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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I trudge on ahead, not lookin back, tryin not to make it obvious I skweeze my fists tight into balls every time I hear Eeli gigglin at somefink he’s said. She ain’t never giggled like that fer me.

I watch Nimmo as he stops up ahead to listen, ears prickin strate up on top of his head. He barks an runs over to me an back to that same spot where his ears pricked. I jog over an shush the other two, listenin hard.

Then I hear it.

Screamin.

“This way!” We shoot off between the houses an after a few alleyways we come to a street in the worse condition I ever seen.

All the houses look as tho they’re sinkin, the windows comin in, roof tiles slidin off, cracks runnin down the centre. An that’s the ones that’re still standin. There’s rubble an brick everywhere. Fallen houses outnumber the sturdy ones.

Eeli almost crashes into me an I catch an steady her.

“It ain’t safe.” I whisper.

The screamin’s stopped an we take a moment to catch our breaths.

Nimmo’s pacin back an forth, ear’s still higher on his head than I ever seen em.

“You can’t just run off like that, stoopid.” Eeli says the moment she can talk again. “You could’a got us killed.”

“There was screamin. I had to see if anyone was in trouble.”

“Well it’s stopped now.”

I shake my head. “We can’t just leave now.”

She grabs me by the shouldas an forces my eyes to meet hers. “Yes we can. This ain’t yer responsibility.”

“You wanna just leave em to die?”

“You don’t know they’re dyin. They could’a screamed fer a hundred reasons.”

“Not like that. Not loud like that.”

This time it’s more like a wail of sorrow that pierces strate thru my heart. It’s gotta be a woman. The shriek of it’s too high fer a man. It’s comin from the slumped house on the other side of the street.

I dunno how it’s standin. There ain’t glass in a single window an the bottom ones are all boarded up an by the looks of the colour of the wood an the way it’s bin warped by rain, it’s bin like that fer a while. On one side’a the house the wall has come off, revealin the wood an plaster unnerneath. The whole buildin is saggin down the middle an I don’t like the way it creeks now we’re quiet enuff to hear it.

I go towards it but Eeli yanks me back.

“No, Tye. I ain’t lettin you kill yerself.”

“We have to git em outta there.”

“No we don’t.”

“You wanted to save Nimmo, who’s a dog. You don’t wanna save a person? What’s wrong wiff you?”

My breath catches in my throat as the howl sounds again.

“Savin Nimmo wasn’t gonna git me killed.”

“It would’a if he was vishous. You had no idea he was gonna be like this.”

“It was a risk. This is just stoopid.”

“You ain’t the boss of me. You can’t tell me what to do!”

“Yes I can! I ain’t lettin you!”

I shake her off an push her to the ground. She makes a huffin sound as all the air is forced outta her. I don’t have time to feel bad, cause I’m off in the direkshon of the house.

“Tye!”

I ain’t never heard my name sound so loud an desperate but I shut it out. I gotta save her, whoever she is. I dunno why but I just gotta.

I git to the door an scurry inside, Eeli still callin my name.

There’s dust everywhere an almost no lite at all.

“Anyone in here?” I call out into the groanin house. “I’m here to help! I won’t hurt you! You gotta git outta here, it ain’t safe!”

Nuffink.

“Are you trapped? I can help.”

There’s a wimperin upstairs an I survey the staircase. One stair in the middle looks like it’s gotta hole strate thru it. The rest look cracked an I dunno if they can take my wayte.

There’s a yap behind me an my heart feels like it ripped itself clean outta my chest. I spin an Nimmo’s at my side, ears flat against his head now, whinin.

I ruffle his fur before takin the first step. It holds me wayte an I jump up an down on it to make sure it’s sturdy. Disturbed dust jumps up an clouds my boots.

There’s a long shout followed by sobbin. I couldn’t hear any words, just noise, but it definitely came from upstairs.

Nimmo shoots up there at once, not a fear in his body now he knows which way to go. He yaps as he finds her an she shrieks.

“He won’t hurt you!” I yell. “I promise he won’t!”

There’s no reply but there ain’t no screamin either so I take it as a good sign.

I tiptoe up the stairs, makin sure each one’s gonna hold me before I go to the next one. They dip at my wayte an one near the hole sounds like it’s crackin so I hop to the next one which makes an even louder snappin sound. I yell, jumpin from step to step, prayin wiff all my mite that they take my wayte. One gives way under my foot an I grab fer the landin but I ain’t quick enuff an I’m goin down, screamin an Nimmo’s barkin.

