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So I decided to create a series of blog posts detailing my non-Sim-related storytelling adventures. The first story of this saga (which I won't call epic just yet) is Memories, which is of a girl, Chloe, her brother, and their family and friends as they struggle through an epic battle for Chloe's survival. Everyone who read my story at school got them feels...I really loved the journey of writing it, and I hope you'll enjoy reading it too!
I wrote this originally as a story under the same name (under different context) on this page. I then adapted it to be easier to understand without having to read tens of articles of backstory so that I could submit it for an English assignment.
Please leave comments and feedback so that I can improve my future stories!
PS. For all those over-emotional folks out there, get a tissue box ready. This story nearly made some of my readers have tears in their eyes.
New York City, 27th December 2130.
Chloe Marcus threw the Frisbee playfully at her older brother, Riley. He caught it, with both hands. He threw it back, and Chloe had to run to retrieve it. As she sprinted towards the descending Frisbee, she tripped and fell onto the concrete of the nearby path, grazing her knee. She winced in pain as she sat up and gingerly examined the injury.
Her brother raced to her side. “Are you okay?”
“I think so,” she replied.
The duo stood up and ran towards the Frisbee. At that instant, in an ear-piercing shriek, the air-raid alarms begUan blaring. Chloe and Riley could both hear faint explosions in the distance. They looked up.
Terrorist bombers. The United Nations had been fighting with the Terrorists for decades. Periodically Terrorists would attack cities around the world, all in the name of protecting the interests of right-wing industrialists who wanted to return to the old days of unrestricted exploitation of the environment.
“Quick!” Riley said, panicked. “We need to get to the bunker!”
Riley and Chloe began to run, though Chloe eventually limped desperately to catch up with her brother.
Riley’s phone rang. “Hello?”
“It’s Mum, dear,” replied the voice on the other side. Anna Marcus sounded worried. “Are you safe? Where are you?”
“We’re at Central Park, Mum,” Riley answered. “It shouldn’t take us too long to get to the bunker entrance in Wall Street.”
“Stay safe, darling,” Anna said. The line cut off.
Riley ran as fast as he could, pocketing his mobile phone. He called out to his sister. “C'mon, Chloe! Hurry!”
In the distance, Riley could hear ack-ack fire. As he ran through the streets of New York City, he could see that a lot of the buildings had been destroyed by the Terrorist bombs. What was left had ignited. He looked behind him. Chloe was several hundred metres behind him. Riley, remembering that Chloe was injured, suddenly came to the realisation that she needed help. He turned back to assist her, but at the same moment, out of the corner of his eye, he could see and hear a small bomb being dropped about a kilometre behind Chloe.
“Chloe! Get down!” he shouted instinctively.
The bomb hit the ground, shattering on impact, then producing an explosive plume of gas and smoke, as well as vaporised concrete and other materials. Just the force produced by the impact threw Riley backwards, and sent Chloe, screaming, flying, as she was significantly closer to the epicentre of the explosion. She hit the ground with a frightening, bone-shattering crunch, which rendered her unconscious.
Two days later...
Two days after the bombing, with minor injuries, Riley had been discharged from the town bunker's medical centre. He had his right arm cradled in a fresh, white sling, and his left wrist was bandaged because of a sprain. His legs, fortunately, remained relatively unharmed.
Chloe, however, wasn't so lucky.
Riley and the rest of the Marcus family were gathered around Chloe's hospital bed, where she lay, comatose. It didn't look particularly comfortable. She was in terrible shape. Her ginger-blonde hair had been burnt at the edges, and she lay with an assortment of needles puncturing her skin in order to deliver certain chemicals into her bloodstream. The cardiac monitor beeped quietly, but steadily. Her yellow polo shirt had been torn. The legs of her shorts had suffered a similar fate. Damage to her spinal cord was being treated: thanks to modern medicine it was possible to repair neural damage. He noticed that a prosthesis had replaced her right leg.
The same leg that she had grazed that day.
A tear rolled down Riley's face.
Three years earlier...
Riley was walking through the family home in a well-to-do suburb of New York City. He had heard his father saying that the Terrorists had attacked Bern in Switzerland, which worried him. He had asked if the Terrorists were going to attack New York, but his father said that New York’s defences were so strong that an attack was unlikely. Relieved, he continued on his jolly way up the stairs, attracted to the beautiful sound of the violin. His sister was at it again.
He knocked on the door to her room. The music ceased and she opened the door.
“Oh, it's you,” Chloe said. “Come in!”
Riley sat on Chloe's bed. “What are you playing now?”
Chloe took a musical score off her stand and flapped it in front of him.
“Violin Sonata by Debussy,” she said.
“Isn't that meant to be difficult to play?”
Chloe shrugged. “I guess so.”
