Dean Traylor is a freelance writer and teacher who writes about various subjects, including education and creative writing.
Billy wiped away the soot from the sign. Large white letters emerged.
Nearby, Jillian sat on her motorcycle that was parked on the cracked and broken road.
“What does it say?” she asked through the filters of her mask.
Billy was the literate one. Then again, he was only one in their tribe who could read.
“White Pier, one-mile,” he said.
“A what?” Jillian asked.
“I saw pictures of them at that book place down south. It’s something that stretched into the sea.”
“We’re near the coast?” Jill asked, excited.
The sky was always dark. The radiation clouds blocked the sun. The world was barren. Acid rain had killed off the plants and trees. Thus far, they’ve only known a black and gray planet devoid of other colors.
Billy nodded. But, in truth, he wasn’t sure. Since they decided to part ways from their band of survivors in the east to search for a better world (one exploding with colors), they had found nothing but the same landscape.
The sky was always dark. The radiation clouds blocked the sun. The world was barren. Acid rain had killed off the plants and trees. Thus far, they’ve only known a black and white planet devoid of other colors.
“Black planet, black world.” He uttered.
"What’s that?” Jillian said.
“That mantra the elders wanted us to recite. Now I know why.”
“Aren’t we going to the pier? We’ve come so far!”
Billy ruminated. She was right, he realized.
“Might as well,” he said as we jumped onto his bike.
Moments later, they arrived. The two found White Pier, only it wasn’t white. It staggered into a dark gray ocean where even the white caps of the waves were tainted with ashes. To worsen the matter, a storm was brewing, possibly full of poison rain.
"Let’s go,” he said. “We’ll find shelter and then head up the 101.”
But, as they were about to leave, Jillian spotted something. Excited she grabbed Billy’s arm.
He turned around and froze. In the distance, there was a break in the clouds. Something he had only heard about emerged.
There was something else. Somewhere over the ocean, a rainbow arched through the sky.
“Is it colors?”
“A rainbow,” he answered, tears forming in his eyes.
He had never seen such a beautiful sight. Maybe this world wasn’t so black after all
The pessimism of the eighties' Dark Wave music
This story was inspired by goth/punk band Sisters of Mercy's song "Black Planet" (not to be confused with the album Fear of a Black Planet from Public Enemy). While the story contains some elements found in the song, many liberties were taken to create the story. Both mention highways, a white pier, radiation and a post-apocalyptic world.
The song is dark yet, it reflects the sub genre and era it came from. It seemed that the early 80s was a time to fear nuclear annihilation. This was especially true with Europe. The Cold War was intensifying and it appeared that there was no let up between the superpowers.
Goth, Industrial, or Dark Wave (as this brand of music has been called, lately) reflected the fear and pessimism many felt. The idea of a dark foreboding future was real for many.
Fast-forward 30 years later, and some of the themes of these songs seem to peculate among today's youth. The Great Recession, wars, terrorism, and more countries expanding their nuclear arsenal has created a scarier world than what existed in the 80s. One can argue, that it's more dire than the world Sister of Mercy created in their song. .
- THE SISTERS OF MERCY - BLACK PLANET LYRICS
The Sisters Of Mercy - Black Planet Lyrics. (Aaa) In the western sky My kingdom come (Aaa) So still, so dark all over Europe (Aaa) And I ride down the highway one O one (Aaa) By the s
Black Planet - Sisters of Mercy (an English band traveling through Southern California's refineries and harbor area)
Other Song-based Stories
- Shadows in the Cities of Dust
Ashes cover the ruins of an "ancient" city. However, what the archeologists discover in this city of dust is ominous and foreboding. And, it's the shadows he discovers that spelled its fate.
- How Jules Became Julia
Jules always adored Julia to the point of infatuation. In a story based on a Cure's song, Jules finally answer the question: "Why can't I be You."
© 2014 Dean Traylor