Short Story: A Beginning

I’ve been working on a short story for a few days weeks now, I just keep going back and tweaking things until I get them just right. I’m to the point that I need more input or at least some opinions on the direction it’s going. If you’ve got the time and inclination, read on. It’s really not that long, I’m just a perfectionist and I’m none too pleased with it.

Her emerald eyes flashed with a twinge of yellow as she viewed the golden reflection of the sunrise. The scope was new; appropriated from the last human she had seen during her trek across the sallow lands. The sun was rising quickly, signaling her need for cover and sleep. The night vision goggles bounced raggedly against her chest as she ran down into a drainage ditch. Shimmying under a wrecked car would have to do for today. Yesterday she managed to sleep in an actual house, well, more like a hovel or hut. Then again, she couldn’t complain, it was the first time in over a month that a safe house had an actual bed. A leaky oil pan dripped carelessly onto her raven hair, at least the stain wouldn’t be seen, she stared at the split ends she used to agonize over last year and wondered if she would ever care about such banalities again.

Sleep comes quickly when you run all night.

An aluminum can let out a muddy peal, her usual trap sprung, supine and full of vinegar she spied through that beautiful new scope. The lens on her previous gear had cracked 9 days ago and it seemed to put her more on edge than she would like to admit. Stroking the gun gently she whispered under her breath, “Come on Julietta, show me something worthy of a bullet.”

It was a rule. Guns have gorgeous femme fatale names. Or maybe it was just what she could remember of her past life. A housecat slinked under the car; she could clearly count ribs and it made her meager ration from last night churn. It was 3 or 4 in the afternoon from where the sun broiled in the sky, hard to tell when you’re not sure which month it is. The tabby settled into the crook of her arm, thankfully this was a well-versed cat and not a feral monster. With that loving sentiment fresh in her mind, she slept soundly.

The dream was always the same, the world she once knew, the people tame, content and complacent. No one expects the Spanish Inquisition and no one expected the attack. We may have read all the romanticized novels expounding on what a post-apocalyptic world would be like but none of them could come close to demonstrating the true depravity that humans would demonstrate for survival. Simple activities were the things she missed most. She sat cross-legged under the tree her husband and children stretched comfortably on a blanket. July and Xavier were watching the clouds stream by, lazily spying chickens, stars, and candy shapes, their giggles echoed as if they originated from a well. Distorted with sound of jets breaching the sound barrier, the big booms startled them all from their reveries. Then came the fire. The sky was ablaze with prematurely exploded surface to air missiles, we couldn’t fathom what was happening at the time but all the same we whisked the children away to the car and what we hoped was the safety of our home.

The rest of it is really just crap, I can’t seem to solidify it into anything that might actually be viable, but we’ll see. I’m not terribly great at world-building so any tips would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to read it and please let me know what you thought of my story (whether it’s positive or negative).

This probably goes without saying but don’t use my work for your own or misrepresent its origin in any way. Thank you!