Excavation of Earth

The Excavation of Earth

It’s my first day of the military. I was shipped out yesterday. It has been over a week since I was told that I was leaving, they found my brother dead during his scouting mission to Earth. I soon after filled his spot going to Earth, a place where the human race lived once, so long ago. I would say it has been 2,000 years, at least, since a human was seen on Earth, or since we set up civilization here on New Earth. Now I am ready to go back to where my ancestors once lived. We are doing an excavation of the surface to see what remains can be found, and to dig up anything we didn't already know about how Earth's' civilization collapsed. On my way boarding the ship, I saw a picture of some old ruins from a destroyed building on Earth that was much larger than anything here on New Earth, this world that was once known as Neptune. I also saw steel, which is a rare sight here on New Earth. Just before I got on the ship, the captain reviewed the rules of what we’re meant to do on Earth. We were then put into cryogenic sleep and the ship took off.

We all woke up a day before we landed on Earth. The first thing most of us did was look out of the windows. The first thing we saw was the most extraordinary thing any of us had ever seen…. Earth. It looked bigger than most of us had imagined. The world had a blue glow, a little tint around it that made it seem more mysterious and wonderful than most of us had imagined when we heard stories from our parents.

As soon as we landed, I saw that this world's surface is bare, yet something about it had a mystery to it... even from the surface it was fascinating. As we began walking, I had this strange feeling that we were being watched and followed. It was an unnerving feeling, but it soon passed as soon as we saw the ruins. The buildings were extraordinary. We had been walking around for an hour or so before something truly noteworthy actually occurred. It just so happened I tripped over a rock. I looked over to the rock to see a book staring right back at me, no one else seemed to have seen the book so I picked it up. I found this book and no one even knew. It was old and ripped around the edges, it looked as if it had been through a war, or like it had just laid there for hundreds of years. I picked it up without anybody noticing as I picked myself up from off the ground. Another hour had passed and still nothing had happened, so we took shelter in an old crumbling house as it began to rain. For the rest of the night we sat there. Some of us telling stories, others awing at the sights around them, and some of us were reading. To pass the time I took out that old book and dusted off the front cover. On the front was written “Jacob’s Journal”. It was an interesting thing that this was someone’s journal. I was shocked; maybe this is what we were looking for! But just in case, I kept it to myself. Then I started to read.

“December 22, 2011
It’s a Wednesday and they just announced the plague; I am scared. My family and friends are panicking about who would get it in between us now due to the fact my little sister has just died of it. The symptoms go in an order like this: It starts with a cough which slowly gets worse as the other symptoms begin to show, then you break out into a cold sweat. Next, it starts causing seizures and slowly moves the infected person towards fainting constantly until they aren’t even able to stand. They can’t even eat without throwing it back up. I personally would say that if the plague doesn’t get so bad that you die of the seizures, then you would most likely die of starvation. This was the worst thing that has ever happened in human history, so these are the steps I’m going to take to not get it: I am going to pay more and more attention to the news just to see if they ever get a cure or something close to a cure. I’m going to stay away from people who have the disease, and last I’m going to survive. That is all I have to write about right now, but, my dear journal, I will return. I hope someone someday reads this.”

I read this first entry with horror. I couldn’t even seem to imagine what it must have been like to experience this; they must have had a cure, must have found something to cure it. That is what I think, at least, so I kept reading and decided to read throughout the rest of the night. (Cough, cough) Odd I seem to be contracting a cough, it must be the air.

“December 25, 2011
Merry Christmas journal, but then again, how can it be merry without my little sister and her smile on Christmas day? Another tragedy has struck America, and this is something we cannot live through without the cure. So this is what has happened: there was a tree that creates a cure. Apparently we had cut most of them down in 2002, so they only had maybe enough to cure two small towns. Durango raised the most money for this cure along with Ouray. It was tragic but fortunately we could live. But the people of Durango here were too selfish; they thought of themselves first and had the ones that weren’t even sick get the cure first. After that there was barely enough cure left for most of the sick patients. I can’t believe what is happening around me. It is pure chaos. People’s families that were already sick before the cure got here were dying! Other than that, my friends and I were all safe for now…”

Morning came fast, so unfortunately, I couldn’t read, because a nearby troop was attacked and killed. We rushed over to see what was left in their camp, and who was left, if there was anybody left. As soon as we got there, it was apparent that there were no survivors… or so we thought. There were dead bodies everywhere, and it looked as if someone, or something, had slit their throats while they were sleeping. The others seemed like they had multiple bite wounds on their arms or legs and something had begun eating what was left of their corpses. It was apparent that these groups of soldiers were slaughtered, and stood no chance against whomever and whatever attacked them. The General ordered us to keep on moving, and scavenge their remaining belongings.

