Found in the File: My First Published Story

When digging through old boxes and files a few days ago, I came upon my high-school scrapbooks and the magazine that printed my first story ever. I was 14 years old, and a Wisconsin High School Writings publication chose my story “Memorial.” (The story was later reprinted in the small-press magazine Alpha Adventures.

I’ve reproduced it below in its entirety. Maybe Steven Spielberg will see it now and decide to make it into an epic $200M film!

Or maybe not.

Since this is Memorial Day weekend in the US, I wanted to share “Memorial” with you.  (I’ve improved my skills a little since then…)

Kevin J. Anderson

The roar of the ocean echoed through the empty sky, but no one was left alive to hear it. Waves, glinting from filtered light, lapped up against a long beach, leaving a deposit of deadly radiation which had made even the life-spawning sea sterile.

The sun burned down through a radioactive haze, warming nothing but the dead sands. No bird flew in the sky, no fish swam in the sea, no man walked the earth. Apart from the roar of the poisonous sea and the gentle sound of the just-as-deadly wind, the world was silent—the earth was dead.

The waves washed the shore again, taking with them a few grains of sand, exposing something to the sun’s glare. More sand washed away, and the days passed.

The object became uncovered, something made of glass, clear, uncolored, but clouded slightly. Its shape was not what it had been, but was now warped slightly from exposure to the furuous, raging heat of countless atomic blasts.

It had been a bottle once; and now it comprised the entire remnants of mankind. The bottle was the only representative of the human race, a memorial, a monument to the way of life which had been so suddenly destroyed.

Visitors coming and finding the earth dead would find this bottle, and from it try to reconstruct the civilization which had spawned it.

Paint on the bottle formed letters, now meaningless. The paint was blistered and burned, but the message, for all who could read it, was plain.

The words read: COKE ADDS LIFE.