Chapter 1: Go Green

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 1559
Comments: 6

Chapter One – Go Green

 

Once the dust had finally settled it revealed a city laying in ruin.

This city was much unlike anything that would exist now. The tall, ornate skyscrapers reached out into the sky without end. Each structure had its own distinct shape from the rest. Some were rounded at the top, and some were edged. Some were even connected together by bridges. Each building had its own character. Cities like the one here were marvels of the old world, but none of that mattered anymore.

The city had lost its life, and was slowly beginning to decay. The only thing left to care for this city was the elements of the new world, called the Drylands. All of the buildings were now grey in color. Tall behemoths crumbled in the distance as strong winds of the day had fought against them.

Rays of sunlight pierced their way in between the gaps of the structures and settling dust, leaving splotches of light to illuminate the sand covered streets. The resemblance of a monorail like transportation system was demolished. Few parts remained posted above the streets while others were scattered around and left to pieces. Rounded vehicles with thrusters on the bottom were left abandoned, some were even overturned. Pieces of ruble, and sand dunes were spread throughout the street to add even more to the chaos of the scene.

In the very most center of the town is where the suns light shone brightest. It was an open square where many roads converged. Rested perfectly in the center was the corpse of a large old world hover blimp. It was turned on its side. The tattered fabric of the balloon swayed in the wind from the metal frame it was draped upon. On the bottom of the balloon there was a passenger cab connected to it. Most of the glass windows had been blown out, and a large open hole was left on the side facing up.

Out from the darkness of the hole came a pair of hands, and with the hands came the rest of the body. Jonah, a middle-aged man, had pulled himself out of the cabin. He kneeled at the top while dusting the sand of his tattered clothes, and released a loud sneeze from his deformed nose. He wiped the grit from his uneven eyes, and spat over the side of the cabin making sure no pieces of sand were left inside his mouth. He then reached down in the hole of the cabin and pulled out another pair of hands. The person he pulled out was a much younger than him, this was his brother Gabe. He shared much of the same deranged features of the older one.

Each of them took turns rolling down a dune next to the cabin so they could reach street level. Once they reach the bottom each adjusted to their bearings and began to slouch their way over to a restaurant looking building.

Gabe pointed to the blimp and asked a question, “What is that thing, Jonah?”

“The hell I know,” responded Jonah as he skipped around the cities debris. “Sure looks cool don’t it?”

“I guess so, just kinda makes ya think what it was used for.”

“Who cares, Gabe?”

“I is just curious,” responded Gabe in sassy tone.

Jonah finally reached the restaurant. He stepped over a broken out window frame of the shop since the entrance had been covered mostly by sand. Closely behind, Gabe followed him like a lost puppy. Surprisingly, the inside of the shop was left mostly intact with the only thing of issue being the sand that made its way in. Most of the tables were left standing, and the chairs were neatly arranged beneath them. Jonah made his way to the back of the shop and reached over a counter to grab two backpacks. He slung one of them over his shoulders, and he reached the other one out to Gabe who was distracted by a framed article posted on a wall.

“Take it, dumbass.”

Gabe glared at Jonah and extended out his hand for the bag.

“The fuck ya looking at that thing for anyway. Neither of us can read.”

“Well it doesn’t hurt to try.”

“Try all you want baby brother, your stupid ass will never understand those words.”

Gabe gave a hard shove to Jonah that barely seemed to faze him. “Why you gotta be so mean to me all the time.”

Jonah rolled his eyes, and released a sigh. “I’m sorry, Gabe.” He patted Gabe on the shoulder. “You know the only reason I act this way is cause I care for ya.”

“I know,” said Gabe as he shrugged his shoulders.

“I gotta make you tough. If we ain’t tough, remember what happens?” Jonah lifted his sweat stained shirt to reveal a large burn mark on his abdomen.

“She was real bitch to us, huh?”

“Mmhm, but she got what she deserved.” Jonah lowered his shirt. “What happened to her, huh?”

“Extra crispy.”

Jonah nodded. “Damn right. We’ll never be weak again. Nothing will come between us little brother, you hear me.”

“Yes, sir.”

Jonah gave Gabe a quick hug, and then walked his way over to a stair case. “It’s gonna get dark here soon. So I’m gonna go back upstairs and see if we didn’t miss anything. Just wait down here.” Jonah climbed his way up the stairs and was out of Gabe’s sight.

