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Underwater

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posted on Dec, 8 2013 @ 01:20 PM
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This has to be cut into two posts. I submitted this story to the flash fiction writing competition. The submitted version had (and was) under 1000 words. The feedback I received from the judges about the submitted version was it was obviously shortened from a better longer draft and that it was to grand of an idea for that type of competition. I happen to agree. So, I would like to get feedback for both versions. The first draft in it's entirety and the submitted version will both be in the next post. Thank you so much for any feedback you give.




posted on Dec, 8 2013 @ 01:21 PM
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Submitted version: 999 words

2180

With the ocean surrounding him, John Thomson gazed from inside the submarine. He was used to traveling in such crafts, since the great flood of 2130, when Earth stopped rotating, causing all the oceans to migrate to the poles. It still haunted him, how this area used to be small communities and homes. He watched some old metal silos pass by, rusting under the ocean. Metal frames of what used to be homes became new coral reefs. He remembered his childhood, the drives through this part of the country. Back then, he’d tired of the endless livestock and countryside. Not now. Years of living in this post-apocalyptic reality had made him appreciate what was and is. The harsh years struggling to survive taught him to appreciate art and the world that can now only be seen through artists and photographer’s works lost and gone.

He watched for New Chicago, an underwater city where he was heading to deliver and exhibit several of the last surviving priceless paintings, including a water proof glass containing The Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci. “We’re almost there, John.” Marissa, John’s wife and assistant said softly. She had been viewing their course from her tablet next to him. While he was enamored with the underwater scape, she was watching their course. She was terrified of water since barely surviving the tsunami that obliterated Boston. She would be a nervous wreck until they could return to their own underground community in New York City. John smiled at his wife, giving her hand a reassuring squeeze, before returning to the porthole. The opaque plastic structure came into view. He had seen many cities over fifty years of his life, and they never ceased to amaze. The loading hatch doors opened as the craft glided into the depressurization bay. John looked over at Marissa, her eyes squeezed shut. He squeezed her hand again. He knew it was hard for her to accompany him on these trips. He was so grateful for her attendance.

New Chicago was a magnificent place. The city buildings had been restored to their former glory and mixed with groves of crops and trees. The simulation projection on the interior of the dome showed a clear blue sky and bright sun. It was 75 degrees with a warm breeze from the south. It was a beautiful day, an elaborate illusion. It helped one forget the fact that they were surrounded by nothing but unforgiving, cold water. Waiting to greet the couple was Amy Sutter, the art director for New Chicago’s Institute of Art. She was a woman in her early 30’s, young and eager. “Hello, you must be the Thomsons. Here, let me get that.” She said in regards to their bags. “Don’t worry about the paintings, our staff with unload them safely. “

John nodded, thinking Amy reminded him of an energetic puppy. “Thank you.” He answered as he offered his arm to his wife and then followed Amy.

“You have no idea how glad I am to see you. Attendance has been miniscule, despite running several ad campaigns. The buzz about your exhibit has helped though. The church here is eager to see The Last Supper, which is good. The arts have stopped being a focus, and that’s causing a great deal of talent to be lost. It’s a shame. “Amy paused and glanced back at the two. “But my woes aren’t your woes. Come on; let’s get you settled in.”

John enjoyed the next few days, even though he was disappointed at the poor condition of the original Chicago’s Institute of Art collection. He had traveled his entire life with various pieces to find other undersea collections mostly intact. During their tour, he mentioned this to Amy, who responded. “That’s why I pushed to get The Last Supper. If it can spark enough interest and can motivate new artists to start creating, we can build our collection again.” John nodded as they continued through the halls. Marissa nervously glanced around. The distinct drumming sound that accompanies these domed cities had grown progressively louder. They knew that much like Earth’s atmosphere deflecting space debris, the dome’s purpose was to provide the protective shell that allows existence underwater. Nature had compensated for lack of planetary rotation with a global, volatile underwater jet stream, which turned swept up underwater debris into dangerous underwater missiles. A big one had just hit New Chicago.

Alarms started sounding everywhere. Lights flashed and a voice sounded over the loud speaker, “Critical Dome Failure. This is not a drill.” Marissa whimpered in fear, as Amy’s face drained of color.

“My god. The Art!” Amy cried, running to grab the nearest paintings off the wall. More alarms sounded, as she tried to tug the nearest painting off the wall. John chased Amy, grabbing her arms.

