At larst! I can’t believe I’ve done it. A flash fiction story every day for 31 days. I never expected to finish the challenge, I just expected to have fun with it and to do more writing than if I hadn’t made the attempt. But I did the deed, and I met some wonderful writers and made some new internet friends along the way.
As Rex Stout’s armchair detective, Nero Wolfe, would say, “Satisfactory.”
My husband says today’s story should be, “Vini, vidi, vici,” which is what Caesar said when he successfully invaded Britain. It’s Latin (naturally) for “I came, I saw, I conquered.” 😀
But here is what I actually wrote this morning:
The One and Only
by Marian Allen
I never thought I’d ever get to actually see Rani Barlow in person. Never thought I’d get to talk to her on Skype or text with her or email her, or she’d read my blog every day. Never thought we’d be best friends. But it happened.
Of course, you know how they say, “I wouldn’t talk to you if you were the last man on earth”? Pretty much it.
The scientists kept telling us to stay calm and wash our hands frequently and avoid crowds and don’t travel, but whatever it was that everybody was calling The Plague just kept spreading.
Every day, we expected them to come up with a vaccine or a cure or something, but they never did. This time, they never did.
At first, I hardly noticed the difference. I spend most of my time in my room, anyway, telecommuting to my job, playing online games, video chatting – you know, an active professional and personal life.
I didn’t know the company folded until the direct deposits stopped. The banks closed not long after that. Players dropped out of the multi-player games until it was just me against the program, and then the program stopped running. People stopped answering when I paged them. It was weird, going to my social networks and seeing the activity streams just sit there, with no updates ticking by.
I switched from looking at people I knew to global view, and was kind of relieved to see that other people were still around.
Not, you know, around around, but alive. The ones who could speak English and I were happy to connect, but every day we lost more of our new network than we added.
Then there was just me.
Maybe they weren’t dead. Maybe their part of the power grid just went down and they didn’t know what to do about it. That happened to me, after a while.
So I took whatever electronics and batteries I could fit in my backpack and picked a car and started driving, looking for signs of life.
Food wasn’t a problem. When I got hungry or thirsty, I raided a grocery store. I broke into diners and made coffee every morning. I kind of had to go practically vegetarian, because meat and dairy don’t last long without refrigeration, although I did have canned meat, and of course that orange cheesy stuff that comes in the big blocks – that lasts forever.
I checked the net every day, and I updated my blog every day. My visitor count was, like, zero, but I kept on, hoping somebody would find me.
And she did. She left the first comment my blog had had for months. I was like, OMG! Rani Barlow? Are you punkin’ me? Really? Really? Because I am such a fanboy!
She was really nice! She gave me her contact info, and I called and we Skyped. I was actually, really, literally talking face-to-face with Rani frickin’ Barlow!
When she gave me her address and asked me to come out there, I couldn’t believe it. She said she’d rather come meet me halfway so we could see each other sooner (!!), but she was taking care of her mom and some other people (I told you she was nice!) and she couldn’t leave them.
So I headed out there, gassing up the car when I found a pump that worked, switching to another car that still had gas when I didn’t have any luck with gassing up what I was driving.
Every day, I updated my blog about my adventures, just for Rani. Every day, we talked when she wasn’t taking care of her sick people. Every day, she looked sadder and more stressed out, and cried when we talked because her mom or somebody else had died.
I was within a day’s drive when she stopped answering my calls. Instead of breaking into a motel room for the night, I decided to push on and see my movie star friend as soon as possible.
She told me the last time we talked to just walk into the house, that the door was unlocked, so I did. The smell really took me back in time. It had been so long since I’d smelled fresh death, I got kind of nostalgic, if that makes any sense. It was almost like having people around, you know?
I went looking for the room Rani had Skyped me from, and I found it. And I found her.
I hadn’t missed her by much. She was stretched out on a couch, and she almost looked like she was asleep, except that her beautiful violet eyes were open. And, honestly, they weren’t very beautiful anymore.
So I was alone again. But at least I got to see Rani Barlow in person, sort of.
Scratch that off my Bucket List.
~ * ~
Tomorrow is the first of the new month, so I’ll have a new Hot Flash (micro-mini flash story) on my Hot Flashes page, and Katya has promised to make her first post. The next day is Sample Sunday, and I’ll have a slew of exciting (to me) announcements.
MY WRITING PROMPT FOR TODAY: 1 and write about the time the Internet introduced you to someone.