The Melanin Survival

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 3 (v.3) - A Light in the Barn

Submitted: July 24, 2016

Reads: 106

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Submitted: July 24, 2016



A Light in the Barn



Slowly, I crept through the blades of grass hoping the rock I spent the late afternoon sharpening would suffice for the task. Normally I preferred to use more modern technology when hunting, but I had not stumbled upon a town in God knows how long. Vast areas of Grid Five were nothing more than abandoned hamlets buried in wilderness, so the possibility of finding modern tools was slim to none. On the flip side, it also meant less manmade poisons tainting the meat. The rock was bound to the end of a skinny, yet sturdy branch stripped of its bark. Spinning it around in my hand, my eyes searched for a small fawn. It broke my heart to have to kill one being that it had never done me wrong. Still, it was going on day three without food – the supply of berries going bad sooner than expected. Just then, my stomach growled drawing the attention of the animals. Pausing immediately, I held my breath as several adults looked up with ears moving about for audible signs of danger. A stag moved in front of the fawn I was eyeing. Dang, I cannot kill him. His antlers will impale me before I can take aim. Plus, the extra meat will attract predators far worse than me. Crouching closer to the ground, I fought the urge to scratch as the tall grass irritated my skin. The deer went back to minding their business, and I proceeded to move in closer. Getting better aim, I stood a little to see the fawn no longer behind its male guardian. Right when I was about to chuck the spear, a voice cracked the silence of the night. My dinner bolted in a panicked sprint with its entire community. Standing upright, I drove my spear into the dirt.


A realization hit before frustration could settle in.

“Good evening people of Grid Five. The Council comes to you on this the fourth day of the ninth month in the year two thousand thirty-five.”

Turning to face the direction of the speaker, I saw a light coming from the barn.

Quietly as they could, my feet rushed me to the willow where my knapsack sat. I rested the spear against the tree and retrieved the knife from the front pocket.

“We bring you this broadcasting in hopes that it finds you well. Do not be dismayed by your current state, for The Council has your best interest at heart. Mela Chasers have arrived by vehicle to Grid Five to aid in the construction of a testing facility for the further development of the melanin cure.”

As I grew closer to the shell of a barn, I found myself eager to hear what the voice would say next. Truth be told, I had not heard another human’s voice in two months. Hearing a cure was found intrigued me. Last I read, scientists were far from cracking the code.

“The Council will be setting up recruitment stations throughout the communities in the bigger regions for Mela Chaser recruits and citizens who wish to take part in Exploration Genesis. Requirements are fit, able bodies free of disease as well as impeccable genes. Refugees from nuclear blast zones will not be permitted to sign-up. Screenings for radiation poisoning will be conducted. Regarding the housing status, a governing decree for the reconstruction of housing in the northwest quadrant has been issued. These living quarters will hold a populace of one thousand seventeen.”

Distracted by the charismatic voice, I did not realize I was now standing just outside the barnyard door. Shock settled in robbing me of oxygen as the unknown came over me.

“Know that The Council loves you very much. The Council wants the best for you, for humanity.”

A gruff “humph” sounded before a man appeared from just inside the barn. He ran a grungy rag over his face repeatedly as he stopped in front of the radio. It was leaning against a sack and a handgun in front of a small fire. How did I get drawn in to that voice so easily? I did not notice any of this stranger’s equipment before. The man lowered the rag and mumbled at the radio. Only the side of his face was visible. An unkempt beard covered nearly half his face. His complexion was chocolate, but I could tell the shininess of his skin was just starting to pop – sunlight kissing him only recently – even with the glowing light from the flames aiding me. The utility pants he wore were speckled with dirt, his boots covered in mud. An olive-green thermal had a layer of dust covering it. This man has been through the storm and back. Maybe I should retreat from this barn. There is no telling whether he is dangerous or not.

Quietly I turned around to face the meadow which suddenly seemed extremely large. The once towering willow tree seemed puny when the distance I would have to travel to reach it was taken in to consideration. Fear had a funny way of changing the way I saw the grassland I had been frequenting lately. Just put one foot in front of the other. Once you are back at the creek, gather your belongings and find a new place to temporarily reside. A throat cleared behind me drawing goosebumps on my forearms.

“Drop the knife,” a rough voice said behind me.

© Copyright 2019 Skinny Coutreux. All rights reserved.


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