Our New Ocean World

Submitted into Contest #60 in response to: Write a post-apocalyptic thriller.... view prompt


Science Fiction Thriller Mystery

 The worst thing about everything is that all of it could have been prevented. Humanity is its own biggest disappointment. 

In the middle of the Pacific Ocean, miles from what was once civilization, the hour hand strikes twelve on a wind-up survival watch. A girl sits up in her straw-cushioned bed. It’s been hours since everyone else slept, but she could not. Bleary-eyed from the darkness, she walks outside, bare-feet tapping the rough, wooden floor. She doesn’t feel the roughness, though, because her calluses are rougher. While the last remnants of sleep leave her eyes, she surveys the impressive scene that has become a tiresome norm.

An ever-present salty wind stirs the water, almost potent enough to taste, causing millions of little waves. They reflect the moonlight and turn the ocean into a giant, sparkling jewel, which is fitting because, currently, it is humanity’s most valuable treasure. The girl bathes in the moonlight and shivers. 

Splash pshh. Splash pshh. Peaceful waters lap at the sides of the large, wooden raft. In reality, “large” does not do it justice. It’s not an ordinary raft unless an ordinary raft boasts multiple two-story rickety wooden structures and a square mileage equivalent to a small town. It is a proud human accomplishment, to construct such a structure out of mere wood logs, thick rope, and year-old backpacked resources from humanity’s last shelved items. This is what civilization is to: a few wandering raft towns in the ocean. 

Survivors of the last great disease come from all different backgrounds and ethnicities. Some are short or tall, strong or skinny, young or middle-aged, educated, or just finished with primary education. The ultimate unifying factor between them is their ability to survive while the rest of the human race succumbs. To the ocean they escape, the only safe and habitable place left on Earth. As they build their rafts, sowing the seeds to the next chapter of the human race with their potted vegetables and fishing rods, they meet other people in the same dilemma. Often, people agree to combine their resources in a mutually beneficial relationship. Large raft nations develop as survivors attach their rafts and combine resources. Other times, it does not end nicely. Nonetheless, everyone drifts along with the ocean current, agreeing to wait until Mother Nature works her magic and solid land becomes safe again. 

The girl can not sleep, because each time she closes her eyes, she is reminded of the tragedy that took place exactly a year ago. She looks out to the sea but sees nothing. To her, global panic ensues after news of a new virus airs on national television. People become overly wary, and the number of cases dwindles. However, they grow careless and case numbers explode. It is out of control. Before all is lost, scientists deduce that the cause is a parasite, causing humans to lose their defining human features until they become an aggressive, self-preserving organism powered by a small, itty bitty parasite. Due to its ability to float through the air like spores, thousands become infected before anyone realizes it. People call it the zombie virus. 


“Please, just wear the mask. I know it’s ugly and uncomfortable, but catching the parasite is way worse!” the girl pleads. Her family nods in dismissal along with millions of others. Weeks later, she watches as they slowly lose themselves, unable to help. They become violent and mindless. The moment her brother attempts to remove her eyeballs, she knows she needs to leave. She overturns her school backpack. The remaining hope for her family is lost along with the cascade of school books and papers. She packs various survival tools with the future in mind: a knife, compass, food, water, plants and their seeds, and other necessary materials. At the last moment, she snatches a family photo from the counter and wears her mask. With a few long strides, she is out the door and making way toward the Pacific Ocean. 

Along the way, she meets others with the same mindset. The ocean will be the last safe place. Desperate to form connections for more resources and company for the lonely future, she befriends a handful of people from varying ages. They are all wearing masks. Although it is difficult to make out their features, the girl does not care. She needs their company and resources more than their physical appeal. 

The group arrives at the pier in pandemonium. Lumberjacks build rafts from neighboring trees, making a fortune from their sales. The girl scoffs. The pandemic isn’t going to get any better. Money is going to be worth nothing. As more people swarm the pier, it becomes a free-for-all. People maul each other, trample, bite, push, and spit to get their hands on a raft. The girl and her group elbow their way to a raft hidden under the pier. They hop off the wooden walkway to rocky shores. Soaking their shoes in saltwater, they wade through the tide and climb on board. 


On her raft in the middle of the ocean, the girl fingers the photo of her family. She is assaulted with memories of smiles and warm hugs from days long gone. They torture her conscience every minute of every waking hour. Shaking her thoughts away, she pockets the photo and focuses on the horizon to calm her nerves. A straight, unmoving line. Dependable, 

To her surprise, a speck emerges from the straight, dependable line. A few minutes pass and the girl’s doubts are confirmed: it’s a raft. 

With strong, even strikes, she pounds the community bell, waking everyone from their slumber. People emerge from their wooden shelters and look around in confusion while rubbing sleep from their eyes. 

