Friday, December 17, 2010

Suggestionator 2010: The Last Comic Book On the Shelf

You can find the details on Suggestionator 2010 here! Sorry for the delays in story production. I fell asleep early Wednesday night and went to see Tron: Legacy last night. So I'll be trying to do three posts today. We'll see if that happens. Today's suggestion comes from Jazmin, who told me to write about "the last comic book on the shelf."

It had been a long time since anyone had dared to hope. Hope was just one of the many things the bombs took away. They took everything and everyone. They took without prejudice or bias. They disregarded skin color, religion, and moral character. They most certainly didn't care how much anyone prayed or begged, or how thick of a wall they were hiding behind. They kept launching... and falling... and taking. And they loved everyone equally.

But eventually, the world ran out of bombs and rockets. And everything was silent. The shattered remains of the once great species stayed hidden away in the tunnels and caverns, like vermin they may once have shunned. They rebuilt down there, they survived. They dared not to emerge, for fear of what they might find. For fear of some new Hell that waited to be unleashed upon them. They feared fire, and radiation, and poison gas and nothingness. Nothingness most of all.

The boy was too young to remember the world before. He would ask his father of stories of the old world. His father tried to think of the stories. But all he'd think was of war, of disaster, of pain, of anger, of hopelessness. All before the bombs ever came.

So, he told the boys stories of the shining cities that stood tall, where men could fly and you never feared. He told him of the shadowed alleyways where evil men were never safe, for that's where the bats dwell. He told him of the skyscrapers from which men swung by webs, and of the heroes from wars long past who sat, frozen in ice, waiting to fight for us once more. He told the boy that somewhere in the tunnels, there were rats and turtles as big as men training to fight back. He warned his son that the CD player that he had saved, might not be a CD player at all.

His son asked him where the heroes had gone. He asked why they didn't stop the bombs. He asked why they had abandoned everyone.

"I don't think they ever abandoned us," his father said. "I think we abandoned our heroes."

It was twenty years later, and the boy was a man. His father had passed away some years ago. By now, the remnants of the human race had begun emerging from their holes, in search of something better. What they found, though, was what they feared. Nothingness.

There was ash, and charred segments of brick and concrete walls. There were skeletons on the streets and roaches and beetles.

The man wandered a street where he imagined men had flown above sometime before. He walked in and out of long abandoned and destroyed stores examining what little survived, hoping to find something of usefulness.

He came to a small shop. It was missing two-and-a-half walls, and nearly everything inside had burned. He could tell that at one point, there had been countless posters pinned to the walls, from the black rectangles of ash stuck on the walls. There were the remains of toys, in melted plastic packaging, scattered across the floor. Decaying wooden shelves that had once held books and magazines held piles of ash.

There was one shelf, however, that was hidden away in the back. It held something colorful. The man walked over to the color, drawn like a moth to a flame. He picked up the small magazine. It was miraculously untouched, save for a couple of charred corners. The man examined it, not knowing what it was. He had never learned to read, because he had never had anything that needed reading. He simply looked at the picture on the cover.

There, on this thing he held in his hands, the last thing of its kind, was a man, attired in bright colors. His cape was blowing regally behind him. He was high above a shining city, like the ones the man's father had told him about.

And he was flying.