Where Are They?

This is part thirteen of the continuing saga, The Last Grain of Sand. The previous chapters are available by clicking on the link at the end of this post. This new segment is being posted to Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday. Enjoy!

Part 13: Where Are They?

We set off traveling west, knowing there was nothing left in Houston, and wondering what we’d find in Austin. My theory was there were only two kinds of people left in the world; free and captive. I said this to Lilly as we walked, and Ben chimed in with a correction to my theory.

“Has to be three then,” he said. “The captives have to have captors; guards or something.”

I looked down at him; he had a look on his face like he’d just hit one out of the park.

“Wouldn’t the captors be free?” I asked.

He looked down at his feet, thinking about it, and after we’d gone a few yards hearing nothing but the slap of our boots on the warm asphalt, he said, “Not necessarily; they might think they’re free, but in a way they’re captives of their own bad ideas.”

I stopped, and Ben and Lilly stopped a few paces ahead of me, both turning to look at me with questioning gazes.

I said, “That’s some pretty deep thinking for a ten-year-old. How’d you come up with that?”

He shrugged then turned and resumed walking. Lilly followed, and I hurried to catch up to them. I kept glancing down at Ben, and after a few minutes he spoke again.

“Me and Gramps used to talk a lot. I understand a lot more about stuff—the government, and Bible and stuff—than you probably think a kid my age would.”

Lilly glanced at me then at Ben and asked, “Your Gramps told you about the rapture?”

I smiled at her, remembering Ben referring to it as the rupture. Lilly returned the smile then looked down at Ben.

Ben looked up at her and said, “Yes. But I don’t know if that’s what happened.”

“Why is that?” Lilly asked.

Ben looked down the road ahead of us and after a few seconds pause, said, “Gramps said when the rapture happens all the kids would be taken—and all the believers–to be with Jesus, so it can’t be the rapture, because I’m still here.” He put a lot of emphasis on the “I’m” then paused, a frown furrowing his brow. “Unless I’m too, old.” He looked up at Lilly. One of his eyebrows was raised in a questioning way.

Lilly smiled. “I don’t think you’re too old, Ben. I think your Gramps is right; if this were the rapture, I’m pretty sure you’d have been taken.”

Another extended silence followed, as Ben once more studied his shoes.

“So, if this isn’t the rapture, where’s Gram and Gramps?” We passed a stand of trees, and as we moved into an open area, he squinted into the sun behind Lilly and added, “And what happened to all the animals?”

I’d been wondering about that myself. It was very curious to me that since the day I’d come out of the bunker in Houston, I’d not seen one animal, bird, or insect, either alive or dead.

Copyright © 2012 C. Mashburn

To read the previous chapters of this “novel in progress”, click on the title —> The Last Grain of Sand

Also posting to Nick Rolynd’s 30 Minute Fiction


  1. aahhhh noooo… see, you left me hanging again! You pick the perfect spot for cliffhangers, Charles! Right when I’m completely absorbed into the story and then SCREEECH you stop me at the edge ! lol! Love your storytelling. Can’t wait to read more about the “rupture” and where they wind up! Thanks for sharing with me!!! xox Happy FWF

    • HA! I love comments like this. I know I nailed it (the cliff hanger!) when they scream!
      Thanks, Kellie. Perfect prompt for the story. Keep ’em coming!

  2. Sherry Mashburn said

    Oooh, this story is taking some interesting turns!

  3. terri0729 said

    Ha, like I said before, keeps getting better and better 🙂 smiles, Terri

  4. nickrolynd said

    Ooh, this is an interesting piece. Thanks for linking up! I’ll have to go read the rest of it now. xD

    • That was quick! Thanks, Nick! I hope you enjoy the story. It’s all pretty rough and unedited.

  5. tashtoo said

    Okay…I’m hooked…but I told you that when you hooked me last week! Love how you’ve incorporated the prompt so wonderfully into your story…seamless, actually…and yes…if you were in the room I might have to slap you for leaving us hanging!

    • Hahahaha! Is that what you call a back-handed compliment!
      I’m glad you’re enjoying the story, but I’m also glad you’re not in the room with me!

  6. Wow- you just free wrote this? Fantastic. Loved the dialogue between the child and the adults- I totally got it and could see it. It is actually amazing how children DO have a knack for this kind of depth of thought. The cliffhanger at the end? I NEED to read more. This sounds just like my cup of tea….end of the world? Religious event(rapture)- yes please….really nice and natural, well observed writing style (thank you for your very thoughtful comments on my FWF- made my day- thank you)

    • Thanks a bunch, Stu. I’m sure you know how much these in-depth comments mean to a writer! And, yes, I just “whipped that out”. It’s part of an ongoing story (soon to be a novel), so it’s not that hard. If you have time, take a look at the rest of the chapters. I think I’ve got a pretty good one going. Thanks again, and come back any time!

  7. elizena said

    No!!!! That’s all!?!?!? Where’s the rest? I want more!!! This was good, so good and yes, I’m bouncing on the bed as I read it. I’ve been checking back every day, though I haven’t been able to post anything myself. Hands still enormously swollen! I loved little Ben with his clear thinking and now I’m wondering where the heck the animals are too!! Oh no!! Please hurry up with the next installment please Charles!! LOL!! So in other words, I LOVED IT!
    Have a blessed weekend my friend.

    • hahaha! I can just seeing you bouncing and reading then screaming when you get to the end! I love it!
      Thanks, Elizena! You always make me smile with your wonderful comments!

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