Creative Writing Prompts: August, Routine

It wasn’t unusual. Most people, if they lived in an even remotely stable environment, had a routine, and that routine repeated itself every day. It was the nature of human existence. They found what they needed to survive, and they repeated the survival pattern until it no longer functioned.

After the end of the world, people seemed to think that sort of stability was gone. It was easy to see why, what with people’s entire existence being up-ended, but that sort of disruption only lasts for a short amount of time. Once things settle, no matter how long it takes, new routines are established. In the case of the farm, it was everything necessary to keep it running.

Every morning, the perimeter fence needed to be walked, and repaired where something had tested the wires. While one person did that, another saw to the feeding and watering of the handful of animals they had, and another gathered eggs from the chickens. Whoever was assigned to gather the eggs also started breakfast, which was finished right around the time the others came back. Everyone ate, and then they dispersed again. Two people went to take care of the other chores related to the animals, mostly making sure they were healthy and their bedding wasn’t damp or otherwise uncomfortable. Someone else swept the floors and dusted the few surfaces in the house. They saw to chores like that until one person came in and began lunch. 

When lunch was over, they took a few hours to themselves in the afternoon, before the third person made dinner and the other two saw to securing the farm for the night. After dinner, they went to sleep, and in the morning, the routine started again. They shifted who did what on a cycle, but that three-day cycle was an inescapable loop. It was routine, stable and secure, and they sometimes resented the unchanging nature, but at the same time, they relied on it. Given everything had crumbled around them, they were lucky to have the farm, to have their circuit of stability. They were lucky to establish a routine.

It wasn’t until over a year later that one of them thought to question the nature of the loop. It happened when they noticed certain things, things that should have been random, weren’t. The number of eggs the chickens laid, the areas where the dust gathered, the locations of damaged fencing. They started tracking, and another pattern emerged. 

They tried to remember how they’d found the farm. It was a hazy memory, as all memories of those days were, but it seemed as though they had just found it waiting, animals and all. It wasn’t impossible, of course, that someone would have abandoned a functioning farmstead in all the upheaval, but given how secure they found it, that was unlikely. No, it seemed more like the farm had been created, waiting just for them.

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by | Aug 7, 2023