The Fall of Us

©Molly Looby CampNaNoWriMo '14 !

Enter the world of Tye. The Fall has devastated much of the world as we know it but Tye knows nothing else. He and his best friend Eeli are ready to leave their home as soon as they reach thirteen years so that they can be off on their own and be who they want to be and do what they want to do. At last.

Tye and Eeli could never have imagined how dangerous the real world was going to be.

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18. 18

Eeli’s almost bouncin up an down an it’s puttin me off my cereal.

“Will you quit it?”

“I just wanna git going.”

“You’ll make me throw up, sit still will you?”

“We gotta git goin, Tye. Eat faster. We don’t want to miss Wren Song. What would we do then?”

“We’re not gonna miss her by a coupla moments.”

“If we do I’ll blame you.”

“That’s okay. I’ll blame me too.”

Jax comes thru the door an drops two bulgin rucksacks on the table. “You’ve got food an water an everyfin I could fink you’d need in these two packs.”

“We can’t take all that, Jax.” I put my spoon down.

“Yer goin to anyway. I don’t need this stuff.”

Eeli starts goin thru em, noddin. “I wish there was some way we could repay you.”

“It’s fine. Really. But if yer ever comin thru Croftford again, come an find me. I’ll wanna know what’s happenin wiff you both.”

“Of course.” Eeli throws her arms around Jax’s neck. “Thank you, fer everyfin.”

Jax looks a bit shocked but puts his arms around her. She looks tiny in his arms. “Yer welcome, it was my pleasure to meet you both.” Eeli looks like she don’t want to let go but Jax prises her off.

“Tye.” Jax offers me his hand. I take it. “You look after her, won’t cha?”

“I ain’t good at nuffink else.” I chuckle. “Thank you.” We let our hands drop.

“Was nuffin.”

Jax an I study each other fer a moment before I wrap my arms round him. He larfs but hugs me back anyway.

“Look after yerself,” I say as we part.”

“Right back at you.”

We shoulda the rucksacks an head to the door, wavin at Jax till we can no longer see him. The day is warm an the sky is blue an I feel like I’m on top of the world. Eeli starts singin an I join in wiff her as we larf our way up the track on the way to Hallow Rise.

There are more abandoned buildins here than on the track we was takin before. Jax said as we git closer an closer to Camrose we should see more an more buildins an people. We find a town similar to how Croftford musta looked before anyone desided to settle there. There’s a street runnin down the middle wiff an old road fer cars to drive on. There’s even a few parked down here. There’s shops an fings wiff letters fer signs wiff broken windows. Litter rolls down the street on the breeze.

Eeli stops, lookin around. “Lunch?”

I shrug. “Why not?”

We sit ourselves on the front of the car lowest to the ground, wipin the dirt off it first. It looks like it used to be brite red but now it looks beaten an broken an faded.

“I don’t git cars.” Eeli says wiff a mowfulla samwich. “Why not walk everywhere?”

“I guess they had to go far in one day.”

“What’s the rush?”

“I have no idea. Stoopid, ain’t it?”

She nods, lookin around. Back strate an alert.

“What?” I ask.

“I fort I heard somefink.”

I listen too an there’s this sorta scurryin sound.

“It’ll be rats,” I tell her. “Or some kinda creature.”

We eat, gazing round this lost street till we’re bored an ready to move again.

“Wayte.” Eeli says as we jump offa the car. “I heard it again.”

“It’s nuffink.”

“No, it sounded like a bigger animal than a rat.”

“Well then let’s git the hell outta here.”

A loud bark echoed in the broken shop behind us an we both spun to stare. But nuffink came out.

“If we move quick, it won’t know where to look fer us.” I whisper.

There was a whine an another bark an Eeli an I look at each other.

“I fink it must be hurt or somefink.” Eeli steps towards the shops.

“Are you crazy!” I grab her arm “What if it attacks you?”

She shakes me off. “It won’t.” She creeps towards the shops makin a soothin kinda kissin sound. The dog hears an barks again.

I look behind me an take a deep breath but follow her, takin her hand.

We step into half darkness, glass crunchin under our boots. There’s nuffink but broken boxes an empty packets in here. Everyfin is white essept a few colourful hairbands at the door which don’t seem to belong at all. We climb over the mess an come to a closed door at the back.

Eeli nocks on it an the dog barks again. I jump, almost cryin out the sound is so loud.

“He’s behind there.”

“No kiddin.” The rushin of my heart’s made me breathless. “I still don’t fink we should open it.”

“He’s not growlin or nuffink.”

There’s the whinin noise again.

“See, he’s scared.”

“But what if he’s scared of us an goes to attack us.”

“I don’t reckon he will.”

“Please, Eeli, let’s not risk it. Let’s just go.”

“He’ll die in there on his own.” She shakes her head. “I could never forgive myself if we walk away now.”

“Fine.” I huff, droppin her hand. “But I’ll be up here.” I climb up onto the counter.

