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Writing Resources from Fifteen Minutes of Fiction

The following is a piece of writing submitted by ally on May 25, 2009
"The first line was my friend's facebook status the other day, and it was so wonderfully worded that I had to steal it. And I just saw Terminator Salvation on Sunday, so put those two things together and you end up with this."

Until I Live

'Back hurts. Pride hurts. Morals shattered. Grounded 'till I die. At this rate, I won't be grounded much longer.'

It was the final entry in his father's leather-bound diary, written long before Gabe was born. Besides a reddish-brown stain several pages later, the rest of the notebook was empty, though Gabe found himself wishing it wasn't. His father's diary had been a light in the dark for so long, and Gabe was unsure how he would survive without it.

Survival was key in Gabe's world. He lived life one day to the next, and when he went to sleep at night, he never knew for sure if he would wake up the next morning. His world was torn apart by a war of sorts; Gabe was one of the few civilians still fighting against a massive global army that controlled nearly every corner of the world.

The last page of his father's diary was a scary thing for Gabe. He knew his dad had died fighting for a better future; that much his mother had told him. From the little brown diary, he knew that his father had once led a vast guerrilla army against the highly organized global forces, but that army no longer existed. Instead, there were scattered pockets of people - usually no more than two or three - just trying to stay alive. Fighting was almost always out of the question. To launch an ambush would mean death, and Gabe's one goal was to live. But these days, living was getting harder: the global army was expanding it's reaches, threatening to wipe out any and all people who stood in its way. Gabe needed inspiration. He needed hope. He needed to know what his father would do if he were in his place, but that was impossible.

"Come to bed," a gruff voice called out from behind him, and Gabe instinctively parted his lips to let out a shushing noise, turning around to face the source of the voice.

"I'll keep watch," he replied, nodding at the man who had called to him. "You go to sleep, Nate."

"You haven't slept for days. Go to sleep - I'll keep watch." Nate glanced at the diary in Gabe's hands. "And put that thing away - it's makin' you all weird."

"I just wish I had met my father. Sometimes I don't even know what I'm doing out here, ya know?" Nate crouched down next to where Gabe sat, putting a hand on his shoulder.

"Your father would have been proud of you, man. You're doing what he always wanted to do." Nate grasped one of Gabe's arms and pulled him to his feet. "Now go to bed. You'll be easy prey tomorrow if you're half asleep."

Even given the circumstances, Gabe couldn't resist a smile.

"I don't know what I'd do without you, Nate," Gabe said, reluctant to give into the temptation of sleep. "My brother was the last family I had, and when he was killed, I honestly didn't know what to do."

"C'mon, don't get all mushy on me," Nate said, awkwardly digging his foot into the dirt. "We're both alive, that's all that matters."

"I know," Gabe said. "But still, I like having someone I can rely on."

"So do I," Nate replied, settling himself against a withered tree. "Now go to sleep."

Gabe curled his body up against a mound of moss and dirt, watching Nate's crouched form until he felt his eyelids slowly droop closed. His last thought before falling asleep was that maybe, if he couldn't rely on his father's advice any longer, he could at least rely on a friend.

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