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stargate, DanielJackson

Week 6, Title: Tread

Posted on 2014.04.19 at 22:11
Tags: ,
Feet tread carefully over parched yellow-caked earth.

“Don’t step on the cracks,” a mother tells her child, voice firm but tainted with fear: at the inevitable doom of unstable child-legs walking over crumbling terrain.

(Tiny lines spread along the land, long and thin and seemingly harmless: until they widen. Plates shuffle under our feet. The evacuation order comes. People panic. Cars race to escape too fast and drown in sink holes awaking beneath them. Buildings shudder and collapse, as the ground opens its jaws and swallows them whole. The only chance is to walk.)

Eyes dart out at the sound and dart back again. Looking down. Everyone looks down. The people who don’t are already dead.

(Smoke and dust and gas rises in clouds from the holes. Cracks mar earth like a body of poisoned veins. Sometimes hurried shoes come down on them. The cracks stretch, dirt clods fall, a chasm appears. And anyone nearby is gone.)

Steps are careful, weight shifts from one foot to another. Teeth grit against the cough rising in our throats, the resulting vibrations would be dangerous. The smoke though long gone remains in the searing of our lungs.

“Don’t step on the cracks,” echoes again. People are moving away now, sensing what is to come. The child is tired, making mistakes.

Heat encases, suffocates. Sweat trickles sticky down backs. Broken land stretches out, elongating, in the search for solidity. Air ripples. Earth rumbles and yawns underneath us, but no one runs. The people who run are already dead.

(The crust fractures with keening hisses. Movement quickens in the struggle to get away. Thumped treads pound breaks into the fragile floor. And they’re Falling to oblivion.)

“Don’t step on the…”

Comments:


bleodswean
bleodswean at 2014-04-19 23:18 (UTC) (Link)
I just love this! Mysterious and vivid.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-04-20 05:44 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you liked it :)
Bridget Ilene Delaney
kagomeshuko at 2014-04-20 04:13 (UTC) (Link)
Oooh, the suspense . . .
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-04-20 05:45 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks :)
Es'ka
eska818 at 2014-04-20 20:44 (UTC) (Link)
This is beautifully told. I like the ambiguity and the focus on description and vivid detail.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-04-21 07:52 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you liked it :)
waltzmatildah
waltzmatildah at 2014-04-21 12:31 (UTC) (Link)
I am so late to the party this week... but, better late than never, right?

Anyway, this is haunting. I love the imagery.

And this was my favourite line: Eyes dart out at the sound and dart back again. Looking down. Everyone looks down. The people who don’t are already dead.

So stark and chilling.

The whole thing is lovely and you captured so much in so few words, which is always one of my favourite things.

GO YOU.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-04-21 12:45 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you so much for the lovely compliments, so glad you liked the imagery and that line. I liked that line too :).
penpusher
penpusher at 2014-04-21 12:45 (UTC) (Link)
Wow. So quiet and tense and frightening.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-04-21 12:46 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, so glad you liked :)
lawchicky
lawchicky at 2014-04-22 19:46 (UTC) (Link)
Really creepy- well done.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-04-23 05:17 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you liked it :)
faerie_spark at 2014-04-22 23:04 (UTC) (Link)
Reading this, I can taste the grit, feel that oppressive heat, and detect that uneven surface.

I don't know whether you intended this as actual or symbolic, but it makes me think of people escaping political violence on foot, never nowing if they're going to make it to safety or not.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-04-23 05:20 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, so glad the feel came across :)

Ooh, that's an interesting interpretation. It can be both actual and symbolic but I hadn't thought of political violence, I can see it now that you've mentioned it though :).
A Karmic Sandbox
karmasoup at 2014-04-22 23:18 (UTC) (Link)
Oooh... Intense and foreboding.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-04-23 05:20 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you found it intense :)
solstice_singer at 2014-04-23 02:44 (UTC) (Link)
I love how descriptive this piece was. I could feel their fear and their need to get away from what was certain death.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-04-23 05:21 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, I'm so glad the feel of it came across :)
mamas_minion
mamas_minion at 2014-04-23 15:17 (UTC) (Link)
Nice imagery, I could really see the scene this was taking place in. spooky.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-04-23 15:18 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you liked :)
C.x
itsjustc at 2014-04-23 20:28 (UTC) (Link)
Really creepy- well done.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-04-23 21:04 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you :)
Laura, aka "Ro Arwen"
roina_arwen at 2014-04-24 05:51 (UTC) (Link)
You gave a good sense of the environment in just a few words. Must have been one heck of an earthquake or whatnot!
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-04-24 05:56 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you :)
Teo Says
eternal_ot at 2014-04-24 15:01 (UTC) (Link)
Oh my! this made me shudder..good description ..it did come alive..well written!
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-04-24 15:17 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, so glad it came alive for you :)
Jemima Pauler
jem0000000 at 2014-04-24 19:15 (UTC) (Link)
Yikes. I hope they make it to safety.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-04-24 19:22 (UTC) (Link)
The outlook seems bleak, but fingers crossed can't hurt ;)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
halfshellvenus at 2014-04-24 21:06 (UTC) (Link)
Eeee. What a very doomed world!
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-04-25 06:06 (UTC) (Link)
Yep :). Thanks :)
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