We kept going and, fortunately, I tripped again. When I landed this time, as soon as I looked up, instead of finding a journal with a horrifying story of a boy’s life as his world collapsed, I looked up and saw what looked like an grizzly old man staring right back at me. The old man hissed at me. Frightened to death, I got to my feet and moved faster than I ever had before. Soldiers in the group picked him up off of the ground as I pointed a gun at him just to look like I knew what I was doing. I began yelling questions like “Who are you? Did you kill these men?”
I knew I wouldn’t shoot him, I didn’t have the mindset or ability to kill. I yelled at him again, to tell us who he was, but he was quiet. He then said that he wouldn’t talk until he got something to eat. The troop went and got some food and he started to talk. He talked about this civilization that lives here on Earth, which according to him is much more humane than we would think. So by the time his rant ended, it had become lunchtime. I found out at breakfast that I wasn’t able to keep my food down today, so I took this time to read more of the journal I had found.

“January 20,2012
So I know it has been awhile since I have written in this but something terrible has happened. It’s what the newscasters are saying to be the worst thing that has ever happened in the history of the United States. What had happened was so shocking that when I first heard it, I nearly didn’t believe it. I saw later, when the jets came flying from above Durango, that they are definitely not American. This means, my dear, dear journal, that the Chinese are actually attacking us. It is a frightening notion but true and very real at this moment, and if everything they are saying on the news is true, then we are doomed. America is in so much debt and they are tired of waiting for them to pay it back. My friend Will and I were at our community Rec Center when we saw this news. He looked at me gravely and I did the same, we were both thinking the same thing. This could be our end. On another note, I just realized something about my sister, I didn’t get to say goodbye and I love you before she died, so before I go, whoever is reading this, please say I love you to whoever is close to you, no matter what.”

That last sentence struck me hard, harder than anything that I have ever read before. I went off to the military after an argument with my mother. She didn’t want me to go to Earth, but I knew it was my duty to my civilization, to my brother, and after he died here, I knew then I had to go to Earth. It was at this moment that I also realized that this Jacob kid, even though he was just 17, he seemed to have a few things figured out. I don’t get how this kid had his life figured out and in a sense of order. I mean I’m twenty and he was seventeen, oh well, I guess he has been through a bit more than I have in my life.

I was just about to start reading again when the old man I had discovered hiding under a rock interrupted my reading and asked me where I had gotten the journal. I told him that I had tripped and found it on the ground. This guy lost it. He stood up and attacked me for the book. He literally jumped on top of me and was trying to claw my eyes out. I was in shock that this little old man, (who seemed to not have eaten for days,) who looked like he barely had enough energy to walk, let alone attack me for some journal I found on the ground. We got him off me but as soon as we had pulled him off he started to foam from the mouth and die. He had chewed and swallowed a suicide pill.

The events that had just occurred had put me into a state of shock. I didn’t understand what had just happened or why he wanted this journal so badly, but he did, and that was all the General had cared about: A. Why had he attacked me? And B, Why was his only prisoner now dead? I could only answer his questions with the truth, and when I told him about the journal he looked at me, and then looked back down at the journal. “Boy are you crazy!” he exclaimed loudly.
I didn’t understand. He went on to explain how it was wrong to pick up things we find here because it might belong to the locals. He didn’t tell me whether or not I should drop the book at the current camp we were at or not, so I didn’t. We kept walking for about another 2 or 3 miles before seeing another camp, but this time we swept the camp before staying there just in case there were locals there waiting for us to fall asleep so they could slit our throats and eat our rotting corpse. Right after dinner, the general told us to hit the hay, and that is what we did, except, once again, I didn’t sleep. I just read.