“There’s no time. We must go NOW!” He said shaking her and pulling her to the exit.

Marissa curled in a ball, terrified, as deafening creaks and moans indicated the protective dome’s accelerating collapse. John tried tugging her to her feet, but her fear had frozen her. He realized the only way she would leave this place is if he carried her.

He turned to Amy, “You have to go. We’ll follow you.”

Amy snapped out of her daze, tears in her eyes, “The Last Supper.” She cried.

John sighed, as he scooped up Marissa. “I know. ” He said as he followed Amy out.

The three were the last to arrive at the escape pods, entering the computer manned devices while the door slid shut behind them. Marissa cried softly in John’s arms, as a sudden forceful burst sent them flying from the doomed city. John watched as the place he had eagerly wanted to see was reclaimed by Mother Nature. The dome collapsed, leaving behind a ruined city, again. His only hope was he could be a member of the recovery team and again find the art he’d spent his life promoting.



posted on Dec, 8 2013 @ 01:23 PM
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The second has to be in 2 posts. Total words for the first draft is 1706.

2180 Sea of the United States
With the bluest of blue oceans surrounding him, John Thomson looked out the tiny porthole. The submarine was fashioned much like the old airplanes that used to cruise the skies, with passenger seats, in a row, with a central aisle. The metal encasing most likely was salvaged by one of those leftover planes from what survived the catastrophe. It was compact, most likely a little puddle jumper in its day, but it had a decent size hold for the cargo that traveled with him.
He was used to traveling in such crafts as this, since the great flood of 2130, where the earth decided to stand still causing all the oceans to split into two separate parts, but it still daunted him, how this area used to be small communities and homes of simple country folk. He could still see some of the old metal silos, as they rusted under the ocean water, and the metal frames of what used to be trailer homes became new coral reefs. He remembered a time when as a boy, he drove through this part of the country with his parents, on their way to Yosemite State Park. Then he was bored with the endless farmland and multitudes of cows that speckled the country side. He was decidedly not now. Years of living in this post apoplectic reality had made him appreciate the beauty of the world around him. It was those harsh years in his youth, of struggling to survive that taught him to appreciate the beauty that surrounded him and the world that can only be seen now through artists and photographer’s eyes. Of a time lost and gone, perhaps forever.
He watched out for New Chicago, an underwater city where he was heading the lead exhibition of the last surviving renaissance paintings with its crown jewel, The Last Supper painted by Leonardo Da Vinci was going to be exhibited in its water proof case. He knew it would be a shell of its former glory, the old hog town was now turned into a farming colony for those who had survived the flood, but still he was eager to see the majestic jewel of the Midwest. Home of the Willis tower, Wrigley Field, and The Art Institute of Chicago, John had hoped that some of their famous works, such as Da Vinci’s Madonna and Child would have survived.
“We are almost upon it, John.” Marissa, John’s wife and assistant said softly. She had been viewing their course from her tablet next to him. While he was enamored with the underwater scape, she was busy watching their course. She was afraid of water, since she barely survived the tsunami that hit her town. She and her family were lucky enough to have found a canoe to ride out the wave until they could be rescued, but watching friends be washed away by the unforgiving water had given her more than a healthy respect for the fluid that surrounded them. She was going to be a nervous wreck until they could return to their own underground community in what used to be New York City.
John smiled at his wife, giving her hand a reassuring squeeze, before returning back to the porthole. The opaque plastic structure was coming into view, as they arrived. He had seen several of these structures in the last 50 years of his life, and they never ceased to amaze him. While this was his first time at New Chicago, he had visited New London, New Paris, New Tokyo and New Milan several times.
The loading hatch doors, opened to the small craft, as it glided smoothly into its hanger, hovering above the rails in which it would sit, once the water was pumped out of the room. Marissa closed her eyes, as the sound of the pumps engaged to drain the water, and listened to the pressure be restored to what it should be again. She hated the rushing sounds of water and air. It brought back to many painful memories.
John looked over at her, squeezing her hand again. He knew how hard it was for her to accompany him on these trips, but he was so grateful for her attendance. Years of traveling apart from her, had taken a toll on their relationship, and only now that the children were grown were they able to do things like this together. He loved her, always had and always will.
Marissa looked up and gave him a weak smile, and John smiled back. Things were going to look up for them.
The pilot came on the overhead system, to tell them it was save to disembark from the craft, and together they gathered their things to enter the city.
New Chicago
New Chicago was a magnificent place. The city buildings had been restored to their previous glory although now they were surrounded by lush fields of green crops and groves of fruit trees instead of suburban homes, and the projection screen surrounding them on the interior of the dome, showed a clear blue sky and a bright sun. It was a balmy 75 degrees with a warm breeze from the south. It was all and all a beautiful day, and it was all illusion of course, an elaborate illusion, but an illusion none the less. Its purpose was to make its inhabitants forget the fact that they were truly surrounded by nothing but unforgiving, cold water. It was an amazing place.
Waiting to greet John and Marissa was Amy Sutter, the art director for New Chicago’s Institute of Art. She was a woman in her early 30’s, young and eager. “Hello, you must be Mr. and Mrs. Thomson. Here, let me get that.” She said in regards to John and Marissa’s bags. She took Marissa’s carry on case from her. “Don’t worry about the paintings, my people are prepared to make sure they get taken off and handled correctly. “



