PROMPT Picture challenge #4 Ruins

Discussion in 'INSPIRING MUSES' started by redblood, Dec 27, 2014.

  1. INFO: They say that a picture can tell a thousand words. How many can you find?

    Each week a new image will be posted, and your challenge will be to write whatever the image inspires you to write. It can be anything as long as it relates to the picture. A plot, a scene, a short story, a poem, a character, etc. You can write as much or as little as you wish. It's not the length that matters, it's what you put into it. There is no time limit to these challenges, so feel free to jump in at any time.

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  2. "Do you think they ever get lonely up there?" 18-year-old Jeffrey Thompson was sitting on the roof of a battered toy store, his head tilted back so he could scavenge the sky for spacecrafts and blinking lights. Back when Jeff was eleven, he promised that he would become a spacecraft pilot just like his dad. He had always dreamed of traversing the galaxy, of finding a place for humanity and becoming a hero—more than anything in the world, Jeffrey Thompson wanted to leave these godforsaken ruins.

    "I guess so." Eric got to his feet and stared at crumbling buildings and flickering streetlights.

    "Why's that, Eric?"

    "Well, those space men can go to mars or all the way to the Sector seven, but it won't matter." Eric frowned, "it sure as hell won't be home."

    Eric and Jeffrey were cousins but their ideals and dreams were anything but similar. More than anything in the world, Eric Thompson wanted to save these godforsaken ruins, he didn't want to leave for some planet or for some giant spacecraft, he wanted to stay. Oh God, he wanted to stay.

    There was a twinkle in the smog-filled sky followed by the howl of an engine, Jeff stared at it dreamily. "The world's gone to hell, ain't nothing left to miss." He was pointing at the sky now, his face weary and much older. "I signed up for the Omega project."

    "Screw you," Eric spat.

    "I'm leaving next month," was all Jeff could think to say.

    Eric balled his hands into fists and focused on the shadows that stretched across the city streets. Maybe there wasn't much that could be done anymore, maybe it was over, but was his home. The only planet in the milky way that had grass, people, life. "You can plow through the galaxies all you want, Jeff." He was walking towards the fire escape now, "you won't find another earth up there." He was disappearing down the steps, "you can find another place to stay, but you won't find another home up there."
    #2 Fox of Spades, Dec 29, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2014
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  3. Ozark had been in shambles for decades. Very few went in, and even less came out. Joshua drew in a deep breath as the long winding road led his feet into the outskirts of the once thriving city. His heart sped up with the anticipation of what he would find within the confines of the rubble. This was his journey. The direct path to his past, his heritage, and the answers to all of his questions.

    Pollution hung thick in the air. Antique and stagnant fumes filled his nostrils. Soft golden flecks of dust floated and flitted in and out of sight-- as the beams of moonlight struck them-- like fairies of myth; brushing against Joshua's cheeks and warning him of the danger lurking just up ahead. His mind set to the task at hand, Josh brushed them off his face and powered through, the sinking feeling in his stomach growing with every step.

    Joshua tripped over his feet in his hesitation. The debris from the dilapidated buildings had been spilling out onto the roadway, making the path perilous and Joshua pushed forward. The moon offered little in the way of illumination, and it took way too long for him to actually get into the main part of the city. Broken glass and crushed concrete filled the roadways. The soft crunch of his boots was the only sound that managed to meet his ears.

    The silence was unnatural and rather disquieting. The whole scene sent shiver down his spine, but still he moved forward.

    Joshua stepped into a moonbeam and paused, pulling and crumbling map out of his pocket and unfolding it. He maneuvered his body holding the yellowing parchment up into the limited light and attempted to get his bearings. So much had changed since the time when the map had been printed, that it took several minutes before he managed to pinpoint his location. Luck was seemingly on his side. Nothing emerged from the darkness to drag him away never to be seen again, and as it happened he was only a scant few streets from his destination.

    With a renewed determination, Joshua folded the map and moved through the streets. He was getting close. Fires flickered inside the buildings and he could hear the voices of the damned. Swallowing the lump that had formed in his throat, Joshua clung to the shadows and hunted.