Riley sighed. “I wish I could play music like you, Chloe.”
“You can. Come on!” Chloe said. “The violin will probably be big enough for you. I can teach you how to play.”
“Really?” Riley gasped.
“It'll take a while,” Chloe replied, “but I'm sure we'll be able to get you playing as good as Debussy himself in no time!”
Riley laughed. “I doubt it. I think getting as good as you is good enough.”
“Uh, alright,” Chloe blushed.
Riley spent the rest of the afternoon being taught by Chloe the basics of violin playing.
Riley smiled weakly as he replayed that particular memory in his mind. As he thought of his now-injured sister's determination in trying to teach him, more tears fell and made streams on his face. He wasn't musical, but she certainly was. She even played scales with such emotion and expression that it almost sounded like a good movie soundtrack.
He continued to hold Chloe's hand, muttering prayers. His parents and relatives had gone back to their living quarters, allowing Riley the night alone with his sister.
A few hours after Riley had fallen asleep, still holding Chloe's hand, he was roused. He looked around, curious as to what had woken him. Then he looked down at his and Chloe's hands.
Chloe was squeezing Riley's hand. His mind jumped for joy as it dawned on him what this meant.
Chloe had woken up.
“Riley,” she whispered weakly. Her speech was somewhat slurred. He jumped up and hugged her. She winced in pain, whereupon he gently released her and lay her back down on her bed.
“Sorry. That was a bit sudden.”
A doctor entered the room, expecting Riley to have gone and Chloe to be still unconscious. He was surprised when he saw otherwise.
“Oh!” he stuttered. “Hello, Riley, and I'm glad to see you're awake now, Chloe.”
“Can I…get out…of bed yet?” Chloe said slowly.
“Unfortunately,” said the doctor. “We need to keep you in bed so that we can monitor you at all times. Is there something you need?”
At that moment the P.A. came to life. “Groups 801 through 900 to report to Mess Halls!”
“Well, I would like some food. I’m rather hungry.”
Riley stood up. “I’ll go get something for you while I go for breakfast. What would you like?”
“Oh, I don’t want to be difficult,” Chloe said shyly.
“No, no, not at all,” Riley smiled before leaving the room. As he exited, he poked his head back through the doorway and grinned cheekily. “You want a classic English breakfast?”
Chloe giggled. “Okay.”
The New York City Municipal Underground Shelter, as it was officially known, was essentially a city away from the city. Since the Attack on New York, all surviving citizens were moved to the bunker in case of a future attack. Until the war ended, all who were in New York at the time of the assault were to stay in the bunker and only venture outside if necessary. Soldiers from the Army saw to it that no one exited the bunker unless they had a very good reason.
The Bunker had living quarters for the thousands of families that had survived the bombing. There were also one hundred massive hall areas that served as meeting places as well as eating areas. Groups of families took turns to eat, and every hour one group would leave each mess hall and another would subsequently enter. To make sure everyone was catered for, large kitchens as well as staff was needed. Everyone was happy that they could live relatively comfortably in the confines of the bunker. There were also play areas for the city's youth, but there wasn't enough room for a school, to a lot of children's relief. It had taken over fifty years to build the bunker, and it had been kept a secret by the City Council until the war began.
“Wow,” Riley said. “This bunker's so…big!”
Mess Hall 78 was a gargantuan, multistorey chamber capable of seating up to four thousand people. Riley found himself wondering how they managed to build not one, but a hundred of these expansive eating areas. At the opposite end of the entrance stood the kitchen and serving area, where he ordered food for himself before being directed to their table by the kitchen staff.
Anna, Harold and Noah Marcus stood up and ran to Riley and began to bombard him with questions.
“Is Chloe okay?” Anna said.
“What do the doctors think about her?” asked Harold
“Is she awake yet?” Noah cried, gently shaking Riley by putting his hands on his shoulders.
“I think so, I don’t know, and Yes,” Riley answered quickly. “Can we eat now? I need to get more food for Chloe before the next group comes in.”
One year earlier...
“Kids!” Anna called. “Time for dinner!”
Chloe Marcus was teaching Riley how to play a hymn when they heard the call to the family's evening meal.
“Gosh!” Chloe said, rubbing her stomach vigorously. “I'm starving!”
Riley and Chloe sat themselves at the table. Their elder brother, Noah, was poised to pounce on his meal.
“Well then,” Harold said, once satisfied that everyone was seated properly at the table. “Let's eat!”
Riley deposited the empty plates and grabbed a tray of food for Chloe. Holding the tray as if it were a redemptive lifeline he hurried through the great steel doors towards Chloe’s room.
Meanwhile, the family approached their living quarters after their meal. Anna Marcus’ phone rang. She picked it up.
“Hello?” she said.
