2-9: What Flannery Found

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Separate. Arms pumping. Chests heaving. Brandy has always beaten exercise. Oh, how Flannery regrets it now!

Stumble in the brush. Bruised knee. Blood drips down her thigh. Gust of wind. Alto’s hair whips in front of his eyes. He nearly crashes. Tree in the way. Continue on.

Up the steps. Panting now. Flushed cheeks. Eyes dart from pillars to floor. Dolly’s hand covers her mouth. Eyes squeezed shut. Seaweed leans against the wall, cigarette in hand. His gaze meets theirs. Hollow. Deep breaths. Stammer. Stop.

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“A-a-are you okay?” asks Alto between great, heaving breaths. Dolly slides to the ground; she presses her face against her thighs. Her quivering lip peeks from between them. “Lemon?”

Dolly doesn’t reply. Flannery stares at the city hall’s doors, at the darkness behind the empty window frames, at its rusty doorknob, at the scrap of paper jammed between hinges. She narrows her eyes. “What did you two find?”

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Seaweed shakes his head and takes another drag. Dolly’s knees knock. “If you won’t tell me,” snaps Flannery, “I’ll find it myself.”

“Don’t!” cries Seaweed. He covers his face with his hands, then with a shaky hand, holds his cigarette to his lip. His voice continues, choked, distraught. “Just listen to me for once, okay, Flan? Don’t go in there. Let’s just go back home, okay? You don’t need to see that. Nobody should.”

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“I’m going in,” growls Flannery, raising her chin defiantly. Seaweed says nothing as she marches past him, and only takes another drag, frown sinking to his ankles, when Alto slips through the door behind her.

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Broken glass cracks beneath Flannery’s boots. Through the darkness, she makes out the ornate, stately rug beneath her feet, and the strange, dark brown stains upon it. Dust puffs from its depths with each step she takes. Mice avoid her feet. Above her, a chandelier hangs from the ceiling. Spiderwebs adorn its fixtures. She breathes slowly, and a putrid and sickly sweet scent floods her nostrils. She nearly gags on it, but remembers Seaweed’s presence ten feet away. She swallows, hard. She pushes her shoulders back. A doorway stands to her left. The doors hang open, barely attached to their hinges. She turns to enter, when something brushes her hand.

Flannery’s shriek sends the mice fleeing for their mouseholes. Her hands fly to her face, and she is enveloped by a brief, nervous hug. “Hey, hey,” comes Alto’s hushed voice. He pulls himself away from her and meets her wide eyes. “I’m sorry. Shit, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to freak you out. Are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” she lies. His hand finds hers, and their fingers intertwine. She takes a long, shuddering breath. “Let’s keep going.”

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She turns the corner and freezes.

A flag, worn and moth-eaten, hangs across the far wall. On it, a tiger buries its teeth into a snake; its blood spurts across a snapped olive branch.  A podium stands in front of the flag. A torn page dangles from a book on its surface. Weapons cases and supplies boxes line the walls. Dried food, read some, and antibiotics, read others. Another chandelier hangs from the ceiling.

On the floor lays hundreds of skeletons.

Some still wear clothes. Some still clutch their mother’s hand. Their rot’s leftover stench floods the room.

Flannery’s stomach heaves. She gags; the bile rises up her throat. Her coughs echo through the room. Alto’s hand falls limply to his side. His eyes meet hers for a brief moment, awed or horrified, until her stomach empties through her throat. Vomit splashes against a skull. The alarms go off.

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“Run!” screams Flannery. She turns on her heel, and nearly trips over a thigh as she stumbles for the door. Her head pounds with the pulsing, high-pitched shriek of the alarm, and suddenly she’s vomiting again, dribble running down her chin, throat burning. Alto follows, silent, forehead covered in a thin sheen of sweat. He steps on a mouse as he whirls around the corner. It squeaks as it dies. The blood stains his shoes.

