“Eric” by Alicia VanNoy Call

April 7, 2012

Post image for “Eric” by Alicia VanNoy Call

Cyndal, Eric, and Lukas struggle for survival after the devastating Scourge virus sweeps across the country. In this post-apocalyptic world, the biggest threat to Cyndal and her family could be the loss of hope. [33 min]


Mom pulled us out of school the day before the attack. She told us to get our handhelds, favorite holo discs, bedding, clothes, books even. She took us down to The Cave. That’s what we called it back when Dad was building it, when I was little. Down under the house, through tunnels, a vertical ladder and a two-door airlock. We hadn’t been down there since it was finished.

“Maybe we’ll never have to use it,” I remember Dad saying. But he and Mom had looked at each other in a way that said, Maybe. Maybe not.

Eric waited for us on his plush bed in the corner. He watched Mom show us our bunks. For the rest of the day she explained every part of The Cave and how it worked. Shelves and bins of dry pack food, bags of water. How to hook in to the power reserves from the solar panels on the roof of the house above. How to use the old-fashioned burner stove with actual flame to cook something reconstituted.

“Why can’t we just use a replicator?” asked Lukas.

“There might not be power,” said Mom.

“Why wouldn’t there be power?” asked Lukas.

“We’ll talk about that later,” said Mom. “For now just pay attention.”

Eric followed us around, watched the way Mom did everything. She explained the combination door mechanism, the microbe airlocks, the filtered air, the chemical toilet, the water-recycling system, the incinerator, the bio-suits. Medicine, batteries for our handhelds, solar cell hookups, old-fashioned flashlights, candles, backpacks filled with supplies, camping gear. The crate with heirloom family albums, old photos, journals.

Lukas finally asked, “How long are we going to be down here?”

“For a while,” said Mom.



Eric was originally printed in the Spring 2011 issue (9.2) of Warp & Weave, Utah Valley University’s speculative fiction anthology.

Alicia VanNoy Call April 7, 2012 at 1:24 PM

Wow, thanks to Angela Joyce Tackett for the great reading of this tale. Your little voice was completely heart-breaking in parts! Well done!

(For those of you who listen instead of reading the text, when the reader says “Scrooge” the word is actually “Scourge.”)

Thank you Wily Writers for helping to share my writing with the world! 🙂

Alyssa Monahan April 7, 2012 at 1:38 PM

Oh my gosh alicia this is such an amazing story! I love it!!!!! You guys used such big words:) And the plot is so interesting

Alyssa Monahan April 7, 2012 at 1:39 PM

Oh my gosh alicia this is such an amazing story! I love it!!!!! You guys used such big words:) And the plot is so interesting.

Ginny April 7, 2012 at 2:10 PM

Great read, love the audio’s voice. I love the ideas in this story–lots of original surprises, including the ending. Cyndal has great courage, yet I was so very sad for her. Time well spent, thank you Alicia VanNoy Call.

Laura April 8, 2012 at 9:08 PM

This is a great story. It keeps you wondering what’s going to happen next and is very creative. Nice job, and I look forward to a second installment.

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