my name is dann, and ive written this story to include in an independent freeprint Zine. im looking for opinion, criticisms, suggestions and possibly editoral advice. ( im worried about the story switching voices, as in it switching between past present and future tense's, and directions in narrations ) . and most importantly, i need to know if it --makes sense--
The story is, in some way, a small summarization of a much larger story i hope to one day write, one that exists in fragments in my mind. Im sure some of you are familiar with this frustrating concept. TheCityOfJune is hopefully a starting point to this story.
I need to know if it makes sense as a stand alone story, and if you were able to grasp the concept of the world described.
thanks, and ill try to contribute to this site as much as i can.
Viva la Combrande
I remember naught of the yellow lamps that lined the rows of roads the mens had built and called their own, but I will always remember the last time that I saw June clearly as if I was still to be standing inside of it. It had become the end of what had been the summer, in the forest all the leaves on all the trees were falling to the earth to die, and all over the earth the sun was dropping lower into the corner of the sky with every night and every shortening day. We were traveling. A convoy of two aging lovers, we were returning from ritual journey that we had been forced upon us every summer of your life, from back before you can remember. We hiked every year the same route out of the forest and across the Dirtgate deep into the center of the old cities of the northern hemisphere, where we slept in beds of fabric which were ours. It was not often enough, I often thought, that we got to do so. The summers had been sparsely scattered across our past, in the sixty or so years that we have lived since the mens abandoned the cities we have not seen more than a dozen of these summers in which the weather had been forgiving enough to allow us passage north, and not a one of them lasting long enough to settle.
We had been forced south, like everyone else, the day that the sun fell from the sky. It had been a global catastrophe for which There had been years of warning, of science-types calculating ratios of distance seemingly traveled in odd directions away from the earth , not to be explained at all by its constant gradual burn. It was proved, to a world who would not take proof, that The sun was slowly inching into the darkness. In their greed and complacency, the mens believed nothing of the truths that the end of the world as we knew it was upon us. Eventually, after ample amounts media bombardment falling deaf in the air, a world washed away in its ignorance.
It was like it slipped, With a sound that tore trees from the earth, and began to drift into the distant sky. No longer inching, the sun took a one day dive far enough from Terrafirma to freeze the oceans, the land, and everything that lived on or in between. The few mens south of the worst of the winters winds survived some only for hours lest they found shelter or flame. Those of the north, where the mens lived en-mass, were griped by a cold that tore through their skin and silenced their bones, leaving corpses that crashed and shattered on the cold stone. Pieces of frozen flesh to buried beneath a winter the likes the world had never known.
There, within ruins, are our beds. In rows of homes among rows of roads that lay dormant beneath ice and snow for years at a time. The cycles of the sun have become ultimately unpredictable, and it is only when we begin to feel in the air the first of the winters thaw that we begin to plan our journey north. We followed the suns ascension with every day, basking in the warm weathers that came with its rays. Hand in hand we would overtake a half earths worth of slush and puddles and the mud and muck of the two of them, never complaining and lovingOften for the entirety of the suns journey north, and our journey to where we wished we could call our home. Our journey which, every year, ended on the eastern seaside of aTod, in the city we called June.
The mens had called it Kik, and We Grew up there, or that is to say that I grew up there. She was born in the southern cities, an infant for only days beneath the bright Yellowlights and concrete streets before I came about and snatched her from her hospital bed as she slept. An orphan I was, I raised her as best I knew how.
Twelve years old and aged far beyond my years my earliest memories did not explain how I came to be fluent in floating undetected under all of the grids used by the mens, and thieving my way through their systems. No id no home no name I had no teacher, parent, priest or pet. I was alone. Undeniably alone and totally aware of the mens and they way they lived, died and lived one by one over and over time and time again into infinity. And I knew, from the first warnings signs of the sun dropping off, that mens were not going to make it. For years I waited and watched, preparing for whatever worst may come, drifting from my home in Kik to the southern cities, waiting. Sure as words can say, I knew that I would not be able to make it alone.
