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Author/Title:!Through!Mud!and!Monsters! Copyeditor:1Chelsea!Adams! Date:!3/26/2012! ! Capitalization1 Monster(is!always!capitalized.! ! Punctuation! Every!semicolon!is!a!decision!point.!Make!sure!a!complete!sentence!follows!the!semicolon.! Single!quotation!marks!within!double!quotation!marks.! FANBOYS!and!commas.! ! Compounds1 Check!dictionary!to!see!if!words!are!open,!hyphenated,!or!closed!compounds.! 1 Dialogue1 Indirect!discourse:!no!quotation!marks.! 1 Miscellaneous! Trim!redundancies.! Passive!voice!a!decision!point.!If!the!agent!is!known,!switch!to!active.! No!spaces!between!paragraphs!unless!indicating!scene!break.! Preferred!spelling!for!past!tense!verbs!and!of!toward.!

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Through!Mud!and!Monsters! By! Mike!Dunkley! ! ! The!sun!was!almost!set.!Orange!bands!of!light!peered!through!the!gaps!in!the!curtains!and! blinds!of!the!dark!house,!slightly!illuminating!the!abandoned!rooms.!Dirt!and!debris!now!filled!the!once! hospitable!country!home.!The!flood!had!washed!out!most!of!the!glass!in!the!windows!and!had! ransacked!the!contents!of!the!home!from!their!proper!places.!The!old!hardwood!floors!swelled!with! their!over!saturation,!and!several!planks!popped!out!from!the!joists.!The!floor!rippled!like!the!surface!of! violent!water.!The!air!was!stale!and!smelled!like!fresh!dirt.!Everything!seemed!eerily!still.! ! Two!children!hustled!!into!the!entryway!and!plopped!down!onto!the!floor.!It!creaked!under! their!weight.!They!were!breathing!heavily!and!were!tired!from!their!day’s!journey.!Their!features!were! barely!distinguishable!due!to!the!amount!of!mud!caked!all!over!their!bodies.!!The!youngest!girl!leaned! up!against!an!old!decorative!bench!and!instantly!fell!asleep.!The!older!girl!propped!herself!against!a!wall! and!struggled!to!keep!her!eyes!open.!It!was!not!safe!yet.! ! Deeper!inside!the!house!three!figures!were!slowly!moving!down!the!hallway.!One!carried!a! shovel!clenched!in!his!hands.!They!placed!each!step!with!great!caution,!as!to!not!awaken!the!children.! They!had!prepared!for!this!moment!and!knew!the!risks!of!one!misplaced!step.!The!child!in!front!froze!in! her!tracks.!She!was!thin!in!frame!and!only!about!four!feet!tall.!She!stood!silently,!motionless,!for!several! minutes.!The!two!behind!her!followed!suit.!Her!right!arm!rose!slowly!upwards!and!her!index!finger! pointed!straight!towards!an!adjacent!door.!The!two!others!nodded!to!one!another!and!stepped!in!front! of!the!girl.! ! In!the!entryway,!both!children!had!quickly!fallen!asleep,!their!consciousness!giving!way!to!their! fatigue.!Their!legs!sprawled!out!over!the!floor!while!their!bodies!closed!in!tightly!to!one!another.!The! youngest!girl’s!body!slid!from!its!leaning!position!against!the!bench!and!fell!against!the!water!logged,! wooden!floor.!She!momentarily!woke!from!her!slumber!in!distaste,!but!fell!back!to!sleep.! ! The!sun!only!showed!a!sliver!of!its!globe!from!behind!the!mountain!tops.!The!house!was!quickly! becoming!engulfed!with!darkness.!With!the!fading!of!the!light,!a!large!man!began!to!stir!from!his!resting! place!on!the!bedroom!floor.!The!girl!in!the!hallway!stepped!behind!her!two!companions,!closed!her! eyes,!plugged!her!ears,!and!slid!to!a!sitting!position!away!from!the!door.!The!other!two!figures!in!the! hallway!pressed!tightly!against!the!door!frame.!They!peered!into!each!other’s!eyes!and!prepared!for!the! moment.!Their!hands!gripped!onto!the!objects!in!their!hands.!! The!large!man!stirred!a!bit!more!as!his!body!began!to!awaken.!One!of!the!figures!nodded!to!the! other!and!they!quickly!threw!open!the!door.!In!a!flash!they!were!in!the!room!and!above!the!large!man! resting!on!the!floor.!A!pitchfork!was!raised!high!into!the!air!and!it!came!quickly!down!into!the!chest! cavity!of!the!man.!The!thin!spikes!dove!deeply!into!his!frame.!Small!pools!of!blood!seeped!forth!at!the! entry!wounds.!The!large!man!was!immediately!awoken!and!let!out!a!blood!curtailing!scream.!The! scream!was!cut!short!as!a!small!military!shovel!was!lodged!violently!into!his!Adam’s!apple.!The!shovel! severed!the!wind!pipe!and!most!of!the!man’s!neck,!and!he!went!silent.!Pools!of!blood!soaked!into!the! floor!around!the!pale,!large!man.!The!two!figures!stood!over!the!man!and!nodded!at!each!other!in! approval.!A!Monster!was!dead.! ! Chapter!1! ! ! I!kept!my!eyes!closed!tightly!and!tried!to!think!of!something!happy.!The!first!thing!that!came!to! mind!was!a!friend!of!mine!named!Brittany.!She!used!to!come!over!to!my!house!after!school!to!play.!We! would!chase!each!other!around!my!backyard!and!laugh!at!the!weird!monster!faces!we!would!pull.!She!

Chelsea Ross 3/26/12 11:34 PM Formatted: Space After: 0 pt Chelsea Ross 3/26/12 11:34 PM Formatted: Space After: 0 pt Chelsea Ross 3/29/12 6:51 PM Comment: Smelled!is!the!preferred!past!tense!of! smell!in!American!English!because!smelt!is!a!verb!all! its!own.!

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Chelsea Ross 3/29/12 6:51 PM Comment: I!deleted!“quickly”!to!avoid! redundancy.!Hustled!means!move!quickly.!The! adverb!isn’t!needed.!

Chelsea Ross 3/28/12 1:15 PM Deleted: quickly

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Chelsea Ross 3/29/12 6:51 PM Comment: See!comment!about!“quickly”!above.!

Chelsea Ross 3/29/12 6:51 PM Comment: “sleeping”!is!an!awkward!direct!object,! as!sleeping!is!a!verb,!not!a!noun.!As!I!understand!it,! ... [1] the!people!are!trying!to!stay!quiet!so!the!children! Chelsea Ross 3/28/12 1:18 PM don’t!awaken,!not!the!sleeping.! Deleted: tightly!

Chelsea Ross 3/28/12 1:19 PM Deleted: sleeping

Chelsea Ross 3/29/12 6:51 PM Comment: Are!you!trying!to!say!“the!risks![that]! ... [2] one!misplaced!step!would!bring”?!

Chelsea Ross 3/29/12 6:51 PM

Comment: Standing!silently!implies!that!this!girl!is! ... [3] motionless.!I!would!advise!getting!rid!of!motionless! for!this!reason,!and!because!two!sentences!later!she! Deleted: moves.! around

Chelsea Ross 3/28/12 1:26 PM Chelsea Ross 3/28/12 1:29 PM Deleted: !and!

Chelsea Ross 3/28/12 1:29 PM Deleted: and!

Chelsea Ross 3/28/12 1:29 PM Deleted: .!She

Chelsea Ross 3/28/12 1:30 PM Deleted: !tightly

Chelsea Ross 3/29/12 6:51 PM Comment: The!passive!voice!is!ineffective!here! ... [4]

because!the!characters!have!been!introduced!the! Chelsea Ross 3/29/12 6:51 PM

characters!to!us.!Which!person!ran!him!through! Comment: Once!again,!avoid!the!passive.!Show! ... [5] with!the!pitchfork?!The!sentence!will!carry!more! your!readers!who!is!doing!this!violent!action.! weight!if!it!is!recast!in!active!voice.!For!example,! Chelsea Ross 3/28/12 1:35 PM "The!small!girl!raised!a!pitchfork!high!into!the!air! Deleted: !of!the!man and!brought!it!down!quickly!into!the!man's!chest! Chelsea cavity."! Adams 4/1/12 5:22 PM Deleted: m

Chelsea Ross 3/26/12 11:34 PM Formatted: Space After: 0 pt


always!had!the!funniest!faces!and!I!was!always!the!best!at!running!away!from!her.!We!also!enjoyed! playing!hide!and!go!seek!in!the!neighborhood!behind!my!house.!There!were!several!new!houses!being! built!and!we!would!take!turns!hiding!inside!them.!Brittany!would!get!mad!at!me!when!I!found!her!too! quickly.!She!was!convinced!that!I!would!cheat!and!open!my!eyes!to!see!where!she!went.!I!always!found! myself!just!guessing!where!she!was.!I!miss!Brittany.!It!didn’t!take!me!long!to!realize!that!she!was! probably!dead!and!I!wouldn’t!see!her!again.!My!new!world!has!a!way!of!destroying!happy!memories.!I! felt!a!hand!brush!up!against!my!arm!and!I!quickly!opened!my!eyes.!Jake!was!standing!above!me!with!a! stern!look!on!his!face.!! “Are!you!okay?”!he!asked.!! I!nodded!and!stood!up!from!my!position.!I!brushed!the!loose!dirt!off!of!my!legs.!! “I!want!you!to!go!get!the!others!and!bring!them!here,”!Jake!said!as!he!turned!back!towards!the! room.!! “Why?”!I!asked,!puzzled.!! We!had!been!walking!for!several!hours!before!we!found!a!location!that!appeared!safe.!Jake!and! I!were!more!athletic!than!the!others!and!going!long!distances!wasn’t!as!tiring!for!us;!Ryan,!Tianna,!and! Michelle,!on!the!other!hand,!were!having!a!hard!time!with!our!traveling.!I!knew!by!now!they!were! probably!sound!asleep!and!the!last!thing!I!wanted!to!do!was!wake!them!up.! ! Jake!turned!back!around!from!the!doorway!and!brought!his!face!close!to!mine.!! His!eyes!peered!directly!into!mine!as!he!calmly!said,!“They!need!to!see!this!if!they!are!going!to! survive;!and!so!do!you.”!! The!thought!of!what!he!proposed!disturbed!me.!They!had!ruined!my!life,!the!last!thing!I!wanted! to!do!was!look!at!a!dead!one!up!close.!Jake!turned!once!more!back!toward!the!room!and!I!stopped!him! by!grabbing!his!arm.!! “No!Jake,!you!can’t!do!that!to!them!”!I!furiously!whispered,!as!to!not!alert!the!others.!! My!voice!cracked!a!little!as!my!eyes!began!to!water.!The!last!several!days!had!been!hard!on!all! of!us.!We!were!all!facing!a!reality!that!no!one!ever!expected.!Jake!seemed!to!be!handling!the!situation! the!best.!He!was!the!strong!leader!holding!our!group!together.!Somehow!being!with!him!helped!me!to! handle!the!situation!as!well.!I!felt!safe!with!Jake,!and!I!knew!he!would!do!whatever!it!took!to!keep!us! safe.! ! “Sarah,!do!you!know!what!it!means!to!desensitize?”!Jake!asked.!! I!had!heard!the!word!before!but!didn’t!know!the!answer.!I!slowly!shook!my!head.!! “It!means!the!more!you!see!a!bad!thing,!the!less!bad!it!will!be!for!you.!They!need!to!see!this!so! that!they!know!what!is!out!there.!I!need!to!count!on!all!of!us!not!freaking!out!when!we!run!into!more!of! these,”!Jake!finished!and!walked!into!the!room.!! I!understood!what!he!meant,!but!I!didn’t!want!to!accept!it.!We!had!already!seen!many!terrible! things!and!walking!into!that!room!was!a!terrible!thought.!Bringing!Tianna,!who!was!only!seven!years!old,! into!that!room!was!the!last!thing!I!wanted!to!do.! ! I!stood!in!the!hallway!for!several!minutes!thinking!to!myself.!The!sun!had!completely!set!and!the! entire!house!was!dark.!The!house!smelled!like!rotting!wood!and!dirt.!It!had!been!four!days!previous!that! a!flood!had!hit!the!area.!None!of!us!were!quite!sure!what!happened.!Michelle!was!the!only!one!in!the! actual!floodplain,!though!Jake!heard!the!water.!It!had!been!raining!for!two!weeks!straight!when!the! flood!occurred.!The!amount!of!water!that!rushed!through!the!area!was!more!than!just!a!hard!rain.!Most! buildings!in!the!area!were!destroyed!or!damaged!severely.!!The!ground!everywhere!was!covered!in! several!inches!of!mud.!The!last!two!days!had!been!sunny,!but!the!mud!made!it!difficult!for!us!to!travel! fast.!It!also!made!things!slow!for!our!pursuers!as!well,!which!benefitted!us!greatly.!The!biggest!dilemma! we!faced!was!finding!food!and!clean!water.!Every!house!or!building!we!came!upon!had!to!be!checked! for!supplies.!Jake!and!I!would!enter!the!buildings!to!search!while!Ryan!protected!the!others!outside.!

Chelsea Ross 3/28/12 9:47 PM Deleted: !my!head

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Chelsea Adams 3/29/12 6:51 PM Comment: The!preferred!spelling!for!American! usage!is!toward,!not!“towards.”!

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Chelsea Adams 3/29/12 6:51 PM Comment: “Quietly!shouted”!is!an!oxymoron.! Shouting!is!always!loud.!While!the!wording!may!not! be!the!right!word!choice,!to!avoid!the!oxymoron! “quietly!shouted!needs!to!be!changed.!

Chelsea Adams 3/28/12 9:52 PM Deleted: quietly!shouted

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! Tianna!gave!me!the!nickname!“Seeker.”!Everyone!in!the!group!seemed!to!think!I!had!a!gift!for! finding!things.!Tianna!acted!as!if!I!had!magical!powers!or!something.!I!think!I!was!just!lucky.!I!just! guessed!where!something!might!be!and!I!seemed!to!always!be!right.!Jake!would!take!me!into!the! buildings!because!if!there!was!a!can!of!food!in!the!house,!I!would!find!it.!I!also!had!the!apparent!ability! to!find!“them.”!! “Sarah,!come!on!already!”!Jake!yelled!from!the!room.!! I!escaped!my!trance!and!reluctantly!backtracked!through!the!house!toward!the!entrance.!It!was! dark!inside,!but!my!eyes!quickly!adjusted.!I!carefully!walked!around!all!the!debris!scattered!on!the!floor,! back!into!what!I!guessed!was!originally!a!living!room.!There!on!the!floor!near!the!door,!I!found!Tianna! and!Michelle.!They!were!supposed!to!be!awake!and!keeping!watch!of!our!exit,!but!I!didn’t!blame!them! for!falling!asleep.!Tianna!was!very!small!compared!to!the!rest!of!us.!Her!small!body!almost!blended!in! with!the!bench!she!rested!against.!Michelle!was!nearly!my!size,!despite!being!nine,!which!was!two!years! younger!than!me.!I!think!growing!up!on!a!farm!had!made!her!big!and!strong!for!her!age.!I!was!pretty! average!sized!for!my!age,!but!Jake!would!always!tell!me!that!I!was!very!mature.!He!was!only!fourteen! years!old.!We!were!all!just!kids,!but!he!was!the!oldest,!and!I!liked!being!told!I!was!more!mature!than!the! others.!I!liked!to!think!I!was!even!more!grown!up!than!Ryan,!who!was!twelve.! I!nudged!Michelle’s!body!with!my!foot!and!she!quickly!sat!upright.!Her!eyes!opened!large!and! began!to!dart!back!and!forth.!I!quickly!took!her!hand!and!told!her!it!was!okay.!She!relaxed!and!gently! woke!Tianna!from!her!sleep.!Tianna!whimpered!a!bit!as!she!came!to.!! With!a!sleepy!face!she!turned!and!asked,!“Are!we!safe!now?”!! I!softly!answered!yes!and!they!both!pulled!themselves!off!the!floor!and!sat!on!the!bench.!! “Why!did!you!wake!us!up!then?”!Michelle!asked!me.!! “Jake!and!Ryan!need!our!help!right!now,”!I!lied.!! I!hated!to!do!so,!but!who!wants!to!be!woken!up!and!told!there!is!a!dead!body!you!have!to!go! see?! I!guided!the!two!girls!through!part!of!the!house!and!down!the!hallway.!We!all!held!hands!in!the! dark.!Their!eyes!hadn’t!adjusted!to!the!darkness!quite!yet.!They!both!kept!tripping!on!the!garbage!on! the!floor,!so!it!was!a!slow!pace.!We!arrived!at!the!door!to!the!room!Jake!and!Ryan!were!waiting!in.!I! paused!momentarily!and!took!a!deep!breath.!I!would!finally!face!my!fear,!at!least!with!Jake’s!help.!I! looked!back!and!told!both!of!the!girls!to!close!their!eyes.!I!felt!Tianna’s!grip!tighten!as!we!all!shuffled! into!the!room.!The!room!must!have!been!the!former!master!bedroom.!It!had!all!the!typical!furniture!of! an!adult’s!room:!a!giant!dresser!and!a!big!bed.!The!bed!was!overturned,!though,!and!thrown!against!a! wall.!The!rest!of!the!contents!of!the!room!were!thrown!around!causing!more!damage!in!a!manner!worse! than!the!damage!the!flood!had!done.!I!think!the!former!resident!was!to!blame.!! Jake!and!Ryan!were!in!the!center!of!the!room!staring!at!the!floor.!Jake!had!his!army!shovel!in!his! hands!and!was!wiping!some!blood!off!the!spade!with!a!dirty!rag.!Ryan!seemed!like!he!was!in!shock.!Both! of!his!hands!held!tightly!to!the!handle!of!the!pitchfork,!which!he!pressed!against!his!chest.!His!eyes! aimed!down!and!I!could!see!they!were!watery.!He!had!been!silently!crying.!Last!of!all,!I!finally!gazed! downward!at!the!Monster.! In!the!center!of!the!floor!lay!a!fullydgrown!man!with!a!large!beer!belly,!as!my!dad!would!often! call!it.!He!was!in!big,!blue!overalls!that!were!caked!in!blood!and!dirt.!He!wore!a!stained,!white!tdshirt! that!appeared!brownish!red.!His!feet!were!bare!and!pointing!straight!up.!Both!of!his!massive!arms!lay!to! his!sides.!From!the!size!of!him!and!the!house,!I!would!guess!he!was!a!farmer!or!something.!!My!stomach! cringed!as!I!noticed!the!four!bloody!holes!in!the!man’s!chest.!That!must!have!been!the!work!of!Ryan.!I! looked!up!at!Ryan!and!he!still!was!fixated!on!the!dead!man.!My!eyes!returned!back!down!and!I!struggled! to!look!at!the!man’s!head.!It!was!completely!severed!and!had!slightly!rolled!away!from!the!body.!The! man’s!eyes!were!open!and!his!face!looked!angry!and!evil.!His!eyes!were!sunken!and!bloodshot.!His!skin! was!unnaturally!white.!His!mouth!was!open!and!filled!with!blood,!whether!his!own!or!a!victim’s,!I!didn’t!

Chelsea Adams 3/28/12 9:57 PM Deleted: .!To

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Chelsea Adams 3/28/12 9:58 PM Deleted: !to

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Chelsea Adams 3/28/12 9:59 PM Deleted: !To!me,

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Chelsea Adams 3/29/12 6:51 PM Comment: Believability!issue.!Eyes!don’t!generally! automatically!adjust!from!dark!to!light.!“Already”! bears!the!connotation!of!immediacy.!

Chelsea Adams 3/28/12 10:00 PM Deleted: !had!already

Chelsea Adams 3/28/12 10:02 PM Deleted: !that!was

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Chelsea Adams 3/28/12 10:09 PM Deleted: fully!grown

Chelsea Adams 3/28/12 10:09 PM Deleted: that!had

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know.!Under!the!body!a!large!pool!of!blood!had!gathered!from!the!severed!neck.!The!room!stank!and!I! wanted!to!leave.! Jake!finished!cleaning!his!shovel,!looked!over!at!me,!and!nodded!as!if!to!say,!“Good!job.”!He! then!walked!over!to!Michelle!and!Tianna,!who!still!had!their!eyes!closed!tightly.!He!knelt!down!in!front! of!them,!between!them!and!the!Monster.!! He!whispered!softly!towards!Tianna,!“How!are!you!doing!Ti?”!! He!had!given!her!the!nickname!the!first!day!they!met.!She!seemed!to!like!it.!! Tianna!opened!her!eyes!and!looked!into!Jake’s!face.!“I’m!tired!Jake,”!she!muttered.!! “I!know,!I!know.!I!have!to!show!you!both!something!first,”!Jake!responded.!“I!know!this!is! something!you!don’t!want!to!see,!but!you!need!to.!You!need!to!be!able!to!stay!brave!when!faced!with!a! Monster.”!! Tianna!stepped!back!from!Jake!and!blurted!out,!“No,!I!don’t!want!to!see!it!”!! Now!Michelle!had!opened!her!eyes!and!also!had!a!look!of!fear!on!her!face.!! “Jake,!don’t!make!us!”!Michelle!pleaded.!! Jake!stood!up!and!in!a!stern!voice!said,!“We!all!need!to!look,!it!is!the!only!way!we!can!overcome! these!Monsters.”!! With!that,!Jake!stepped!back!over!to!the!other!side!of!the!room,!next!to!Ryan.!Both!Michelle! and!Tianna!looked!down!at!the!man!on!the!floor!and!screamed.!I!quickly!stepped!over!between!Tianna! and!Michelle!and!held!my!hands!over!their!mouths.!! “Don’t!scream!!You’ll!attract!more,”!I!muttered!angrily!in!their!ears,!“I!don’t!like!this!either,!but! what!Jake!says!is!true;!we!need!to!be—’disinsitized’.!“!!! “It!is!pronounced!‘desensitized’,”!Jake!corrected.!! Both!girls!began!to!breathe!very!heavily.!Snot!began!to!drip!down!from!their!noses!and!onto!my! hands.!!! “I!know!this!is!hard,!just!breathe!deep!and!look;!it!will!get!easier,”!I!reassured!them.!! After!a!minute!or!two!the!girls!began!to!relax.!I!slowly!loosened!my!grasp!on!their!faces!and!let! go.!They!both!stood!there!silently,!staring.!Ryan!came!out!of!his!daze!and!began!walking!out!of!the! room.!! “I’m!going!to!go!make!sure!all!the!entrances!are!blocked!so!we!can!get!some!sleep,”!Ryan! muttered!as!he!left!the!room.!! He!had!seen!more!Monsters!than!any!of!us,!since!he!originally!came!from!the!city.!After!staring! at!the!Monster!for!quite!a!while,!the!girls’!fear!turned!to!curiosity,!as!did!mine.!! “How!did!you!kill!it?”!Michelle!asked!Jake.!! “He!was!sleeping!on!the!floor!and!Sarah!let!us!know!he!was!here.!Ryan!got!him!in!the!chest!and! I!took!off!his!head,!just!as!we!practiced,”!Jake!remarked!with!a!hint!of!pride!in!his!words.!! That!same!day!we!had!come!across!a!Monster!in!our!travels.!It!was!in!the!shade!of!a!large!tree.! Jake!made!all!of!us!hide!while!he!snuck!up!on!it.!Jake!took!only!two!shots!with!his!bow!to!bring!the! Monster!down,!and!then!he!finished!it!off!with!his!shovel.!He!then!returned!to!the!group.!He!told!Ryan! that!it!was!time!to!train.!The!sun!was!high!in!the!sky,!so!we!had!some!precious!time!to!spare!for!training,! and!Jake!felt!training!was!essential!for!our!survival.!! While!the!other!girls!and!I!looked!carefully!around!the!area!for!any!food,!Jake!taught!Ryan!how! to!kill.!Ryan!had!seen!a!multitude!of!Monsters!in!the!city!and!was!very!hesitant!to!approach!the!body.! Jake!was!an!excellent!coach!as!he!helped!Ryan!overcome!his!fear.!Ryan!had!found!a!short!pitchfork!in! the!rubble!of!the!floodplain!and!he!needed!to!learn!how!to!use!it.!Ryan!would!stun!the!Monster!and! Jake!would!finish!it.!They!practiced!over!and!over!again!on!the!dead!body!under!the!tree.!Seeing!the! dead!farmer!on!the!floor!of!the!house!was!evidence!to!all!of!us!that!the!training!had!paid!off.! “What!is!wrong!with!his!eyes?”!Tianna!asked.!!

