Posted in Diary of a Man, Stories

Weekly Serial Book 8 Chapter 1: Diary of a Man

(Author’s Note: Early on in my blogging, to honor the old pulp magazine serials, I began a weekly serial series of various of my stories. I have decided to repost those stories. Each Friday will feature a new chapter until a story ends. Then I will begin a new story. Enjoy!)

Chapter 1 – All Is Still

Below, in a dark expanse of treeless land void of all life, stands a lone pine. Its needles are dying and begin to cover the two forms below it with a soft, brown carpet. The humans lie with their backs against the pine’s trunk, their hands clasped firmly even in death. In her other hand, the woman holds a small black book with worn edges close to her breast. The man grasps a sheaf of fast-yellowing papers. A broken pen lies on the ground beside him. Those papers hold a story that will soon be forgotten, but you must hear it anyway.
May 24

I awoke to a stillness I have never felt before, or shall again. I couldn’t hear the birds’ sweet singing or even the wind rustling through the trees. Where were the robin’s glad song and the pine’s whisperings?

My curiosity aroused, I struggled, with much pain and a­gony, to raise myself to my knees. This feat accomplished, I brushed the dirt and ash from my eyes and looked around. The sight that met my eyes made me begin to weep.

Of the pine? All trees I could see were but charred black stumps in a blackened ground. No longer would the breeze whisper through beautiful green foliage or waft a tree’s fresh scent throughout the land. The only scent that came through the air on the wings of the wind was the nauseating smell of . . .

Of the robin? The only bird I saw was a corpse lying in front of me, its beak still opened in song. His brightly­ colored feathers would no longer glisten in the sunlight. They were forever blackened by fire and ash.

Exhausted from the effort of getting up and with hope­lessness in my breast, I fell into a fitful slumber, weeping.
May 25

I awoke again to that same awful stillness. I probably will for the rest of my life. I suppose this is May 25, though I can barely see the sun through the dirty, hazy blanket Earth’s atmosphere has become. Anyway, I will enter this ac­count under that given date. It doesn’t matter what day it is anyway, I doubt anyone’s keeping track anymore. From what little sun I can see and the slope of the land where I lie, it seems tome that town is to-the north of me. I find that I haven’t the strength to get up so am beginning to crawl slowly and painfully northward. After crawling a few hun­dred yards through still-smoldering sand and ash, I collapse in an exhausted heap. There will be no more progress today. Still thinking about “progress” and where it had gotten humans, I fall into a fitful slumber. Darkness.

(Originally posted here March 2012. Written in 1985 at age 18).

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