The door creaked open as two strangers walked into the old diner.
It was nearly empty, except for the owner and a man sitting in
the shadowy corner.
"Eh, can we get some grub?" The older man asked.
The owner nodded, "What do you want?"
"Canned food, beans and water" He said.
The owner nodded, "how will you pay?"
"show him, son" The older man said.
The son unzipped his backpack and pulled out a toaster.
The owner picked up the toaster and examined it. He plugged it
into the wall.
"Oh wow, it works… haven't seen one of these for a while.
Alright, I'll get you your stuff, hey sweetie! Come out here!"
A dirty young woman came out from the back door.
"Get these two some beans, canned stuff and some water" The owner
She nodded and went back into the back.
"Why the canned goods? Travelling somewhere?" The owner asked,
looking them over, "you look like scavengers."
The son looked away uncomfortably, but the father smiled and
nodded his head.
"You headed to the gas city?" The owner asked.
"Yep" The father said. The man in the corner looked up.
"Wow, you really think that's a good idea? No one ever comes back
from there" The owner said.
The son laughed and pulled out a gas mask from his backpack,
"We're covered for that! We know what to expect."
"Do you?" The man in the shadows asked.
"Who are you?" The son asked.
The man stepped forward. His body was heavily bandaged and his
face was bruised and scarred.
"Fuck, what happened to you?!" The father demanded.
"Tell me what you know" The bandaged man asked.
"Dad, this guy's a freak" The son said.
"Tell me all you know" He asked again.
"Don't do it Dad, he'll take the treasure!-" "Shut it, boy," The
father said, "I'm sure you've heard of it, the gas city, every
scavengers dream. But you don't look so good."
"Don't remind me. Why do you want to go there?" The bandaged man
"It used to be this big factory slavery city, in the middle of a
dead ruin, about… five or six years ago? I don't really know, but
I remember that anyone who went there never came back." The
"Why didn't they come back?" The bandaged man asked.
"I don't know, slavery?! Come on Dad, this guys a freak" The son
"Hold it , Son. Anyways, at some point, there was a revolt, or a
gang war, or an accident. No one really knows, but the factories
were destroyed, and someone set off some kind of chlorine gas
bomb that covered the whole place, and anyone that's gone there
has never come back."
"So why would you go there?" The bandaged man asked impatiently.
"The treasure!" The son exclaimed, "Do you know what is inside
those ruins? They had weapon and ammunition factories in there!
They had power tools and were making things that hadn't been seen
in decades! This wasn't no shit settlement, this place was the
key to the future! Not to mention the drugs! One of the slave
gangs had a drug making plant, and it's all in there, just
waiting for anyone!"
"Why are you so interested?" The father asked.
"Because I've been there. I was there when the cattle rebelled,
and when the gangs turned on each other, and when the chlorine
bombs went off, and I've seen many much more prepared people then
you two disappear into the city" the bandaged man declared.
The son and the father looked at each other for a moment, then
burst out laughing, "He claims he was there! Look, you might look
like you've been through hell and back, but there is no reason
for us to believe some bandaged old fuck like you!" The son
exclaimed between laughs.
"I was one of the many that disappeared into the city. I was a
solicitor, travelling with two others looking for new
settlements, to create connections. And we found that city. And I
was there when it was destroyed."
Chapter 1 Opportunity
That city looks like hell.
The entire horizon was spread out before them, empty and brown
in all directions except for a mass of broken grey skyscrapers
and a few billowing smoke towers in the center.
"This pay check is going to be fat!" Ricky exclaimed.
"It looks pretty bad" Jordan said.
"Well of course it looks bad on the outside. It's what on the
inside that counts!" Ricky said.
"It looks like a worthless wreck." James said, "It's probably
just full of squatters, look at it."
"It doesn't look very clean" Jordan added.
"But look, those smoke towers! This place has industry, and
factories! It's the future!" Ricky exclaimed.
He was right. The exterior looked bad, but the inner city was a
thriving factory town.
"This place looks like cancer" James said.
"Could you cheer up for once? The trade from this place will
make all of us rich! It's right there for the taking!" Ricky
was jumping up and down with excitement, "Look at that smoke!
Those are factories! Fucking factories! All we have to do is
walk in and we're set!"
"I sort of liked finding farms better. Look at the sky over
that place, all that smoke can't be healthy"
"Fuck farms, man… This is industry! This is more then just
food, this is power! And money!"
"I don't trust it" James said, "I don't want to go down there."
And then he sat down.