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I!knelt!down!closer!to!the!body!and!gazed!into!the!dead!Monster’s!eyes.!They!were!wide!open! and!stared!lifelessly!at!me.!The!eyes!appeared!sunken!and!dark;!no!longer!human!to!me.!! “What!is!wrong!with!the!black!part!of!his!eyes?”!Tianna!inquired.!! “That’s!called!the!‘poopil’,”!Michelle!responded!with!a!smile!of!pride!on!her!face.!! “It’s!pronounced!‘pupil’!Michelle,”!Jake!corrected!once!again.!! Her!smile!quickly!faded.!! “That!is!the!part!of!the!eye!that!lets!in!light,”!Jake!said!as!he!circled!around!the!body!and!knelt! next!to!Tianna,!“Watch!my!eye.”!! Jake!pulled!a!flashlight!out!of!his!backpack!and!shined!it!into!his!own!eye!while!Tianna!watched! in!amazement.!! “They!get!smaller!with!the!light!”!Tianna!responded!with!excitement.!! Jake!put!the!flashlight!away!and!pointed!down!at!the!Monster’s!eyes.!! “Their!pupils!seem!to!be!large!all!the!time;!I!think!that!is!why!they!sleep!during!the!day.!It!is!just! another!weird!thing!with!these!things,!just!like!the!pale!skin!and!sunken!eyes,”!Jake!said!while!pointing! out!the!features!to!us.! After!another!twenty!or!so!minutes!of!studying!the!Monster,!we!closed!the!door!of!the! Monster’s!room!and!continued!our!search!of!the!house.!I!was!able!to!spot!a!jar!of!peanut!butter!in!the! mess!and!we!all!took!turns!dipping!our!fingers!into!it.!We!sat!in!a!circle!on!the!kitchen!floor!and!passed! the!jar!around.!I!thought!to!myself,!Thank(heavens(none(of(us(are(allergic!!I!remembered!Brittany!was.! Our!group!giggled!at!each!other!as!we!smiled!with!peanut!butter!filled!mouths.!Jake!resisted!joining!in! the!laughs!at!first,!but!finally!did,!though!he!would!tell!us!to!pipe!down!if!we!got!too!loud.!! Once!the!jar!was!empty!and!we!ate!a!few!other!items!from!Jake’s!pack,!it!was!time!for!sleep.!We! all!knew!we!had!a!long!day!of!walking!ahead!of!us.!Like!usual,!Tianna!was!the!first!to!fall!asleep.!She! nuzzled!up!closely!to!Ryan’s!body.!We!had!all!met!within!the!last!couple!of!days,!but!we!had!quickly! become!close!and!comfortable!with!each!other;!the!disaster!had!done!that!to!us.!Jake!and!Ryan! disagreed!with!each!other!from!time!to!time,!but!we!were!turning!into!a!family.! Jake!and!I!were!the!last!to!fall!asleep.!He!walked!around!the!house!one!last!time!to!check!for! any!unlocked!doors!or!open!windows.!All!of!the!glass!in!the!windows!was!gone!from!the!flood,!but!minid blinds!and!shutters!still!hung!in!most!of!them.!Jake!and!Ryan!had!barricaded!them!the!best!they!could.! At!least!we!would!hear!if!anything!entered!the!house.!Jake!made!us!all!sleep!on!the!floor!of!the!pantry.! It!was!the!least!wet!and!only!had!one!entrance.!When!Jake!returned!from!his!patrol!he!nailed!the!door! shut!with!a!single!long!nail.!It!would!stop!anyone!from!pulling!the!door!open.!Jake!and!I!both!whispered! quietly!with!each!other!before!falling!asleep.!We!talked!about!what!our!lives!were!like!before!everything! had!happened.!

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! Chapter!2! “Sarah”! ! Before!the!outbreak!and!flood,!I!was!like!any!other!elevendyeardold!girl.!I!grew!up!in!a!small! town!and!had!lived!in!the!same!house!my!entire!life.!My!town!was!a!little!ways!away!from!the!nearby! city,!which!to!me!was!a!huge!place.!My!parents!and!I!used!to!go!there!to!see!movies!on!the!weekends.!I! always!hated!the!drive!and!all!the!anticipation!that!would!build!up!while!waiting!to!get!to!the!theater.!I! was!an!only!child,!so!my!parents!had!no!problem!spoiling!me!a!bit.! My!house!was!located!on!the!edge!of!our!town!next!to!a!bunch!of!fields.!Some!of!the!fields!were! being!turned!into!new!houses,!which!was!sad!because!it!meant!no!more!seeing!horses!from!my! bedroom!window.!Brittany!lived!across!the!street!and!had!been!my!closest!friend.!We!would!ride!the! bus!together!each!day!of!school.!I!was!at!my!school!the!day!that!everything!went!wrong.!! The!day!started!off!like!any!other,!with!the!exception!of!all!the!rain.!Brittany!and!I!waited!at!the! bus!stop!with!her!mom!holding!an!umbrella!over!us.!Brittany’s!mom!normally!didn’t!stand!with!us;!I! guess!she!was!concerned!about!us!getting!sick!in!the!rain.!We!both!giggled!as!we!splashed!in!the!water! puddles!around!us.!Brittany’s!mom!would!tell!us!to!come!back!under!the!umbrella.!Once!the!bus! arrived,!we!waved!goodbye!out!the!window.!I!didn’t!realize!it!would!be!the!last!time!I!would!ever!see! Brittany’s!mom.! School!started!out!like!normal.!My!teacher,!Mrs.!Clark,!was!at!her!desk!with!a!smile!as!usual.!It! wasn’t!until!a!couple!hours!had!passed!that!a!strange!announcement!was!made!over!the!intercom!of! the!school.!It!was!the!principal,!Mr.!Burton,!and!he!sounded!as!if!he!was!scared.!He!politely!asked!all!the! teachers!to!read!the!email!he!had!just!sent!them.!Mrs.!Clark!had!all!of!us!pull!out!our!reading!books!and! she!quietly!sat!down!at!her!computer.!All!of!the!students!in!my!class!became!lost!in!their!books,!except! for!the!normal!few!troublemakers!and!strangely!enough,!me.!I!usually!loved!our!reading!time,!but!I!was! fascinated!with!whatever!Mrs.!Clark!was!reading.!I!watched!her!face!as!it!went!from!a!cheerful! expression!to!a!concerned!one.!Her!eyebrows!and!smile!dropped!and!I!could!see!her!eyes!retracing!the! words!on!the!computer!screen.!Mrs.!Clark!then!stood!up!from!her!desk!and!announced!to!the!class!that! we!would!be!having!a!surprise!assembly!shortly.!Halfway!through!her!sentence,!Mr.!Burton!came!on!the! intercom!again!and!asked!all!students!to!report!to!the!gymnasium.! The!classroom!emptied!as!students!jumped!up!and!down!in!excitement!for!the!surprise! assembly.!We!followed!Mrs.!Clark!into!the!gym.!The!janitors!had!barely!had!enough!time!to!get!the! bleachers!rolled!out.!Normally!there!would!be!chairs!set!up!on!the!edges!to!account!for!the!growing! number!of!students,!but!this!time!there!were!none.!Mr.!Burton!was!holding!a!microphone.!He!asked!us! to!quickly!be!seated.!Many!students!had!to!sit!on!the!floor!Indian!style!in!the!vacant!spaces.!All!of!the! other!faculty!members!were!behind!Mr.!Burton,!from!the!secretaries!to!the!cooks!and!the!janitors.! Strangely,!I!noticed!that!several!of!the!teachers!were!absent!as!their!substitute!teachers!stood! awkwardly!nearby.!Normally!the!assembly!would!start!with!singing!the!school!song!or!even!saying!the! Pledge!of!Allegiance,!but!Mr.!Burton!said!we!would!be!skipping!those!things!that!day.! “Students,!I!have!called!you!in!here!today!because!something!is!happening!throughout!the! country.!I!need!a!few!moments!to!speak!to!your!teachers,!so!please!sit!quietly!with!our!other!faculty! members,”!Mr.!Burton!announced!over!the!microphone.!“Teachers,!please!step!into!the!lunchroom!with! me.”!! Mr.!Burton!exited!the!gym!and!walked!into!the!adjacent!lunchroom.!All!of!our!teachers!left!their! students!and!followed!him.!The!secretaries,!the!cooks,!and!the!janitors!were!left!to!keep!order.!That! order!was!quickly!lost!as!an!entire!gym!of!elementary!school!kids!began!to!talk!and!goof!around!with! their!friends.!The!adults!tried!to!calm!the!students!down,!but!finally!gave!up!and!stood!in!small!groups! throughout!the!gym.!While!everyone!else!seemed!to!be!having!enjoying!themselves,!I!was!watching!the!

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adults.!They!were!nervously!whispering!to!each!other!in!their!little!groups.!Something!big!was! happening.! My!attention!was!broken!when,!from!across!the!gym,!I!spotted!Brittany!waving!at!me.!She!was! jumping!up!and!down!on!the!bleacher!with!her!arm!waving!rapidly.!I!waved!back!and!smiled,!but!my! attention!returned!to!the!adults.!What!was!meant!to!be!a!few!moments!of!waiting!became!an!hour.!Our! teachers!and!Mr.!Burton!had!still!not!returned.!Finally,!when!the!room!was!reaching!the!peak!of!its! chaos,!the!principal!and!the!teachers!began!to!file!back!in.!Mr.!Burton!once!again!picked!up!the! microphone;!his!face!was!white!and!he!looked!concerned!and!troubled.!All!of!the!teachers!seemed! distant!and!deep!in!thought.!! “Students,!a!very!complicated!matter!has!come!to!our!attention.!We’ve!discussed!this!at!length! and!still!have!not!agreed!on!what!the!best!course!of!action!would!be.!I’ve!made!the!decision!that!rather! than!discuss!it!here,!we!will!be!cancelling!school!early!today!so!that!you!can!get!home!to!your!families.! There!you!can!discuss!this!issue!with!your!parents!and!guardians.!I’m!sorry!that!I!can’t!say!more!but!I! wish!you!all!the!best!in!the!upcoming!events!and!hope!to!see!you!back!here!soon.”!! Mr.!Burton’s!voice!choked!up!a!bit!at!the!end.!I!could!tell!he!was!sad!over!whatever!was! happening.!He!dropped!his!head!down!and!walked!out!of!the!room,!handing!the!microphone!to!our! assistant!principal,!who!announced!that!our!parents!were!aware!of!the!situation!and!should!be!picking! us!up!soon.! The!assembly!was!over!and!we!were!told!to!return!to!our!classrooms!to!gather!our!things!to!go! home.!Parents!were!already!entering!the!school!and!quickly!grabbing!their!children.!Most!of!the!faculty! was!also!in!a!rush!to!leave.!As!I!grabbed!my!coat!and!backpack!from!my!classroom,!I!noticed!Mrs.!Clark! was!at!her!desk!crying.!Her!eyes!were!locked!in!on!her!computer!screen.!She!barely!noticed!the!students! coming!and!going!from!the!room.!I!approached!her!and!asked!what!was!wrong.!She!looked!up,!and!with! tears!in!her!eyes!told!me!to!quickly!find!my!parents!and!go!home.!She!went!back!to!reading!her! computer!screen!and!paid!no!more!attention!to!me!or!any!other!student.! I!made!my!way!down!the!hallways!to!the!entrance!of!the!school.!I!looked!into!the!office!and! noticed!that!it!was!already!empty.!It!was!weird!that!all!the!adults!would!leave!when!students!were!still! in!the!school.!And!why!were!there!no!buses!to!come!and!get!us?!I!watched!as!several!students!used!cell! phones!to!call!their!parents.!My!parents!had!always!told!me!that!a!cell!phone!was!a!luxury!a!kid!my!age! didn’t!need.!My!mind!was!filled!with!thoughts!of!anger.!In!the!very!moment!when!I!needed!a!cell!phone! to!call!them,!I!didn’t!have!one.!! One!by!one!the!hallways!thinned!of!students.!I!paced!back!and!forth!and!wandered!outside!to! try!and!spot!one!of!my!parent’s!cars.!The!parking!lot!was!a!mess!as!parents!tried!to!get!in!and!out! quickly.!I!even!witnessed!one!student’s!father!hit!another!car!and!he!still!drove!off!quickly.!What(is( happening?!I!thought!to!myself!over!and!over!again!as!my!world!seemed!to!be!turning!upside!down.!I! could!not!figure!out!what!was!going!on!that!would!make!everyone!act!that!way.! !!!I!looked!at!the!clock;!it!showed!one!o’clock.!It!had!been!several!hours!since!our!strange! assembly.!They!hadn’t!even!fed!us!lunch.!The!last!student!had!left!me!awhile!ago!as!well.!I!hadn’t!even! seen!Brittany!in!all!the!chaos!of!things,!though!I!thought!I!saw!her!mother’s!car!speed!down!the!road!at! one!point.!I!was!alone—alone!in!a!school.!I!never!thought!anything!like!that!would!ever!happen!to!me.!I! did!the!thing!I!thought!was!most!appropriate!at!the!time:!I!cried.! After!sitting!and!crying!alone!in!a!large!and!empty!school,!I!decided!I!would!walk!home.!I! tightened!up!my!raincoat!and!stepped!outside!into!the!pouring!rain.!The!sky!seemed!to!be!crying!for!me! at!that!moment.!Where!were!my!parents?!I!understood!my!dad!would!probably!not!make!it!home!from! work!in!the!city,!but!Mom?!She!had!never!let!me!down!before.!The!rain!didn’t!bother!me.!It!couldn’t!be! any!worse!than!the!feelings!that!stirred!inside!me.!I!walked!down!the!sidewalk!in!the!direction!of!my! house.!It!would!be!a!long!and!miserable!walk.!I!kept!my!eyes!on!the!ground!in!front!of!me!for!a!long! time!and!the!rain!was!the!only!sound!I!could!hear.!I!reached!some!different!points!in!which!my!path!

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turned,!but!I!always!kept!my!eyes!down.!I!didn’t!want!to!face!the!world—the!world!that!had!abandoned! me.! I!reached!the!edge!of!the!field!that!I!could!cut!through!to!reach!my!house.!I!trudged!through!the! mud!in!the!field.!I!normally!was!very!particular!about!not!getting!my!clothes!dirty.!Not!that!day.!I! planned!on!getting!home!and!walking!right!through!the!front!door!without!cleaning!my!feet!off.!My! mouth!cracked!into!a!diabolical!smirk!as!I!plotted!my!revenge!on!my!mother.!The(couches(and(carpet( will(get(it(next,!I!schemed.!I(don’t(care(how(much(trouble(I(get(in,(Mom(deserves(it.!I!reached!the!end!of! the!field,!at!which!point!I!could!see!the!new!houses!that!were!being!built!behind!my!house.!I!made!my! way!through!the!empty!construction!sites!and!into!my!backyard.!The!world!was!strangely!quiet!as!the! rain!continued!to!beat!down!on!my!face.! I!approached!my!back!door!and!turned!the!knob.!It!was!open.!I!entered!the!laundry!room!and!all! my!courage!to!defy!my!mother!quickly!dissipated.!I!chickened!out.!No!child!can!stand!up!against!the! wrath!of!an!angry!mother.!I!slipped!my!muddy!boots!off!and!wiped!the!mud!off!my!pants!the!best!I! could.!When!I!was!clean!enough!to!continue!into!the!house,!I!began!to!call!for!my!mom.!No!answer.!The! house!was!deathly!quiet.!I!began!to!systematically!check!each!room!in!the!house,!starting!with!my! mother’s!room!upstairs.!There!was!no!sign!of!her!anywhere.!Finally,!I!found!myself!entering!the!main! entryway!of!the!house.!To!the!left!side!of!the!front!door!was!a!small!sitting!room.!I!guess!it!was!for! visitors!or!something.!All!I!know!is!I!wasn’t!allowed!to!play!in!it.!I!was!shocked!to!see!that!the!room!was! an!absolute!mess.!The!couch!cushions!and!pillows!were!thrown!all!about.!The!porcelain!knickknacks!that! decorated!the!room’s!shelves!were!broken!and!the!coffee!table!was!overturned.!! As!I!inspected!the!room,!I!suddenly!noticed!traces!of!blood!on!the!walls!and!floor.!Not!a!large! pool!of!blood,!but!small!amounts,!probably!from!one!person.!My!stomach!began!to!knot!up.!I!had!spent! all!that!time!focusing!my!anger!on!my!mother!and!now!something!might!be!seriously!wrong!with!her.!I! could!feel!tears!beginning!to!form!at!the!edges!of!my!eyes.!! “Mommy!”!I!suddenly!called!out.!! Mommy?(I!thought.!It!had!been!a!while!since!I!called!her!that.!I!was!getting!too!old!for!such! statements,!but!at!that!moment,!I!didn’t!care.!My!heart!began!to!race!as!I!tried!to!make!sense!of!the! blood!stains.!I!noticed!a!trail!led!outside!of!the!sitting!room!and!towards!the!front!door.!I!approached! the!door!to!notice!it!was!slightly!ajar.!There!was!a!trace!amount!of!blood!on!the!handle.!My!mom!must! have!gone!outside.! I!quickly!pulled!open!the!handle!and!stepped!into!the!doorway;!there!I!froze.!Outside!seemed! like!a!foreign!place!to!me.!It!took!me!several!moments!to!take!in!all!the!details.!The!first!thing!that!drew! my!attention!was!a!police!car!at!the!entrance!to!our!street;!its!lights!still!flashing.!Throughout!the!street! were!parked!cars!belonging!to!my!neighbors.!Several!of!the!cars!were!smashed!and!their!windshields! were!cracked.!One!car!was!completely!overturned!and!lay!on!its!roof.!I!was!horrified!to!notice!several! bodies!lying!on!the!ground!throughout!the!road.!I!couldn’t!make!out!a!lot!of!details!in!the!rain,!but!the! pools!of!water!seemed!mixed!with!blood.!The!doors!to!my!neighbors’!houses!were!open,!and!I!noticed!a! few!windows!were!broken.!I!could!see!the!curtains!of!Brittany’s!house!hanging!out!the!front!window.! They!were!soaking!wet!from!the!rain.! I!looked!down!onto!the!porch!in!front!of!me!and!could!make!out!some!bloody!footprints!leading! towards!the!driveway!and!street.!I!began!to!follow!them!but!the!trail!ran!cold!when!the!prints!hit!the! concrete!path!that!was!no!longer!protected!from!the!roof!of!the!house.!The!rain!had!washed!away!all! traces!of!my!mother.!I!froze!and!sat!down!on!the!steps!to!my!front!porch.!The!rain!once!again!poured! onto!my!head!and!face.!It!washed!away!the!tears!running!down!my!cheeks.!I!stared!at!the!last!footprint! on!the!porch.!I!wondered!if!the!print!could!really!be!from!my!mom.!What!had!happened!to!her?!What! had!happened!to!everyone?!I!was!all!alone!in!the!world,!and!the!hopes!to!find!my!mom!were!crushed.! I!was!suddenly!startled!by!a!loud!banging!noise!in!the!distance.!I!looked!up!to!see!a!man!pushing! against!the!side!of!a!nearby!car.!The!man!was!walking!slowly!towards!me!with!a!bit!of!a!limp!in!one!leg.!

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Chelsea Adams 3/29/12 6:35 PM Deleted: No!child!can!stand!up!against!the!wrath! of!an!angry!mother.!I!chickened!out.!

