Friday, July 20, 2012

The Bunker


Hello my beautiful readers,
This post is a submission to the Dude Write: Flashier Than You contest. Below is a piece of flash fiction that I made... in a flash. The word count adds up to exactly 500. Count it if you desire. If you are expecting a silly post, I would probably skip over this as it isn't exactly a feel-good story. Anyway, I hope you enjoy it and be sure to stop by Dude Write to check in on all the other submissions which are undoubtedly better than mine.
Not an actual member.
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If you told me two weeks ago that I’d be cramped inside a cardboard house in my backyard, I wouldn’t find that unusual in the least bit. My two young boys were constructive like that. If they weren’t hanging around the kitchen waiting for supper to be served, they were out back building forts and bunkers from anything they could salvage. After a day’s construction, they would seek my approval.  I was their building inspector. So, no, I would not find anything odd about that.

Though, the circumstance by which we ended up in this playhouse may have come as a bit of a shock.
The television awoke me from my afternoon nap. It was emitting a tremendously aggravating noise. I stretched for the remote to lower the volume, but my actions were cut short by the heavy words resonating from the speakers. This is an urgent national broadcast...

 I sat back and listened. I sat through the entire announcement, too shaken to move from my seat.

1 hour to evacuate…

The transmission cut out and the screen went permanently black. I could hear my neighbors starting up their cars and burning rubber down the street. I moved toward the window and saw the neighborhood erupt in chaos. A woman was crying for help as she attempted to drag her disabled husband into their van. A dog helplessly attempted to keep pace with his master’s car. Didn’t anyone realize how futile their efforts were? An hour leaves barely enough time to reach the town’s limits.

“What’s happening?” I heard as the back door violently flung open. I turned to find a look of terror on my boys’ faces. “Where is everyone going?”

I alternated glances between the two, but I knew nothing I would say could offer any relief. They continued firing panicked inquiries at me, but I still found no response. That’s when I noticed the cardboard fort out back.

“We’re saved!” I gleefully shouted as I ran out back. My boys followed me without hesitation.

“Quickly! We’ve got to reinforce the bunker!” The two of them stared at me wide eyed. “The bunker!” I shouted again, pointing toward the cardboard house.  Yet, they maintained the puzzled look on their faces.

I looked toward the garage. “Wait here!” I yelled as I ran in to grab more cardboard. “We’ve got to reinforce it!” I began leaning cardboard strategically against the fort.

It wasn’t long before they caught on, placing cardboard gently on the roof and concealing any gaps. It was a wonder to behold. I was convinced that the world’s greatest architectures couldn’t manufacture a cardboard fort as sturdy as this.

“Well, go on. Get in the bunker. We’ll be safe in there.” I was speaking in a hushed tone, now. The screams and blaring car horns echoed from the distance.

We waited in the bunker in silence, but I sensed no more fear in my boys.

Even upon the bomb’s impact, not even a flinch.

We felt nothing.


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I would like to extend a thanks to Youngman Brown over at Dude Write for bestowing upon me the Chairman's Choice Man Card for my post, Stupid Things Kids Do To Get High/Drunk in Dude Write V.

48 comments:

  1. This was great. It was a really touching story, considering it's short length. Hope you win!

    Congrats on the award too.

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    1. Thanks, Addman! I was a bit worried no one would get the story, but I'm glad you enjoyed it. I hope I win too, though there are some brilliant writer's at Dude Write.

      You should submit a story.

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  2. Sad but great story. Good job!

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    1. I know it's a bit depressing, but I'm glad you enjoyed it despite the death and such!

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  3. That was a really good story, if not a little sad. As long as the kids felt safe though, then it was alright. Everyone else was in a panic, and would never have made it out. It's better to die feeling safe.

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    1. Thanks, Mark! I'm glad you liked it despite the nature of the story.

      You should submit a story, too. The guidelines are fairly simple: start the story with "If you told [me, him, her, them] two weeks ago that..." and stay within the 500 word limit.

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  4. This is exactly how I would want to do it too. With just me and my family, calmly, peacefully. You did an outstanding job capturing all of that in such a short story, Chiz. I loved it!

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    1. Thanks a lot, Elsie! Yeah, I had a hard time widdling the story down to 500 words, but I managed to complete the task.

