Week One, January 2015: Kat Stinson

Hopefully this year I will be writing daily and posting weekly. Each week I will be sharing my favourite scene or short story from the week. This week went quite well, I wrote an average of 744 words per day, with my best day being 1315 words and my worst being today, with 36 before this post.

This weeks focus was on short, stand alone scenes and stories. The themes tended to be sci-fi and apocalyptic stories with a strong sense of survival. The scene I wish to share with you might not be the best of the week but it was one I found very fun. I’ve had some characters in mind for a post-apocalyptic setting for a while now, especially this girl, so I took a few days to write some scenes for this woman. Click through to read the scene.

 

 

 

Kat Stinson straightened her helmet and fiddled with the buttons on the radio clipped to her chest. She knew there should be a secure settlement somewhere near here, but the person who had marked it on her map had obviously not been good with maps. She found a hint of a voice and tried to tune into it.

“Not that way!” Said the panicked male voice, “There are even more in the carpark of the grocery there.”

“Then which way?!” Came the voice of a panicked, and out of breath woman.

“Umm, east…”

“Further from home?”

“It’s the only clear way, we can loop around.”

Kat turned her bike towards the grocery store, maybe she could find the runner. She spotted the horde, they were faster than your ordinary shamblers but not yet sprinters. In front of the horde was a woman, she was tall with short black hair. She was wearing a sports bra and a tiny pair of bike shorts. She was running as hard as she could.

“There’s something coming in quick from your right!”

The lady glanced at her but didn’t break stride.

“Surely you can see it! Why aren’t you changing course?” The Man whacked his microphone, “Damn it’s going to hit you!”

Kat passed just in front of the runner and pulled her onto the back of the bike. The woman lifted her feet up as her stomach slammed into Kat’s bedroll.

“Try to straddle the roll, I can compensate for your movements if your careful.”

The woman started moving a little and the bike wobbled. Then some arms snaked around her waist and held on tight.

“Um, I broke my radio on your bike, Ray will be beside himself.”

Kat pulled a mike down on her helmet, “Listen here, Ray? I got you runner but we’ll need your help to escape the horde.”

“Who is this? Why can’t I speak to Annette?”

“Annette’s radio is broken and this is a motorcycle noise cancelling headset. Now can I go north.”

“There’s a gap to the northeast between two hordes, but you’ll not make it.”

“I’ll chance it. Hold tight Annie.”

Kat kicked her gears up to the highest and pushed hard, hoping the boost in speed would make it possible. She saw the horde in question. And skidded past them, luckily they were only shamblers.

“With that speed!” Ray said, “And how are you not attracting them?”

“Pushbike, I’m not very noisy.”

“Head north west, if you can skirt that group… Oh no.” Ray paused, “That’s not good.”

“If you leave me in suspense now I will strangle you when I get there.”

“Um, the hoard chasing Annette are now sprinters.” Ray swore, “And they’ve attracted the horde you just passed.”

Kat swore profusely, she’d been riding all day and was getting tired.

“What?” Annette asked, her panic clear.

“Sprinters, larger horde.”

Annette swore as well. Kat passed her the cricket bat from her front basket. Annette nodded and turned so she was facing backwards, trying to balance as she looked at the horde behind her.

“How bad is it?” Kat asked.

Annette swore at her, “Are you sure we didn’t ride through hell?”

Ray answered, “One hundred and fifty… look you have a clear path to the settlement… but.”

“You can’t take that many…” Kat said.

“Look if we can get you to loose some of them.”

“Any stairs near here?”

“You can ride up stairs?”

“No, but down works almost as well on sprinters.” Kat said between ragged breaths.

“Head down main street and keep an eye on your left.”

Kat spotted the stairs, a nice big set too, “Hold on tight Annie.”

Kat skidded sideways and rose up on the peddles as the bike thudded down the flight of stairs then skidded sideways into a side street right at the bottom. She tried to keep her speed high as she flicked from street to street, taking tight turns and trying to stay quiet.

“Rider, you’ve lost most of them, try to head towards the west, we’re almost due west of your current location.”

Kat didn’t answer, but tried to choose streets based on that new information. They were clear of the city now and Kat took the chance to glance behind her at the horde of about thirty sprinters.

“I hope that’s good enough for you.”

She saw the settlement ahead, the gate was opening, “You’ll be in and safe soon.”

“Good, I’m…” Kat didn’t continue, it was getting harder to peddle, she shifted down gears.

Annette whacked the leading zombie, breaking its neck and throwing the bike sideways. Kat fought to keep it upright and tried to gain speed again; fighting the urge to look back.

“I’m sorry.” Came a firm, new male voice over the radio, “I appreciate your help but we can’t risk even a single one-“

Kat turned off the radio in disgust. Ahead she saw the gate begin to slide down. She changed gears and glanced back at Annette.

“Do you have a doctor there?”

Annette glanced at her confused, “Yes.”

Kat just nodded and sped up, still heading straight towards the gate. Annette glanced forwards and spotted it lowering. She swore quite profusely, first at them, then at Kat. The gate was now halfway down, and there would only be one metre open when she got there.

“Hold!”

Annette turned and bit back a scream as Kat threw the bike sideways and they both skidded along the dirt under the gate, bike in front of them. People jumped out of the way and her bike knocked over one person. Kat got up and checked Annette.

“This is why you need to wear slightly more clothes when riding a bike.”

“I hurt all over.” Annette said weakly as Kat and another helped her to her feet.

Kat turned and saw someone trying to straighten her bike, “Don’t touch my Bike!”

She snatched the handlebars away from the person and glanced around, looking for her weapons that had fallen out of the basket. A couple of people brought them over to her and she nodded her thanks. A young man came running out and hugged Annette.

“I am so glad you are all right!” The voice identified him as Ray, he turned to her, “And you must be the rider.”

“Call me Kat.” She said, “Could you help me with something?”

“Anything.”

“Are any of these people in this settlement?” Kat pulled a list out of her upper pocket and handed it to Ray.

“Uh… this is a long list.” Ray said.

“Send them too me.”

Kat knelt down and began checking over her bike. She didn’t like skidding it like this, it could be bad news for her bags and the bike itself. However her bike seemed all right.

“Excuse me,” Ray said.

Kat turned to see six people standing behind him, “Oh good. Names?”

“You don’t know them?”

“No.”

They gave their names and Kat searched her saddlebag. She pulled out a handful of letters and handed them out. They all frowned in confusion.

Ray frowned at his own envelope, “Also our sergeant was on you list.”

“The man who was going to lock us out?”

“Yes, sorry I couldn’t…”

“Don’t worry, I understand.” Kat sighed, “Where can I find him?”

“The farmhouse in the centre of the compound.”

“Thanks.”

Kat entered the front room and the sergeant at least had the decency to look somewhat embarrassed. Kat wheeled her bike in and kicked the kick stand down.

“Sergeant Emory Winterstein?” Kat said, handing a letter to him, “That’s for you, I’m going to find someplace to sleep. I’ll leave in the morning, have any letters you wish to post ready by then.”

“What, you are a post woman?”

“Katherine Stinson, the post apocalyptic postwoman at your service.” Kat said with a giggle, “But not right now, I am exhausted.”

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