An I’m fallin an I can’t think.

Then there’s a yank on my arm an someone’s pullin me up, pantin wiff all their mite. Once my arm’s safe upstairs I try an heave myself up, usin muscles I dint even know I had in my shouldas. I’m tensin my stomak, tryin to pull my legs up an my whole body’s screamin. I feel sweat on my forehead an my arms begin to shake from exhaustion. I let out a howl of determination that seems to help. The woman’s shriekin again an wiff one hard tug, my torso’s on the ground an I can scrabble forward to safety.

I lean up against the wall pantin like I ain’t never gonna have an easy breath again. I shut my eyes an feel the blood behind my eyes. Nimmo licks me in the face an I let him. I knew that if he had hands he would’a pulled me up too.

“Fanks.” I say to the woman wiffout openin my eyes.

“What’re you doing here?” She’s got the softest, quietest voice I ever heard.

“I heard you screamin. I fort you was in danger.” I take a deep breath an open my eyes. “You are in danger. This house ain’t gonna stand much longer.”

Her hand jumps to her heart an she shakes her head, long, thin, straggly dark blonde hair swishin around. It don’t look like she’s washed it fer years an she probably hasn’t. I don’t even know how she’s still alive. There won’t be no water round here.

I watch her as her breaths grow faster an her dark eyes grow wide. “No.” Tears are in her eyes. “No, no, no.”

She’s thinner than even Phee is, like she ain’t eaten since she washed her hair all those years ago. The pretty green dress she’s wearin is tied too tite in a bow around her wayste. The short sleeves are fallin off her bony shouldas an she keeps pullin them up tho they fall down in moments. As she begins to pace back an forth, the fabric whirls around her nees. I dunno how she’s kept the dress so clean but what’s more stoopid is that she ain’t wearin any shoes. Her feet are red an sore wiff walkin these splintered halls an she don’t even seem to care that she’s bleedin.

I stand up an try an take her hand but she snatches it away. I don’t like how cold she feels compared to me.

“It’s okay.” I say. “I’ll help you git out. We can find somewhere else where you can stay. Wiff people an water an food.”

She just continues to shake her head like I ain’t spoke.

“No. Not Daddy’s house. I can’t. Not now. Please. I can’t leave. No. Please don’t let this happen. This can’t happen.”

“Hey.” This time I grab her wrist tite so she can’t escape an force her dirty face to meet mine. “It’ll be okay. I’m tellin you it’ll be okay. You saved me an now I’m gonna save you.”

“No!” She screams it like I’m hurtin her. I drop her wrist at once. “No!”

“I’m sorry, okay. I’m sorry. But we gotta git outta here! I don’t even know yer name. I’m Tye.”

“You can’t.” Her eyes are all over my face an she storms towards me, dress billowin out as she walks. “You can’t make me leave. This is all I have. I’m not going anywhere.”

There’s a creak an I grab onto the nearest doorframe like that’s gonna save me. “It’s comin down. You can’t stay.”

“I have to stay! Don’t you see this is all I’ve got in the world. I can’t have anything. I can only have this house!”

“There won’t even be a house soon. I can’t leave you behind.”

She drops to her nees. “No! I deserve this! I deserve this after everything! It’s my fault this is happening.”

All I can do is look at her. Nimmo goes to her side now she’s at his hight.

I take a moment to try an calm my heart an I attempt a soft, soothin kinda voice. “What’s yer name?”

“Udora.” She whispers it like she don’t want the whole world to hear.

“Udora.” I take her hand an she don’t stop me. “I’m sorry. But I’m gonna save you.”

She shakes her head an looks strate into me. “There’s nothing left to save.”

Her voice is so clear an she’s so well spoken I fink of my words carefully. I ain’t never heard someone talk in such a beautiful way before. Me an Eeli never had time fer full words. Udora takes time over every sentence.

“There’s always somefin worf savin.”

A crack sounds from all sides an dust seems to explode outta nowhere. Nimmo’s barkin an I’m coverin my mowf, coffin an splutterin.

“Tye!” Eeli’s voice sounds from downstairs.

“Udora?” I feel fer her hand but she’s gone. “Udora! Come back! I gotta save you! I gotta! You can’t do this!”

“Tye! Come back! The house is comin down! Git outta there!”

“I gotta save her!”

“You tried yer hardest now git the hell out or I’ll never forgive you!” There’s a hint of rage in her voice but I can also hear tears.

