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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

A tale of a traveler in the wastelands.

It was warm. This was unusual; most days were either too hot or too cold. This was much needed in my opinion, as I was starting to get irritable from either too much sweat or from freezing my ass off every day. A cool day like this made my travels through the Old Lands a bit more bearable.
My journey was to reach Vexor, a town that sat in the wastelands, within the next three days. I had already been traveling for a few days from a town called Hath, where the locals told me that the citizens of Vexor were still able to produce fruits. I had never tasted fruit before, and the rumor that there was still a town able to grow them in this land as enough to set me off looking for it. There was also a rumor that the people of Vexor could also make a delicious juice from the fruits that I wanted to try.

I continued my path on an old road that stretched down a long hill; below me, I could see movement. I squinted and shielded my eyes from the sun, seeing two human shapes accompanied by a much larger one. I then pulled out my knife, hiding my pistol in my pocket under my shirt; my shotgun was out of sight, hidden by my bag. I honestly wanted to avoid violence today, one of the reasons being my dwindling ammo supply; I was down to twelve shotgun rounds and six 9mm bullets. If they were enemies I had to tread carefully, but of course, my main goal was to not be seen before I knew whether or not they were friendly. As I got closer I saw that it was a man, a woman, and a bull-cow, which seemed to hold all of their belongings.

"Howdy there!" the man said with a big smile on his face. I'd rarely ever seen anyone smile so much in the Old Lands.

"Are you two merchants?" I asked.

"He's a merchant," the woman replied to me. "I am his bodyguard." I took notice to her as soon as she spoke; she was beautiful for a girl who'd shaven half of her head, even if the shaven half had started to grow back. Somehow it went aesthetically perfect with her bright blue eyes, full lips, and olive skin. She was also quite tall, standing at about 5'8 or 5'9 as opposed to the shorter, much goofier-looking man beside her.

"What do you need, friend?" the man asked me.

"What can I get for this?" I asked him, pulling out an old copy of The Hobbit.

"What is that?" he asked me.

"It's a book," the woman replied for me. "He doesn't read."

"Sure don't," the man said with another big, dumb smile. "What else ya got?"

"I'll trade you shotgun rounds for food," I finally said.

"How many ya got?" the man asked me.

"Three," I replied.

"For four I can give you a loaf of bread, a piece of cheese and some horse meat."

"What if I haven't got four?"

The man looked me up and down before letting out a small chuckle. "You definitely have four."

I was going to question how the man on how he was so certain, but my stomach growled which threw the thought out of my head. I made the trade.

"Nice doing business with ya!" he said, smiling. Here I could see he was missing more than a few teeth. "So where are ya headed anyway?"


"Really now?! That's just the next town over from where we're headed. Why don't we hire your gun in exchange for food for the next few days?"

I didn't even need much time to think about it. "Sure. Sure they could have been cannibals or something similar, but I was pretty confident I could have handled myself if I needed to.

And with that exchange, we were off. Over the next few days, my distrust of them lessened, though I could never bring myself to trust them fully. They revealed many details of there travels to me, the first of which was that their names were Crawford and Anais.

Crawford had been traveling the wastes as a salesman for nearly a decade before he ran into Anais, who had been a slave who he had freed from Old Town, Texas. Anais, who by many years of participating in the "death pit", was a proficient fighter and Crawford saw that as something he could use, so he freed Anais with the bargain that she would work for him as his bodyguard. Anais mentioned that half her head was shaven due to her slavery, so he must have sprung her recently seeing how her hair was barely starting to grow back.

For the first few days, nothing too exciting happened. It had been an easy mission so far in my book. As the evening approached us on the last day of our travel, we could see the town where they were headed and the lights of Vexor City in a distance.

"Woo!" Crawford exclaimed. "We made it!"

I looked around in a frenzy, sure something would hear his yelling and pop out.

"Crawford!" Anais exclaimed in a low voice. "I don't think you should be yelling like that out here."

"Relax we're fine," Crawford said. "Civilization is a grasp away. We have nothing to -"

Before he could finish his sentence the man's mutilated bull-cow came crashing down a few feet in front of us. We turned to see a brown bear, nearly fifteen-feet tall, charging right at us with its mouth still filled with chunks of bloody meat from the bull-cow. Crawford jumped behind Anais and I as we steadied our guns on it.