So I took her, when the colds came and killed the Yellowlamps one by one darkening the frosty streets, and I saved her; as the mens lost their minds. We were clear of the deadly cold, with a pocket of people who huddled their way south as penguins would out of the cities. Close to my chest she was, skin on skin pressed warmly towards me beneath layers of blankets as we traveled, lead on a whim of instinct to know that the only way we were to survive the winter was to move to where we could be warm enough that the air was not to frozen to breathe.
Like birds through blowing snow we crossed the Dirtgate, the miles of deadland that surrounded the cites, a barrier between the mens and the trees which had been exiled from them for as long as written history has recorded. The trees made the air, the mens were aware of that. The mens also were aware that the trees did not survive when surrounded by the energies conducted by, and those used to power their immaculate technologies. A burden of life, the trees were. Because of them aTod* could exist only on a small fraction of the earth, unable to expand without expanding the deadland threefold. In the silence of the sun an aura of dusty dry earth where nothing green would grow was waist deep of snow, and we pushed through it as moles would the ground.
Because outside of aTods, beyond the Dirtgate, the trees towered over the land. Allowed to grow for lifetimes untouched, they were the refuge we sought that provided us a natural shelter from the burning cold. Thousands of stories high they kept at bay the wind, and they kept at bay the snow. We traveled beneath them, Latera and I, where they kept us safe as everyday we walked dumbly towards where we knew we would be free of the elements. In the extreme center of our world the sun still circled close enough to comfortably live. You could see it in the sky as if it were only winter, a winter with colds mild enough to raise a child by.
As Her parent Her priest and her prophet, we outlived led by pure instinct everyone that had flowed with us out of aTods by the time she had reached her teen ages, as we had become the only people on earth by the time she had seen her second summer. The second summer of her life and the first time she would see and remember the ruins of the city of the mens. The city aTod, where the mens lay quietly immobile.
The first time she saw June she was unable to walk with me across the Dirtgate for the days that it took us.
On my back she was, strapped into a crude knapsack constructed during frantic confusion. She always told me that she remembered slightly the rivers of thaw that ran along the ground, but nothing more of that first Trip to June. No memory of the vengeance of The sun upon the earth with its overnight and unexpected return. No recollection at all of The heat that rained in the night stirring us from sleep and sparking an exodus out of the forest. No memory of the sun rising in the east on that morning, giant in the sky charring and melting the flesh of those who had stumbled in the dark and lost time on their starts.
She knew nothing of the deadland that first year, of the tundraís that having been piled up melted into lakes in the lower lying lands obstructing our course and forcing us to zig and zag our way north as I walked us as swiftly as my legs could carry away from the heat dropping from the unforgiving sun. The life giving rays beat upon us drawing seas worth of vital liquids in sweat which fell to our feet and blended seamlessly with the melting snows. We hydrated from the abundance of water all around us, water warm to the touch, water endlessly. Water so deep in certain areas of the deadland that it would never fully absorb, but instead became shallow seas that flourished successively with every passing thaw.
She had no memory of her first time returning to aTod, not a single remnance of the smell of the bodies baking beneath the low hanging fire above our heads. Previously perfectly preserved corpses, the remains of the mens of aTod were nearly puddles of melted mush burning in the overheating air. That first year they were in abundance everywhere you looked, in all shapes and sizes, in all potential positions, some in pieces of flesh on the hard stone floor. We pushed onward through them; on the run in haste from the rouge god over us relentless and anxious to end us here where we could lie beside our brothers and sisters for eternal piece in the only home the mens had ever know. on the streets of aTod. where the mens had once lived.
