Shorter than a short story: Trilly and her car

One day I dreamed of an unusual car. It felt very much like it should belong in a story. So it’s up to me to write one. Nobody else is going to do it since nobody knew what I dreamed about. I don’t remember much of the dream except for the car but as I thought about crafting the story, everything else – the world, the setting, the protagonist, just fell into place automatically. Setting the story in a post-apocalyptic world felt like a natural fit but it’s also probably influenced by the fact that I have been playing Fallout Shelter obsessively for the past week.

The short piece I’ve written is below. Hope you enjoy it!

Trilly switched off all the interior lights, putting herself in total darkness. Not being able to see what she was doing was not a problem for Trilly. She knew this place as well as her own home, perhaps even better, going by the amount of time she spent here. Trilly reached out and ran her hand over the edge of the dashboard. She smiled as her fingers picked out the familiar dents and bumps. Unlike the other cars that Trilly had worked on in her grandfather’s workshop, this car was totally hers, for she was the one who built it up, piece by piece, scrap by scrap, often working late into the night after closing hours. The resulting car was a powerful little beast, a little rough around the edges, just like Trilly herself.

Trilly’s fingers found and pushed a button on the dashboard. With a low hiss, the metal plates covering the car’s body retracted, revealing the reinforced glass dome that formed the top half. From where Trilly came from, most cars did not have windows, much less a glass dome. All the cars that Trilly worked on at her grandfather’s workshop had solid metal shells and the monitor was the driver’s only view of the outside. Those who could afford it had fancy visualization imaging that projected the 360 degree camera feeds onto the interior walls so that the driver had an all-round view. Trilly had an opportunity to sit in one such vehicle and found the technology impressive, but she still preferred to view the scenery with her own eyes rather than through a camera lens.

A cold mist rose from the ground, blanketing the land in a knee-high fog. Trilly pushed another button and her seat tilted backwards and flatten out, almost parallel to the ground. Trilly leaned back and placed her hands behind her head, looking up at the twinkling stars. It was a full moon tonight. Perhaps somewhere in this vast land, a wolf still howled at the moon, and perhaps if she listened carefully, she might hear the soft beating of an owl’s wings as it hunts for food. At least Trilly would like to think so.

If her calculations were correct, she was on the cusp where two powerful nations once stood. That was many years ago, before the Great Collapse, way before Trilly was born. Now crumbling buildings and rusting structures were the only memories left of the past. No one walked this land anymore.

Trilly took a deep breath, trying to quiet the butterflies in her stomach. Tomorrow she would reach the central basin where a massive sandstorm raged all year round. Nobody succeeded in crossing it.

Tomorrow Trilly would attempt to.

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