A Short Story written for vocal.media CompetitionEntry Link: https://vocal.media/stories/paradise-fallen
“You could just walk away you know.” her voice is stern and her attention laser focused on the knot she is tying.
“You could accept help from a friend, you know.” he replies with a smirk and proceeds to help her tie down a tarp covering a mound of items she’s collected around the city.
“You’re not my friend, Lucas. You’re just some horny dude who happened to survive this shit and now you’re trying to be a savior because you think I’ll put out. Well, I won’t. So you could just walk away now.” her tone gains more disdain.
“Julia, we went to high school together. Give me a break. We increase our odds of survival if we work together. Is that really such a terrible idea to you?” his words trail off as a glimmer in the distance catches his eye.
“What is it?” she asks.
He shushes her and reaches behind his back for his katana, putting a finger to his lips and moving behind a wall for cover, motioning to her to get down.
A soft jingle echoes off the walls of crumbling buildings around them. Lucas grabs Julia down to hide behind the wall beside him.
“Lu—” he covers her mouth.
The jingle sound intensifies as it approaches them from the other side of the wall. She inhales sharply and he removes his hand, moving quickly to one side of the wall to look out.
Through the fog of the morning mist a shape takes form about 200 meters ahead of them. Lucas grips the hilt of his katana, preparing himself to defend. The figure hesitates as if it has become aware of their presence. The jingle stops with the figure.
In barely a whisper, Lucas says “Julia, do you still have that sling shot we found near the park?”
Without a word, she nods her head and moves carefully to the mound of items stealthily producing a fisher price sling shot. Lucas gestures over to a pile of rubble nearby, urging Julia to hide out there and use the smaller rocks as ammunition.
A crow cawing overhead distracts Julia, causing her to lose her footing on a few of the rocks. The mysterious figure is made aware of her presence and immediately charges in her direction. Lucas readies himself, prepared to defend his friend to the death if necessary.
From the fog emerges a goldendoodle with a full-body mohawk wearing a gold heart shaped locket.
“Gabrielle!” shouts Julia.
The pup happily approaches Julia, wagging it’s tail so vigorously the entire bottom half sways side to side. Julia laughs heartily and greets the pup with scratches behind the ears and a big hug.
“Girl, you scared us!” she pets the pup on the top of her head with a broad smile.
Lucas releases his grip on his blade and collapses to the ground in defeat, kicking his feet out from under him. “Are you kidding me? A fucking dog.”
“She’s not just ‘a fucking dog’ Lucas, this little locket around her neck has a projection map of the entire city. Do you know what we could find with this?” Julia explains with excitement.
“Oh, so now we’re a we are we?” asks Lucas.
Julia laughs. “Easy cowboy, don’t go getting ahead of yourself. I meant what I said, I’m not putting out. Although, I suppose if you did want to go on an adventure with me it wouldn’t hurt to have an extra set of hands. Who knows what we’ll find with a map at our disposal!”
“Yea sure, why not? It’s not like I have anything better to do today anyway.” Lucas looks up at the sky that’s an opaque green tint and briefly closes his eyes. “Just another day in paradise.”