    There it was. Small, and grey and in the black of the night. A small fire gleaming from the open windows. With the force of a category five hurricane the memories came rushing back. He was home. His family just inside, probably hovering around the fire for warmth. Tears sprang to his eyes as he threw caution to the wind and sprinted towards the home he had forgotten.
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  4. (I couldn't help but think about running from the law when I saw this.)

    Was that a helicopter?!

    Simply thinking that pretty much made me piss myself (figuratively). I've been running for about fifteen minutes and I like to think I'm a good runner, but god damn am I tired. And these ruins smell like sewage. Why didn't I run somewhere nicer? Oh yeah, cause there are pissed off cops looking for little ol' me. Thing about cops is that they're cautious, but they don't give up easily. Makes me wish there were more doughnut shops in town to fatten them up so this wouldn't be so hard. You're probably wondering what "this" is. Well it all started when I was in middle school. But I'm not gonna say the whole story from the start. That would take too long.

    There's that chopper again.

    Okay, getting dangerously close to giving the phrase "pissed myself" a more literal meaning. Of course, I'm lucky this part of town's been demolished, it gives me plenty of places to hide. On the other hand, I don't need to hide, I need to run. Oh right, the story. I'm giving you the short version because I don't want a police flashlight stuck up my ass.

    Basically I started stealing shit in middle school and then I realized I was good at it. Now I'm in my late 20's and stealing things has become sort of a hobby. Well, it's more like a side job since I get paid for it. It started with boosting car stereos and has now culminated with me running through some dusty, ruined buildings with a briefcase containing something I can't tell you about. Ugh, I just did that thing where you breathe through your mouth and got a mouthful of dust. Fuck. These. Ruins.

    Anyway, the heist itself was going pretty well. Nobody had seen us, and nobody had to get hurt. I like not getting my hands dirty. We got the f-, I mean, Thing and decided it was a good time for us to run our pretty butts outta there. Then the janitor showed up. Out of everything that could go wrong, it just had to be the fucking janitor. We sort of just looked at each other when he dropped his mop and started yelling for help. To make matters worse, one of the guys I happened to be working with thought it'd be a good idea to just fucking shoot the poor guy.

    You know, looking back, I never liked him. The other guy, not the janitor. He seemed like one of those assholes that's just looking for an excuse to shoot someone, you know? His gun wasn't even silenced, he just let it rip and every cop from New York to Detroit started to make his way over there with the sole purpose of putting my handsome mug in prison. As for that janitor, even though he blew our cover, I hope he made it out okay. Wasn't his fault he was at the wrong place at the wrong time. Sorry about that, man. I hope you're alright.

    I hear barking. I hate dogs.

    Another thing about being a cat burglar like me, is you tend to tell yourself, "I'm retiring after this job." I'll admit I was telling myself that earlier, but I probably don't mean. Also, I've already agreed to one other job, so there's that. But it's when you're running over wooden boards older than your grandpa with big bad K-9 units trying to get a taste of your delicious backside that you start reminding yourself not to quit your day job. I know I always do this, but I can't help it. I do data entry during the day and this at night. Well, not every night, but you get the idea. Data entry jobs are boring but at least there isn't the threat of losing parts of your ass down a dog's throat. And if you're wondering why I mentioned my butt so much, it's cause that's the part of you that's pointed at whoever's chasing you most of the time, and I get chased a lot. So I'm a little sensitive about my butt.

    I hear a lot of barking. That is a LOT of dogs.

    Okay, I may have just let a little pee out this time. Don't know if you've ever been bitten by an angry German Shepard, but it fucking hurts. I have no intention of adding any scars to my collection of "oopsies" and "uh-oh's". That, and getting mauled by a dog is bad for my overall health. Goddamn man, I hate dogs! And I hate helicopters. And fuck. These. RUINS!
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  5. Shells of buildings,
    Skeletons of lives,
    Fractured memories,
    Husks of civilization.