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  5. Bravo. Loved it, though you will be missed. :-P

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    1. I seem to kill myself off in a lot of my post don't I?

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  6. Great story, Chiz. Way better than going in a terrified frenzy on a freeway. Good luck.

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    1. Exactly. I hate driving as is. Imagine my road rage when I knew my doom was imminent.

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  7. Really good job. You managed to get a lot of story and feeling into such a short piece. Very moving too. Fingers crossed :)

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    1. Thanks, Claire! I'm glad people are enjoying this. I was worrying that the amount I cut out would take away from the story, but luckily it didn't

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  8. That ending truly gave me goosebumps. Brilliantly written Chiz.

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    1. Thanks, Lily! Hopefully I'll return with some comedy this week, but glad you enjoyed my journey into serious fiction.

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  9. Sorry couldn't get past the incorrect use of the word "feudal" rather that the correct "futile". I thought for a minute I was teleported back to Camelot ( the real one not the fake Kennedy one). Sorry again, just had to fuck with you! Well done story!!

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    1. My grasp of the English language is 'feudal'. Thanks for catching that because that was a horrifically embarrassing Ms. Steak.

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  10. This was excellent. Touching and sad and concisely written. Good luck with the contest!

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    1. Thanks, Daniel! Your comment was very touching as well.

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    1. Thanks! Hopefully I didn't depress too many people.

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  12. I wonder if I could remain as calm for the sake of my nieces. No, I couldn't, but I don't have to worry about something catastrophic happening until December, right? Such a good story. I am fighting back a tear or two.

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    1. Thanks, Nellie! I most certainly wouldn't remain calm. Then again, once I get the funds. I'll probably build a bomb shelter anyway because I'm super paranoid.

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    1. verb (used without object), chat·ted, chat·ting.
      1. to converse in a familiar or informal manner.

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  14. This was a wonderful story. I'm not used to seeing such a serious one from you, but you wrote it really well, and with a masterful and touching ending.

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    1. Thanks! Yeah, I usually write in a serious manner outside blogging. It's a good change of pace.

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  15. You're a very good writer, and this story had a much edgier ending than I was expecting. I think your blog is great and I just signed up so I can read more of your work. Take care.

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    1. Thanks a lot, Stephen! Although most of my posts are of a somewhat comedic nature, I'll try to fit in one of these types of posts every once in a while.

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  16. Holy Carp! and in only 500 words. The most amazing 'love story'.

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    1. Thanks a lot, Farawayeyes! I had to widdle it down in order to submit it to the contest. Glad you liked it!

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  17. Powerful ending Chiz. Well done, I enjoyed it.


    Michael A. Walker
    Defying Procrastination

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    1. Thanks a lot, Michael! That means a lot coming from a ridiculously great writer such as yourself.

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  18. Dude! This story was tragically awesome! Made me want to cry, really!

    I would've wanted to go the same way, with my kids at my side, feeling safe, in some make believe world that the bunker will protect them.

    I give this 2 thumbs up, a backflip, and a tweet!

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    1. Wow, thanks for the awesome comment and tweet! I'll make my way over to your blog shortly and read yours for sure. Thanks again for the kind words, sir!

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  19. Wow, this was so amazing! It had so much depth and emotion. Really fabulous, well done!

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    1. Thanks a lot, Kianwi! I appreciate the kind words.

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  20. 500 words is not enough I wanted more.

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    1. Thanks a lot, JP! Glad you enjoyed it.

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  21. This is what short stories are meant to be. So powerful so shot.

    This was amazing.

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    1. Thanks a lot, Rusty! I really enjoyed your flash fiction as well. It was such an accurate account of how those arguments usually go.

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  22. Truly awesome story. So glad you were joint winner..x

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    1. Thanks a lot, Rosalind, and thanks for being part of the judges' panel and devoting your time to reading the stories. I truly appreciate it, and I'm sure everyone at Dude Write does as well.

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  23. Congrats Chiz for the win at Dudewrite. Love your blog and was awesome to read a serious, fictional piece from you. For someone who is not a father you sure seem to understand the extent to which a parent goes to love and.protect. Great story!

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    1. Thanks for the kind words, Pammustard! I know nothing about being a father, but I'm glad people still found meaning in it. I usually write serious stuff. This blog is basically a vent for me I suppose. Try a different genre for once.

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