Back on track:
Last week I found myself with writer’s block. It never occurred to me that writer’s block has two extended definitions. According to Merriam-Webster, writer’s block is “the problem of not being able to think of something to write about” or “not being able to finish writing a story, poem, etc.”
Although I had a pretty good idea of what the coming chapter would be, I spent an entire day pondering on how to deliver it. To entice readers and to follow the story plot should not be two conflicting interest because an arrogant way of writing will never be successful. I sat and ponder about how not to bore the readers.
It was here that I pick up a trait used by films, time compression. Like many stories and novels, we skip explaining details about using the bathroom or other necessary functions unless it plays a role in the story arc. TVTropes has a pretty wide range of examples about time compression. The basic concept is to compress the length of a progressing event by only showing the important details.
This technique might not be rare, but when writing a story, we tend to get to caught up with the linear progression of time that we overlook the importance of capturing the audience. With that said, I decided to compress the time in the novel that I deem to be wasteful reading.
Chapter 6: Illusion
The first week went better than I expected.
We arrived at my place just in time to meet Eric. He busted the complex door open as Sarah and I arrived.
I had never seen Eric panic before. My fifth floor neighbor who would always carpool me for grocery had a pale face and hair that looked like they’d met lightning. Without even acknowledging me, he ran across the street to his car, nearly meeting the front of a Ford Raptor.
We immediately got into my apartment room and lock the door.
“Should we go?”
She was right. Where could possibly be safe. Is this a local event? The news said that Kansas and Arizona had met the same crisis.
“I don’t have much food left, maybe just for half a week.”
I was not proud of the state of my apartment. Sheets of paper were scattered all over, undone dishes and an overflowing bin. Thankfully I had just done my laundry, at least I had that going.
“I don’t think we should be leaving your place.”
She was right. Who knew how much this zombie thing could have spread, maybe the entire campus will be overuned by now or it might just be room 2215. Either way, neither one of us would want to leave here now.
“Eric! Maybe he left some food behind!”
It suddenly hit me, why would Eric lock his door if he was going to run from this apocalypse.
Never have I been more surprised. We went down a flight of stairs and found that his apartment door had been shut tight. I knew Eric always had cooking ingredients to borrow. Once his car broke down and the both of us spent an entire week on just the top compartment of his fridge.
“What are you doing?”
“He’s not going to mind, he’s probably hours away by now.”
I ran into the door with my shoulder until finally it gave way. My apartment complex was already in a state of decay before I moved in. 300 dollars a month was far too good of a deal for a student. Although our landlord had always been on time with repairs, the 90 year old building has definitely seen better days, or even years. Fortunately, Eric had been a generous shopper. I knew that Eric was a large eater, but I never known about his hoarding skills. We went on and unloaded his groceries into my place.
“What the fuck are you doing!”
I dropped the sack of rice and ran down to see Sarah fighting off someone who seemed like a resident of the building. The 5 storey building houses many strangers who are either anti-social or creepy lurkers. This five foot tall elderly woman seem to be trying her best to snatch a basket of fruit from Sarah.
“It’s fine, we can share.”
The woman wouldn’t let go until we finally agree to give her the entire basket. Thankfully she left without inquiring about the leftover contents of Eric’s room. We hustled the rest up the stairs and locked my apartment door shut. I barricaded the door and shut all the windows and blinds.
We lived in here for a week. Food seemed to be plenty. We decided to go through with the ones that would go bad first. Sarah was an amazing cook, she could even make orange and beef work. God, she was a hell of a woman. I never knew that zombies could help me find my true love. She was my only comfort for seven days. Each night we wondered how many people were still left in the building. Sometimes, something would knock on the door. We ignored it and proceeded to further stack up useless furniture against the entrance.
“What happens when we run out of food?”
“We’ll just have to eat each other.”
Sarah looked at me and laughed. The days before had brought us together in ways words cannot describe. It was poetic as it was paradise. We would spend the mindless hours in each others arms. At first it was because of the winter cold, but we both knew it was more that that. The heater went with the power during the second night, along with the phone lines. Thankfully the gas stove kept us in a jolly spirit.
Sarah said as I release her from a kiss.
“Maybe we can try Walgreens? It’s just around the corner. They’ll have rows of snacks if you can forgo healthy living.”
“Should we even leave this place?”
“We’ll do it if we must.”
With my arms around her, Sarah snuggled into the blanket and began a sleep. I peeked across her shoulder to the apartment window. The blinds had been shut for so long, I almost forgot about Dorothy. Dorothy had been my friend from day 1 since I rented the place. I was in the process of pulling up the blinds and opening the windows around my room till the third window ledge surprised me with a spider. Between the insect net on the outside and the window glass on the inside, Dorothy had made itself a home. I shut the window instantly wondering how it could even live and feed in that isolated chamber but I soon decided that it was not something I would bother with my 4 years of college life. The thought of my pet spider brought me a smile and sent me into my dreams.