Sunlight on their faces. Vomit down her shirt. The paper between the door. Alto tucks it in his pocket as he flies past. Flannery grabs Dolly’s hand, yanks her to her feet, and then the four run, run, run to the car, run the engine, run to the city that never wakes, that insomniac, that frightened city.

                                

Lorde – “Swingin’ Party

A/N: I hope to have another chapter or two out before school starts, and will try to update as often as I can once I’m back in the classroom! It’ll be tough, though, because this is college application season, and while I’ve already applied to my first choice, I still plan on applying to a few more schools and will need to focus on school in order to keep acceptance and get MOAR SCHOLARSHIPS.

Anywho, thank you all for reading! I hope you’ve had a wonderful summer. 🙂

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13 thoughts on “2-9: What Flannery Found

  1. … well all those people’s remains HAD to be somewhere, I guess
    Apart from that, I am with Vinna- who the hell would set an alarm in a room full of dead bodies, and why set one in the first place?! o-O

  2. O_O Didn’t expect that!
    So… The vanishing… Nobody actually vanished, it was genocide? Why only select towns? Why leave the dead where they fell? And as Annasommer said, why set an alarm in a room full of dead bodies?

    They’ve not even made it to the city and already they’ve seen more than they should have. I hope they make it to the city! 😐

    Excellent chapter, by the way. It’s hard to describe vomit, but you did brilliantly! I could feel it in my throat… And the dead bodies… Well, that I can’t help with. I assume that how you described it is how it’d look, but I haven’t (and hope you haven’t either) come across a room full of 20-years-dead people.
    Dark, but brilliant 😀

    Good luck getting scholarships and college places! If you’re hoping to do english you’re clearly already in! 🙂

    • I can’t answer most of your questions without massive spoilers for this generation and the next, but I can affirm that it was genocide, and Alto has alluded to some of its causes. 🙂

      Don’t worry! The city’s definitely in their future, and will be making its debut this next chapter. Heehee, and thankfully I’ve never walked in on a room full of dead people. It was very difficult to describe it, though-I had to research a lot, and now my history looks like a serial killer’s.

      Thank you so much for the praise and well wishes and just gah! That was so sweet of you(: I hope my English-major pursuing goes well, too!

  3. Oh wow, that was described absolutely brilliantly. Just everything about it. The bodies, the vomit, running. You really have a way with words. And I read above that your an English major? I did think you might be, or at least very fond of it 🙂

    All the dead bodies, it now makes sense why the government doesn’t talk about it, especially if they were actually behind it. Were there a bunch of dead bodies in Blanca’s generation that she just never stumbled upon? Although that does make me dislike Rouge a bit more already since he became mayor. And when they rebuilt the city, if the town had dead bodies, it would have been him to clean it up, or have some part in it at least.

    And why must there be an alarm :/ They need to get far away from there as they can, and hope that there were no cameras or anything watching them that whole time. Flan’s in dangerous territory now. If she’s stumbled upon something she wasn’t meant to see or to know. And I’m insanely curious about the piece of paper Alto picked up. Gahhhh I don’t want to wait for the next chapter 😛

    • Thank you so much(: I’m seriously blushing right now. And I really can’t wait to be an English major! I still have a year of high school, but can’t wait for college creative writing courses. 🙂

      In Orchard, the bodies were disposed of more carefully…and that’s all I will say on that matter. Haha, it’s hard to answer your comments without getting intensely spoileriffic! 😆 I can’t really comment on Rouge’s role, either, but he’ll explain it for himself.

      Flan and her whole family have been put in deep danger now. As for cameras and the piece of paper, well, erm, one issue will be addressed right away and the other much later on! Sorry about the wait! 😦

  4. Ack! Dafuq? So it sounds like this town knew of the Vanishing and were trying to stockpile against it (makes sense, since he said they were the last to Vanish, I think?). Now I wonder, where were all the skeletons in Orchard?

  5. Gross. But awesomely horrific. That poor mouse… did one more have to die, really? 😦

    Oh, and great writing, as everyone said. I am one of little words sometimes. 😉

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