After several seconds her facial expression changed from neutrality to surprise to shock, and then to total terror.
Anna hung up and began to dial Riley's number.
“We need to get to the hospital NOW! Chloe’s in trouble!” Anna called Riley, and told him to hightail it to the hospital.
When they got there, they got the news on Chloe. Riley was horrified when he saw that Chloe was unconscious again. Her breathing was irregular and when he looked at the cardiac monitor, he saw that her heart rate was crazily accelerating. Chloe had become pale, her skin clammy and cold.
“She’s going into neurogenic shock. It isn’t good,” the doctor said. “Not good at all. Quickly! 20 millilitre saline solution!”
The nurse shuffled through a cabinet and grabbed out a packet containing a clear liquid. She hooked it up onto the drip and the solution began to slowly drain from the packet.
“Phenylephrine!” called the doctor. The nurse passed him a syringe and a bottle that contained another clear-coloured liquid. The doctor drew some liquid from the bottle.
“Mr Marcus, please,” he said. “Hold down Chloe’s arm for me.”
Riley’s father reluctantly took hold of Chloe’s right arm. The doctor then pushed the needle into her skin. The liquid drained out of the syringe, entering her bloodstream.
The nurse was reading the cardiac monitor. “Success!” she said. “Heart rate is decreasing to normal levels!” Chloe’s breathing became less laboured and it once again became rhythmic. All who were present breathed a sigh of relief and Riley wiped the sweat off his forehead with his hand.
The following day...
Riley and Chloe Marcus were in Chloe’s room in the hospital. Doctors were now monitoring her twenty-four hours a day since the near-death experience that Chloe had gone through. Fortunately, Chloe had regained consciousness.
“That was a close one, sis,” Riley said. “You had me really worried there.”
Chloe looked at her older brother. The rest of the family were sitting in chairs around the room. Anna was stroking Chloe’s cheek. Chloe smiled weakly. “Well, I’m still here, aren’t I?”
Chloe’s best friend Peter Halliway was in the room as well.
“You’ll be okay, Chloe, won’t you?” he said. Chloe smiled.
Riley felt disappointed in himself. During the attack, he had run ahead of Chloe while she limped behind her. He only remembered that she needed help just before the bomb hit. It was his fault. He failed her as an older brother.
“I wish it was me that got hit and not you,” Riley finally said.
Chloe was silent for a moment, but then she said, “Don’t say that, Riley.”
“I was selfish, Chloe. I ran ahead of you, thinking you’d be able to catch up. I…failed you. I’m sorry.” Tears fell onto Chloe’s bed.
Chloe stared at Riley for a while. She frowned for just a moment, but then continued to smile. “It’s alright, Riley. You’re a great brother. You…will always be. You’ll always be my brother.”
A nurse came into the room. “Alright, Riley, Peter. Let Chloe get some rest.”
“Bye Riley. Bye Peter,” Chloe said. Riley took her hand. Peter waved goodbye and went out the door.
“Get better soon,” he said, before letting go and leaving the room.
The following day, 11.59pm
“It’s gonna be 2131 soon, Chloe,” Riley attempted a grin to make Chloe feel better. Her condition had unfortunately worsened, and the doctors told Chloe and her family (as well as Peter along with his family) that they feared she wasn’t going to make it.
The Marcus family, along with Peter, were all around Chloe’s bed. All of them, including Chloe, were watching the television, waiting for the final countdown to begin. The Army had cleaned up New York City after the attack, and everyone was waiting for the fireworks show to start. The entire show was being provided by the soldiers.
The fireworks were beautiful. Reds, blues, greens, whites and yellows flashed across the night sky in a festival of explosive light. Chloe beamed with delight as the fireworks burst into all sorts of shapes. Stars, flowers and smileys were common.
“Happy New Year, Chloe,” Riley and Peter said, putting their arms around her.
Two days later...
Chloe was still bedridden six days after the attack. Her predicament had worsened such that she always looked tired or ill. Riley, Peter and the rest of her family were now constantly by her side.
Chloe’s voice, once bright and vibrant, was now reduced to a stifled, soft croak. “Riley,” she coughed. After a pause, she continued. “I’m…scared.”
“Everything is gonna be just fine, Chloe?” Riley tried to sound calm and collected, but he was equally as terrified. The life in her body could flicker out at any moment. The doctors had begun the process of downloading her memories into the International Memory Database, which stored the memories of the deceased, in case, for whatever reason, they were needed in the future.
Ten years earlier...
Seven-year-old Riley Marcus was in the maternity ward. He and his father were visiting his mother, Anna Marcus, who had just given birth to a girl.
Harold and Anna Marcus had named their new daughter Chloe. Riley had asked to hold her new sister and he was now cradling Chloe in his arms. She was crying, and wouldn’t stop. Riley, unlike some other older brothers, found this extremely adorable.