Eeli puts her hand to the door handle. “Ready?”

“No.”

She turns the handle an a blur of white an grey shoots out, yippin an yappin. Eeli screams an I yell out too. I don’t even realise I’m callin her name until I hear her larfin.

“He’s friendly, Tye.”

I can hardly see from the poundin in my heart an ears an the sound of my breath loud in my head. “What?”

“He was trapped. Told ya.”

I neel down on the counter an take a look. His tail is waggin somefin spectacular an he’s lickin at Eeli’s arms an hands as she strokes him.

“He’s lovely. Come say hello.”

“I dunno.”

At the sound of my voice, the dog turns an bounces towards me. I recoil an scoot back on the counter but he just sits down an looks at me, cockin his head. I creep closer an he opens his mowf, pantin, tongue all lollin outta his mowf. I stretch out my hand to touch his head an he licks it, standin up again, tail swishin round. It takes him a moment to calm down an sit still again. When he’s quiet, I put my hand to his head an stroke the fur there all gentle. It’s softer than almost anyfink I ever felt.

Eeli crouches down an makes that kissin noise again an the dog goes into her arms. He lets her put her arms around him in a proper human hug. I climb down from the counter an the dog comes to me again. He’s about as high as my nee.

“Do you reckon he belongs to someone?” I ask.

The dog’s ear’s stick up as I speak an watch him.

“Dunno.” Eeli shrugs. “There ain’t no one round here. An no one was missin a dog in Croftford.”

We make our way outta the shop an the dog follows us. The wind blows more rubbish around an the door in the back of the shop slams.

“There you go.” Eeli looks back at the shop. “That explains what happened. Poor thing.” She scratches behind his ears an the dog’s got this look of heaven on his face.

I look at him in the daylite. The fur on his back is a mix of black an grey but he’s got some tan brown on his legs an around what I guess I can still call cheeks. His ears are black an he has black round his rite eye which is brown an grey round his left eye which is blue. He’s a funny lookin fing wiff those eyes. His fur is shiny an clean.

I cross my arms. “He must belong to someone. He’s as clean as we are.”

Eeli shrugs. “It’s not like he can tell us. Anyway, we don’t have time to take him home.”

“We’re not keepin him.”

Her face drops. “Fine. But if he follows us that’s his choice an we can’t go shooin him away.”

“Why not? We don’t need this fuss.”

“Come on, he’ll be no trouble.”

I roll my eyes. “That’s what you said about yerself.”

We carry on walkin, passin thru the streets much the same as all the others. You can see evidence of panic during The Fall, doors open, windows smashed, belongings that mean nuffink on the street. You can also see evidence post-Fall. Shops that are empty of supplies an have had shelfs an cupboards ripped out.

Eeli an I make up survival stories fer the people who used to live here as we walk, tryin to make each one more dramatic than the last. We carry on till dusk, desidin it’s time to find a house to camp in.

An all the while the dog follows on beside us.

“Go home,” I tell him, wavin him away wiff my hand. “We ain’t got nuffink fer you.”

Eeli points at a smaller house wiff all its windows intact. “That one. I got a good feelin.”

Someone’s obviously bin here before us cause the livin room window is open wide. I make a cup wiff my hand fer Eeli to step on an I hoist her into the window. There’s a clatterin as she nocks stuff over an a thump as she lands on the floor.

“Alrite?” I call. The dog’s pacin at the bottom of the house, lookin up at the window. “Eeli? You alrite?” I watch as the dog’s ears prick an he bounces to the front door, sittin at it like he’s nocked or somefink. “Eeli, answer me!”

The door opens an the dog’s tail wags as he goes in.

“How did you?”

Eeli sticks her head round the door. “I wasn’t gonna leave Waggy here outside all nite was I?”

“You could’a answered me. I fort you was hurt.”

“Nah. I just nocked some pretty fings on the floor. Come see.” She tugs me inside an steers me into the livin room.

This livin room ain’t nuffink like the ones we live in now. There are three sofas, an armchair, an a coffee table that don’t look like they’ve bin touched since The Fall. They ain’t ripped or stained or breakin. In fact, they don’t look like they’ve ever bin sat on. This house musta only bin raided fer its food cause nuffink else looks like it’s missin. It’s like walkin into the past an I shiver at the silence of it all. The only disrupted part of the room is where Eeli’s nocked fings made of china an glass off the windowsill.

“Look at this one.” She goes to the corner where the pretty fings were saved an picks up a man an a woman made of wood stuck together holdin hands. They’re taller an slenderer than people are in real life an they don’t have any features, they’re just smooth shapes but somehow you know they’re supposed to be a couple. They’re the only ones that’re the colour of my skin an I wunder why that is.

“Weird.” I take it from her. “Weird that stuff like this even got made.”

