characters outright in any way, always blend in description with action or dialogue. As for The Duke, if I were writing him into a story I would intentionally leave his character development out in major ways, making his motives and personality much more shadowy and less relatable, by way of the readers’ noncomprehension of his actions, if that makes any sense… But with all things, moderation.

After the initial story background and basic char. development is laid out in the first couple chapters I would say it would be safe to jump into the government. You may even consider a periodic switching between past and present to break up the action and backstory.

Hope some of this helps.. haha

[Hidden]
Joel (40) (@jp907) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

@yoinkie, also, I really liked the idea of how little “south park” and his jeans mattered to him in light of the new situation, that’d be great to put into the final product.

[Hidden]
Leah (49) (@leahroehl) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

@yoinkie, i’d buy a copy no second thoughts about it. Word man. keep on working! great start

[Hidden]
winslow (85) (@winslow) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

@yoinkie, Nice story.. It really seemed like a reality for a little while.. Thats what writing is about so.. Awesome Job.

[Hidden]
TheSkaFish (962)M (@theskafish) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

@yoinkie, it’s well-written, you can get a clear mental image of the sequence of events and who the main character is, and how his life might have been outside of the story. What kind of person he was/is.

But, as a reader myself, I’m not really a fan of apocalyptic/post apocalyptic subject matter, I don’t even like zombies. It’s all just too bleak for me.

That’s just me though. If you find a way to differentiate it from stuff like Mad Max or Hunger Games, I think you’ve got something on your hands here. Keep it up!

[Hidden]
Alex (141)M (@alexishungry) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

@yoinkie, If this story was a potato, it would be a great potato.
You should really keep going with this and turn it into a novel! I would buy it hands down. I’m really into post-apocalyptic stuff, and even with the high amount of movies/stories coming out lately in this genre, your start still seems fresh and exciting.
I do think it would be good if you stretched this out into a few chapters and focused on character development first like your friends suggested. Maybe it’s just me, but I always like when the past events are revealed gradually throughout the first chunk of the book. Like let it be known from the start that shit hit the fan and there was nuclear warfare, but let the specifics come together throughout the course of multiple chapters.
You really blow through a lot of information in one concise narrative, you know what I mean?
Anyway, I love what you have so far, and I’m interested in seeing how this develops. Are you going to post updates anywhere?

[Hidden]
yoinkie (1,498)C (@yoinkie) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

@jp907, That was all great advice! Ive completely changed my mindset now for moving forwards because you sold me. I agree with all you said completely and sounds like the best way to move forward. When you are writing, its hard to remember that sometimes because you want to tell the story so quickly because you feel that the reader wont understand everything unless you lay it out for them right away. But its important to remember to be patient.

@leahroehl, @winslow, thank you for reading!

@theskafish, thanks for reading! The post apocalyptic genre is probably my favorite. I dont exactly know why, maybe because its such a different subject matter then our day to day. Everyone acts purely and there is no bullshit emotions or bullshit conversations like we tend to do nowaday. No cellphones, no distractions; just humans being humans and fighting for survival. It all just feels so real, and I guess thats why I enjoy it so much. Ive read and watched almost every zombie/post apocalyptic ever made, and what im trying to write here is different then those, I feel. I know how repetitive this genre can get the only reason I started writing this story is because when it popper into my head I knew it was unlike anything ive ever read or watched. So hopefully it will be unique in a very common genre!

@alexishungry, Thanks man! Ive alreay got the basic set up for the next few chapters in my head. Seeing that the main character met all of his ifferent friends at different points, each chapter will be about how he met each of them and what they went through. This will allow me to tell the story from basically the beginning, because if you remember, Gentry was already friends with Heather before the world changed. I shall start with Heathers story, and that way I can re-tell their story an the story of the new world. It will allow me to get more into detail while developing the characters and their relations along the way! Thank you for the advice!

And I suppose I can post the next few chapters on this website? I might just post it in this post and then I cant tag you guys if you’ like so you know when the next part is written! I might write it tonight if I have time!

[Hidden]
Stoney Baloney (614) (@adamm0ss) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

A lot of the time when someone writes a really long post, I tend lose interest. This time, I actually read it a couple times. I definitely see this as a potential novel/movie. Keepppsitup!

[Hidden]
Joel (40) (@jp907) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

@yoinkie, Good to hear, man. Glad you got something out of it. If you want to talk about it at all or are looking for some third-party input feel free to shoot me a message.

[Hidden]
yoinkie (1,498)C (@yoinkie) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

@jp907, I most definetly will! Outsider s perspectives are very important because yourn own personal brain has extreme bias towards your own work. It almost makes you blind in a way. Ill message you when I have the next part done!

[Hidden]
Joel (40) (@jp907) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

@yoinkie, yeah I know how that goes, whenever I write I give a version to several people who always bring up things I never imagined/didn’t realize I had done. Collaboration ftw =)

[Hidden]
ryan (15) (@highday) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

@yoinkie, This was awesome! As a huge fan of post-apocalyptic fiction, all I can suggest is keep it fresh and wander into previously uncharted territories(if possible) and put a lot of focus on character fiction. You want the reader to fully relate to your characters, and feel for them as they go through the trials and tribulations of their new world. Great read so far, exciting and oddly relevant to the world that is today. I hope our result is better then the one in this story…

[Hidden]
yoinkie (1,498)C (@yoinkie) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

@highday, thank you for reading! And yes, very true. Ive read books or watched movies, in which a character dies and I literally feel like im losing a friend. Because the author presented that person with such openess, that I felt I got to take a peak inside of their actual mind. I felt a connection to the. conversely, ive actually stood up and cheered when a villan got what was coming to them, because the author made you hate them just as much as the antagonist hated them inside the book/movie. Thats a key to writing I feel, and something I always strive for.

@jp907, so true. There are great leaders, but none of them would be where they are without people helping them along the way, and pointing out their weaknesses. Same goes for anything in life, outside perspective just makes you better. One must always be willing to take constructive criticism, and so many take it as a personal attack rather then a moment to build.

[Hidden]
Viewing 14 reply threads
load more