“No!” I pull myself up, skwintin thru the dust but she’s nowhere to be seen an I can’t even tell where the hole of the stairs is no more.

“You just met her, you can’t die fer her!”

“I can’t leave her!”

“You have to. I need you!”

I fumble wiff my hands on the wall till I reach a door an stick my head round it. “Udora?”

There’s no answer but I don’t wanna go no further. She could’a jumped outta the window fer all I know. Nimmo‘s goin crazy, tryin to find a way down.

“Nimmo!” Eeli calls. “Nimmo, git here now!”

I watch him rush to the stairs. I follow him fer lack of any other direkshon.

“Jump, Nimmo!” Eeli’s arms are out. I dunno if she can take his wayte but somehow Nimmo seems to understand. Or maybe he knows Eeli’s a good cushion, I dunno.

Nimmo leaps into the air an into Eeli’s arms an they both go tumblin over, Eeli huffin an Nimmo yelpin as they crash into the ground.

“Nimmo!” I hear Phee’s voice from outside an Nimmo darts outta the house, safe. I feel my heart lift. At least someone’s gittin out safe.

Eeli’s got to her feet. “Now you, Tye.”

“You couldn’t catch me, Ee!” I drop to my nees near the hole to look at her. She’s covered in dust an scratches from Nimmo’s paws but she don’t look like she’s even noticed. Her whole attention’s on me.

“I’m gonna catch you, Tye. Don’t you worry bout that.”

“Just git out!”

“Never! I ain’t leavin you!”

Phee’s voice comes thru the house again. “Eeli! There’s tiles droppin all over here like rain, git out! Git out now!”

“Not wiffout Tye!”

“Go!” I urge her, creepin towards the hole more, tryin to deside if it’s worf jumpin.

“No!”

“Eeli, just git out! I can’t have you hurt!”

“Yer gonna have to git down then!”

“Git the hell out!”

“This is all yer fault, Tye! I hate you!”

“I hate you too, stoopid!”

“Try! Please! Fer me just try!”

I look at the banister which is sorta holdin itself up considerin.

“You gotta try, Tye! I can’t do this wiffout you!”

I close my eyes an take a deep breath.

“I don’t wanna do this wiffout you!”

An then I leap. A moment in the air feels like a forever in yer head an I’m yellin as loud as my lungs can bear. There’s a tiny bit of stair that looks like it can hold me an I land there, grabbin the banister wiff all my strength, balancin fer a moment before it starts to fall away. Pure faith makes me throw myself in the direkshon of Eeli an her arms are out like she could ever catch me. I’m angled all wrong from the fallin an I land on one’a the steps near the bottom an hit the ground in a roll. It feels like everyfink in my body is slammed to the other side’a me an as I roll across the floor, they roll around in my body no longer attached. I struggle to git breath as Eeli pulls me up. I feel like my body don’t work rite but I follow her pull an her voice an we’re out in the daylite an we’re runnin an then we’re two streets away an I lean up against a car trying to work out which way is up an if I’m still workin rite.

There’s this collosal crunch an a deafenin crash an Udora’s house is wrecked like all the others. I don’t hear her screamin no more. At least she ain’t trapped under the rubble waitin fer death, it came to find her instead.

“Tye!” Eeli’s in my face. “I always knew you was stoopid but I never thought you was that stoopid!”

She flings her arms around my neck an I skweeze her tite like I’m never gonna see her again. I close my eyes an take in the hot feel of her skin an her soft shape. I breathe in the smell of her hair an git a nose fulla dust. But I don’t ever wanna let her go.

She has to prize my hands away from her to step back an look at me. Her face is grey wiff dirt an dust but the tear marks show the real colour of her skin. I wipe my arm across my face an it comes back grey too.

“Thank god yer alrite.” Eeli pulls some stray plaster outta my hair before turnin to Phee.

I watch him take her in an I ain’t noticed before how his eyes grow wide to eat her up. His face is still clean an a smile grows on it as Eeli goes towards him. She throws herself into his arms an he spins her around an she giggles. He whispers somethin in her ear an she nods.

When he sets her down again she takes his hand, the grin on her face giddy. I can’t help but give her a smile back, tho it hurts my cheeks to do so.

We set off an I wonder why my chest feels tite an tears are stingin behind my eyes. I keep lookin at Eeli, makin sure she’s still there. I dunno why but I git this feelin she’s gonna disappear an I’ll never find her again.

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