The World of the Dumpster Divers

Hi folks! I’ve started work on a new series. It takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where the sky has been destroyed and the human population has been forced to move down into the landfills. This story is from the point of view of a small child with an extraordinary family.

The first chapter is below. I’ve even included an audio file if you’d prefer to listen to it. Here, check it out!


Listen.

People come, people go. You see them for the first time or you stop seeing them. But they are very rarely new. It’s strange to have a truly new person.

After the Sick, nobody was ever new. Even if you did not know them, you knew they were an old person. When you do not meet new people, you start to worry. In those days, everybody worried. “Get somebody new in here soon,” they said. “Or if they can’t come here, say I’ll go to them.”

It was a joke to say this. But that is what happened. Everyone came to me.
When they heard I was coming, they started to come to Fourmi Hill. From miles and miles. Through the tunnels between communities. Just to meet me, a new person.

It was a big decision to come.

You have been there. You were thinking about coming into the world, whether or not to do it. A lot of reasons are for against it. It is not warm there, or people will try to take things from you. So why do it? Lots of reasons are for coming, but many are not good ones. For a long time many people did come, anybody could do it and many people did. That was reason enough. You did it because everyone else was doing it.

Me though, for a long time, it did not seem like a good idea to come, and for a long time I didn’t do it, even though everyone else was.

Then nobody did it. This was after the Sick. A ha, I thought, everyone is seeing that I was right all along. For seven years, nobody came. But I was first, I remember thinking, I was the first not to come.

In the end. I should say in the beginning, but in the end, I came. When you think of the main characters in all the stories, what do they have in common, they all decided to be born. Nobody who decided not to be born was a main character ever, and that’s all there is. So of course I would do it, but how did I decide it? Listen.

A lot of people were there, out where I might come to, and they were making a big fuss. Stomping and milleting and mewling. The future was here, they were saying. I was the future, I heard them say, and I was coming. I had not yet decided to come, but having heard them, I decided to hear them. The future died a long time ago, they said, but now it would be reborn. It was past time for my coming, they said, time for the future. Won’t it be nice to see the future, they said to each other. Yes, they said, and how far we have come to see it!

Some had come far, while some had come very far. Through darkness and through danger they had come. Now they were waiting. For me and for the future.

This is when I decided not to come. I had decided before, but now I decided again. I heard everyone expecting me, and I did not want to do what I was expected.

Nobody likes stories where it happens as you are expecting. Only, some do, and they are the worst listeners. They are not my listeners. You are not them. I did not come, because I did not want to disappoint my listeners (who are you). Also, I wanted to disappoint my not-my-listeners.

So I did not come, and very much remained not coming. Those who had come to see me began to say I was not coming.

This made the people sad, but I did not care about that. I cared about the story. I cared about the sadness, but in a good way. I thought sadness was good. I thought a better story was if I did not come, and the sadness of my not coming made the story better. I will not come, I decided, and that was final.

I was not coming. This is what people started to see.

Everyone was sad. The future had not come.

“We did not deserve a future anyway,” people started to say. “We had so many chances to have a future and to deserve it, but in the end (that is, from the beginning), we did not do it.”

“And even if we could not deserve it,” other people said, “at least we could have not deserved to not have it. That was another thing we could have done, to deserve not to be called undeserving. This was the very least we could do.”

“But even that,” people said sadly, with sadness in their voice, “but even that we never did. Not in the end, let alone from the beginning. We never made ourselves deserving of a future, or at least not undeserving of it, and now we aren’t getting it. Now the future will not come. This is what we deserve.”

All these people had come far to see me, the first comer in seven years, but I had not come and was not coming. Everyone was sad. They blamed themselves, they blamed each other, and again they blamed themselves. The blame was sadness. What a good story, I thought! I was right not to come.

But then the story changed.

The people started to say I had not come because I could not come. Coming was something I could not do.

Before the Sick, people had always come, whether anybody wanted them to or not, but then the Sick said no more. Then nobody came. The Sick made a rule, and this rule was now the boss of everybody, even the future. That meant the baby who was coming, the tiny baby who was me, even that baby could not break the rule and come. It simply could not.

Listen.

I like a good story. But also, I do not like rules, and I do not like being told what I cannot do. The Sick, who had never known me or had to do with me, had a rule about me not coming. The Sick was the boss now, not me. The Sick would decide, not me. I did not like it.

The people continued their sadness. Because the people did not deserve it, I was not coming. Because they could not be undeserving, I could not come. This is what people said.

They did not know they were getting a future whether they deserved it or wanted it or not.

I had decided to come. I had chosen to be a miracle, to be the future, but most of all a baby. The one the Sick could not tell what to do.

Still, the people did not know it. They did not know they were getting a future.

“I am glad I came to see this,” someone said. “I am glad I got to see this baby not come. Everyone wants to be there at the beginning, or else to be there at the end. At least I got to see the end,” this person said.

If they liked endings, they would not be disappointed, because soon they would see the end of the Sick. Because I was coming. I was coming as a baby. I had decided it.

Even then, coming was not easy to do. I had never done it before. The first time you do something, you do not expect it to be easy. Coming is not easy for anyone. But everyone was helping me how to do it.

“Push,” they said. Although I had not come and would not come, they had begun to see I was coming. “Push,” everyone was saying. “That is how you do it. That is how a baby comes.”

So I pushed. I pushed very hard. Still, I did not come.

This is the way with main characters. First they do not want to do it, then they see they must do it. Once they decide to do it, they find that it is not easy to do. They must try harder. So I pushed.

The first time, I pushed but did not come. The second time, I did not come when I pushed. Even though I was the main character, the one who would overcome all obstacles, here was an obstacle and I would not overcome it. That is how it looked.

“Push!” everyone said again. “Make yourself ready, then push very hard. Then you will have done it.”

The way that each one said it, you would think the others were not saying it correctly. “Push!” everyone said, correcting the saying of the others.
I was pushing but not coming. None of them were saying it right at all.
Then I thought, What did these people know? And where had they gotten with knowing it?

Actually, that was a good question. Where had these people gotten to? This future that was coming, from where was it leading, and how had they gotten there? It seemed like a good thing to know.

The only way to know was to get there.

Just give me a moment and I’ll find out, I thought. In a moment, I would come and see where it had gotten them.

Only I wouldn’t because all this pushing was getting me nowhere.
Forget pushing, I thought. I’ll pull. I reached out with my arms and I grabbed with my fingers. Then I pulled. Even though my body was small and not yet strong, I pulled very hard. This is an obstacle, I thought, and I am the main character. I am coming. Coming over the obstacle.

“Keep pushing!” the people continued to say. “Now you are doing it. Now it is happening!”

Stupid. They thought they were helping. Yes, but not the way they thought. What everyone was saying, never mind it. I was doing it my way. This was the future, and I was coming.

I kept at my pulling. Before I knew it, I had come.

I had done it. They looked at me and I looked at them looking. I was here. Everyone was looking. They looked at each other and at me.

Everyone had said it could not be done and I could not do it, but once I had done it, everyone had always known I could do it, and of course I did. I had come. It was a miracle.

That is what a miracle is, the doing of what must be done for the story.


What do you think? Let me know in the comments!

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