Home of the Brave

For the "Divergent: A Writing Competition" contest.


Father, Brother, and Daughter live on the Edge of the World. After a nuclear fallout, they are the last survivors in a post-apocalyptic world. This is the story of how it all ends.


3. This Place of Hell

Hell is a place of tears and suffering. As far as Father and Brother are concerned, Hell is where we live, here on the Edge of the world.

            The water we drink is filthy. Our pond is small, just a quarter of what it once was, and filled with black water that shines with an oily light, the colors on the surface pink and green and blue and yellow. But we drink it because it is all that’s left.

            It was not always dirty. It was clear once, blue and refreshing. But when the sky turned gray, the rain turned gray, too. There was poison in the water, Father told Brother and me. For a while, death was imminent. I grew sick first, and then Brother and Father. Our stomachs ached and our throats burned from the vomit. We should not have survived.

            But we did.

            Food is also a problem. Father says there were animals, once. And there still are. We have two horses, both mares. But I have never seen a bird, not once in my seventeen years of life. All I know are those two horses and the flies that accompany them; nothing else moves within the tall grass of the Valley, neither a cricket nor a rabbit.

            We are alone in this place of Hell.

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