Point Zero – Chapter 1


Prologue | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 4.5 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12


Chapter 1: Changes, Walking, and Helicopters of Death.

Other than the searing pain and the green fire, the thing that is most etched into my memory is the smell of burnt hair. While my hair had been getting shaggy, for me, it had been completely burned away. That stench still makes me wretch any time I smell it.

The five of us were alone on a plane of emerald glass and four of us were moaning in pain. All of us had burn marks on parts of our bodies, but they looked months old. 

“Frank… Oh shit Frank’s not breathing.” James bent over Frank’s now scarred face and tried to do mouth to mouth and chest compressions. We all reached for our phones to discover there was nothing there. After what felt like much too long, he stopped. 

Gasping for air, James asked, “Why is it so hard to breathe?” He reached up to his neck and felt under the corners of his hoodie. It had two otters on it and said, Otterly Adorable; Mel had given it to him. He said a few curse words before adding, “I have gills. How did I get gills?”

“Where are we?” Jane asked, either oblivious to James’s panic or ignoring it. 

I felt the green glass we stood on and looked around. It stretched for almost as far as the eye could see. Far at a distance I saw trees. “I think I see forest over that way.”

“I have webs between my fingers!” James started to hyperventilate. Mel grabbed his hand and tried to calm him by helping him breathe. It wasn’t working. “I couldn’t save him… He’s already cold…” James was gasping for air and crying at the same time.

“It’s not your fault James. Don’t feel Gill-ty,” Mel punned, but had the good taste to cringe. Everyone stopped what they were doing and we just stared at her. She sheepishly said, “Sorry.” We all burst into manic laughter.

When we were done, James was softly sobbing. Mel and I picked up Frank’s body and we started walking towards the trees. 

After the burning feeling, the cold was almost a relief until it became too much. My head was the first part to get cold and I looked at my friends, “Why am I the only one who doesn’t have hair?”

“Hey, at least you don’t have gills. Wait, maybe I’ll actually be able to breathe underwater.” James started to sound excited instead of upset.

We were all dressed for September in Northern Ontario, but the weather was closer to winter now and our long sleeves and hoodies weren’t cutting it. We were all shivering and the sun was hiding from us behind clouds.

“Man, I wish the sun would could out of those clouds. I could at least pretend to be warm,” I said. Trying to be funny was Mel’s thing, but I need to talk.

The others stopped and looked at me funny, Jane tilted her head and said, “It’s the middle of the night? We can barely see each other. The only reason we’re going this way is ‘cause you said you saw trees.” The rest of them nodded in agreement and I looked up. The bright spot behind the clouds wasn’t the sun but the moon.

“I can see clearly all the way past the glass. What the hell happened to us?”

We moved slowly towards the forest and just as we were giving up hope of ever feeling warm again, we were blinded by a bright light and the loud noises of helicopters. Someone over a loud speaker yelled, “This is the RCMP please lay down flat on the floor and don’t make any sudden moves.” We all swore, some of us in surprise and others in fear. Mel’s dad was native and both of them had been harassed by the cops more then they should. RCMP were always called in during a protest to protect land or anything else to do with the local Reserves. We had all been arrested for loitering in a provincial park once while camping; that wasn’t fun.

We started to move but I guess we hadn’t moved fast enough, ’cause I heard gunfire. I was looking at Jane and she turned bright white before completely disappearing. I threw up my arms and bright green lightning formed a dome around us that the bullets just bounced off of.

“How are you doing that?” asked James who was starting to hyperventilate again. “We have to get out of here.”

Whatever I was doing to create the protective dome felt like running at top speed. I tried to breathe like they’d taught us in gym class, not that I paid much attention, but I tried. Unfortunately, the effort was too much and I fell down gasping. “Sorry.”

“We’re not dead, you did great.” Mel put her hand on my shoulder. She was looking fuzzy like a chalk drawing. I assumed I was about to pass out.

“Lay down on the ground and no one gets hurt,” the loudspeakers shouted at us.

A small flash of light appeared beside us and Jane grabbed our hands. “This is going to hurt. Sorry.”