    Nature always takes it back,
    What was rightfully hers,
    She is not a kind mistress,
    And you are shackled to her will.

    As the sun sets,
    Remember what once was,
    And what I will say,
    As you build your new city.

    Do not tempt fate.
    Do not rush life.
    Don't look too far ahead,
    And, most of all...

    Stay Alive.
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  6. What was once the thriving city of Baltimore was now known only as Vector 7. Since the bombs had decimated most of the east coast, and well most of the world by the time the stupidity had ended, people had been forced to scatter and forage for themselves.

    Those who had been far from the highly populated areas fared much better, and anyone with any knowledge of farming or hunting even moreso. Still, those who managed to survive in the rubble of the more urban areas were no longer able to get provision from the local grocer, or retailer. Their lives of ease and consumption were halted and they were now faced with their immense lack of knowledge of what it would require for them to obtain even the most basic of needs.

    Crime was quickly becoming a way of life. As supplies are looted, and gasoline tanks emptied, people are becoming more and more desperate. You were here when it happened, and have banded together with a small group of others and are trying to help people.

    You are the single beacon of hope to many. Whispered of and admired, hated by the criminal bands, but forging ahead one day at a time toward a better future. Are you one of these? do you possess the fortitude and skills to rebuild from nothing?
  7. Cai looked around the ruins with awe, the ship they had landed in seeming an insurmountably small vehicle in comparison to the hulking bones of the skyscrapers that dwarfed his view. Great struts of metal forced their way from concrete masses. The streets were little more than busted gravel, broken either by the tracks of tanks or the harsh landings of different landing craft. The wind whistled through the open windows, their open maws filled with broken glass teeth. Evening was setting in already, casting everything in shades of blue, gray, and black, while the moon Orcus hung overhead like a wargod peering down on a conquest.

    "We'll be safe for tonight, here. There's enough magnetized steel in this place that finding the thing in your head's gonna be difficult for any ITC contractor," Casimir said as he walked towards Cai, the redheaded pilot rubbing his stubbly face while sitting on the landing gear of their touchdown craft. Spying Cai's look of wonder, Casimir got up to wander over to him.

    "The ITC did this?" Cai asked with an awe born of terror. "Destroyed a city? A whole city?"

    Casimir was quiet for a moment as he surveyed the remains of what he remembered as a thriving metropolis when he was a child. He remembered his sister had been quite bit older than him, and the bombardment had made much more of an impact, in several ways. He rubbed the back of his neck, his fingers nervously tracing the neural port that led into his spine.

    "It was complicated. All of Lannafir's government had a contract with Bronstid - the manufacturing arm of the ITC. Well, someone got a hold of a Bronstid factory through some legal workarounds, started to compete pretty heavily..."

    "So the ITC bombed the place?"

    "It didn't start that way. First there were riots. Then it was a 'global emergency'. And then, somehow, Lannafir's government couldn't 'handle' the problem, so Bronstid took care of it themselves. If Lannafir lost Bronstid as a client, the whole planet would've gone belly-up," Casimir recalled, and the black-haired teenager beside him scoffed with disgust.

    "So... so money," Cai spat.

    "It's... it's compli--"

    "No! That's what people say when the answers are hard! They killed a city because they wanted money!" Cai roared, throwing his hands up at the ruins around him. "And that's why they're after whatever they shoved in my brainstem! Money."

    Cai was pacing by this point, and Casimir wondered if that thing - an implant, his mother had said - was affecting his mood as much as his headaches. Casimir clenched his jaw as he rubbed face in exhaustion.

    "My dad wouldn't have had a job, I wouldn't have gotten fed, and you wouldn't be here right now. Could things have turned out differently? Maybe. But at the time, we were worried about putting food in our mouths and making sure we had a bed to crash on," Casimir reasoned, but even that felt hollow. After all, that's why you started running dark, didn't you? Because none of this made sense? "Come on. Let's get some dinner."

    With that, Casimir led the kid back to the ship, looking over his shoulder at the corpse they were hiding within.