Gabe strolled over to a nearby table. While pulling out the chair he looked at the article once again. “Nuh, ner… near. Buh, bay, oh shit. Um, by. Nearby…. Oh the hell with it.”

He sat down, and began to rock in his chair tapping the back of it against the wall. He looked around the shop while humming a song to himself. Once he stopped looking around the shop he looked out the window they’d came in from to see the lit up town center. Nothing was out of the usual. Sand, rubble, vehicles, and a cloaked figure. Gabe lost the balance of his chair, and fell to floor making a loud noise. He stopped the chair from moving, and looked out the window while shaking. Gabe was breathing hard as he looked to see if the cloaked figure noticed the noise. It didn’t seem to and continued on its path through the town center.

Gabe whispered as loudly as he could, “Jonah!” He looked to the stairs for a response, but received nothing. “Jonah…. Oh hell.” He rose from the ground and ran to the stairs.

The cloaked figure outside had the stature of a man. He was dressed in a worn-out leather trail duster. He walked it short strides shuffling his feet through the sand. Each step the man took was achieved with more effort than the last. The lack of water in his system was beginning to show, but he did not let it affect his course. He kept up his pace, and walked around the crashed blimp. He reached the edge of center and stopped.

The man paused there for a moment letting the wind brush across his cheeks, and play with his long brown hair as it struggled to stay confined in the torn up beanie that housed it. The man wore black shaded goggles to protect his eyes from the dust and sun. He also wore a scarf that cover his mouth so he wouldn’t breathe in the sand. An itch had begun to develop in the back of his head. This itch wanted nothing more than the taste of water. The cloaked man tried as best as he could to ration off his water, but many itches before had stopped him from that. He was going to wait till he got to the closest settlement, but the itch was to strong. He pulled down his scarf to reveal a young man in his early twenties. He had a scruffy beard, and a face that looked as rugged as a middle aged mans. A single long scar ran down his check. He cocked his head back, and tapped ever last drop out of a canteen he had clipped to his side. Once no more dripped out he screwed the cap back on, and put it back in its place. The cloaked man put his scarf back up, then continued on his trek through the ruin city.

The shifting sands mostly covered up his footprints, but this did not stop anything or anyone from tacking him. Unknown to him was Gabe and Jonah following a close distance behind. They were moving from vehicle to vehicle, ruble to ruble trying to avoid detection. Gabe flashed a canteen to Jonah, and Jonah responded with a nod. Jonah kept raising his finger up as if he was trying to speak out but hesitated each time. Finally, he had showed the courage to speak out.

“Hello there mista?”

In an instant the cloaked man whipped around and drew a shiny, chrome handgun on the two. In response, the two brothers snapped their hands up.

“Woah, woah, woah, easy there mista. We mean no harm. We are just uh, weary uh, business men who seek… ya know, business.” Jonah formed and awkward smile that showed his crooked teeth. He then nudged Gabe in the ribs with his elbow, and Gabe also followed with an awkward smile.

The cloaked man stood there observing the two swaying his gun back and forth between his targets. The dust began to stir around again obscuring the vision of the three men. The wind howled as it moved through the empty streets. Once the dust had settled the man holstered his pistol, and pulled his googles up so his eyes could adjust to the bright, blinding light.

The cloaked man pulled his scarf down. “What is your business?”

The two had put their hands down with ease and wiped their uncomfortable smiles off their faces. “The names Jonah,” he pointed to his left, “and this is my younger brother, Gabriel. Everyone just calls him Gabe.”

Gabe waved to the cloaked man.

“And I give a shit why? What is it you two want?”

“There is no need for the hostility now mista. We are nothing more than traveling, uh… merchants who seek to trade.”

“What is it you want to trade?”

Gabe began to skip around. “Oh boy, now er’ cookin’.”

Jonah rolled his eyes. “Ya must mind me here brother mista. Ya see he gets excited over the littlest things. He’s a bit special. We share the same momma, but not pas. The mother decided to screw the uncle in his case, and out she shitted this little bundle of fucked up duh-nay.”

The cloaked man stood there rubbing at his temple with his fingers. “First off, I don’t care. Second, it’s D.N.A. Finally, I’ve got places to be so if you don’t mind…”

“Sorry, I got a bit off track there. We wanted to see what ya have to trade. We got a few items ya may want.” Jonah reached into the inside of his coat, thus triggering the man to draw his gun out again.

“Easy now, it’s just a flask of some high quality, purified, tongue-tingling, H2O.”

The man scowled at the two brothers.

“I’m gunna pull it out,” said Jonah.

Gabe chuckled at that comment.

“Shut it!”

With that Gabe suppressed his giggle. Jonah slowly pulled the flask out of a pocket so it wouldn’t seem to rash for the cloaked figure.

Once the man had seen the flask and Jonah’s words were as he said, the cloaked man holster his gun once more. He needed that water. Water was so rare and precious in the Drylands. It often took the form as a universal currency. In certain communities it is given monetary value based on the amount of ounces you had. So what Jonah had with him was a good bargaining chip.

“I don’t have much. What is you want?”

Jonah began to form a smile. “Food, ammo for our guns, blankets, any device of use would suite our fancy.”

“As for food, I just ate the last bit of my rat this morning. Ammo, I don’t use any. My gun is old, and is charged by the sun. I have a few blankets in my pack. Also, I have a fire starter you could use.”

Jonah looked dissatisfied to hear he had no food, but perked up when hearing of his old world weapon. “You say a gun charged by the sun, correct?”

The cloaked man knew that was his strongest bargaining chip, but he didn’t want to give it up. He looked down to his weapon. “What about it?”

“It looks very ancient, something that was used in the old world perhaps. I’d be willing to trade my water and much more for it,” said Jonah.

The cloaked man took not a moment to ponder. “Not for trade.”

Jonah sighed while shaking his head. “Well that’s the only thing that caught my eye. So I’m sorry nothing could work out mista.”

The man nodded to Jonah. He turned away from him, and continued on his path.

The two brothers looked to each other as if they were speaking telepathically.

Gabe whispered to Jonah, “Can we do it now Jonah? I is hungry.”

Jonah responded by a subtle nod. “Yep, plan B.”

“Ya really are out here all alone ain’t ya?”

The man stopped. He rolled his eyes, then turned to face the two. He looked around the destroyed shops and overturned cars of the city scape then pointed to his right. “Not unless you’re counting Charlie here to my right.”

Jonah released a nervous chuckle. “The heat must be gettin to ya. What are you doin out here all by your lonesome mista?”

The stranger knew this conversation had no point, but he took part in it to entertain himself. How common would it be that he’d come across another person for a while.  “Working on my tan, you know. I like to be extra crispy.”

Gabe’s eyes widened while his crooked smile began to form.

Jonah laughed. “Ain’t that the shit. Ya see people are always goin on about this global warming thing as if it’s bad. Well I mean, it can’t get any hotter right? But… me being the optimistic person I is. I see some positive reinforcement to this whole ordeal.”

“Is that so?”

“Yup. Here’s how I look at it. Ya get your daily dose of vitamin-D. Ya get to work on that tan like you just mentioned for the upcomin’ swimsuit season. Ya neva chilly, cept for night. And… ya sweat more than a crusty whore in a catholic chapel.” Jonah paused seemly amused by himself. “But, all these damn, tree huggin liberals want us to go green….”

The man grew tired of Jonah’s unnecessary monologue. The heat was getting to him already, and Jonah’s words further irritated him. The cloaked man wanted to get to the point.

“Here’s how I see it. The Drylands is a hard place to live, but the only place to live. The sun made it so we’re in one hell of a drought. Thus, making water scarce. We can’t irrigate too easily to make food. Few vegetation makes few wildlife, and few wildlife makes fewer food. So it’s just an unlucky mess we have here. Food is so rare our hunger can drive us to desperate measures. Besides, ever since I showed you my piece you couldn’t pry those eyes off it.”

“So what you gettin at mista?”

The cloaked man cracked a grin. “Well you want what I have… and after what I heard your brother whisper to you earlier. I probably look for good eating.”

Gabe trembled. “Jonah…”

Jonah drew his pistol out on the cloaked man. His was much more primitive looking but would prove just as effective if need be.

Gabe struggled to pull his gun out too. He pointed it around Jonah with twinkle in his eyes.

Jonah glared at Gabe. “Point it at him ya dipshit. Safety off too.”

Gabe corrected himself. “Oh, my bad.”

The cloaked man slowly raised his hands. His grin grew as he shook his head.

“Well I give it to ya mista. Ya ain’t so stupid like my brother here as I thought you’d be.”

“Why you gotta be so mean!”

“Shut it.” Jonah snapped his gun at the cloak man. “Give us your shit first!”

The man used one hand to take his pack off of him. He tossed it in the middle of them.

“Now that sun-gun of yours,” added Jonah.

The cloaked man laughed. “If I touch my weapon I intend to use it.”

“Hostile, hostile, hostile, ain’t we? No matters, you can pry it off your corpse when we done whicha.”

The cloaked man lowered his hands to his side, and grazed his fingers across his holster. “So what’s the plan boys, this isn’t my first rodeo.”

Jonah moved in closer to the man. Gabe followed close behind while shaking. “You see mista. This ain’t our first rodeo either. Here’s what’s gonna happen. First, we gunna shoot ya. Then, we gunna skin ya. At last, we gunna eat ya. Mm mm mmm.”

Gabe pointed his shaking pistol at the man’s head. “Yeah, now er cookin.”

“Come on guys, it doesn’t have to be this way…. I’m going to give you an option. Both of you put you guns down. Leave me that water because you pissed me off… and I’ll promise not to kill either of you.”

Jonah began to laugh hysterically. He looked to Gabe. “Can ya believe this her man, Gabriel? He is out number two to one, and he thinks he can still take us.” He blew out a puff of air.

“Last chance.” His fingers moving ever so slightly on the handle of his gun.

Jonah stopped himself and Gabe. “This guy,” he laughed. “He is so delusi-”

While Gabe was looked to Jonah a single beam of concentrated energy popped Jonah’s head off like a pimple spraying viscera all over Gabe. His vision was blocked by a thick red warmth. Gabe then howled in disbelief. Jonah’s body fell to the floor as it began to shake without control. Gabe wiped the blood from his eyes, and looked at Jonah’s body while his mouth was wide open.

“Holy shit. I’ve never fired this thing before. That was completely disgusting.”

“Ya sonuvabitch!”

The cloaked man looked to his pistol. A light on a side of it was red as it produced a beeping noise. He holstered it, and reach behind him to grab a handle of a long blade that had been secretly sheathed on his back.

Gabe shook his head to get the ringing out of his ears, and tried to focus his dizzy eyes on the man. He struggled to raise his gun. Many loud cracks came out of the barrel as shots whizzed by the man who was in a full sprint. One shot nicked a flap on the man’s duster. The man dove behind a car. Even though the man was in cover Gabe kept shooting. Bullets skipped off the metal surface of the rusty car. Gabe unloaded each cartridge until no more spewed out the barrel of his peashooter.

Click. Click. Click.

The winds began to pick up again kicking the sand around getting into Gabe’s already watery eyes. Gabe cupped his hand over his forehead and tried to see if he could spot the man behind the car. He then clicked the button on the side of his gun, and out fell the empty cases. He reached into the pocket of his rugged coat for more. “Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy,” said Gabe.

The cloaked man couldn’t ask for any more perfect timing. He reached his hand up the back of the car to pull his weight up. He climbed onto the top and ran down the hood jumping off it while spinning to add momentum to his blades slash. Gravity pulled the man down as the blade swung.

The wind has settled, and with it the dust. The man was in a kneeling stance as blood dripped from his blade.

Gabe collapsed to his knees. He used his right hand to clutch his lefts bloody stump. He looked at his hand in disbelief. His left hand still had the gun in its grip as the blood from it soaked in the sand.

The cloaked man stood up, and flicked the blood off hid blade. He lighten the grip on his handle, and crouched down to be on the same level as Gabe. He looked into his eyes and sighed. “I didn’t want this.”

Gabe began to whimper as snot ran down his deformed nose. He peered over the man’s shoulders to see the corpse of his brother that was now motionless.

“Ya killed Jonah!”

The cloaked man looked to his corpse. “Jonah was a bit of an asshole. Not to mention, you guys were going to eat me. I don’t know about you, but I don’t take that kind of shit lightly.”

Red ran through Gabe’s fingers as his face became white. “I think I’m gonna be sick mista.”

“Oh you’re going to be more than that…. I have on question for you?”

Gabe nodded and looked to cloaked man.

“How many… how many people before me have you guys done your thing with?”

Gabe answered right away, “I don’t know, we lost count.”

The cloaked man’s face grew in disgust.

Gabe sobbed. “I ask of ya mista. Don’t kill me like Jonah. Just let me go. I promise to be good.”

