In the Dry | Audio
By TD Carroll
TD Carroll is a hiking guide in northeast New Mexico. His short serial "Laws of Nature" has been published in Fried Fiction.
Welcome to the f'ing future, right? I mean, this is what all the movies said it was going to be like, right? My name's Jay Reaper, ‘cause I'm death to anybody that crosses- Okay, well, my real name's Jeremy Farmer, but you've got to figure I'm a little BA since I'm still around. I'm the guy telling people what happened just like Sarah in the first two Terminator movies. Yeah, I know she's a chick, but she totally stabbed that doctor dude in the leg with his own pen in the second one, right?
Personally, I like the third one best. You know, the one where the hot chick Terminator comes back with the big old gun in her arm? Most people said that one sucked, but most people aren't around anymore, so I can say what I like. Besides, it's kind of appropriate now; she was all blowing away these ordinary people because in like thirty years or something they were going to be generals and crap.
That's how it was for me. See, I was just another kid when the Dry started, and now I'm a BA running around killing stuff. I'm not some government super soldier, or an ultimate kick boxer or something, I'm just a guy that turned out to have a little strength tucked away. Nobody knew it, I just needed the right chance to be a survivor.
Oh, yeah, you might not know about the Dry. Maybe the Dry is over when somebody's listening to this or maybe you've just been in the Dry so long you didn't know what it was like before. Well since I was there, I guess it's my job to tell you.
See, water used to fall out of the sky. It was like some kind of miracle or some crap, but people were so used to it that they never even questioned it. Then, all of a sudden, one day it stopped. Scientists and stuff all went on the TV and tried to explain it, said it was because of f'ing global warming or the ozone layer or some crap. A lot of religious people went on and said it was God's judgment. Personally, I think asking what happened doesn't help; what's important is that the water is f'ing gone.
Man I wish I could swear right. I mean, here I am, a big old BA shooting crap in the future and I can't even say the f word. I try, but every time I do, I just get this image of Sister Hildegard hitting me with a ruler. Dang it.
Where was I? Oh, yeah. So it got bad in the cities first, you know, when we started running out of food and water. First you've got the f'ing riots, and then the cops step in. Then people start attacking the cops and the cops start fighting back. I guess in an ordinary riot you just keep putting the cops out there until everyone calms down, but when it's in every major city there just aren't enough cops.
People started trying to leave. Dang it if I know where they thought they were going, but by then the f'ing government put on martial law. There were roadblocks everywhere, and pretty soon people started shooting at those, too. I don't know, maybe all the people that got killed early on had it easy.
See, what blows my f'ing mind is that with half of the people taking to the streets and trying to kill each other, the other half of the people tried to lead a perfectly ordinary life. Even when the power went down, people kept showing up at their offices, like there was anything to do. My parents even had me going to Boy Scout meetings.
My parents... I guess I owe them my life. Twice. I mean, if they hadn't insisted that I go on that camping trip... I guess I should tell you how it was that I ended up still here, huh?
My troop was going on a backpacking trip up in the mountains. I thought it was just camping, but now that I look back on it, I think they might have been trying to teach us survival for what was coming next. I don't know, maybe it was just camping.
They taught us stuff like how to make a shelter and a water still. I still use both every day when I sleep; you sweat less when you travel at night. We also did the fun stuff, like archery and .22 caliber rifles. We even roasted marshmallows. God only knows where we got them.
I snuck away from the others one night to practice a little more at the archery range. I was really good at archery; I could get nine out of ten into an area the size of your hand. Anyway, that's when the screaming started. I ran back to see what was happening. I know, smart, right?
The rest of my troop had been attacked by vampires. They're not real vampires, of course, that's just what everybody calls them. You see, when a lot of people get together and get scared, they get stupid. They start to listen to anybody that's talking, and that means listening to the people that you're normally smart enough not to. Some sickly weirdo in black must have said something about how the human body is like ninety percent water or something, because suddenly there were a handful of them. Then some idiot puts it on the national news, and now they're in every part of the country.
Like I said, they're not real vampires. They drink blood, but everything else is for show. They wear black, only travel at night, even file their teeth, but it doesn't take a stake through the heart to take one down. I ought to know. One of the mothers was chowing down on my best friend, Jimmy, and I put an arrow in his throat. The others were all over his blood like flies before he even stopped moving. Turns out they're as loyal as a hungry dog.
I said goodbye to my friends from there and took off. I still have the bow, and I used flint knapping to make myself some better arrowheads. Like I said, I think they may have taught us some stuff that wasn't strictly in the Scout Handbook. I grab guns and ammo where I find them, but I usually just pass them on to whatever survivors I find. I like ammunition that I can pick back up after a fight.
So what do I do from day to day? I move from town to town. Survivors tend to hole up in malls and Walmarts. They tend to run out of food pretty quickly in the malls, they just don't have the storage that a Walmart does. So I teach them about water stills and edible plants. You'd be amazed how many kinds of cacti can be eaten. They still tend to go cannibal, but I can at least keep them eating only the ones that die on their own.
The f'ing government said that they were going to start constructing desalinization plants on the coasts. That's where I'm headed. I figure if I can find one, maybe I can start bringing the survivors there. ‘Til then, I'm an f'ing superhero, protecting the innocent and damning the guilty. Hot dang, I just swore. Welcome to the f'ing future.