posted on Dec, 8 2013 @ 01:24 PM
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John nodded, thinking Amy reminded him of an energetic puppy. “Thank you.” He said simply as he offered his arm to his wife so they could follow the woman.
“You have no idea how glad I am to see the two of you. Attendance has been miniscule at best at the institute and even though we have run a series of ad campaigns it hasn’t happened to draw much of a crowd. The buzz about your exhibit has drawn some interest though. The church here is eager to see the Last Supper, and I’m glad to have the attendance. The arts really have stopped being a focus for most individuals, and that is causing a great deal of talent to be seeped from the world. It’s really a shame. “She paused and glanced back at the two. “But my woes aren’t your woes. Come on; let’s get you settled in the guest quarters.”
John enjoyed the next few days, even though he was thoroughly disappointed at how poorly the collection from the original Chicago’s Institute of Art. He had traveled his entire life with this and other saved collections, to find other undersea collections for the most part intact. During his tour of the Institute, he mentioned this to Amy, who responded. “That is one of the reasons I really pushed to get The Last Supper here. If it can spark enough interest and we can motivate new artists to start creating, we can start to build our collection again.”
John nodded as he continued walking through the halls, Marissa nervously glancing around. The slight drumming sound that usually accompanied these domed cities was growing progressively louder. They knew that just like with the atmosphere and space debris, the dome’s purpose wasn’t only to provide the air bubble that allowed but to protect its inhabitants from the streams of loose debris that now flowed in the oceans. The farm silos that were knocked loose, the train cars swept off of their tracks during the initial tsunami, or trucks that had gotten caught up in the wave. A great deal of these things had been washing up on the new shore line for the last 50 years, but there was always more floating around. It was a never ending threat.
Klaxtons sounded. Alarms started going off everywhere, lights flashed, while a voice was heard over the loud speaker, “This is not a drill. Critical Dome Failure. This is not a drill.”
Marissa whimpered in fear, as Amy’s face drained of blood and color. “My god!” Amy cried, “The Art!” as she started to run so she could grab the nearest paintings off the wall. More alarms sounded at her touch, as she tried to tug the nearest painting off the wall.
John chased after her, grabbing her arms. “There is no time. We must go NOW!” He said giving her a solid shake and pulled her to the exit.
Marissa curled in a ball, frightened and reliving her childhood, as even louder creaks and moans indicated that the structure they currently counted on for their safety was warning those around to get to safety. John tried tugging her to her feet, but her fear had her to frozen to even move. He realized the only way she would leave this place is if he carried her. He turned to Amy, “You have to go. We will follow you.”
Amy snapped out of her daze, with tears in her eyes, “The Last Supper.” She called out mournfully.
John sighed, as he scooped up Marissa. “I know. We can only hope its protective case will preserve it.” He said as he followed Amy out.
The three were the last to arrive at the escape pods, entering the computer manned devices while the door slid shut behind them. Marissa cried softly while in John’s arms, as the sudden burst of force sent them flying from the doomed city. John found himself, now watching the city he had so eagerly wanted to see be reclaimed by Mother Nature. The dome collapsed, leaving behind a city once again in ruins. His only hope was he could be a member of the recovery team and again find the art he had spent his life protecting.



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