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The!leg!seemed!to!be!cut!open!and!his!face!and!his!clothes!were!stained!red!with!blood.!My!initial! thought!was!to!jump!up!and!help!the!wounded!man.!I!was!only!eleven!so!there!wouldn’t!be!much!I! could!do,!but!it!seemed!like!the!right!thing!to!do.!As!I!stood!up,!a!feeling!of!dread!swept!over!my!body;! my!feet!wouldn’t!move.!The!man!continued!to!move!closer!and!reached!the!edge!of!my!driveway.!I!then! noticed!another!figure!in!the!rain!farther!away;!then!another,!and!another.!I!could!then!see!at!least!six! adults!heading!my!direction.!! The!man!in!my!driveway!moved!even!closer!to!me.!I!could!see!more!detail!in!his!appearance.!His! eyes!were!locked!in!on!me;!they!were!sunken!and!dark.!His!skin!seemed!pale!and!I!could!see!a!trail!of! blood!from!his!mouth.!It!looked!like!he!was!drinking!juice!and!had!spilled!it!down!his!chin.!His!pant!leg! was!ripped!open!and!I!could!see!a!gaping!wound!underneath.!It!wasn’t!a!cut!or!scrap!like!something!I! would!get!on!the!playground.!The!flesh!on!his!leg!wound!looked!like!chewed!up!hamburger.!A!flow!of! blood!was!oozing!out!from!the!wound!with!each!step,!and!the!rain!was!washing!it!down!his!leg.!For! having!a!wound!that!bad,!the!man!seemed!to!take!little!notice,!though!he!let!out!a!minor!groan!with! each!step.!He!was!fixed!on!me.! I!screamed!and!ran!into!the!house!as!quickly!as!possible.!I!slammed!the!door!shut!and!locked! both!the!handle!and!the!deadbolt.!I!ran!to!the!sitting!room!and!glanced!out!the!window.!The!man!was! walking!up!the!steps!to!my!house;!three!others!were!walking!across!my!front!lawn!in!the!same!direction.! My!young!mind!was!racing.!I!didn’t!know!what!to!do.!My!first!thought!was!to!run!up!to!my!room!and! hide!under!my!bed.!I!began!to!run!upstairs!when!a!loud!slamming!noise!struck!from!my!front!door.!I! jumped!and!let!out!a!little!scream.!I!knew!my!house!wouldn’t!be!safe!for!long.!! The!banging!against!the!front!door!continued!and!I!had!to!think!fast.!I!ran!towards!the!back!of! the!house.!I!entered!the!wash!room!and!quickly!put!on!my!rain!clothes.!As!I!flung!the!back!door!open! and!ran!out!into!the!rain,!I!heard!a!large!crashing!noise!from!the!front!of!the!house.!They!must!have! broken!through!the!front!door.!I!continued!to!run!across!my!backyard!and!towards!one!of!the!new! houses!being!built.! I!found!the!highest!point!in!the!construction!site!and!climbed!up!to!it!to!hide.!It!was!in!some!of! the!ceiling!trusses!of!the!roof.!I!was!hidden!from!the!rain!and!it!would!be!hard!for!anyone!to!find!me! there.!I!didn’t!know!what!to!do!next.!My!mom!was!gone,!my!dad!was!probably!still!stuck!in!the!city,!and! my!house!was!no!longer!safe.!That!wasn’t!even!my!biggest!problem.!What!had!happened!to!the!adults! in!the!street?!What!could!be!happening?!I!realized!I!needed!to!get!out!of!the!area.!My!grandparents! lived!in!the!next!town!over.!I!had!driven!back!and!forth!with!my!parents!numerous!times.!The!new! houses!were!actually!being!built!on!the!edge!of!the!main!road!leaving!town,!toward!my!grandparents’.!I! decided!the!best!thing!to!do!was!travel!as!quickly!as!I!could!to!their!house!and!they!would!help.!! I!crawled!out!from!my!hiding!place!and!made!my!way!across!the!lots.!When!I!reached!the!main! road!I!looked!in!both!directions.!Through!the!rain,!I!couldn’t!see!any!cars!driving!on!the!road.!To!be!safe,! I!stayed!on!the!shoulder!of!the!road.!I!realized!how!much!trouble!I!would!get!in!if!my!parents!knew!what! I!was!doing.!They!would!always!tell!me!not!to!play!in!the!road,!especially!this!one.!Cars!drove!really!fast! on!the!road,!but!there!didn’t!seem!to!be!any!at!that!time.!I!didn’t!really!believe!my!parents!would!even! have!the!opportunity!to!get!mad!at!me.!Everything!had!changed,!and!so!I!headed!on!through!the!rain! toward!my!grandparents’!town.! After!about!an!hour!of!walking,!I!felt!like!I!could!go!no!further.!My!gut!winced!in!pain!from! hunger.!I!hadn’t!eaten!anything!since!breakfast.!I!would!normally!be!starving!by!that!point!in!the!day! anyways,!and!the!fact!that!I’d!been!walking!down!a!highway!for!the!last!hour!made!things!even!worse.!I! sat!down!on!the!gravel!shoulder!of!the!road.!The!rain!was!still!coming!down!and!I!was!completely! soaked.!No!cars!had!driven!by!the!entire!time!I’d!walked.!I!wondered!if!I!was!the!only!normal!person!left! in!the!world.!My!body!was!so!tired,!and!I!wondered!how!I!would!continue!on.!Both!of!my!legs!began!to! quiver!as!I!placed!my!head!down!on!my!knees;!it!was!either!from!being!cold!from!the!rain!or!from!all!the! walking.!I!enjoyed!a!lot!of!physical!activity,!but!that!moment!really!sucked.!

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Chelsea Adams 3/29/12 6:44 PM Deleted: duration!of!my!walking


After!taking!a!break!I!managed!to!convince!myself!to!start!walking!again.!Each!step!on!the! bumpy!shoulder!of!the!road!jarred!my!aching!stomach.!I!decided!to!disregard!safety!and!began!walking! on!the!smoother,!paved!road.!The!sun!was!getting!lower!in!the!sky!and!I!knew!it!was!getting!late.!After!a! short!period!of!traveling!I!came!upon!a!car!at!the!side!of!the!road.!It!was!a!smaller!car!with!only!two!side! doors!and!a!back!that!opened!up.!It!was!easy!to!spot!as!everything!was!getting!dark!and!the!lights!were! still!on.!I!noticed!that!the!driver’s!side!door!was!open.!Before!approaching!the!car!I!made!sure!to!scout! out!the!area.!I!had!seen!enough!back!at!my!house!to!know!that!I!needed!to!be!as!cautious!as!possible.! Both!sides!of!the!highway!were!lined!with!barbwire!fences!and!open!fields.!I!wasn’t!sure!what!was! growing!in!the!fields,!but!the!plants!were!very!low!to!the!soil!and!I!couldn’t!see!anything!lying!on!the! ground.! From!a!distance!I!walked!back!and!forth!on!the!road!trying!to!see!all!around!the!car.!The!car!was! half!way!off!the!road!and!onto!the!shoulder.!I!was!able!to!see!that!no!one!was!waiting!on!either!side!of! the!car,!but!I!couldn’t!quite!see!through!the!car!windows.!The!sun!was!starting!to!set,!and!I!soon! wouldn’t!be!able!to!see!very!well.!I!slowly!approached!the!vehicle!and!continued!to!survey!the!area.! Once!I!was!about!ten!feet!away!from!the!car!I!could!make!out!the!inside.!It!was!empty!inside!besides!the! usual!clutter!that!seems!to!infect!people’s!cars.!I!cautiously!entered!in!through!the!open!driver’s!side! door.!The!keys!were!still!in!the!ignition.!The!car!was!beeping!loudly!at!me!to!close!the!door.!I!sat!down! on!the!driver’s!seat.!I!had!never!driven!a!car,!and!I!didn’t!know!if!I!could.!I!had!observed!enough!to!know! the!theory!behind!driving,!but!knowing!and!doing!are!two!completely!different!things.!I!turned!the!key! and!the!motor!rumbled!a!bit.!The!car!didn’t!start!though.!I!looked!around!at!the!various!gages!on!the! dashboard!and!was!sad!to!notice!the!gas!gage!was!on!empty;!so!much!for!trying!to!drive!my!first!car.! With!driving!no!longer!an!option,!I!started!to!look!through!the!contents!of!the!vehicle.!I!was! starving!and!was!desperate!for!anything!to!eat.!Under!some!of!the!random!clutter!in!the!back!seat!I! found!an!old,!fast!food!bag.!Inside,!I!was!able!to!score!some!stale!French!fries.!I!had!no!idea!how!long! that!bag!had!been!rotting!back!there,!but!I!needed!to!eat!something.!The!fries!were!the!worst!I’d!ever! eaten,!but!a!spare!packet!of!ketchup!made!them!somewhat!edible.!I!ate!every!trace!of!food!in!the!bag! and!continued!my!search!of!the!car.!The!only!other!item!I!found!was!a!pack!of!chewing!gum.!It!was! better!than!nothing,!so!I!slipped!one!piece!in!my!mouth!and!put!the!rest!of!the!pack!into!my!pocket.! It!was!now!getting!really!dark!outside.!The!sun!was!almost!set!and!I!decided!to!spend!the!night! in!the!car.!I!figured!it!was!the!only!dry!and!safe!place!that!I!had!seen!so!far.!I!wasn’t!sure!who!had!left! the!car!there!on!the!side!of!the!road,!but!hopefully!they!weren’t!coming!back.!I!closed!the!driver’s!side! door!and!locked!each!door.!There!were!no!automatic!locks,!just!the!weird!pole!looking!things!sticking!up! from!each!door.!I!pressed!each!one!down!into!the!locked!positions.!!I!pushed!the!junk!off!the!back!seat! and!onto!the!floor.!The!backseat!was!a!mess;!whoever!had!owned!the!car!was!a!slob.!However,!I!was! grateful!that!I!at!least!had!their!car!to!sleep!in.! I!managed!to!find!a!large,!adultdsized!hoodie!bunched!up!near!the!back!window.!I!used!it!as!a! makeshift!blanket!for!the!night.!I!was!able!to!curl!up!in!the!backseat!and!was!surprisingly!comfortable,! though!I!was!still!hungry.!The!soft!drumming!of!rain!drops!on!the!roof!of!the!car!was!sort!of!soothing!to! me.!I!fell!asleep!rather!quickly.!I!think!it!was!from!all!the!walking!I!had!done!that!day.!It!felt!good!to!rest,! though!I!wished!I!was!back!home!in!my!own!bed!with!my!mother!hovering!over!me,!kissing!me! goodnight.! The!next!morning!I!woke!up!in!a!sweat.!The!entire!car!was!hot!and!humid!as!the!sun!was! beginning!to!climb!in!the!sky.!It!was!still!cloudy!and!raining,!but!the!sun!had!found!a!hole!in!the!clouds! and!was!now!slowly!baking!me!inside!the!car.!I!was!surprised!to!realize!how!late!I!had!slept!in;!I!was! normally!an!early!riser.!My!stomach!began!to!churn!as!I!was!reminded!that!I!hadn’t!eaten!a!proper!meal! in!some!time.!I!climbed!through!the!gap!between!the!front!seats!and!unlocked!the!driver’s!door.!A!blast! of!cool!air!entered!the!car!as!I!opened!the!door.!I!was!groggy!from!waking!up,!but!knew!I!needed!to! start!walking!once!again.!

Chelsea Adams 3/29/12 6:47 PM Deleted: nor!did!I!really

Chelsea Adams 3/29/12 6:51 PM Comment: I!am!unsure!what!the!meaning!of!this! sentence!is.!Is!Sarah!happy!that!even!though!the!car! is!a!mess!she!has!a!place!to!sleep,!or!is!she!just! barely!grateful!to!have!a!car!to!sleep!in?!I!changed!it! to!mean!the!first!of!the!two,!but!if!that!isn’t!what! the!sentence!means!let!me!know.!

