Sunday, July 22, 2012

Page Turners: A World Without Chocolate

A World Without:

Caroline Lewis

You’re about to step into a world much different than the one you may be familiar with. It takes place right here on Earth, in fact, and from a bird’s eye view you may think that nothing has changed. So what IS different? Take a closer look, at the stores that is. The shelves are piled high with fresh produce, meats and cheeses; cereals of all kinds line the aisles. But something is missing. Ah, now you see it. There is no chocolate.
Meet Tom and Cody Shelton, your typical father and son duo. Late nights of playing catch on the front lawn and fishing for trout until sunset have made them quite close, but this specific afternoon will test their relationship in a whole different way. Brace yourself, as you step into the world of Unleashed . . .
* * *

“Cody, get the . . .” Tom’s command to his son was cut off by the sudden shaking of the wooden floors. The walls wavered back and forth, the pictures on the walls slid from left to right precariously on their hinges.

“Dad!” Cody shouted, as he pointed towards the living room. Tom dove to the ground, catching an antique vase that was seconds away from shattering. He gently placed it onto the sofa cushions and turned toward his son once more.

“Make sure all of the fragile items are secure. And stand clear of the chandelier, I keep forgetting to take that damn thing down.” A roar erupted from the upstairs master bedroom. Cody’s eyes filled with terror as he grabbed a hold of the downstairs banister. His clammy palms struggled to hold their grip as another bellow jolted the house.

             “CRACK.” A plate slid from the kitchen cupboards and landed onto the counter. 

“Cody! I’m counting on you to do this, you’ve got to focus buddy. It’ll all be over soon. I’m just going to go up there and see what she wants.”

“Here. For protection.” Cody handed his father a large steel bowl and a spatula.

Tom let out a sigh of relief. “Smart thinking, son.” He placed the bowl on his head as a helmet and let out one more sigh, but this one was in fear. He watched Cody disappear into the living room, as he ascended the stairs. His heart pounded against his chest, beads of sweat began to gather at the base of his neck. He clenched the spatula tight as he reached the top of the stairs.

“Honey? Is there anything I can do for you?” Tom turned the corner and poked his head into the bedroom, then quickly retreated as a chair crashed against the wall, inches from where he was standing. He grabbed the back of the chair to use as a shield, and crouched into the room. He closed his eyes, bracing himself for another airborne attack, but felt nothing. He opened them and saw his wife sitting on their bed, her green claws shredding apart the blankets. Orange, cat-like eyes followed Tom as he crossed the room, looking him up and down like a piece of meat.

“Why, you look beautiful. I don’t even know why you’re so upset.” He slowly lowered his chair shield and smiled, trying to conceal his terror. A guttural groan was all he heard in response.

“Of course you don’t look fat. You look wonderful,” Tom said. She huffed at his attempt to pacify her. “Plus it’s already Day 3. Just . . . 4 more days to go,” Tom said, wincing as he analyzed the damage to their bedroom. A web of intertwined cracks had formed on the screen of the T.V., disfiguring any image that flashed across. All of his clothes had been heaved from the closet and into the bathtub. Long streaks of saliva coated the walls. His favorite photo of his wife hung upside down. Instead of the sweet picture of her smiling into the camera that he had known and loved, it had turned into a picture of her frowning.

“Are . . . are you hungry? We have some delicious pasta that I ma. . .” His sentence was interrupted by a raspy howl.

“Okay. You want something else? Something sweet. Right. What about that tea I made you? That was pretty sweet . . .” interrupted again. “Not creamy enough. Okay, so something sweet and creamy. And crunchy?”

Tom’s mind searched through an imaginary grocery store, trying find something that could possibly placate his wife. His muscles began to tense as the hand on the lopsided wall clock ticked loudly in the background. He spit out an answer. “Salad?” Wrong.

Tom was jolted back into reality when a pillow collided with his abdomen and sent him flying backwards. A thunderous howl escaped his green-scaled wife as her sharp teeth bit off a piece of the headboard. Tom quickly stumbled back down the stairs, gasping for air.

Damn those mood swings! he muttered to himself. Cody appeared from the kitchen with a box of glass items.

“The kitchen’s all taken care of. How’s mom?”

“Better than I thought she’d be. Joe from across the street said Day 3 is the worst, so it can only get better from here, right?”

Cody shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know, last time she tried to eat Ruffles. I don’t know why she would be craving the cat.”

“Sometimes they get weird cravings, son. You’ll learn about it in school. If only there was something they could eat so that they don’t get so belligerent. But I doubt such a thing exists.”

Suddenly, the front door swung open, and a small green figure stood motionless in the doorway.

“Look, Cody, your sister’s home. How . . . how was school, Sweetie?”

Cody looked through the box in his hands until he found another steel bowl, and placed it on top of his head.

Creative Writing Columnist, Caroline Lewis:

My name is Caroline Lewis, I am a super-senior at Cal (they just can't get rid of me!), and I am studying Integrative Biology with a minor in Creative Writing. Some might be thinking, "Why, those have absolutely nothing to do with each other" but I love writing fiction, it's my means of escape from the rigorous world of science. I especially love to incorporate humor into my writing; sometimes you have to search for it, but don't worry it's hidden in there somewhere! I hope you enjoy my work as much as I love creating it, and I look forward to working with this great group at Unleashed.

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