“Aww…” he said. “It’s okay. Riley’s here.” Harold and Anna smiled at brother and sister. They knew that the two had begun to form a bond.
Two years later...
Riley had seen his parents teaching his sister to walk. She had grasped that quite quickly, and now they were teaching her to talk. He had decided to give it a try with the vocabulary that he had.
He held up a picture of an apple.
“This is an apple, Chloe,” he said.
“Apple!” she cried. Riley smiled and put down the card. He picked up another one, flashing it at Chloe.
“What’s this?” Riley pointed at a picture of the Moon.
“Moon!” she said. Riley was impressed. Finally, he pointed a finger at himself.
“Who’s this?” he asked her.
“Riley!” she replied. Riley’s jaw dropped. He was baffled at how quickly she had managed to learn words.
Four years later...
Chloe Marcus excitedly put her books into her bag before slinging it over her shoulder. Today was her first day at school, and she couldn’t wait to make friends with everyone.
Riley grabbed his bicycle and called her.
“Chloe! We need to go to school now! We’re gonna be late!”
Several minutes later, classes had started. Chloe sat at her desk patiently, and while waiting for the teacher to appear, she talked to the other students around her. One boy in particular interested her. He was busily drawing something onto a piece of paper.
“Hi!” Chloe said. “I’m Chloe. What’s your name?”
The boy looked up. “I’m Peter.”
She looked intently over his shoulder. Peter was drawing a picture of an aeroplane. “You’re good at drawing,” she said.
“Thanks,” Peter smiled.
3rd January 2131. 8pm.
Riley was holding one of Chloe’s hands, their parents the other. Riley and Chloe’s family and friends were now standing or sitting around her, waiting for the bitter end. The doctors had told them that she was going to die, and they had also told Chloe in private.
She had a feeling she wasn’t going to make it anyway.
“It’ll be alright,” Chloe said.
Her mother was fighting back the salty water that now saturated her eyes. “But what will we do without you?"
“Don't worry, Mum. I'm sure all of you will get on just fine," Chloe said encouragingly.
“I’ll...see you…sometime, maybe?” Peter said, sobbing.
“Yeah. See you around, I guess,” Chloe wheezed, smiling. “Thanks, Riley, Mum, Dad, everyone,” Chloe’s blue eyes were now locked on the group before her. “Thanks for everything.”
She then slowly turned to Riley, and croaked, “You—” she stopped. “I feel…cold…” She was sweating profusely, and she was shaking. Her skin became clammy, and her breathing was shallow and irregular.
A doctor interrupted quickly with their shout. “She’s going into haemorrhagic shock again! Class II!”
“Yes, Chloe? What were you going to say?” Riley said quickly with increased intensity, panicking as the medical staff scuttled to and fro in a drastic attempt to save her. He was begging to the heavens for several minutes more.
Chloe tried again, trying to smile as one of the nurses jabbed a needle into Chloe’s skin to deliver intravenous fluids. Her eyelids became heavy. “You are—”
Before Chloe could finish her sentence, her skin suddenly went pale and she slumped further into her bed. Her smile faded from her face. Anna began to scream in horror, and Peter began to cry. Riley just stood, astounded at what just happened. Several seconds later, the cardiac monitor screeched the noise that everyone dreaded.
The life had drained out of the ten-year-old girl’s eyes.
Twelve years later...
Twenty-nine-year-old Riley Marcus and twenty-two-year-old Peter Halliway stood in front of Chloe’s grave in Margaret River, her favourite holiday destination. Riley had placed a bouquet of yellow tulips on the ground in front of the tombstone. Her favourite colour. He then placed a cupcake with a candle in it on top of the tombstone.
"Happy birthday, Chloe," Riley said. After a long, solemn pause, he continued softly, teardrops forming in his eyes. “I never heard the end of your last sentence, Chloe. I wish I knew what it was.” Peter simply stood, head down, in silence.
He read the inscription on the headstone.
Chloe Elizabeth Marcus. 2120 – 2131. RIP. Irreplaceable and wonderful friend, daughter, and the best little sister to ever live.
Both smiled, because they wrote the last sentence for the chiseller that made the headstone.
The two took fold-out chairs from the pile of things they had brought with them. They sat down and began talking to the headstone and to each other.
Several hours later, the candle nearly burnt out and the sun going down, Riley looked at Peter. The two friends placed their hands on a gift box, and together, placed it onto the gravestone next to the cupcake. Overflowing with emotion, both of them knelt down and began to cry.
After a few minutes they stood up, took one last look at the grave, and walked away.
As the two walked into the night, they felt a presence. Something that they had never felt before.
They both broke out into a smile, for they were not two.
They were three.