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The!rest!of!the!walk!to!my!grandparents’!town!is!a!blur!to!me!now.!I!walked!for,!what!seemed! like!hours!with!little!to!look!at!but!endless!fields;!they!lined!either!side!of!the!road!with!little!variety.!The! occasional!field!would!have!a!tractor!or!large!sprinklers!in!it.!It!helped!break!up!the!monotony.!I!chewed! each!piece!of!gum!in!the!pack!for!my!breakfast.!It!didn’t!fill!my!stomach,!but!it!eased!my!cravings!a!bit.! My!mind!continually!wandered!as!I!thought!about!my!parents!and!friends.!My!spirit!lifted!as!I!passed! the!large,!green!sign!informing!drivers!of!the!distance!to!town.!I!remembered!seeing!this!sign!every!time! we!went!to!visit!my!grandparents.!The!drive!was!only!a!little!longer!after!that!sign.!I!knew!the!walk! would!be!much!longer.!My!rain!boots!were!to!thank!for!that;!how!I!wished!I!had!a!decent!pair!of!running! shoes!right!then.! As!I!started!to!enter!the!edge!of!town,!I!quickly!remembered!the!burger!place!that!we!would! often!stop!at.!It!was!one!of!the!first!businesses!we!would!pass!by!when!driving!to!my!grandparents’.!The! store!had!great!burgers!and!amazing!shakes.!My!mouth!began!to!fill!with!saliva!as!I!thought!about!the! food.!I!noticed!that!my!pace!had!sped!up!a!bit!as!well.!I!guess!my!feet!wanted!some!food!just!as!much!as! my!stomach!did.!The!rest!of!the!way!to!the!burger!joint!was!set!at!a!brisk!jog.!The!thought!of! mouthwatering!food!was!all!the!motivation!I!needed.!In!the!distance,!through!the!rain,!I!finally!caught!a! glimpse!of!the!building.!I!excitedly!jumped!in!the!air!and!ran!towards!it!at!a!full!run.! The!burger!joint!was!on!the!right!side!of!the!road!with!a!large!parking!lot!in!front!of!it.!There! were!a!few!homes!across!the!street!and!around!the!area.!I!always!thought!it!was!weird!how!they!built! this!place!away!from!the!center!of!town.!My!mom!told!me!that!they!built!it!there!so!people!would!stop! to!eat!before!making!it!to!the!other!places!in!town.!Whatever!the!reason,!I!was!there!and!I!was!happy!to! be.!My!mind!brought!my!excitement!in!check!as!I!realized!once!again!that!I!needed!to!be!careful!before! just!running!into!the!store!and!ordering!a!burger.!I!stopped!at!the!corner!of!the!parking!lot!and!scanned! the!area.!Surprisingly!no!cars!were!around,!except!for!the!occasional!one!parked!in!the!driveway!of!a! nearby!house,!which!were!scarce.! I!slowly!walked!toward!the!burger!joint’s!front!door!while!constantly!looking!around.!No!one! was!in!sight.!I!made!it!to!the!front!door!and!put!my!face!against!the!glass!with!my!hands!cupped!around! my!eyes.!Inside!was!empty.!That!was!the!first!time!I!had!seen!the!place!empty!during!the!afternoon.!I! opened!the!door!and!jumped!when!a!small!bell!went!off!at!the!door.!I!think!the!bell!was!to!let!workers! know!that!a!customer!had!arrived.!All!the!bell!did!was!scare!the!crap!out!of!me.!I!waited!to!see!the! bright!inviting!face!of!one!of!the!workers!that!usually!greeted!me!and!my!parents.!No!one!came!that! time;!the!place!seemed!to!be!deserted.!!! I!made!my!way!past!the!various!booths!and!tables!towards!the!counter.!Some!of!the!tables!still! had!trays!of!food!on!them;!like!people!had!left!in!a!hurry.!I!was!as!quiet!as!possible,!though!tip!toeing!in! wet!rubber!boots!was!difficult.!I!couldn’t!hear!any!sounds,!and!I!couldn’t!detect!any!movement.!I! approached!the!counter!and!could!see!into!the!kitchen;!it!was!dark!and!empty.!Satisfied!that!the!place! was!empty,!I!began!my!search!for!food.!I!made!my!way!around!the!counter!and!into!the!kitchen.!I! realized!I!would!not!be!able!to!enjoy!the!burger!I!so!desperately!craved!unless!I!cooked!it!myself,!which! probably!wasn’t!going!to!happen.! The!kitchen!was!a!mess.!It!looked!as!if!the!workers!had!left!on!a!break!during!the!day!and!never! returned.!Various!food!items!were!left!out!on!the!counter!still.!On!the!grill!in!the!back!were!some! burgers!that!were!dark!and!charred.!The!grease!on!the!grill!had!turned!solid!around!the!charred!burgers.! I!started!to!guess!that!everyone!must!have!abandoned!the!place!yesterday!when!whatever!news!had! reached!them.!They!must!have!reacted!like!the!teachers!at!my!school!and!just!left!to!go!home.!Cut! tomatoes!and!lettuce!were!waiting!on!the!counter!to!be!used!for!hamburgers.!I!helped!myself!to!the! food.!The!vegetables!were!starting!to!wilt!from!being!left!out,!but!I!wasn’t!picky!at!this!point.!I!didn’t! dare!touch!any!of!the!meat!that!had!been!sitting!out!though.! In!the!back!I!was!able!to!find!the!walk!in!freezer.!It!was!still!pretty!cold!inside.!The!shelves!were! lined!with!numerous!boxes!full!of!food.!The!light!in!the!freezer!didn’t!work,!so!I!had!to!pull!boxes!out!of!

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Chelsea Adams 3/29/12 6:56 PM Comment: Are!the!houses!scarce!or!the!cars! scarce?!Which!is!ambiguous!here.!

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the!freezer!and!into!the!kitchen!to!read!their!labels.!I!found!a!box!labeled!“French!fries”!and!cut!it!open! with!a!nearby!knife.!The!fries!were!completely!frozen.!I!walked!over!to!the!deep!fryer!to!find!that!the! grease!was!no!longer!hot.!It!looked!like!a!vat!of!wax.!I!pushed!my!finger!into!the!hardened!grease!and! made!some!imprints!in!it.!I!realized!that!the!power!must!be!out!for!the!entire!building,!which!meant!I! wouldn’t!be!able!to!cook!or!microwave!anything.! I!made!the!best!of!my!situation!and!ate!whatever!food!I!could.!There!were!several!cups!of!soda! pop!around!the!dining!area!and!I!tried!drinking!each!one.!My!parents!never!let!me!drink!a!lot!of!pop!and! I!enjoyed!trying!all!the!various!flavors.!I!managed!to!find!enough!vegetables!and!hamburger!buns!to!fill! my!stomach!completely.!!I!even!made!myself!a!hamburger!minus!the!meat.!I!laughed!that!it!was!my!very! own!veggiedburger.!Finally,!after!gorging!myself!on!all!the!food,!I!laid!down!in!a!booth!close!to!the!front! counter.!I!fell!asleep.! I!woke!up,!startled!by!the!loud!ringing!of!the!bell!hooked!to!the!front!door.!I!quickly!slid!off!the! bench!and!under!the!table.!I!heard!the!front!door!shut!and!a!figure!entered!into!the!room.!My!heart! began!to!race!and!I!began!breathing!hard.!The!figure!moved!slowly!across!the!floor.!I!peeked!out!from! underneath!the!table!and!saw!a!thin,!middledaged!woman.!She!was!walking!strangely!and!had!her!back! towards!me.!She!approached!the!closest!table!with!food!on!it!and!began!to!devour!a!daydold,!halfdeaten! hamburger!off!of!one!of!the!trays.!What!scared!me!the!most!is!she!didn’t!pick!it!up!and!eat!it!like!a! normal!person!would;!she!buried!her!face!into!the!tray!and!violently!devoured!the!food.! I!used!this!distraction!to!crawl!out!from!behind!the!table!and!slipped!behind!the!front!counter.! There,!I!slowly!stood!up!behind!the!counter!and!peaked!over!it.!The!woman!finished!eating!what!she! could!on!the!tray.!She!spit!and!coughed!several!times!before!starting!to!wander!around!the!room! looking!for!more.!Her!eyes!were!dark!and!sunken!and!her!face!was!covered!in!food.!She!had!this!empty! expression!on!her!pale!face.!As!her!gaze!turned!towards!me,!I!quickly!slid!back!down!behind!the! counter.!As!I!did,!a!plastic!tray!fell!from!a!shelf!underneath!the!counter!and!struck!the!floor.!My!body! froze!as!the!tray!hit!the!tile!floor!with!a!loud!bang.! The!woman!let!out!a!hungry!growl!as!she!moved!speedily!towards!the!counter.!I!crawled!quickly! across!the!floor!past!the!deep!fryer!and!grill!towards!the!walk!in!freezer.!I!climbed!underneath!a!counter! just!next!to!the!freezer.!I!curled!up!into!a!ball!and!pulled!the!box!of!frozen!French!fries!in!front!of!me.! Just!as!I!had!taken!cover,!the!woman!burst!violently!into!the!kitchen.!She!bumped!into!the!cash!register! on!the!counter!and!knocked!it!onto!the!floor.!The!cash!register!broke!open,!and!coins!bounced!out! across!the!floor.!The!woman!ignored!the!money!and!began!searching!around!the!room.!I!could!hear!her! loud!breathing,!almost!like!a!dog!sniffing!for!a!bone.! She!made!her!way!around!the!counters,!knocking!items!onto!the!floor.!Step!by!step!she!made! her!way!towards!me.!She!occasionally!growled!under!her!deep!breathing.!From!behind!the!fry!box!I! could!see!her!feet!drawing!closer!to!me.!She!walked!in!a!strange!way,!almost!like!she!wasn’t!very! coordinated.!Her!feet!shuffled!in!a!way!that!seemed!like!she!was!going!to!trip!herself.!She!made!her!way! directly!in!front!of!me!and!stood!there.!Her!arms!jerked!forward,!and!utensils!and!trays!came!crashing!to! the!floor!in!front!of!me.!I!tried!desperately!not!to!move.!She!took!a!step!to!the!side!and!I!could!hear!her! hands!brushing!up!against!the!handle!on!the!freezer.!After!a!couple!of!attempts,!she!managed!to!open! the!freezer!door!and!entered!in.! I!threw!the!fry!box!away!from!me!and!quickly!sprung!from!my!hiding!place.!I!stood!up!and! slammed!the!freezer!door!shut.!On!the!handle!of!the!freezer!door!hung!a!chain!with!a!small!metal!pin! on!the!end.!I!grabbed!the!pin!and!pushed!it!into!the!tiny!slot!on!the!handle.!The!woman!was!now! trapped!inside.!She!began!to!bang!violently!against!the!freezer!door.!I!ran!away!from!the!door!and! toward!a!window!used!for!drive!thru!customers.!I!slid!the!window!open!and!climbed!through.!It!was!a! small!drop!to!the!ground!and!I!was!free!outside!in!the!open!air.!The!rain!pelted!my!face!hard,!but!I!kept! running.!I!continued!to!run!toward!the!center!of!town,!where!my!grandparents!lived.!