“May 10,2012
It is her birthday, journal. My little sister’s birthday. I went and bought a cake anyways and ate some of it by myself in the memory of my little sister. More and more people keep dying every day. Turns out that people were being stupid here in Durango who thought the cure was bad for you and didn’t take it. Now they are dying too. America is getting weaker, and Japan bombed D.C. It was horrifying; I couldn’t believe what I was seeing when we watched it on T.V. It was horrifying to watch as bomb after bomb fell on our country’s capital. Now I think it is actually happening: I think our civilization is collapsing or dying. It is time to act; I don’t know though, what I should do? I am only 18! It is sad. This is a sad day for my little sister…anyways, journal, goodbye.”

“July 4,2012
Hello again journal, it has been quite a while. I think about half the country is dead today, whether from the plague or from the attack from China. This is supposed to be a day of celebration, but, unfortunately, we are instead fighting like animals. It’s disastrous. I feel like there is no hope anymore; I feel desperate for anything to happen because if it doesn’t, I might as well just die along with everyone else. I feel as though China is making a big mistake by continuing to send troops over here to this country with the deadly plague that has no cure left, what if they take it with them? What will protect the rest of the earth from this destructive disease? Will and I hope something happens soon, or else we am going to war too.”

This surprised me because I, and most in my time, can’t wait to join the military. He describes it as the worst thing in the world; there isn’t anything wrong with it. Then again, back then; the military was used for killing other people. That is something that confuses me so much from the past. Why, would they kill each other if they were all dying? I mean, wouldn’t they need each other? Just then I heard something in the background, I saw a person climbing on one of the ruined buildings, I freaked out and did another lightning quick maneuver, took out my gun, and started to shoot blindly. Everybody in the camp was awake and shooting almost immediately. Then, like a chain reaction, bullets were flying everywhere. It wasn’t just our camp anymore; apparently, the natives had guns too, but they were using bullets and we were using lasers. Bullets and lasers flew back and forth, so many of our guys fell dead but they barely even contracted a scratch from our lasers. They were good, they were really good. We soon were done for and we gave up; the natives handcuffed what remained of us after that raid and took us back to their small village. When I thought about it, I thought that this place could be what remained of the small town of Durango in my journal, I didn’t actually know where we were, so out of a sense of curiosity, I asked the natives(hoping they spoke my language) what town we were in. They replied that we were in a town once called Durango when the greatest civilization was still around. I was shocked and completely stunned; this confirmed my suspicion! We are in Durango and these are the remaining ancestors of Jacob from this journal! This was incredible! I was so shocked that some of this civilization had actually survived I thought they had all died from the plague. When they threw us in their jail, I immediately took out the journal and started reading again. I had to know what happened to Jacob by the end of this journal.

“August 25, 2012

I know that it has been awhile since I have written but this is only because, out of all that has been happening, I haven’t had much time to write. I have been helping our government to load up for our trip to Neptune; I don’t know how we are going to live up there, but I guess we are. Though I have come to realize that this is their attempt to get away from a dying planet, a hopeless hope of survival. A good portion of Durango and the President of the United States will be flying there; I guess they expect us all to repopulate human beings so we don’t go extinct, it is kind of sick, but in my heart I know they are doing what’s right. We are launching on December 21, 2012 I hope the rest of the world gets along well and that our spaceship and houses don’t explode on the way there. I believe that this world doesn’t think that they will survive, or that we will survive, but I know that human beings will survive, that humanity will survive one way or another. Well that is all I have to say for now, good-bye my dear journal, I hope, out of anything now, is that you survive whatever happens.”

“August 28,2012

I got a job, I can’t really say why I did it. I guess I really don’t need one, but the people I’m helping really need me. I’ve gotten a job going into homes that seem abandon and finding infected. I’m supposed to then carry them outside and take them to the hospital where they can be as comfortable as possible before their untimely demise. They chose me out of several others because I am vaccinated with the cure and I can not get sick. The other day I went into a building with Will. He is a big kid not thick, muscley. So we went into this building and we found a plague victim, except he didn’t seem like a plague victim. This man was much more spry than the others with the plague. We came into the building from the top because the front door was sealed shut from the inside. We went through screaming and shouting for someone, but we heard nothing. We walked to the second floor of the building still screaming when we came across this long dark hallway. It was eerie, there was no sign of life in the long dark hall it seemed completely empty. But as we turned the corner, Will going ahead and me covering the rear we heard something screeching, or crying. I turned as quickly as I possibly could to see this man that looked like skin and bones jump on my friend still screaming at the top of his lungs. It started to beat my friends face in as I stood there in a shocked state of not knowing what to do. I came to my senses as quickly as I could, and tackled the man straight to the floor, pinning him down. Just then I heard the people in our group with guns barge in and rush to our aid. Just then, at that moment, I realized this man who looked like he was only skin and bones had taken down my friend in a second, who was twice his size. I watched as the man was hauled away in an ambulance along with my friend. I began writing in my journal when I just noticed something the man was looking at me and my journal, as if it were some sacred shrine of his or something. Either way it was a creepy look I hope to never receive again.”

