Submitted for the Midnight Society…

Submitted this story idea to a website/ ezine. It might be fun to write a continuing serial/ soap opera.

Prunella’s Misadventures in Time and Space
Science Fiction – genre

Synopsis:

Prunella is a young woman who just falls into misadventure. Not even
wearing a lucky rabbit’s foot helped Prunella. She did try it. As a
child she was raised in an isolated, majestic family mansion. Her
scientist parents had disappeared, leaving her an orphan, with a
tyrannical old Aunt as her guardian. Prunella learned to manage on her
own and entertain herself. She would get lost in the same book for
hours and even days at a time.

Just when it seems her luck has finally changed (she inherits the
dregs of the family fortunes and the derelict mansion for herself) the
world changes around her. “The Bomb” is dropped and nothing will ever
be the same again. As civilization dies Prunella (who has just won the
lottery and been hit by a car just outside the bank) finds herself in
a bomb shelter with a possible killer as one of the guests.

She finds her way out of that to… well… the next misadventure. As
her narrator and confidant I’ve heard them all. I don’t chat about
myself much, I’m just along for my typing skills. Haunted houses,
aliens from space, mad scientists, dragons, time machines, genies in
bottles, amazing treks through time and space all seem to come along
for Prunella. Through it all, she is upbeat, wildly creative and
intelligent (some would say eccentric). In short, she is Prunella. All
of it could only happen to Prunella, if anyone else tried to tell me a
story like this I wouldn’t believe a word they said.

First Episode:

Prunella’s adventures started before she was ever born. Her parents
were a pair of mysterious (some have said mad) scientists who
eventually disappeared on a scientific exploration of the Amazon
jungles. They were supposed to be searching for a long lost plant
which could possibly be a cure for cancer. They may have been mad but
they were also great humanitarians. The last thing anyone ever heard
from them was a request for more supplies of duct tape and chocolate
bunnies.

Prunella grew up with a persnickety old Aunt in a huge, shabby
mansion. The mansion was isolated, set on the edge of a sharp cliff
overlooking the sea. People were afraid to go there. No one ever
visited Prunella. She learned to manage on her own and entertain
herself. She made sure she went to bed in good time for school days,
she reminded herself to brush her teeth, comb her hair and wash behind
her ears. School was her outlet and her passion. She loved homework.
It gave her something to do, a goal to attain. She would get lost in
the same book for hours and even days at a time. She was reading the
newspapers by the time she was four. School was also a place to see
and be seen, at least enough that she didn’t always wonder if she was
invisible.

At one point the family had been massively rich but fortunes dwindled:
spent on scientific gear, travel costs. The fortunes were pretty small
by the time Prunella legally inherited the house and her freedom from
the tyranny of her old Aunt. Of course, it was just Prunella’s luck
that on the very day her luck changed the whole of civilization fell
apart. That was the day I met her. I won’t waste your time telling you
about myself, I’m no one in particular. But, Prunella… she’s
something special, quite different.

She actually won the lottery, millions of dollars in cash. The dream
of so many and there she was, owner of the winning ticket! She could
fix up the family mansion, have them finally install modern heating
which would spare her from shivering through another winter. But, as I
have said, that was a day of great change for the world at large. The
bomb was dropped you see. Children from the 70’s grew up with the
theology of the wicked Russians who would begin World War III at some
point, dropping “the bomb” and thus wiping out civilization as we know
it. Well, they were right about wiping out civilization, as we knew it
then. However, it wasn’t the Russians, they were just as surprised as
everyone else.

Anyway, Prunella was just leaving the bank, her massive lottery
winnings deposited, her smile stretching at least one whole city block
and her mind just spinning with wonderful ideas, dreams and plans. She
wasn’t watching where she was going, not very well at least. The
traffic light had changed, the cars were geared up to go and Prunella
stepped into the street at the wrong moment. She wasn’t hurt much,
just shaken. But the driver was upset. Even more upset when people
began sharing the news and the horror of the coming disaster from the
sky. Instead of taking Prunella to a hospital to get checked over for
injuries the driver of the car more or less pushed her into the
passenger seat and took off. He had his own bomb shelter, quite an
elaborate thing from everything Prunella described.

There were over twenty people in the shelter when the doors were
pulled closed. Sealing them from the terror and destruction run amok
in the world outside. At first they were able to gather around a radio
and hear reports from announcers around the globe. But, as the
disaster spread the voices were silenced, until there was only radio
static and then nothing at all. Pure silence but for the sound of
breathing in the dimly lit shelter. Prunella felt the heat of all
those bodies pushed up close against each other, absorbing the shock.
She felt uncomfortable being so crowded, so she went off on her own to
explore the other rooms in the shelter. It was quite well stocked.
Each room had it’s purpose. Three were for storage of food and water.
There were facilities for the basic functions: bathroom, laundry and
kitchen area. There was one room with bunk beds lining the walls.
Lastly, a common room which had the radio, games and all those people
still standing exactly where she had left them. It seemed to Prunella
that they could all stand forever, as if they had been frozen into
place like a stone statue in an art gallery.

For herself it wasn’t quite so traumatic. She’d grown up isolated,
depending on herself. So Prunella excused herself politely and went to
have the first shower. Her muscles were beginning to tense up after
the whole being hit by a car thing. A hot shower would be just the
thing.

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