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! Chapter!3! ! I!woke!up!in!the!small!pantry!to!the!sound!of!Jake!pulling!the!nail!from!the!door.!He!tried!to!be! as!quiet!as!possible,!but!I’m!a!light!sleeper.!The!others!still!slept!quietly,!bunched!up!on!the!floor.!I! raised!my!head!off!of!the!damp!floor.!I!wiped!the!dirt!that!stuck!to!my!face!and!spit!a!little!to!clean!out! my!mouth.!I!missed!my!own!clean!bed.!Sleeping!on!the!dirty!floor!was!getting!old!quick,!but!it!was!too! dangerous!to!sleep!in!a!normal!bed.!Jake!finished!pulling!the!nail!out!and!quietly!placed!the!nail!and! hammer!into!his!backpack.!We!were!all!grateful!for!Jake!and!his!backpack.!He!was!the!only!one!to!think! about!bringing!supplies!on!our!journey.!The!rest!of!us!simply!ran!when!everything!happened,!with! nothing!more!than!the!clothes!on!our!backs.!I!regretted!that!the!only!pair!of!shoes!I!had!were!rain! boots.!The!plastic!boots!were!helpful!when!trudging!through!the!mud,!but!the!long!walks!really!hurt!my! feet.! “Stay!here!while!I!check!the!place,”!Jake!whispered!to!me!as!he!slipped!out!the!door!with!his! shovel!in!hand.!! I!was!sure!the!house!was!empty,!but!Jake!was!always!extra!careful!with!everything.!I!leaned! myself!against!the!pantry!wall!and!closed!my!eyes!for!a!little!bit.!Within!a!few!minutes,!Jake!returned.! He!opened!the!door!and!motioned!for!me!to!follow!him.!With!the!pantry!door!closed,!we!began!to!talk!a! bit.!Jake!told!me!that!there!had!been!another!Monster!in!the!house!during!the!night.!We!walked!into! the!dead!Monster’s!bedroom.!Jake!pointed!to!the!floor.!The!dead!Monster!had!been!fed!on!and!its!head! was!missing.!It!was!a!disgusting!sight.!It!had!been!hard!enough!to!see!it!dead!the!previous!night,!but! seeing!it!ripped!open!was!a!bit!much.!I!gagged!and!threw!up!a!little!on!the!floor!as!Jake!laughed.!He! turned!to!try!and!hide!it.!I’m!not!sure!if!he!was!embarrassed!to!be!seen!laughing!or!if!he!was!trying!to! spare!me!the!embarrassment.! We!left!the!room!and!returned!to!the!others;!they!were!finally!starting!to!wake!up.!The!sun!had! risen!and!the!light!was!shining!in!through!the!windows.!The!beams!of!light!were!penetrating!underneath! the!pantry!door;!it!must!have!been!shining!in!their!eyes.!! The!first!person!we!heard!was!Tianna.!“Jake,!Jake,!is!it!safe?”!! Jake!walked!over!to!the!door!and!opened!it.!Tianna!was!kneeling!down!behind!the!door,! probably!trying!to!peek!through!the!keyhole.!When!Jake!pulled!open!the!door!she!fell!backwards!slightly! with!wide!eyes!and!bumped!into!the!other!two.!Michelle!and!Ryan!stirred!from!their!sleep!and!sat!up.!! “Good!morning,!everyone!”!Michelle!said!with!a!smile.!! “Is!it!morning?”!Ryan!asked!sarcastically.!! “Yes,!and!we!need!to!get!moving,”!Jake!responded.! We!quickly!ate!an!odd!breakfast!made!up!of!peaches!and!applesauce.!The!pantry!had!several! mason!jars!that!somehow!had!survived!the!flood.!They!were!too!heavy!to!bring!with!us!so!we!had!to!eat! them!before!we!left.!We!scavenged!the!house!and!found!some!other!small,!canned!food.!Jake!had!a!can! opener!in!his!pack!and!made!us!save!that!food!for!later.!! “We!don’t!know!if!we!will!find!food!later!on,!so!we!need!to!bring!this!with!us,”!Jake! commanded.!! Jake!was!the!only!one!that!seemed!to!think!ahead.!He!had!learned!so!much!from!his!dad;!I! doubted!we!would!make!it!without!him.! After!breakfast!and!a!bathroom!break,!we!prepared!to!leave.!Bathroom!breaks!were!an! awkward!transition!for!all!of!us.!We!were!all!use!to!going!behind!closed!doors!on!a!proper!toilet.!In!the! floodplain!there!weren’t!many!usable!bathrooms!and!no!running!water.!Most!of!the!time!we!had!to!go! wherever!we!could!safely!go.!This!was!not!a!problem!for!Jake!and!Ryan;!they!were!boys.!The!three!of!us! girls!had!it!rough.!Not!only!did!we!have!to!adjust!to!squatting!wherever!it!was!safe,!we!had!to!do!it!with! someone!nearby.!Jake!insisted!that!no!one!should!go!off!alone!for!any!reason,!with!the!exception!of!him!

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or!Ryan!rechecking!buildings!after!we!had!cleared!them.!It!was!hard!for!us!to!use!the!bathroom!with! someone!only!a!couple!of!feet!away,!but!we!were!quickly!becoming!more!comfortable!with!each!other! with!each!passing!day.! When!everyone!was!ready!to!depart,!Jake!pulled!open!the!outside!door.!The!sun!shone!brightly! now!and!our!eyes!had!to!adjust.!Tianna!grumbled!as!we!started!taking!the!first!steps!out!the!door.!We! all!knew!we!had!a!long!day!of!walking!ahead!of!us.!We!walked!in!a!straight!line;!Jake!would!lead!the!way! and!I!would!follow!directly!behind!him.!The!other!girls!would!walk!in!the!middle!and!Ryan!would!follow! in!the!rear!with!his!pitchfork!in!hand.!I!would!stare!for!hours!at!Jake’s!back!while!we!walked.!He!carried! all!our!supplies!and!food,!as!well!as!his!bow.!I!wondered!how!heavy!it!must!have!been!and!how!Jake! could!carry!it!every!day!without!complaining.! We!were!heading!west;!none!of!us!really!knew!where!to.!We!all!had!managed!to!find!each!other! from!different!places!and!west!just!seemed!like!the!best!idea.!Ryan!came!from!the!city!in!the!east!and! after!hearing!about!that!place,!we!wanted!to!get!as!far!away!from!it!as!possible.!The!floodplain!also! seemed!to!be!the!safest!place!for!us!to!go.!The!mud!made!traveling!a!very!slow!and!difficult!process,!but! the!same!could!be!said!for!the!Monsters!moving!around.!They!seemed!to!have!just!as!much!difficulty!as! we!did.!The!floodplain!was!also!a!safer!place!to!be!because!most!people,!animals,!and!Monsters!were! killed!in!the!initial!flood.!A!majority!of!the!buildings!in!the!area!were!destroyed!as!well.!It!was!easy!to! see!far!distances!in!all!directions!as!we!walked.!All!the!landscape!was!covered!in!a!thick!layer!of!mud.! We!could!spot!danger!from!a!distance!or!find!shelter!for!the!night.!! Jake!would!guide!us!west,!and!we!would!try!to!walk!as!much!as!possible!until!the!sun!was!close! to!setting.!At!that!time!we!would!find!shelter!for!the!night.!The!shelter!wasn’t!always!comfortable,!but! Jake!always!found!us!somewhere!safe!to!stay.!The!first!day!was!really!slow!moving.!Tianna!was! extremely!annoying!while!walking.!She!would!often!cry!and!complain!that!her!feet!hurt,!or!that!she!was! hungry,!or!that!she!was!tired.!Michelle!and!I!would!try!and!talk!to!her!and!tell!her!it!would!be!okay.!Jake! would!simply!ignore!her.!At!first!I!thought!he!was!a!jerk!for!doing!so,!but!at!that!point!in!our!journey,!we! all!simply!ignored!her.!We!would!all!just!stare!at!the!person!in!front!of!us!and!follow!Jake!in!silence.! The!day!was!rather!uneventful.!We!were!away!from!any!of!the!small!towns!and!seemed!to!be! travelling!through!what!used!to!be!a!farmer’s!field.!Every!once!in!awhile!we!would!come!across!a! destroyed!fence!that!we!would!have!to!help!each!other!over.!Someone!would!always!seem!to!lose!a! shoe!in!the!mud!as!well.!We!would!have!to!stop!and!help!dig!the!shoe!out.!It!happened!so!frequently! that!it!began!to!be!funny!to!us.!We!would!all!laugh!at!the!person!as!they!hopped!around!on!one!foot! until!someone!would!help.!Michelle!usually!volunteered!to!help,!unless!it!was!her!foot!stuck!in!the!mud.! She!told!us!stories!of!how!she!had!to!help!her!dad!pull!animals!out!of!the!mud!near!a!large!watering! hole!in!one!of!their!fields.!During!certain!times!of!year,!the!ground!was!extra!spongy!and!one!of!the!barn! animals!would!always!wander!too!deep!into!it.!Michelle!would!pretend!we!were!a!cow!stuck!in!the!mud,! and!it!would!make!all!of!us!laugh.!She!had!a!way!of!pulling!perfect!faces!for!a!funny!situation.! At!some!point!in!the!afternoon,!Jake!spotted!a!barn!in!the!distance.!We!spent!the!next!half!an! hour!or!so!walking!toward!it.!The!barn!was!used!to!store!bales!of!hay.!The!bales!were!stacked!twenty!or! so!feet!high.!The!barn!had!fallen!over!slightly!from!the!flood,!but!the!bales!had!held!it!up.!The!bottom! layer!or!two!of!hay!were!rotten!and!covered!in!mud.!The!barn!seemed!to!be!the!only!place!for!shelter!in! a!great!distance.!It!was!a!bit!earlier!in!the!day!than!we!would!normally!stop!for!the!night,!but!Jake!was! worried!we!might!not!find!another!place!before!sundown.!Jake!had!Michelle!and!Tianna!wait!with!his! pack!a!little!ways!away!from!the!barn.!They!sat!in!the!mud!and!talked!quietly!together.!They!were! becoming!really!close.!Whenever!we!had!to!check!out!a!new!place,!they!had!to!wait!safely!away! together.!This!gave!them!a!lot!of!time!to!talk!and!play!quietly!together.!They!would!make!mud!pies!or! play!“patty!cake”!with!each!other!while!they!waited.! Jake!led!the!way!with!shovel!in!hand.!Ryan!and!I!followed.!We!approached!the!barn!and!walked! toward!the!large!opening!on!one!side.!There!was!no!door!to!the!barn;!it!simply!had!three!walls!and!a!