But we found us a certain sanctuary where we could be shaded by the skyscraping buildings and bathe in the ocean beyond them. A place north enough that the summer sun barely touched and left the concrete cool enough to walk barefoot if we so pleased. A part of aTod where we could be safe for whatever duration the sun might stay and whatever warms it would try to push upon us. It was our refuge from the sun so much as the trees were from the snows. our destination that first year and every one of the very few summers we would see. and we named it June.
The mens had called it Kik, but the mens no longer were around to claim it as so. June was ours. In June there were beds of cotton within homes lined on rows of roads where we slept and loved and lived for as long as we could, every time we could, as long as the weather would allow. We danced daily down the streets nearly naked while onto our skin the sun set in tanning our hides, changing us. In June I taught her through the years all I knew of the ways the mens lived with their machines and their money and their imaginations. and how they died and lived and died and lived and died one by one time and time again forever into infinity as endless as the open air. or at least, how they had...
"Lets start a fire". she said. I snickered as she spoke knowing that with a few flicks of flame all of these neighborhoods could be ashes in hours. and they were.
These neighborhoods which were, as we had always seen it, gifted to us by earth and existence for our perseverance in surviving the worst the world could throw at us. Through snows and colds and sun and floods and so many journeys fro and to and fro the forest across the Dirtgate and deep into the mens establishment of aTod we lived year to year never complaining and always smiling at the life which still circulated in our skin. We would never give up so long as we had June and the forest to bounce between.
But we have aged, so long that our bones are feeling the cold long before it comes, and that we can smell the coming of the sun nights before it barrages back to our earth. Our journeys are each stretching longer than the last, our steps shorter and sleeps on the way lasting longer than ideal lengths. The scattered summers which we see so few of seem to be spaced more with every passing one causing us to live longer in the winters cold than and old couple can comfortably handle. We donít want to walk the waters of the Dirtgate when we are able to only drag our heels and risk dying below the baking sun while one of us, feeble with age, is unable to carry the other to safety. We do not want to wait through another winter.
Ours, was June; To do with what we wished. so we did. Hand in hand we walked stride for stride tossing homemade matches into dry piles of whatever we could find. We laughed like we hadnít for years surrounded by walls of flames on three sides, our left, our right, and behind. Before us the sidewalks stretched on as far as our eyes could see, endless with opportune places to toss fresh sparks. We played games as we aimed for important landmarks and dormant parked cars, staircases stoops and steps where we had spent evenings, and homes home to beds of cotton which were ours and which would never be slept in again. We playfully kicked piles of bones which we had walked over and around for the length of our entire lives, giving names and stories to the dust that had became of the flesh, leaving behind us the whole of their imagined existence for the fire. By that days night the whole of June was ablaze by our hands and we sat high on a shattered section of Euls* far from the flame watching the city burn a block at a time leaving ashes that littered the air for as long as the light let us see. A light from the flames, under the night sky bright enough to read by.
The last time I saw June it was in ash at our feet. The buildings, the bones, the homes and the Yellowlamps which lined the roads were all together as one solid blanket of soot so deep that we dared not step foot for fear of the coals which likely still burned beneath. We walked away from June without words between us, without a thing to say, not a single peep or sound to be passed from mouth to ear for either of us. We were done with talking, these was nothing to be said. We were the last people on earth doomed and destined to die beneath the towering trees of the forest.
The trees the men had exiled eons ago. The trees which had been alive long before, and lived long after the last of the mens. The trees which one day fully flourished throughout the Dirtgate and overtook what was left of the cities of aTod, burying beneath them any memory or remnence of the mens and the way they lived and died and died and lived. We didnít make it to safety that year, we died while crossing the Dirtgate. The Dirtgate green with grass and white with snow when we laid down to freeze in each others arms. Without the machines of the mens the aura of dusty dry earth was lush with foliage a little more each year, foliage which eventually spilled into the cinder streets of aTod as the earth took back the land the mens had tainted in their greed. And where From the ashes of June grew little yellow flowers every summer, destined to be destroyed by the inevitable, unpredictable, and unavoidable worldwide falling of the winters snow.