“I know.” She stands up another one that’s fallen over but not broken. This one does have detail an the people are in proportion. It’s a girl an a boy sittin on a bench. The boy’s givin the girl a kiss on the cheek. They’re both the pale colour of Eeli’s skin, tho Eeli’s sunburn’s leavin her patchy red. Eeli strokes the top of the little blonde head. “I wish Nat’d had stuff like this.”

“We would’a broken it.”

“Maybe.”

“Fer sure.”

“We ain’t never had nice fings, Tye. I wouldn’t know what to do wiff somefin like this.”

“Why don’t you take one then?”

Her eyes grow wide as she looks at me. “That’s stealin.”

“Think of it this way. If the people who lived here durin The Fall survived they’ll be dead of old age by now. If this were my house, I’d like the idea of someone in the future takin somefink of mine cause it means somefink. It’d make me feel a little bit more alive.”

“I dunno.” She picks up a tiny bell an jingles it.

The dog comes runnin from wherever he’s bin an sits at Eeli’s feet.

“He’s gotta be someone’s pet. Someone’s trained him to do that.” I say.

“I fink yer rite.” Eeli sighs. “But he mite not have an owner no more. Somefink mite’a happened. He wouldn’t have just run away.”

“I dunno what dogs do.”

“We should let him follow us. He’d be good fer sniffin out stuff an protectin us from danger.”

“Or not. He don’t seem vishous.” I sit myself on one of the sofas an it’s much harder than I was expectin. Maybe you have to wear these fings in. I dunno. I ain’t never sat on somefink that ain’t bin used a hundred times.

Eeli walks into a different room an the dog follows her. I hear the sound of pots an pans so it must be the kitchen. A coupla moments later I hear stairs creekin. I huff an pull myself up, followin them up. By the time I find which room they’re in, Eeli’s pullin the bed sheets off.

“What’re you doin?”

“This is the biggest bedroom. I’m gonna keep this sheet fer a blanket an stuff.”

I grab a corner an help her fold it up. The dog lies down on the rug an watches us. Once we’re done Eeli raids the room, throwin bags all over the place till she finds one that’ll go over her shoulda an shoves the sheet into it. We go into the next room, the dog soon at our heels again.

I lean on the doorframe watchin as Eeli opens all the drawers. The dog sits next to me an I ruffle the fur on the top of his head.

“So what should we call him?”

“Huh?” She looks up.

“We gotta give him a name. The dog.”

“Really?” She stands up an smiles big a wide. “We’re keepin him?”

I larf. “I can’t have you keep goin on about it. An like you said. He can go home if he wants. He’s not my problem either way. If he follows us, which seems likely, he follows us.”

“Course he’s gonna follow us.” Eeli slaps her thighs an the dog hurries over to her. “He loves us fer savin him. He knows we’re good people. Dogs are clever like that.”

“How come you fink you know so much about dogs?”

She shrugs. “Who says I dunno stuff? You dunno everyfin, Tye.”

“I do when it comes to you.”

“So what name shall we give Waggy over here?” She jumps up onto the bed an pats beside her. The dog is there at once, curlin up. I shake my head an sit on her other side.

“Somefink cool.”

“And Waggy’s not cool enuff fer ya?”

“Not nearly enuff.” I scratch my head an my hair’s a lot cleaner than I remember thanks to washin it at Jax’s.

Eeli giggles. “Let’s name him after someone. Let’s name him Nat.”

“What?” I poke her hard in the arm. “He’s a boy.”

“How do you know?” She turns to tickle the dog’s stomak an he rolls over, tongue lollin again. She larfs an turns to me, pullin a face. “Yer rite. He’s a boy.”

A larf builds deep in my stomak an I try an hold it down as it rises up my throat an explodes outta my mowf. “Eeli.” I giggle. “What is wrong wiff you?”

She’s holdin her stomak now. “How else was I supposed to know?” She lies back on the bed an I fall beside her.

“So we’re not callin him Nat. Or tellin Nat we even considered it.”

“Then what? Atticus, Leon, Mason, Harvey? Jax? They don’t suit him.”

I fink fer a moment, tryin to remember as many names as I can. “I got it.” I try an snap my fingers like Nat does but I ain’t never got the hang of it. “We can name him after the hero in Leon’s story.”

“Okay.” Eeli nods. “What is it?”

“You dunno?”

“Come on, Tye. Don’t you know only you an Renie ever properly listened.”

“Nah.” I shake my head. “Yer wrong. It’s brilliant. Why wouldn’t you listen?”

She shrugs. “Can’t sit still long enuff. It don’t matter now. So what’s the name?”

I feel my face screw up an find myself hopin that me an Leon cross paths a lot durin life cause I need him to know that I’m listenin even if I’m the only one. I fink sometimes that’s all people need sometimes. I’m finkin of Jax in a second but I don’t really know why.

“Nimmo,” I say.

“Nimmo,” she repeats, sittin up an fussin over him. “I like it. You like that, Nimmo?”

His tail is whirlin an he’s pantin an rollin an lookin happier than I ever seen any creature.

“Nimmo it is.”

 

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