Bright white light and searing pain blocked everything out for me. When it was over I felt like every nerve had been poked with a very sharp stick.

I looked around at the dusty old furniture and asked, “Where are we?” 

Read Next Chapter (February 2020)


While you wait for the next chapter, check out previous serial stories:

Serial Story 2020 – Point Zero

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

You voted and were quite clear on what story should become this year’s serial story.

This year’s serial story will be Point Zero!

Point Zero

Setting: Our world after an alien attack that destroys several small towns before the aliens disappear.
Genre: Disaster, Post Apocalyptic, Super Hero

Follow Sam as they and their four best friends must deal with an alien attack that leaves the world irrevocably changed and the superpowers that it’s given them.

Every generation has a disaster that is etched into their memories. My grandparents had JFK, my parents had 9/11, and we had first contact.

It was a cool August night in my childhood hometown. It had a name at the time, something nature related that no one cares about; now it’s called Point Zero. It was a small town barely numbering in the four digits. I sat on the duck in the grade school playground, it sprung back and forwards every time I took a drink from the bottle of vodka in my hand.

Go Read the Rest of Point Zero

What is a Serial Story?

A serial story is a story that I write every month. I don’t plan ahead, I don’t have any idea how it’s going to end.

If I miss a month, you are rewarded with a bonus chapter. Yay!

It’s that simple.


I’ll have have Chapter 1 ready some time this month.

Thanks for voting and reading,

Éric

While you wait for the next chapter, check out previous serial stories:

Point Zero – Word of the Day – Cloister


Prologue | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 4.5 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12


Every generation has a disaster that is etched into their memories. My grandparents had JFK, my parents had 9/11, and we had first contact.

It was a cool August night in my childhood hometown. It had a name at the time, something nature related that no one cares about; now it’s called Point Zero. It was a small town barely numbering in the four digits. I sat on the duck in the grade school playground, it sprung back and forwards every time I took a drink from the bottle of vodka in my hand.

The small schoolyard had a fence around it. You could say that the yard was as cloistered from the town as the town was from the rest of the world. Other than the media from the outside world, Point Zero was its own little world.

The five of us sat on various remnants of our youth and drank to forget that we’d be leaving soon. Each of us heading to a college, university, or apprenticeship. I was supposed to be leaving the next day; I’d managed an apprenticeship with my uncle as an electrician at the new diamond mine near Timmins.

Frank was going into theatre in Toronto, Mel was heading to Vancouver for animation, Jane was going to study and travel the world in Ottawa, and finally James was going to save the world on the east coast.

“Is it a relief to have found what you want to do for the rest of your life James?” asked Mel.

“Sure,” her replied tentatively.

“Must be nice to have found your porpoise.” She burst into giggles and the rest of us groaned. We’d been friends our whole lives and despite multiple hiccups we’d managed to stay together.

“What’s the first thing you’re going to do when you’re on your own?” Frank asked the group.

“I’d say get drunk, but I’m not doing that anymore.” Jane shook her fourth beer before adding, “Without you freaks to keep me safe, I’m going to be paranoid of everyone.”

“I’m going to make a huge chocolate cake, with chocolate icing, and I’ll eat it without having my mom yelling at me.” Mel’s mom was a diet freak and severely allergic to chocolate. I’d once forgotten to brush my teeth before coming over at Halloween and almost sent the woman to the hospital.

“I’m going to go swimming in the ocean,” James said wistfully.

“How about you Sam?” Frank asked me, his green eyes seemed to glow in the yellow streetlight.

I took another swig of vodka to avoid answering the question. I’d had a crush on Frank since… well since I met him in kindergarten. Tonight was my last chance, so I thought, to tell him how I felt.

“I don’t know,” I replied lamely.

“Going to stay current?” Mel’s pun fell flat as the park was flooded with bright green light and searing fire. I still have nightmares about the green fire, the smell, and the pain.

The entire thing felt like it lasted minutes, but when we awoke on the glass surface known as Point Zero it was three months later and the five of us were alone.


If you enjoyed this word of the day story, you can find more on our stories page and catch up on this year’s serial story, Devices of Desire