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roof.!The!back!wall,!opposite!of!the!opening,!was!pushed!over!from!the!flood.!As!we!moved!in!closer,! Jake!and!Ryan!held!their!weapons!upright!and!were!ready!to!attack.!At!that!point,!I!took!the!lead.!I! slowly!walked!into!the!barn!opening.!On!one!end!of!the!barn!were!some!farm!equipment!and!a!tractor.! The!rest!of!the!barn!was!full!of!the!hay.!The!hay!was!stacked!in!a!box!shape!and!a!few!bales!had!fallen! off!one!corner.!The!fallen!bales!made!a!makeshift!stairwell!for!us!to!climb.!Jake!climbed!up!to!the!top! and!inspected!the!roof.!! “I!think!it!will!hold.!We!can!push!a!few!more!bales!down!and!sleep!up!here!tonight,”!Jake! informed!us!excitedly.!! Jake!pushed!one!of!the!top!bales!of!hay!off!of!the!stack!and!it!thumped!as!it!hit!the!dirt!floor.! Suddenly!there!was!movement!behind!the!tractor.!We!all!froze!in!place.!Ryan,!who!was!at!the!bottom!of! the!stack,!raised!his!pitchfork,!ready!to!attack.!He!slowly!inched!towards!the!noise.!! He!was!just!a!foot!away!from!a!pile!of!loose!straw!when!I!yelled,!“Wait!”!! Ryan!froze!and!Jake!gave!me!a!puzzled!look.!I!jumped!off!the!last!bale!of!hay!and!ran!towards! Ryan.!Just!as!I!did!a!small!creature!ran!out!of!the!hay!and!between!Ryan’s!feet.!Ryan!jumped!high!into! the!air,!out!of!fright,!and!accidently!dropped!his!pitchfork.!The!creature!ran!out!of!the!barn!opening!and! into!the!sunlight.!It!was!a!small,!brown!rabbit!covered!in!mud.! “Get!it!”!I!yelled!loudly.! I!ran!towards!it!and!it!took!off!into!the!muddy!field.!Ryan!leaned!against!the!tractor!and!tried!to! catch!his!breath.!The!rabbit!had!nearly!scared!him!to!death.!Jake!smiled!a!bit!and!continued!to!push! bales!of!hay!off!the!top!of!the!stack.!I!made!my!way!outside!and!noticed!Michelle!and!Tianna.!They!had! heard!my!shout!and!were!concerned!that!a!Monster!was!nearby.!As!I!came!running!out!of!the!barn!they! spotted!the!rabbit!ahead!of!me.!They!quickly!took!off!running!toward!the!rabbit.!! Tianna!had!a!huge!smile!on!her!face!and!was!screaming,!“Bunny!”! The!great!rabbit!chase!continued!on!for!almost!an!hour.!The!rabbit!was!small!and!seemed!to!not! be!bothered!by!the!thick!mud.!The!rest!of!us,!on!the!other!hand,!were!struggling!to!run!in!the!mud.! Every!time!someone!almost!had!the!rabbit!in!their!grasp,!they!would!slip!in!the!mud!and!it!would!get! away.!Ryan!joined!us!after!he!had!caught!his!breath!from!the!initial!scare.!The!four!of!us!laughed!and! ran!as!the!sun!got!closer!and!closer!to!the!mountains.!Every!once!in!a!while,!during!the!chase,!I!would! catch!a!glimpse!of!Jake!working!inside!of!the!barn;!he!had!cleared!a!space!for!us!to!sleep!and!had! started!a!small!fire!with!the!lighter!from!his!pack.! It!was!finally!Michelle!who!caught!the!rabbit.!She!had!nearly!smothered!it!when!she!landed!hard! on!its!small!frame.!We!all!figured!it!had!escaped!her!grasp,!but!then!she!rolled!over!in!the!mud!and!held! the!rabbit!up!triumphantly.!We!all!cheered!and!ran!towards!her.!She!held!it!tightly!in!her!arms.!The! rabbit!was!wide!eyed!and!breathing!hard.!Its!little!heart!was!pumping!quickly.!Each!of!us!begged!for!a! turn!to!hold!the!rabbit,!but!Michelle!refused!to!let!it!go.!She!had!won!her!prize!and!I!didn’t!blame!her!for! not!wanting!to!let!go.!We!sat!on!the!ground!and!patiently!took!turns!petting!the!rabbit.! Jake!approached!us!and!was!carrying!his!backpack.!! “You!finally!caught!it,!huh,”!Jake!smirked.!! Michelle!held!it!up!with!pride.!Jake!paused!for!a!moment!in!thought!and!then!reached!into!his! pocket.!Michelle’s!face!turned!to!sadness!as!she!watched!Jake!pull!a!hunting!knife!from!his!pocket.!! “Nooo!”!Tianna!desperately!cried.!!! Michelle!pulled!the!rabbit!back!close!to!her!body.!Jake!calmly!stood!over!us!with!a!knife!in!one! hand!and!the!other!outstretched!towards!Michelle.!I!was!sad!at!the!thought,!but!understood!where!Jake! was!coming!from.!We!needed!to!survive!and!that!was!what!Jake!did!best.!It!made!sense!why!he!had!let! us!goof!around,!chasing!after!the!rabbit.!Normally!we!weren’t!allowed!to!waste!time!while!the!sun!was! up.!We!had!laughed!and!had!fun,!but!it!was!time!to!eat.! Michelle!sadly!handed!the!rabbit!over!to!Jake.!He!held!the!rabbit!tightly!and!asked!Ryan!to!help! him.!The!two!of!them!disappeared!behind!the!barn!with!the!rabbit!in!hand.!Tianna!sniffled!a!bit!as!we!

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walked!back!towards!the!barn.!The!three!of!us!sat!down!next!to!the!small!fire!and!sat!in!silence.!Our! new!lifestyle!was!rough!on!all!of!us.!We!were!just!kids;!we!shouldn’t!have!to!deal!with!such!situations.!I! wondered!how!Jake!could!be!so!strong!and!callous.!!It!had!felt!so!good!to!run!and!play!that!day!and!the! harsh!reality!was!creeping!back!in!on!me.!I!didn’t!want!it!to!come;!I!wanted!to!stay!a!careless!child! having!fun!with!a!pet!rabbit.!I!wanted!back!my!innocence.! Just!before!the!sun!had!set,!Jake!cooked!the!small!rabbit!over!his!small!fire.!At!first!no!one! would!touch!the!cooked!meat.!I!don’t!know!if!it!was!the!thought!of!eating!our!pet,!or!the!fact!that!none! of!us!had!tried!rabbit!before;!well,!besides!Jake.!Jake!had!never!skinned!or!gutted!a!rabbit,!but!he!had! helped!his!dad!with!deer!and!elk.!The!meat!was!sloppily!cut,!but!no!one!complained.!Jake!was!doing!the! best!he!could,!which!was!leaps!beyond!anything!the!rest!of!us!were!capable!of.!One!by!one!we!each! tried!the!meat.!It!was!the!first!fresh!food!that!any!of!us!had!had!all!week.!We!were!used!to!canned!food! and!the!meat!was!a!nice!change!of!pace,!though!a!little!funny!tasting!and!burnt.! Michelle!was!the!first!to!make!light!of!the!situation.!! “Goodbye,!Mister!Rabbit”!she!said!as!she!held!her!first!piece!of!meat!in!front!of!her!face.!! She!smiled!at!all!of!us,!as!her!eyes!shifted!around,!and!she!quickly!devoured!her!portion.!We!all! laughed.!I!think!Michelle!accepted!the!natural!order!of!things.!She!knew!growing!up!on!a!farm!that!one! day’s!pet!was!the!next!day’s!dinner.!She!was!sad!to!have!it!so,!but!we!needed!to!eat,!simple!as!that.!We! all!took!our!turns!saying!goodbye!to!the!dear!rabbit.!Soon!our!meal!was!over.! As!the!sun!went!down,!Jake!made!sure!to!put!out!the!fire!and!to!cover!any!trace!of!it.!He!threw! mud!on!top!of!the!small!embers!and!packed!it!down.!After!the!mud!had!sufficiently!covered!it,!he! sprinkled!straw!over!the!spot.!Jake!had!also!been!careful!to!bury!all!the!leftover!parts!of!the!rabbit!so!it! wouldn’t!attract!any!unwanted!guests.!One!by!one!we!climbed!to!the!top!of!the!bales!of!hay.!Jake!had! to!give!Tianna!a!piggy!back!ride!to!the!top!because!she!was!too!short!to!make!the!climb.!We!were!all! surprised!at!how!cool!our!little!fort!was.!Jake!had!pushed!several!bales!off!so!that!a!large!area!was!clear! on!the!top!level.!He!then!had!replaced!the!outer!bales!so!that!it!looked!like!the!cube!of!hay!was!solid!all! the!way!to!the!ceiling.!As!we!climbed!into!the!little!hay!cave!Jake!pushed!a!leftover!bale!into!the! opening!to!hide!the!entrance.!! At!first!it!was!very!dark!inside,!but!then!our!eyes!adjusted.!The!barn!was!made!up!of!old,!gray,! weathered!wood!and!we!could!see!the!stars!through!the!cracks!and!empty!knots!in!the!boards.!The!sky! was!clear!that!night!and!the!stars!and!moon!shone!extra!bright.!It!reminded!me!of!sleepovers!with! Brittany.!We!used!to!make!blanket!forts!in!her!room.!Her!ceiling!was!covered!in!luminescent!stars!and! planets.!We!would!lie!on!our!backs!and!find!patterns!in!the!stars.!We!would!spot!animals!in!the!random! constellations!and!give!them!names!and!stories.!We!would!giggle!together!until!Brittany’s!dad!would! yell!for!us!to!go!to!sleep.!!That!moment,!lying!in!our!hay!fort,!reminded!me!once!again!of!what!it!used!to! be!like!as!a!kid.!I!wondered!if!there!were!any!other!kids!in!the!world!laughing!or!playing!right!then,!or!if!! we!all!grew!up!overnight.! Like!usual,!everyone!fell!asleep!rather!quickly.!Jake!and!I!were!the!last!two!awake!and!Jake! finished!telling!me!what!had!happened!to!him!since!the!outbreak.!He!was!very!hesitant!to!share!it!with! me!because!it!was!very!painful!for!him.!It!hadn’t!been!until!the!last!two!nights!that!he!had!finally! opened!up.!He!only!shared!it!with!me.!Jake!and!I!had!started!to!develop!a!special!bond!that!wasn’t!quite! the!same!as!the!others.!He!told!his!story!uninterrupted,!with!the!exception!of!Tianna!waking!up!once!to! use!the!bathroom.!Jake!had!luckily!foreseen!that!someone!would!most!likely!need!to!use!the!bathroom! in!the!night!and!he!had!dug!a!tiny!hole!in!one!of!the!corners!of!the!fort.!After!Tianna!finished,!she! quickly!fell!back!asleep!and!Jake!finished!his!story.!We!both!said!goodnight!and!tried!to!get!some!sleep.! I!closed!my!eyes!but!could!not!fall!asleep!for!some!time.!The!thoughts!of!Jake’s!past!kept!my! brain!flowing,!much!to!my!dismay.!I!was!amazed!at!the!things!he!had!faced,!and!yet!he!was!able!to!be!so! calm!and!in!control!of!his!feelings.!I!realized!how!lucky!I!was!that!I!had!not!found!my!parents.!For!all!I! knew!they!could!still!be!alive,!though!deep!down!I!knew!that!was!just!wishful!thinking.!My!dad!would!

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have!been!at!work!in!the!city!and!Ryan’s!descriptions!of!the!city!gave!me!little!hope!for!my!father’s! survival.!I!had!found!no!trace!of!my!mother!other!than!the!blood!stains!in!the!house.!Jake!had!faced!a! different!horror!than!simply!not!knowing!the!fate!of!his!parents.!


Page 2: [1] Comment

Chelsea Ross

3/29/12 6:51 PM

“sleeping”*is*an*awkward*direct*object,*as*sleeping*is*a*verb,*not*a*noun.*As*I* understand*it,*the*people*are*trying*to*stay*quiet*so*the*children*don’t*awaken,*not* the*sleeping.* Page 2: [2] Comment

Chelsea Ross

3/29/12 6:51 PM

Are*you*trying*to*say*“the*risks*[that]*one*misplaced*step*would*bring”?* Page 2: [3] Comment

Chelsea Ross

3/29/12 6:51 PM

Standing*silently*implies*that*this*girl*is*motionless.*I*would*advise*getting*rid*of* motionless*for*this*reason,*and*because*two*sentences*later*she*moves.* Page 2: [4] Comment

Chelsea Ross

3/29/12 6:51 PM

The*passive*voice*is*ineffective*here*because*the*characters*have*been*introduced* the*characters*to*us.*Which*person*ran*him*through*with*the*pitchfork?*The* sentence*will*carry*more*weight*if*it*is*recast*in*active*voice.*For*example,*"The* small*girl*raised*a*pitchfork*high*into*the*air*and*brought*it*down*quickly*into*the* man's*chest*cavity."* Page 2: [5] Comment

Chelsea Ross

3/29/12 6:51 PM

Once*again,*avoid*the*passive.*Show*your*readers*who*is*doing*this*violent*action.* *


Through Mud and Monsters Editing Sample