The place to discuss the ADRIFT Interactive Fiction toolkit

June Writing Challenge Winners

The place to chat about ideas, writing, this forum, or anything related to Interactive Fiction that isn't specific to ADRIFT.

Please also visit the Interactive Fiction Community Forum for further discussions.

Postby NickyDude » Tue Jul 31, 2007 8:57 pm

1st Place goes to:

Paderborn Emergency Collection Point - Ward C

Things must have gone bad pretty quickly in the little Paderborn hospital. Once the vast machines of the State had ramped up to face the crisis, too little and too late, of course, the National Guard station down the street became a place to collect refugees and the dead. Pretty soon there wasn't much difference. The ones who still hoped to live, early on, came to the hospital. As a result, the contents of Ward C are a little microcosm of the end of the world.

This little ward, barely a dozen yards long with a ceiling so low that you can reach up to touch the cool, cracked bricks, is jumbled with dozens of flimsy metal-framed folding cots all knocked askew and toppled over onto one another. The dead are spilled out on the floor in dozens. Some are wrapped in sheets, more or less, but most of the bodies lie pale and naked on the tile, curled up into the burn-victim's fetal ball that is the final mark of Langerhans A, better known as the Chicago Fire or just plain old lague, on its many victims. The pale, wasted flesh that litters this nameless grave has mummified in the long Arizona summers and the air is heavy with the dust of old, forgotten deaths.

The ward is lit by a high, tiny window at the far end of the ward which was long ago shattered and the cheery yellow curtains on either side blow spasmodically in the wind of a coming storm. They are ragged with the years and would have fallen long ago save that they are stapled directly to the cinderblock wall.
This same wind stirs the dry stalks of weedy flowers that have overgrown the sill and spilled their dead and drying heads down the wall like men peering into an abyss.

A heap of furniture partly blocks the doorway, no doubt hastily cleared away to admit the dying, and the shattered screen of an ancient television set peers like a blinded eye out of a cabinet of wire mesh that leans drunkenly in the corner. A fat brass padlock depends from the hasp on its front, rocking gently with some unperceived vibration. A sack of mail has been stuffed underneath the cabinet and the USPS seals still adhere doggedly to the seams. Doubtless it is full of old bills and mail-order catalogs from another age. Maybe even a few get-well cards to cheer the blinded eyes and rest the broken backs and rotting fingertips of the last survivors.

The corpse nearest you is that of a little girl. Dry heat and years have made her face into a mask of leather and age and there is no glimmer of bright beauty in the empty sockets of her eyes, but blond hair still clings to her shrunken scalp and the tiny pink bows which made pigtails of it are as bright as the day she died. That's the power of modern plastics, you suppose. Most striking, though, is the plaster cast on one tiny arm. You can still read the writing on it, all sorts of wishes for health and quick scrawled in the many and varied hands of children with the indifferent penmanship of that bygone time of keyboards and cellular telephones.

Well done! And joint second are:

David Whyld
Pangborn saw he was in a small room off to one side of the main hospital ward. He did not like it. It was not, he noted, a nice hospital room though as he tended to find himself in hospital wards only after attempts had been made on his life, this had perhaps coloured his perceptions somewhat.

At least someone had been by to see him whilst he slept: by the side of his bed (his cramped bed damnit!) there was a collection of get well cards, ranging from the almost sweet to the downright alarming. The one from his Uncle Egbert, showing a man in a hospital gown being buried alive because doctors had mistakenly assumed he was dead, was a little extreme. There were flowers as well. Wilted and long dead, but the thought was there.

Pangborn’s leg was in a plaster cast which would have made getting about something of a problem. Fortunately he had been placed in the drabbest hospital known to man, so his desire to leave the bed (the cramped bed) and go exploring was mercifully absent. In the meantime, he could lie there, feel sorry for himself, and amuse himself by watching the TV (if it worked, which it didn’t), staring at the curtains which might have had an interesting bit of scenery on the other side but he wasn’t going to place bets on it, and the locked cupboard. Yes, locked. He didn’t see the point of locking it considering it the back of the cupboard had fallen off and was lying on the floor by its side, but at least it showed someone was taking his job seriously.

An exit beckoned to the west, but would doubtless be reckoning fruitlessly for some time given the unfortunate state of his leg.


Hospital Room

The first thing you notice upon entering the hospital room is, of course, the patient: Your 'boarder friend Kii-Sa. A quick glance tells you it's probably best not to ask what kind of accident ended with her in a plaster cast and three slings. Knowing her, it was probably something insane, like grinding tank gun barrels or some such.

A look around the hospital room itself shows it to be virtually identical to every other hospital room in existence. This being a hospital, and it being winter, there's a pretty distinctive smell about it. Like all hospital rooms, it feels like a lot of oysters, but no pearls. There's the small supposedly therapeutic off-white curtains over the window, the same locked cupboard full of painkillers, disinfectants, antibiotics, and cyanide.

There's a mound of get-well cards and flowers next to the bed, of course. There's a TV in the room; it's on, but muted. Knowing Kii-Sa, of course, it's playing some rock music video, but she's courteously turned it off for the moment so you can talk.

Well done to all concerned! Image
ImageI reject your reality and substitute my own...
User avatar
Posts: 2466
Joined: Sun Jun 23, 2002 10:36 pm
Location: UK
Points: 10

Return to General IF

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests