Tuesday, October 1, 2013

On the Road (working title)

I had an idea for a story (or a book if it goes long enough, we'll see) a year or so ago.  I came up with a few ideas but never typed anything.  I figured I'd give it a whirl.  The base premise is two guys with a solar-powered car driving around what's left of America after nuclear winter ends.  They'll meet interesting people!  They'll hear interesting stories!  Some humor will be in there along the way.  We'll see how it goes.  Here's the rough (no edits or revisions done) of the first chapter.

On the Road (working title)

Greg Thomas

Part 1: The End

Chapter 1

It was the brightest day imaginable, how could it be better?
A and B had just driven on to the salt flats of Utah. Their solar-powered project car was a joint senior capstone, and this was their third test drive. With the latest round of tinkering, their goal was to get it up to a sustained fifty miles per hour for six hours. A nice, leisurely test drive to finish their engineering degrees.
On such a sunny day, they could drive until nightfall, and even later with the battery reserves in the trunk, but there wasn't any reason to. As long as they could show that the converted Ford Taurus was a viable alternative to gasoline, they'd graduate with honors, get great jobs, and make lots of money. At least, that was the plan, and it was going well so far.
“Why the hell did you bring a Geiger counter?” asked A, after setting the car on cruise control. B was pointing the device in every and making noises like it was a laser pistol.
“Haven't you ever seen the movie 'Them?” Giant ants in the desert. It's a classic. With this, I'll be able to see them coming!” B explained.
“If they're giant, ants couldn't we see them through the windows?” A replied, turning the AC up a notch. He had grown well used to B inanities.
“Not if they're invisible. Radiation can do that, you know,” B patiently pointed out.
“I must have missed that lecture. Hey, pass me one of those Cokes.” B grabbed two Cokes out of the cooler in the back and popped the tops. They each took a nice long gulp.
There wasn't much to see out here. Mountains in the distance, but otherwise just a huge expanse of flat glaring sand. A could probably take his hands off the wheel, there was nothing to hit, but there was the odd race now and again. Their car hummed along wonderfully, with the passengers comfortably passing through the wasteland.
“You know, I don't know how the settlers got through this place. It's desolate. I don't remember it from in Oregon Trail,” B wondered whimsically.
“Dude, we're in Utah. Not Oregon.” Batteries were fully charged from the sunlight. Speed had been maintained for one hour now.
“I think they're sister cities,” B said nonchalantly. “Hey, we rigged this up to power my iPod over the weekend,” B said, fishing an iPod out of his pocket. “Let's get some tunes going!” Soon, Led Zeppelin was coming out of the speakers. B sang along, “When the levee breaks, I'll have no place to stay...”
A flash in the rearview mirror. “Was that lightning?” A asked his companion, turning the music down. The brightness was unbelieveable. A few seconds passed, then a brighter flash, from the right. A turned off cruise control and stopped the car. “There was only sun in the forecast...”
They both got out of the car. B had the Geiger counter in hand, but looked serious for once. They stood baking on the hard salt, scanning the horizons. Bright flashes seemed to have sprouted all around- but not lightning. Clouds were forming in dreaded mushroom shapes. The iPod had been left playing, the doors half-open, “Crying won't help you, praying won't do you no good...”

It was the brightest day imaginable, and things could not be more dire.

No comments: