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Wandering Soul

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The Connection

Hands rummaged in toppled and singed garbage cans; eyes searched frantically for anything that could be called edible, but all in vain.
“There can’t be no food,” Natalya complained.
“We’re going about this wrongly. We need to scour the forest or something if we’re hoping for something to eat. I could find a couple of berries. We could eat insects.”
“But—“
“Natalya, it’s our only option.” David’s grey eyes tried intently to convince her, and
This chapter is short, but I just wanted to show more about David and Natalya, and I couldn't really think of anything more to add. Please tell me what you think!
I saw her will crumbling. “Come on. It won’t be anything too disgusting. We used to do this in boy scouts all the time.”
I followed them slowly, lingering behind while David talked about some of his adventures. For some reason, I didn’t really want to hear. If he’d been talking to me, I would have been all over him, trying to remember every word he told me because I loved the sound of his voice.
But he wasn’t speaking to me.
The sound of Natalya’s laughter drifted towards me, and I was confused as to how they could even smile in their situation. But then again, they weren’t a soul without a body, longing to be seen again. I would reverse Justin’s experiment, no matter the consequences. If David knew I was alive, life wouldn’t be so bland anymore.
I finally let myself catch up to them.
“…never understood you and Justin,” David was saying.
Natalya blushed in the heat. “Right,” She whispered.
I reached out to her mentally, trying to express my concern. What could she be going through? I knew they had been close. What had Natalya been suffering as she had to listen to David complain about losing me? What could she be thinking, with Justin out of her life forever? They’d been close…
“You don’t have to say anything, if you don’t want to,” David said.
Natalya’s smile looked forced. “I don’t mind. Justin was… something of a mystery to me when I first met him. We were kind of forced to hang out at first, what with you and Rose always wanting to be alone. And then… I don’t know. It happened so gradually that I didn’t even realize I was falling for him.”
“How long?” David asked, mirroring my thoughts.
“Just a few weeks. We weren’t sure what was going on, but we had planned to tell you the night you got back… That is, before the world…” Natalya shrugged painfully. I couldn’t help the sorrow rising in my imagined chest, and the hurt I would feel in my throat if I had been in my body.
David nodded in understanding and brushed his hand against some plants. “I would have thought the plants would be more… destroyed, if you know what I mean.”
“They withstood the wrath of the human race,” Natalya said, a hint of melodrama in her voice.
David laughed and plucked a berry from a nearby tree, popping it in his mouth. “This is good. Try one.”
Natalya looked skeptical as she took a few, chewing slowly. “A little bit sour… But good enough. There’s not point in complaining.”
“Let’s go back to the school.”
“Back?” Natalya looked a bit frightened at the prospect.
“Why not?”
She gulped visibly, and I wondered why she would balk at the idea, especially since she was so sure there were survivors. Natalya shrugged. “Okay. Let’s go.”
“Wait, I want to know why you don’t want to go.”
“It’s… I mean, think about it. I don’t want to face it. It’ll just remind me. Here, it’s so much more unrealistic. I know it’s stupid. Don’t judge me. I’m just not ready.”
David looked relieved, but he said softly, “We’re going to have to face it eventually.”
Natalya nodded. “Let’s just not make that day today.”


With their bellies somewhat filled, Natalya and David went back to perch atop their rocks. I longed for the day they would be ready to go back to the school. They would need to enter the exhibition, and they would need to understand that my body still lived.
Only then would I be satisfied.
I wanted to travel to the exhibition myself, as if I were living in the world of a computer game and I needed to turn back to reality, to my real self, my body. But I didn’t feel ready either. Besides, it wouldn’t do me any good.
So I stayed some more and let myself watch Natalya and David, the two people I cared the most about in this lost and lonely world.
“If anyone should have survived the blast, it should have been Rose,” Natalya said.
I always perked up at the sound of my name. It seemed to come up in every conversation. With a shake of my invisible head, I wished I could knock the backs of the two survivors’ heads. “I’m alive!” I said. “What do you think I’m doing here?”
Natalya went on, “It’s almost as if I can feel her, you know? And I can feel her judging me. She was my best friend. She knew me better than I did, and I just… I don’t want to disappoint her.”
“You’re not disappointing her,” David said. “Why do you even think that?”
The words caught in Natalya’s throat; I could tell by the way she seemed a bit flustered and had to clear her throat before continuing. She was right, though. I did know her well. “I feel like she knows my every thought. It’s just… scary to think about.”
David gave her a tight smile. “Don’t worry too much.”
Natalya giggled to herself and swung her hair over one side. “So much for our freshman year at college. How did you enjoy yours?”
“Um… I loved every moment of it.”
“So did I. It was much more different than I thought it would be.”
“In what way?”
Natalya gave David a look as if to say, really? I actually need to explain this to you? But she said anyway, “You watch all those old movies about people finally going off to college, and they get drunk and party and do stupid stuff. I guess I thought it would be like that for me. Only… it wasn’t.”
“I think I see what you mean.”
“Yeah. It was more of a wake up call,” Natalya said, her excitement growing. “My parents… Well, I love them, but they could be a bit much. They didn’t approve of my choices. They always told me to never choose sports over grades. But I did. It was my passion. When I was in high school, my parents had more control. They almost made me change my mind.”
“About choosing sports over grades?”
Natalya nodded. “Then I came here. Everyone has goals, you know? My love for sports only got challenged with the competition, but I got to love it even more because of that. I think I would have liked to join the Olympics one day.”
“That’s a pretty good goal,” David said. I wasn’t sure if it was out of kindness or because he was simply speaking the truth when he said, “You would have won first prize all the time.”
Natalya put her face in her arms and shook her head. “That’s why my parents were so annoyed.” She looked up again. “They knew that, for me, it was always about the glory of being the best. And I can’t just deny it. They’re completely right. But I just can’t help it.”
“It’s nothing to be ashamed about. I mean, look at me. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. At least you had a goal. At least you had somewhere to go.”
“You don’t see it, do you?”
“See what?” David’s confusion almost astounded me, even.
Natalya explained, “You didn’t have a huge goal to follow, one that you’d envisioned about every night to put yourself to sleep. I did. And now, that dream is shattered. It’s gone forever, because the world is over. There may be survivors, but until we find them, we’re stuck. Do you see what I mean?”
“My loss isn’t as great as yours,” David admitted reluctantly.
Natalya looked a little bit sheepish, as if she hadn’t meant to bring up any hurt, but I understood where she came from and even I had to say to myself quietly, “Perhaps my loss isn’t as great as yours either, Natalya.”
Natalya lifted her brown eyes to look at me. Or, rather, through me, and it was as if, in that split second, we came to an understanding. And then her puzzled eyes dropped to stare at the ground and our connection was lost.
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This book has 127 comments. Post your own!

leafyThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 23, 2011 at 5:25 pm:
i don't have time to start this one yet, but its sounds awesome! i'll start it either later today or in the next couple of days
 
Garnet77 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 23, 2011 at 6:25 pm :
Start it anytime :) 
 
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leah1027This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jul. 20, 2011 at 1:02 pm:
Omg, this is AMAZING. Can you pretty please post the next chapter soon? I'm leaving for camp in  few days but I'm dying to know what happens next. :) One thing though: Is her real body alive? That's just a little confusing since everyone else in the room she was in was incinerated but she miraculously wasn't. Either way though this book is great.
 
Garnet77 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 20, 2011 at 1:43 pm :
I'll post the next chapter, but you may not see it for a week or two--it needs to be approved by teenink first. And as for the body, I don't want to give any spoilers. All you have to know for now is that her soul is alive. :) Thanks for the comment. 
 
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Garnet77 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 18, 2011 at 4:47 pm:
I just caught a mistake in the summary, where the year the world ended is supposed to be 2090, not 1290. Whoops. :l 
 
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tealbird said...
Jul. 17, 2011 at 5:30 pm:
I love your writing style! It puts so much personality into the character, and makes the story so intriguing! I think that the work you did is fantastic!
 
Garnet77 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 17, 2011 at 5:40 pm :
Well thank you! I'm so glad you think so! :)
 
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DelictiousThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jul. 15, 2011 at 9:13 pm:

I have to be honest, I did NOT want to read a novel when you first commented on my thing. But then I started to read, and really fell in love with the character's and what was going on. As the others said, the beginning is a bit rushed, but you got a handle on that by the last chapter that is posted. I really am eager to read more.

I loved what Rose said to them when she was in her out of body experience, how she would respond to their questions and talk to them even though they co... (more »)

 
DelictiousThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Jul. 15, 2011 at 9:15 pm :

PS I love the title to the book, very nice(:

And I forgot to mention that I found it a bit weird that TWO of the main character's had dead fathers... And then another one had a brother die. It's seems like a lot of death that just is coincidental in this small group of friends, especially two having the same close family member die. I don't know if it's just me, but I found that a bit, weird.

 
DelictiousThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Jul. 15, 2011 at 9:23 pm :
PSS
Sorry.. Bahaha, but I keep forgetting things I wanted to say! 
I just have to ask, are you a male or female? The whole story I couldn't figure it out... And I just really was curious, since the main character is a girl, I thought you were. But, of course, I've written stories with guy main characters and I'm a girl, sooo.... 

Sorry for like the paragraph asking one question(:
 
Garnet77 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 15, 2011 at 9:34 pm :
I'm a girl, to answer your question. :) And thank you so much for the feedback!!! I know, the whole dead father thing was kind of unrealistic--it kind of just happened. Don't know why. But I'm so glad you like this, and took the time to read and comment! Three times! Haha. Thanks. The book is undergoing some serious revision, so hopefully, the final will be better. (If I can ever get it done). 
 
DelictiousThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Jul. 15, 2011 at 10:43 pm :
Thanks for answering the question! And yeah, that's just one of the main things that bothered me is the dead fathers thing... But hey, it's a book! I loved reading it, really! And you better get it done! I have no doubt in my mind you will be published someday, and I'll be able to say: Hey! I commented on that book when it was only a rough draft on teen ink... (:
 
Garnet77 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 15, 2011 at 11:11 pm :
Haha, thank you. You have no idea how much that means!!! :)
 
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.Izzy. said...
Jul. 13, 2011 at 8:36 pm:
Very original...I loved it! The number thing was cool, I immediately grabbed my phone to see that the three numbers spelled war. Also, the way you wrote the novel, I could feel the frusturation Rose felt, and I just kept hoping that someone would notice her. One thing that stuck out to me, however, was the skyping thing. I assume that this story takes place far into the future, and with the rapid growth of technology, I doubt skype will be around in Rose's time. The ending felt ru... (more »)
 
Garnet77 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 14, 2011 at 3:29 pm :
Thanks! I was working for this to be original. And the pacing is definitely slowing down. I'm almost finished with the next chapter (FINALLY got over writer's block), so I may be posting that soon. :)
 
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Megan.J.B said...
Jul. 12, 2011 at 7:10 pm:
I really liked this! The only complaint I would have is : RUSHED! I think that for a novel/longer story or whatever you intend it to be, it was far too rushed. Reel me into her relationships with her friends, etc. That's my only complaint 
 
Garnet77 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 12, 2011 at 8:29 pm :
I know it's rushed, but I did slow it down after the first chapter, which I have already started to rewrite. Thanks for the feedback :)
 
Megan.J.B replied...
Jul. 13, 2011 at 10:46 am :
No problem, I loved the concept though, I mean really, really original! :)
 
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Garnet77 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 11, 2011 at 5:17 pm:
For anyone who has read or is going to read this book, I'd like to pose a question to you. Would you prefer it if I made chapter 1 into 'part 1' and separated that into two or three chapters? I just feel like it would make more sense and ease the confusion and rapid pace I start out the book in. Feedback would be appreciated. :)
 
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DaylightDarkness said...
Jul. 5, 2011 at 12:50 am:
this is really really good! Normally im not that interested in sci-fi but I definately like this one! great job, im hungry for more!
 
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