Ricky sighed. He got down on one knee. "Look, we didn't walk
for four days to find the best fucking thing ever, just to turn
away. That city is what we've dreamed of. We'll be heroes if we
come back with a deal. We'll be rich back home. I don't know
why you had to wait till now to be a bitch, but you're coming
"You can't go down by yourself. Jordan's not going, he said so,
it's too polluted."
They both looked at Jordan.
"I didn't say I wasn't going… I just don't want to stay long"
James gave Jordan a hurtful look.
"that's two versus one, We're going in!" Ricky shouted.
"You two go, I'm staying back here."
"James, I swear to god, if we get a deal down there, we're not
coming back to look for you, we'll go straight home!"
"That's fine, I'll head home when I want to" James replied.
"Then I'm taking your pack!"
"what are you doing?! Give that back!"
"No. If you know theres trouble in there, we'll need your stuff
to buy our way out!"
"Ricky! What the hell?!" James said.
"Don't just take his stuff!" Jordan said.
"No! If he's going to let us go down alone, we'll need his
"How the fuck will I get back home!" James pleaded.
"It just extra weight!" Jordan argued.
"Stop being a fucking baby and just come with us! Think of the
fucking money! This is your god damn job!" Ricky spat.
James opened his mouth, but then closed it.
"Fine, I'll come with you guys. But I'm not helping you if you
"Yeah, you will" Ricky said, "We're heading in".
James always folded against Ricky.
There was only one road that went into the city, an old
The air was noticeably dirtier the closer they got to the city.
The outskirts of the city was dotted with broken homes and
abandoned gas stations.
The smoke and pollution blocked slowly blocked out more and
more of the sun, creating poor visibility.
"This is surprisingly empty" James whispered. There were no
squatters or campfires visible throughout the run down streets.
"I don't like it. At least back home you could see the
homeless. I feel like we're being watched" Jordan said.
"Guns out?" Ricky asked.
"Not yet. I don't want to give anyone a reason to attack us.
Anything looks like an ambush." James whispered.
"Do you really think?" Jordan said.
"Possibly. This place would be easy to defend" James said.
Wrecked cars and debris filled the highway. Jordan looked down
a city street, but collapsed buildings had made it nearly
impossible to navigate.
"Do you think this road is the only clear road?" James asked.
"It probably get's better once we reach the factories. Too much
work for whoever runs this place to keep a bunch of roads open"
"I wish there was someone else around. Something to tell us
this place has civilization" Jordan said.
"The smoke covering the sky isn't a sign for you?" James asked.
"I just want to see another person. Or hear something"
"Get your flashlights out, it's becoming way to dark." Ricky
"We should have waited till next morning to check this place
out, coming in the evening was a terrible idea" James said.
"Well sorry for assuming that a fucking factory would attract
people, fuck…" Ricky trailed off, pulling out his shoulder
The three beams of light shone through the growing darkness,
revealing that the road continued to go deeper into the city.
"This place is like a jungle" Jordan said.
"A concrete jungle" Ricky laughed nervously.
The feeling of being watched only grew worse with being the
only sources of light in the darkness.
Jordan's beam of light shone over a spiked plate on the road.
"Is that… a bear trap?" He asked.
Ricky and James stopped to look at it.
"Should we set it off?" James asked.
"Please do, I'm tired of hearing your voice" Ricky said,
"attract everyone here, smart move."
"who do you think put this here? It looks set and everything"
"No idea. Is this a good enough sign of civilization for you?"
Ricky said optimistically.
"Look, being alone out here is creepy enough, but that's a set
bear trap. This isn't safe, we should leave" James said.
"No way! Look, maybe someone left this set a long time ago. And
we can turn back now that we're this far! I say we head in. It
looks like fun. Just look out for more traps." Ricky ordered.,
leading the way.
James and Jordan looked at each other, shrugged, and followed.
They passed along more bear traps. James almost stepped in one,
and had to do a weird jump to get out of the way.
A low rumbling could be heard in the distance. It grew
progressively louder the more they wandered down the road.
"Factories?" Jordan asked.
Rick didn't reply, but walked at a faster pace.
Then they could see bits of red light shine through cracks and
windows of broken structures.
"We're getting near the factories! This is it boys, we're about
to see our fortune!"
Ricky's fast paced walk turned into a quick jog.
"Ricky!, wait up!" James called. They chased after him. "Look
out for bear traps!" Jordan shouted.
The sounds of machinery grew louder with each footstep. Jordan
could hear jackhammers and welding torches. He could hear the
sounds of mechanical saws and sparks.
The road finally stopped winding through the broken city and
led straight to a large three story high gateway.
"There it is!" Ricky shouted. He ran forward towards the gate,
waving his arms over his head.
Jordan and James chased after him, trying to keep up.