Image Prompt Response: Birds’ Eye Slum


The girl gazes out at the vast emptiness below her, the wreckage of the city standing out to her like broken, studded teeth. A cold breeze brushed her, blowing the hood back from her face. Her dirty blonde hair moves in faint wisps about her face, brushing her cheeks, and she brings a hand to the florescent light tubes that hang from one of her beltloops, curling her fingers around the warmth they provide.

All around her, the slum buzzes with life, reminding her of an entry she’d read in a textbook about honeybees, the hive mind, the queen and workers. Of course, due to the nuclear war, honeybees are extinct. She chalks it up to yet another tally on how the human race had decimated everything–including themselves–on the planet. Daily she’s torn between hoping for more for humanity and wanting to destroy it. It is one of the reasons she was leaving the slum, despite the all too persistent fear that she will die out in that barren wasteland of the unknown. It has been the only home she’s ever known. But her wanderlust is stronger than her desire to stay. It’s not like she has much here to begin with, anyway.

She forces herself to push away from the ledge and begins the long walk home, her crude sandals clanging against the netted mesh walkway. She shoves her hands into the pockets of her shorts, flicking a switch and activating the antique music player she’d found in her old neighborhood. Tinny music played through the speakers, into the earbuds she’d kept tucked behind her ears. She wasn’t really listening to it; it was a mere soundtrack to her thoughts. Muscle memory took over as she heads away from The Bird’s Eye, toward the tiny shantytown that contained the house she shared with her older brothers and sisters. There were five of them in all, all crowded into a tiny metal shack their parents had built before the war. The girl could barely remember the man and woman who’d raised them; being the youngest, she’d only been four years old before they’d been conscripted into the army to fight The Wave. She remembers the scent of her mother’s cheap perfume, her father’s rough lips brushing her forehead. Then they stepped through the doorway, toward the ship that would fly them out to the battlefield.

She’s so lost in the bittersweet memories that she almost passes their decrepit little shack. But she’s met in the yard by her older brother, Tomas. He stands like a towering tree above her, dark hair waving in the breeze, his clothes dirty, his hands chapped and broken from trying to repair broken machines for some of the richer folks in town. “Finally, you’re back, baby sister. What have you been doing all this time? It’s nearly dinnertime and everyone’s been asking for you.” His voice is a rich, melodious baritone that makes her think of her childhood, cut all too short by the loss of her parents. She will miss it, miss them.

How will she break the news to the only family she has left?

My latest writing prompt response, guys! Hope you enjoy! Any feedback is most welcome! <3 <3