Sci-Fi/Dystopian/Fantasy Shared Universe Camp with Carolyn Cohagan (Aug 24-Aug 28)
This late summer writing group was made up of Californians. They came together to create this wild ride of a story. They started with a world, added characters, and the plot seemed to bloom easily from there. Millie Rose Haberman provided the art for the cover. Please enjoy their multiple-perspective story.
Into the Unknown
by Millie Rose Haberman, Echo Pauwen,
Haley Safavi, and Camille Taylor
November 2, 4494,
Long ago before there were multiple dominant species there was only one they were called humans. They were not the brightest creatures but they certainly thought they were. They had a preposterous idea to mix the DNA of humans and animals. After many failed attempts something unbelievable happened and that is why we are here today. Now there were multiple dominant species, wars started raging and the humans moved underground. This would certainly be the end of all the species unless . . .
December 3, 4494
I awoke to the sound of my parents fighting. I gingerly climbed out of bed and slipped feet into the fuzzy slippers that I had gotten for last year’s Christmas as to avoid putting my feet on the hard wooden floor. I quietly tiptoed towards the kitchen so my parents wouldn’t hear me. I grabbed a packet of instant pancakes and poured water on it, right away the pancakes appeared. I poured some bacon flavored syrup on my pancakes. My little sister Gale came in and scooped the pancakes up in her pudgy little hands and smirked at me then with syrup dripping down her face skipped out of the room. I grumpily walked out of the room and picked up my textbook on nimuma. The nimuma were one of the terrifying hybrids with a hamster head, an ostrich neck, four enormous dark orange eyes, two small slanted nostrils, small ears and a protruding jaw. I would never want to meet one; they sound terrifying .
I walked back up to my room and tied up my hair with a dark purple hair band, slipped on a pair of shorts and a tee shirt then I walked out of our domain and ran to school. I was late but that was kind of my style . My friends Arnold and Kellie were waiting for me at the gate Arnold towered over me and Kellie he has tan skin. He has a narrow face with pointed chin, a small nose and large lips, his light green eyes are angular and he has thick eyebrows. He has a buzz cut and a star shaped birthmark on his hand. Kellie on the other hand has fair skin ( though she is always sunburned so…..) and a self indulgent feel about her. She has a round face, a pointed nose, and small lips. Her hazel eyes are round and she has plucked eyebrows. She has shoulder-length, straight, medium brown hair which is spiky. She wears a lot of jewelry. I have dark skin, a triangular face, a small nose, large lips and brown eyes that are narrow. I have long black dreadlocks with strands of pink woven in .
Me, Arnold and Kellie jogged to our lockers and threw our backpacks inside. Kellie sprinted to history class leaving me and Arnold behind .
“Sup,“ Arnold said.
“Oh, stop trying to be cool you dork “ I replied. I ran to my first class, math. How I hated numbers and our math teacher Ms. Willams. When I walked into class Ms. Willams had her pruney feet on her desk. I wanted to tell her that was disgusting, but I could not bear another F. After history and science it was finally lunch. I sat down at a table with Kellie and Arnold.
“Are you guys doing anything after school?" asked Kellie.
“Nope,” I said.
“Do you want to come over?“ Kellie blushed.
Then Arnold said, “Ya what time."
Kellie looked very disappointed. I think she was hoping for it to be just us .
After school I walked over to Arnolds. The plans had changed. My parents were busy and wanted us out of the house. I had to bring Gale because my parents were paying me to babysit her . We took the long road because Gale wanted to take her stuffie Wolfie to the park. When we got there I saw her climbing. I followed her . She managed to climb out the emergency exit in the ceiling. You see we live underground because it’s safe from terrifying creatures that want to rip out our organs. Okay back to what was happening .
I climbed up the huge metal latter and yelled . “Come back” . I poked my head through the top of the hole it was beautiful the ground was covered in a yellow tall grass the the clouds were a pink color there was this one bright part in the sky it was covered by a cloud I guessed that as the sun the cloud moved so i was staring at the full brightness of the sun it was so bright that I nearly fell back down the hole I came from if I hadn’t caught myself by a branch that had fallen from a nearby tree. I climbed out of the hole let's find my sister now.
“Gale!” I yelled at the top of my lungs. I moved forward. “Gale!” I yelled again. I started to run. I stopped abruptly when i saw rustling to my left. I ran towards it not thinking that maybe that wasn't such a good idea. I moved the grass away to find a 10 footed squirrel munching on a red berry.
I shrieked and jumped back in horror. I looked to my right and saw a line of trees. I looked down and saw a little figure.
“Gale”! I yelled for the third time. She looked at me but turned back and kept walking into the woods. I ran towards what I thought to be Gale. When I got to the line of trees I looked at the tip of them and scanned them all the way to the bottom. I looked at my shoes which were covered in mud. I looked forward finding little foot prints and a few handprints every so often. Gale can’t totally walk on her feet without falling. I followed the footprints still panting. I walked for a long time once in a while glancing back worrying that I wouldn’t be able to find my way back.
“How far did you go?” I muttered under my breath. I kept walking. I saw my sister running. I walked towards her and found her holding onto a Wolfie. I shrieked, “No!"
She shrieked “Wolfie!”
I sat crouched in a clump of thick tall grass. I was watching a squirrel nibbling on a nut. I licked my lips. The squirrel smelled so good! I crept toward it. Suddenly a howl split the silent forest. The squirrel looked up smelling the air. It smelled me. It turned and ran up the nearest tree. I let out an annoyed growl.
“What!?!” I snapped at my sister Dew who had emerged from a clump of trees. It had been her who had howled.
“Hawk has called a pack meeting and I was told to get you,” Dew responded.
“Fine,” I growled. “But you still made me lose my squirrel,” I grumbled as Dew turned away.
“Coming Rain?” she asked
“Good, what to race?”
“Ok, but only if you are willing to lose,” I joked.
Dew bounded off in the direction of our home. I raced after her. Soon we reached the cave-den where we lived. Our mother Hawk the leader of the pack stood on a rock overlooking the den where we slept. Her brother Eagle stood at the base and Falcon our father sat a little way behind Hawk. Me and Dew went to sit with our brothers Lark and Sparrow. A little way in front of us sat my best friend Raven and her brother Owl.
I scanned the crowd of wolves for my younger siblings. There, I thought, finding them near Finch my older sister. My parents had three litters of pups: the first consisting of Finch and our brother Penguin, The second me, Sparrow, Dew and Lark and the third had Fluff and his sisters: Cirrus and Snow.
It wasn’t hard to find any members of the pack because it was so small. Cloud wolves were almost extinct. There were only three packs left. The smallest lived up near the top of the mountains. The biggest pack living at the bottom.
I looked up Waiting for the meeting to start. The meeting wasn’t that interesting. It was just about how we were going to have to hunt together because those giant kestrels are on the lookout for unsuspecting Cloud wolves.
“Well, I think that’s all,” said Hawk “You're all dismissed,”
“Great!” Said Raven “I can’t wait to go hunting”
“Yes,” I agreed, “Especially sense Dew made me lose my squirrel.”
“Your still mad about that?” asked Dew
“Yes, I am,” I snapped back
“Well, are we going hunting or not?” asked Raven
“Yes we are, come on,” I replied
“Wait, I’m coming with you,” said Falcon who had come up behind us.
“What!?! No you’re not!” Yelped Dew
“It doesn’t matter, let’s just go already!” I said.
Once we were out hunting I caught the scent of deer. I followed it till I finally found it munching on some blades of grass. It was a young small deer, but it was better than nothing, and we were all hungry. I crept up on it staying down wind so it wouldn’t scent me. When I was close enough I pounced. It moved quickly, but I was able to catch up with it and bite its throat, killing it.
“Hey, I got something! Hello? Anyone?” I called out with no response “Fine you leave me, I leave you,” I growled to thin air.
After making sure the deer was hidden I walked on sniffing for more food. Suddenly I smelled it. A smell I didn’t recognize. I walked around a clump of trees following the scent trail and suddenly I saw it. My eyes widened. I let out a low growl. It was a HUMAN! A tiny human. I had never seen a human, but I knew at first that it was that. No other creature looked very that strange. It was holding what looked like a stuffed Cloud wolf. It was terrible . I didn’t know that they killed cloud wolves . I moved closer letting out another growl. There was a rustling behind me. I spun around expecting to see another human, but it was only Raven.
“What’s that thing!?!” exclaimed Raven
“It’s a human, at least I think it is,” I told her.
“A human!?! I thought they lived underground!?!” Yelped Raven
“Well, this one doesn’t,” I replied.
“What are we going to do with it?” growled Raven
Suddenly the thing ran at me. I yelped and quickly backed away.
“What the?” I yelped. The thing had attached itself to my leg, and it was now annoyingly clinging to it. “OW!” I yelped, for the thing had just pulled out handfuls of my fur.
“Your lucky I don’t eat you!” I told the thing.
“Who would want to eat that?” asked Raven “It’s covered in weird fur-cloth and looks VERY unappetizing.”
“Your supposed to be on my side,” I told her.
“Of course I am,” she said indignantly “At least I’m not on the things side.”
“Ow!” I yelped again as the thing pulled some more of my fur out.
“What should we do with it?” I asked. By now I was tired of getting my fur pulled out. Suddenly a bigger, (older I would say if I had to guess) human walked out from behind a bush. I’d guess she had been hiding there. She said something, but I wasn’t paying attention.
“What do we do?” asked Raven
“Eat them?” I suggested unhelpfully
“I was joking,” I responded
The human said something else.
“Hello?” Raven said to it
I didn’t know what language she was speaking, for Cloud wolves knew A LOT of languages. Though I soon realized she was speaking English, human. The human looked terrified. I would guess humans didn’t know Cloud wolves could talk. I remembered the stories Bird, Raven’s mother, had told us about humans when we were younger. That they were very untrustworthy and hated Cloud wolves. Even more than they hated Shadow wolves and everyone hated Shadow wolves. Well, except Shadow wolves. And Cloud wolves who were their ally in the war.
Slowly the human opened its mouth (if I had to guess,I’d say that it was female) and said in human: “Hello?”
Raven blinked at her then looked at me.
“ I didn’t know you could talk!” The human exclaimed. She looked astonish. I guess she hadn’t meant to say that.
“Your supposed to hate and eat humans,” she said
“We only hate you because you hate us,” Raven grumbled to me. To the human she said: We not eat you,” she said
“But, but...” she stammered “Cloud wolves are the most vicious human made wolves,” Human said
“What!?!”both me and Raven shouted
“We NOT vicious,” snapped Raven
“Humans did definitely not make us, neither,” I growled
“Just for that, might eat you,” I responded. Raven nodded.
“You are Cloud wolves, right?” Human asked
“Yes,” I said.
“Well, if you are not going to attack us then will you help us?” asked Human.
I glanced at Raven. She shook her head.
“We should help them,” I said.
“No we shouldn’t,” Raven said.
“Because humans are evil! You heard what they said about us, they think WE’RE evil!”
“Well, let’s at least see what they want,” I told her
“What do you what us help with?” Raven asked her.
“Um, well, we are lost so it would be great if you could show us the way back,” Human said.
“I know where they live,” I told Raven. “I went there a few years ago with Lark, Sparrow, Dew, Hawk and Falcon.”
“I still don’t think we should help them,” said Raven.
“Think of it this way: we help them because it’s the right thing to do and to show humans that Cloudwolves aren’t evil and we get them off our territory,” I said
“Fine, I guess you’re right,” said Raven. “Let’s go then.”
“Ok, we help,” I said to the thing and Human.
“Great thanks! What are your names? I’m Skyler and this is Gale,” said Human, well Skyler.
“I Rainstorm, this Raven,” I told them. “You call me Rain.”
“Hello,” said Skyler nervously
“Raven you go get Dew and Falcon and tell them where I went. I’ll be home sometime tomorrow at the latest,” I said
“What!?! I’m not leaving you with these humans you barely know! It could be a trap!” exclaimed Raven. I ignored her.
“Ok,” I told the humans. “I ready.”
I climb onto big Wolfies back. She looks MAD. I think it’s because she is jealous of little Wolfie, he gets all my attention. Big Wolfie (she claims to be named Rain but we all know she is lying) says, “I never knew humans kill cloud wolves."
“Me no, no what you mean,“ I responded. “I talking about little Wolfie."
“I did not kill little Wolfie."
“Fine, whatever you say."
Big Wolfie turned toward sister and said: “We sleep here tonight. Safer, many dangers in forest at night.”
Sister gulped. I blinked. I like dangers, my was life boring until I met Big Wolfie. I hug Little Wolfie. He gets scared easily. Then sister said: Um, maybe we should sleep inside?”
Big Wolfie looked confused. “Inside what? Tree? Bush? Not much inside. Except pack cave-den. But, pack not like humans. Too far away, anyway,” said Big Wolfie.
Then sister say: “How about inside a house? That seems like the safest idea.” For some reason, she glanced at me. I wonder why.
Big Wolfie laughed. I think she laughed. Not sure, though. It’s hard to understand wolves. She glanced at sister, then said: “There no houses in forest. Only dens. And plants. And animals who love eat humans.”
Sister gulp again. Then I say: “I strong! I build us shelter! Also what shelter? Mommy talk about it. But, I don’t know what it’s.” Sister and Wolfie glance at each other. “Shelter is somewhere that’s safe. That you can get into and sleep or if it’s raining you won’t get wet. It’s like a house,” say sister.
“Come, I have place to sleep,” say Big Wolfie. I climb on Big Wolfie back. She is VERY mad. I can’t imagine why. She yells: “Get off!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
“Don’t talk to my sister like that!” Sister yells.
“I like it here,” I told Wolfie.
“Too bad,” Wolfie says. “Cause I want the thing off!”
“Don’t you DARE call my sister the thing! She’s a human being not a thing!” says sister.
Big Wolfie said something I don’t know. Then she say: “Sorry, I not do it again,”
I can tell she means it.
“It ok!” I say. I still love her. Then I hug her. Sister glared at her. She say nothing though.
We walked for a while. Then we see a cave. Wolfie and I go inside the cave. Sister follow. I like to think there are monsters inside cave. I slide off Wolfie back holding Little Wolfie. I tell sister about the monsters. Sister shivers and tells me there are no such things as monsters.
“What about Wolfie?” I ask.
“Don’t be mean,” say sister. Then she also says: “Yes Wolfie is the scariest thing I’ve ever seen.”
“ I go hunt now,“ I say while simultaneously grabbing a stick and poking her in the chest. I walk out before she can answer. Suddenly I see a deer two times my size. I ran at it screaming my war cry. I speer its head on my short stick (on second thought that may be a knife ). I ran back to the cave screaming, “I caught a deer, I caught a deer!"
Then she says to me, “That’s a chicken."
“Whatever same thing."
My sister made dinner but I think I could have done better. My personal favorite meal is sugar in a bowl. After dinner we go to bed. When we wake up we start walking in a direction and Wolfie says, “Your home is that way. I take you as far as I know then you are on your own."
We start walking; we walk for hour. We come up near a stream.
I say “Wolfie, come in."
"Noooooooo!!!!” Wolfie says.
We keep going. "Fine! but in half hour we jump in together." We keep walking and I find berries and every time Wolfie says, "Don’t eat or you die," sister think I scared of berries and Wolfie, but I no scared of them. I’m brave. Finally half hour go by. I find the stream again and make Wolfie go in. Wolfie not happy not at all.
After we get out sister says, "I am hungry. Let's find food."
Wolfie says, “Ok, Skyler, what food do you like eating?”
"I like hamburgers, tacos, hotdogs- ”
"Hot dogs. You eat hot dogs!” exclaimed Wolfie.
“Not real DOGS! It’s meat from a cow!” says Skyler.
I looked up at the sun which was a mistake. I couldn't see for 10 minutes. It was brutally hot. We were in a huge yellow field with no trees and I was wearing a long sleeved shirt. We walked for a while. We passed a building then another and another. After a while we noticed that we were in an old human town. It was a bit creepy. It was dusty. There were no colors except for vines that had round berries growing on them.
I went over to touch them but Wolfie it was not too good that it was raining and we didn’t have any rain clothes—like why would we live under ground. We were in the woods my damp hand holding my sisters. I saw a little house peeking out of a bush. I let go of my sister's hand and crouched above it. A little person stared at me wide-eyed. He seemed to be holding an orange cat that was very chubby, so like any nice person would do, I picked him up. “Hey guys come look at this.”
Wolfie and Sky came over, looked at my hand, and I opened it.
“Is he dead?” I asked.
“I don’t think so,” Wolfie answered. The little human put his head up, clutching his cat even tighter. I poked his face so he nibbled on my fingers.
“Ouch, yep. He is definitely alive,” I yelled as the rain got louder and louder. “What's your name?” I asked with confidence.
“Put him down. We have to keep moving,” Sky said as she reached for him."
" No!” I screamed and swatted her hand away, then repeated even louder, "What is your name?”
“Mi nan tis lice an tis es jamin,” he said.
“What?” I said with confusion.
“We are Louis and Jasmine!” he yelled.
I got up the sound of rain ringing in my ears, put my chubby feet on the cold stone floor and walked slowly to the kitchen, going down a long hall passing my bathroom and closet. I put my fingers on the chipped walls putting them in the long cracks that run along them. I arrived at the kitchen hungrily batting my huge stomach. I opened the fridge grabbing the milk and poured some into a bowl with some cereal in it. Most people say I am old fashioned in these ways. I ate ferociously, milk dripping down my long white beard. When I was done I washed my bowl my cat came up to me rubbing her fat head against my leg. I bent down. She rolled over. I rubbed her orange belly. I bumped into a chair making her run away.
My name is Louis but most people call me Lou. I am tall and I have short shaggy hair and baby blue skin. I am one thousand and sixty. My hair has gone gray by now. I look like a human but the size of ones index finger. I have a cat as you already know— Jasmine, she is a tabby. I headed to the bathroom, brushing my short hair and my teeth. When I was done I still looked as I had when I woke up. Then I headed to my closet. There were rows that had the same exact item of clothes over and over except for the occasional rain jacket. So I took a pair of black pants, a white T-shirt, and a white rain jacket, grabbed a body umbrella for my cat, a blanket, an extra pair of clothes, a fishing rod, and some food and stuffed it in my purple bag. I grabbed Jasmine and clipped the umbrella on to her.
“You ready for an adventure, Jasmine?” I asked.
She meowed angrily in response.
“Well that’s too bad.”
Me and Jasmine were going to the nearest fishing pond. We walked out of the door. A chubby toddler was staring at us .
“Is is that a human? I haven’t seen one of those in one thousand years. Wow. Has it really been that long?”
She bent down and picked me up, a wet slobbery hand clutching me. She started to poke my face. It was pretty uncomfortable so I nibbled at her finger.
“Whado tam.” Her voice was muffled by the rain. I couldn’t quite hear her but I pieced it together. She was saying water train.
“What is a water train?” I asked.
“No, no. What is your name?” she said.
Another human came into view. She was taller.
"Eat him now!" she yelled.
I screamed and bit the young girl's finger, desperately trying to escape. She dropped me. Jasmine landed on land. I, on the other hand, landed in a puddle, slowly sinking. A bigger and softer hand picked me up.
“Please, don’t eat me. I will do whatever you want. My name is Louis. This is Jasmine, my cat. I'm too young to die,” I said with a pleading voice.
“We're not going to eat you.” The little one paused. "But we will if you don’t give us information.”
“Gale” the bigger human said with disapproval, “I am trying to help. Now tell us where the big tall grass field is. ”
“Oh the one by the forest? i asked
“Yes” they responded
“Oh yeah I used to live there”
“So would you take us?” the tall one asked.
“Only if you don’t eat me,” I said.
“So it is a deal,” Gale said.