“September 6, 2012

It happened again. Will and I were excavating another building that had been closed up from the inside. But we were ready this time. We weren’t going to kill whoever we found, just knock them unconscious. As we began to descend in from the top of the building, Will stopped just before we went in and said “I feel that this will be the last time I see the blue skies and mountains that surround our town.”
We went down inside, and it was similar to the first time we went into the building. Once again there was a long dark hallway except this time there was dripping water from the ceiling. The pipes in the walls had been broken and were sticking out, the wallpaper was half torn off of the wall, there were pieces of wood and wall all over the wet floor. We walked forward, I took lead this time. We began down the hallway, there was a low scratching sound on the floor in one of the open rooms in the hall. We slowly approached it, with Will behind me as we both walked forward stun guns in hand. I turned the corner and there she was, a creature of skin and bones, once human. She had been eating rats and mice she had caught with her bare hands. She turned around and looked at me, her eyes fixed upon my journal that was at my waist. She did not move, she just stared deep into my soul and into my journal, going back and forth between my eyes and my journal. Will turned the corner to look at her and that’s when it happened. She moved at blinding speeds, pushing me forward into a wall cracking my ribs. I heard a shot from Will’s stun gun. I looked up in time to see that she had not fallen, instead she had tackled Will and began to cut open his throat. I saw my best friend dying right in front of me. Blood sprayed everywhere as she ate his throat. I was stunned, but not for long I quickly grabbed my stun gun and shot her. The others from outside barged in and grabbed the vile creature. They took her as I went to clutch my best friends hand for the last time. I don’t know how and I don’t know what forces were acting on that day, but they caused my friend to live a bit longer to tell me “You have always been like a brother to me... and I will never forget you in the afterlife Jacob. Remember you need to survive.”
My best friend, now dead in my arms, on my lap, as I write down in this infernal journal that seems to be protecting me from whatever these damned creatures are. I can’t say what they want or what they are, but I what I can say for sure is that these things are dangerous.

“September 17,2012

About one-third of America’s population is left. Most of China is dead or dying, and the plague has moved to Russia and Africa. I don’t know why it hasn’t moved to Europe but it hasn’t gotten there yet. I feel that it will. I also feel that any chance of our civilization surviving is slim. So dearest journal, I must say good day to you for I must go to work now, good-bye.”

This was shocking I couldn’t believe what I had just read. I had to keep reading or else I might as well die because this is just too good to be true. I had found what we had been looking for all along. But it didn’t matter anymore that I was going to die, but someone somewhere had to see it, so I had to get out of this prison. I yelled and yelled for a guard, as soon as the first guard came I knew I was getting out of there. He opened the door and as soon as he did that, I slammed his head into the bars on the entrance of the jail cell. He fell unconscious and everybody in the cell ran out. I used caution exiting. Some of the men that escaped got captured again and put back in the cells. I escaped though, and that was all that mattered. Once I found a safe place I started to read once again. One last side note before I start reading I have this cough that’s been getting worse I fear that I may have contracted the plague, it seems unlikely, but it is very, very possible.

“December 20,2012
Ok so here it is. My last day on earth came so much faster than I had anticipated. I did not do anything special for my last day, I only hope the rocket that’s taking me to Neptune would survive take off. Another thing on my mind was how were we going to live on Neptune. We were told about two days ago how we would live but it sounded a little sketchy to me. Air domes and many air canisters that somehow never run out. I couldn’t believe it; I should because the president will be on this rocket too. I don’t know how I got this important or trusted to sit next to the president, but, oh well. We will launch at the first sign of the sun, I am immensely scared. Well journal, I have an idea: I will hide you in a box somewhere, on top of a tower, so no one can find you until the tower falls. I have decided to do it at the clock tower over at Fort Lewis College. Sounds reasonable. I hope that wherever Will is right now he will be protecting our ship tomorrow, and watching . Well journal, here I go, good-bye and farewell to whoever reads this in the future.”