“Prepare yourselves! We have an oncoming rafter.” commands the girl in a confident, firm voice.

The citizens of her raft island spring into action, putting on protective gear, gathering supplies, and wearing masks. Children are kept hidden and young adults help with preparations. A few minutes later, adults and department heads assemble on the side of the raft facing the oncoming mystery. They stand behind their fortifications of sharp wood and sturdy walls. Outside the walls, a table stands on the out-cropping. A flower crown in the shape of a peace sign rests on the top. As a universal symbol of diplomacy and goodwill, the peace sign becomes an important message. Destruction of the flower crown means war. Embracing and donning the crown means peace. The mysterious raft drifts closer. The girl’s people peer from slits in the wooden walls. They’re excited; they’re scared. Finally, the rafts meet and collide. Being smaller and lighter, the mysterious raft does not jolt the girl’s raft at all. 

A faint but noticeable sound wafts between the swishing of waves. 


The girl shivers, but not from the chilling wind. A figure stumbles from the small raft onto the out-cropping. He’s doubled over and moaning, clutching his stomach. People on the girl’s raft begin to murmur. Can the man even put the crown on? Maybe we should help him. 

People begin to reach for the door’s latch but the girl stops them with the raise of a hand. The man has gone still. He makes no more noises. For a few minutes, nothing moves but the ocean and things that flutter in the wind. 


The table flips over as the man suddenly raises his arms. He dives for the flower crown and shoves the entirety in his mouth. On all fours, he crawls with incredible speed and beings pounding the wooden fortifications. 


People fall back in surprise and horror. More people emerge from the mysterious raft as if they’d just woken up. They begin pounding the walls as a team with equal strength. As they say, team-work makes the dream work. The wall begins to waver and groan. Bows and arrows are grabbed, slingshots are pulled back. The assaulters are pelted with flying arrows and rocks, landing on any exposed body part. With one last feeble strike that resembled a polite knock at a door, the last assaulter dies. The whole attack spans at most a few minutes. The citizens gasp for breath as the adrenaline of fear edges from their bloodstream. The excitement dies down and a few volunteers stay behind to push the bodies from the raft. One by one, the ocean claims their lifeless bodies as it ultimately claims everything. 


The next morning, the girl sleeps until late afternoon. She curses herself for ruining her sleep schedule once again. With a furious sweep of her legs, she kicks the blankets off and leaps from bed. In a few steps, she leaves her room and attends her daily inspection of each department. In a life where every resource is crucial, communication and conservation must be maintained at all times. The girl paces through the raft. In an hour, she satisfactorily declares that the engineering, agriculture, education, and arts departments are thriving. After the announcement, she reclines on a dried seaweed-stuffed couch in the common area.

“How do you remain so calm and collected during attacks like last night?” inquires one of the younger children. 

“Ah. Of course news of last night’s attack has already spread to the young ones. Well, the secret to being calm and collected is not about feeling no fear. Everyone has fears. When I stood at the gates, I addressed my fear, and then I decided that your well-being was way more important.” 

“How can you just cast off your fear so easily, though?”

“No, you don’t understand. I didn’t cast away my fear. I still felt fear, but my other fears are overpowering. I fear that my people will get hurt; I fear that my existence will mean nothing if I can’t lead well; I fear that I will never be able to get over any more deaths…”

The child frowns. “Well, you know that being a leader is not the only reason people listen to you. You’re kind. You’re cool. Even if you suddenly aren’t doing so well, we’re here to help you.” 

“Thank you, I really appreciate that. Now, you should get back to your parents. The sun is already setting,” says the girl with a slight smile. 

“Awww, but I only just started to talk to you,” complains the kid, “but, fine, I will go back. My mom’s making seaweed salad! See you around!”

With that, the little child skips off around a corner. 

The girl heaves a great sigh. Before the conversation, she didn’t even realize she feels this way. However, she wishes she could swallow her words. She realizes that it is not fear that keeps her afloat, but the love for her community and the community’s love for her. If the attacks were a bonfire, the love between her and the people is a gargantuan waterfall. 

September 25, 2020 06:36

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Patrece Reed
16:59 Oct 02, 2020

Hello, Asta. This was a delightful read. I like the way you included just enough backstory, as well as 'current' happenings. I have just a couple of suggestions. Early on in your story, you used the word "rough" or some variation of it three times very close together. Perhaps you could consult a thesaurus to find alternate words to express the same thing; this way it doesn't begin to sound redundant to the reader. Here... "This is what civilization is to: a few wandering raft towns in the ocean." the word 'to' should be spelled 'too'...


Asta .
19:36 Oct 02, 2020

Thank you for your feedback! It seems there were some errors I didn't catch haha I appreciate this a lot :)


Patrece Reed
04:38 Oct 03, 2020

You are most welcome!


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