This is just a short in-class exercise I wrote in about 10 minutes the other night. We were working on “world building” and in a few minutes as a class ended up coming up with the following general guidelines for our setting:
Religion: Tree god, very old and large.
Commerce: Barter Economy.
Labor Division: Tribes based on profession.
Food: Hunting, gathering, fishing.
History: Living over a radiated crater causing everyone to die at around the age of 18.
Landscape: Lush tropical landscape. Full of trees and mutated animals.
Season: Eternal rainy season.
Not the most unique or novel world we could have created (it actually reminds me a lof of The 100) but definitely enough to get started. I didn’t get very far in terms of word count—the piece is only about 350 words—but it was nice to sit down and just get some words on the page off the cuff. I’m one of those people that can sit for an hour or more sometimes and barely get 200 words on the page so it’s amazing to me how deadlines apparently fuel my creativity. Anyway, here’s the piece. Short, sweet, and incomplete:
Under, over, under, over, under, over. Zain had lost count of the branches hours ago as he vaulted himself hurriedly from limb to limb. His arms and hands were numb, the muscles long passed burning, but he didn’t dare stop—not yet at least.
Taking a recklessly long leap to another web of branches, Zain heaved as he pulled himself up onto a particularly sturdy member and giving his arms a brief rest, continued forward on foot. You should have known better! the words echoed between his ears like sirens, so loud the made him wince and almost lose his balance.
Looking behind him, he could see two larger figures slowly but surely gaining ground. On an ordinary day, no one would have been able to catch him—but today was far from ordinary.
Sliding off the large branch and gripping another smaller one with his bleeding fingers he pressed on. Struggling to gain speed and put as much distance between him and the girls behind him.
You should have known better! the voice seared through his mind a second time, louder than before, a clear mark that despite his best efforts they were gaining ground.
Zain could feel Panic’s cold fingers slowly began to claw at began his throat as thoughts of capture darted around the fringes of his subconscious. He didn’t know what exactly would happen to him if he was caught. No one did. But that was after all because no one had come back.
You should have known better! Zain lost his grip as girl’s voice tore into his consciousness with debilitating force. He’d experienced a lot of pain in his fourteen years, from knife wounds to broken bones, but nothing could compare to the pain he felt as those words invaded his mind. Grasping at thin air, a numbing pain exploded through his body struck the ground and the wind rushed out of him. Gasping for air, Zain scrambled to his feet as quickly as he could and limped forward. He could not get caught.
Using that one absolute fact to drive him forward, he once again scrambled for the comparable safety of the trees.