The cloaked man shook his head. “No. You word is not enough. What says I let you go and you won’t do this to someone else? It would be my fault then. You done this before, and you’ll just keep doing it. It’s kind of hard to eat your veggies once you get use to meat.”

The man moved closer to Gabe.

Gabe fell backwards and put his right hand up at the cloaked man. “Please mista.”

This seemed to stop the cloaked man for a second.

“Ya name? What’s ya name mista?”

The man looked down to his bloodied blade, then back to Gabe. “My name… my name’s Ethan Reign. I killed your brother, and I killed you.” Ethan lifted his blade up.

“Wait!”

A scream echoed through the hollow streets of the ruined city. The sound seemed to linger for while showing what this new world has become. Kill or be killed, cause and action, live or die.

Ethan wiped his blade off, and sheathed it back into place. He reached down and grabbed his pack off the ground, and dusted the sand off from it. He walked over to Jonah’s corpse, and grabbed the flask of water he was offered earlier. “Thanks,” he sighed.

Ethan marched on ahead back on the path he attended for initially. There would many bumps in the road ahead that he would have to face. Some he could ignore, others he could not. Much is still left for him. Before he completely left the scene he stopped. He turned his head back and looked at the cause of his actions.

“There is no going back now is there?” He took a deep breath. Ethan adjusted the strap of his pack on his shoulders, and walked away from the scene. He pulled his goggles down and scarf up as dust began to stir.

Once again, when the sands had shifted and took their moment of rest it showed the lone figure walking into the coming sunset. 


Submitted: October 21, 2017

© Copyright 2021 A. J. Bluefield. All rights reserved.

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Comments

A. J. Bluefield

I have more of this written out if people would like to see how the story continues. This first chapter is meant to create an intrigue into the world of The Drylands. If you liked it please leave a comment telling me what you liked, techniques and things I can work on to make it better. Do you like how to world and story is introduced? Do you like where it is going? Let me know in the comments. Also if you really liked it and want to show support for it I will post the next chapter at 15 likes. Also shelf it to get it out there so other people can get this ball rolling. - A.J. Bluefield

Sun, October 22nd, 2017 1:52am

Wyn

It's okay to go over the word limit but this blows past it. it's up to Arch though. For the story itself. It's a fun read. You even made it easy on yourself with few scene transitions so you can easily focus on the dialogue. The thing is I can see where it might be dragged out a bit and can be cut and added back later. That would be the ladder half of the confrontation, The whole Mexican standoff thing and what follows while entertaining can be chopped down quite a bit for the comp. if you do need to shorten it. Otherwise this is a really good story I would read on my own. I'm into the Baccano/91 days style stories, they allow a lot of drama and growth of characters and this story falls into that category.

Sun, October 22nd, 2017 2:33pm

Author
Reply

Thank you so much for the read. Yeah I see what you mean about the whole standoff thing where they are talking can be too much before they attempt to kill him. The action of the scene I wanted to keep descriptive so it paints a good image in the head, but if it gets to be too much I can cut down hopefully not to the point where it is boring. Yea this is more of a drama and stuff and much more characters and setting to be introduce there is a deep lore to the whole universe that I wish to explore further. Once again Wyn thank you for the read. - A. J. Bluefield

Sun, October 22nd, 2017 10:44am

Scared.Co

This is very good. Reminds me of Buried from black ops 2

Thu, October 26th, 2017 10:00pm

Alex S. Foley

Really loved the story, but who doesn’t love a good post-apocalyptic story. I would have liked a little more in the gun battle between Gabe and the cloaked man, but that may just be me. I do have to say holding the next chapter hostage until you get enough likes is not cool.

Sat, December 9th, 2017 2:03pm

Hazardly

I'm interested in the story! I'm a bit confused as to why Ethan didn't just shoot the dude; that would be much safer than going in against someone with a gun. Also, I don't see why he wouldn't start running back while reloading. Nobody would stand still and just let someone run up and kill them in a situation like that.

I like how the initial protagonists died. It was realistic; the brother was right next to him, he was going to get shot if he didn't move back, and not enough books pull realism like that. They just tend to cater everything to the protagonists.

Nice book!

Sun, March 8th, 2020 5:41am

Hazardly

Forgot to mention, judging by how the gun works, you might be a bit into science fiction. If you are, I'm currently writing a book called Eterniox. I think you might enjoy it.

Sun, March 8th, 2020 5:43am

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