That was it? I couldn’t believe what I had just read. I had read about this guy going through hell and that was it! How could I know if he lived or not or if he got to New Earth? Wait a second... he had to have gotten to New Earth. There are people on it now and I grew up there, well, I guess that was better then nothing. But it doesn’t answer one question of mine: How did people living on the College campus survive? Just then I started to feel something strange in my body, I could feel myself moving as if something had taken control of me. Then I blacked out as a light from the sky came down upon me along with a deafening sound.
I woke up about three weeks later back on New Earth they wanted to hear what had happened to me. Apparently they were prepared for someone to get the plague so they had a supply of blood with the cure in it. They explained this to me knowing I knew what they were talking about. They had found me lying almost dead on the ground on earth with the journal in my hand. They said that they almost had to pry it out of my hand.
I tried to sit up from my hospital bed but my legs wouldn’t move. The doctors surrounding me looked with grim expressions upon their faces. “You have been paralyzed from the waist down, and you will never walk again, the disease destroyed that part of your nervous system, I’m sorry.” They said as I sat there expressionless.
I was shocked. The nurse rolled a wheelchair over. I picked up my body with my arms and put myself in the wheelchair, the nurse picked up my legs and placed them on the wheelchair. She asked me where I wanted to go. I told her I wanted to go see my mother. She rolled my wheelchair outside, she helped me into the car. She drove me to my mothers house in downtown New Durango. We pulled up to mom’s house it was yellow on the outside with a shingled roof. It seemed like an old timey house. She helped me out of the car and into the wheelchair. She pushed me up the sidewalk all the way to my mother's front door. I knocked on the door, and there she was opening the door. “Hello mom,” I said
She looked at me shocked and not saying a word, she was speechless. She got down on her knees and onto my level and hugged me. I hugged her back tightly she began to sob and so did I. It was a moment I had been waiting for ever since I read that entry in my journal. “so before I go, whoever is reading this, please say I love you to whoever is close to you, no matter what.”
This entry stuck out in my mind at this moment, I told her I loved her and she said it back. It was one of the greatest moments for me in the past year. She took the wheelchair from the nurse and wheeled me inside. She made me a bowl of soup, and I began to eat it without a lack of gusto. I was being a pig, it had been so long since I had eaten a homemade meal, and it was delicious. Just then I heard my mom cough, it was a horse sounding cough and I immediately became concerned. I asked her if she was alright, “Oh I’m fine just a cough I contracted from one of the troops that just got back from earth.” She said fairly quietly.
I stared at her in shock knowing what was now happening. We had brought the plague back from Earth. What did this mean? Does this mean that this plague is going to doom the human race, are we doomed to extinction from this deadly plague, or is this just another civilization that is going to be driven away from it’s home because of it? Either way I think it might be a good idea to write a journal about it now. Just in case someone else on another planet may read it and know my story.

The End

Join the Discussion

This article has 6 comments. Post your own now!

In_Love_with_Writing said...
Jan. 19, 2013 at 11:33 am
This could use a little work. It was okay, but maybe you can change it up, maybe use a format of writing to your advantage, or something like that and you'd have a nice piece. Oh and can you comment and rate some of my work? I'd like to know what you think.
Jack_the_pumpkinking replied...
Jan. 19, 2013 at 11:36 am
Well you know I'm sorry you don't think my story is all to great. I know a lot of people who would disagree. But if you think it needs work please tell me where, and how I can fix it. Thank you.
In_Love_with_Writing replied...
Jan. 20, 2013 at 4:02 pm
Oh I think I worded myself wrong if you think I don't like it!! I absolutely loved it, but one author asked me if I could give some criticism on her piece and I decided to be more thorough in all my comments, not just hers. Trust me I would disagree if anyone thought your piece wasn't too great either. I just . . . sadly worded myself in a way that didn't show my true opinion. Sorry.
Jack_the_pumpkinking replied...
Jan. 22, 2013 at 12:44 pm
Oh okay I understand now, and I enjoy the short story of yours about the popular girl who likes the attractive guy but he doesn't like her.
In_Love_with_Writing replied...
Jan. 22, 2013 at 7:41 pm
True Beauty? Ooohhh!!!! Thank you :) :) :) Thanks very much!
Jack_the_pumpkinking replied...
Jan. 23, 2013 at 11:02 am
Of course. I thought it was very well put together and had lots of meaning behind it.
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