Anais fired first due to her having a further reach with her sub-machine gun than I had with my shotgun. Still, I held it steady as the bruiser of a beast got near us. Finally, when it got close enough I emptied two shotgun rounds into the beast's side before jumping back. It was not dead but my shots had hit its shoulder, causing it to walk with a bit of a limp. I had successfully slowed it down.

"Run!" I heard Anais yell somewhere from behind me. I fired one last round at the beast before turning to follow her.

We ran for what seemed like hours, but I'm sure it was no longer than five or so minutes. Crawford was nowhere to be found.

"The coward ran off when the beast came," Anais said. "He's probably making his way to Marxis right now."

We reached an abandoned apartment building that stood by itself atop a hill, overlooking a much larger complex at the bottom of the hill and a playground that sat between them. The town that Anais and Crawford were headed to was only about two or three miles away, with Vexor's bright lights a little closer to us. There was nothing but silence in the dead of night.

"I'll take first watch," Anais said.

"I can't sleep."

For a rough woman, though beautiful, she slept elegantly. Mostly nothing happened that night, aside from the movements of a sleeping Anais. Even after hours and hours, I was still unable to fall asleep; soon the pitch black of the night had started to transform into daybreak.

I figured it was time I wake Anais. I tapped her shoulder and shook her awake.

"Anais," I muttered. Seconds later she began to stir, before yawning and stretching out, all while her eyes were closed. Eyes still closed, she let out the most beautiful smile I had ever seen in my life. Her eyes opened suddenly, and her smile vanished just as quick.

"It's morning already?" she asked, jumping up and grabbing her gun.

"Yeah," I replied. "Sun's starting to rise."

"You slept?" she asked. I shook my head simply. "That sucks. Your reflexes are going to drag until you do."

"I'm fine," I said, to reassure her. She looked at me for a moment before nodding. In the distance, the sun was beginning to rise.

"No sign of the bear," she said, looking around.

"You think it went back to wherever it came from?" I asked her.

"Possibly," Anais answered. "Or it's somewhere around here still skulking around.

A loud gunshot erupted from somewhere near the other apartment complex before Anais fell to the ground, half of her face blown off and covered in blood and chunks of brain.

I ducked behind a wall, holding my shotgun close to my chest. I couldn't even find time to process where the shooter was before I heard the monstrous roar of the bear from earlier last night. I peeked my head out and ducked it back in just in time for another sniper round to miss me. Further, in my apartment building, I could hear the bear thrashing about, seemingly trying to get closer to the noise.

The beast came crashing into the room that I was in, the sunlight from the broken wall shining upon its magnificent fur.

The beast drove at me and I dived out the way at the last second, landing in a space open for the unseen shooter to get me if he wanted. I quickly fired a shotgun round into the beast before rolling off the edge of the second story. As I rolled off, a huge explosion erupted, throwing me further than the soft patch of grass I intended to land on. As I rolled down the hill debris from the explosion came raining down; chunks of brick missed me as I rolled to a stop at the children's playground.

Being closer to the complex, I looked up to see if I could find my attackers. I found them; they were bandit punks who were each peering out of second story windows; one of them had a sniper rifle and the other had a rocket launcher. They hadn't seemed as though they had seen me since the explosion so I hopped to my feet and hid behind the children's slide. As I crouched I felt something tucked in my pants; the 9mm handgun with six shots!

I took aim and fired at the bandit holding the rocket launcher. I don't know how many hit him, but soon the bandit's dead body fell from the second story down to the ground below. My gun clicked empty as the second bandit readied his sniper on me.

"Shit!" I said, ducking back behind the slide. I heard a small click.

"The damn thing's jammed!" the bandit exclaimed to himself. I dropped my handgun and ran into the apartment complex clutching my shotgun.

I ran until I reached some stairs. I stopped myself, readied my shotgun, and then proceeded to ascend. As I turned the corner, I spotted the bandit, who panicked upon seeing my shotgun. I shot but missed as the bandit jumped behind a wall, wasting my last shot. The shotgun recoil pushed me into the wall behind me, at which point the bandit ran up and tried to take the gun from me. I kicked him off me, and he stumbled down the stairs, back to the first story hallway.

I clutched my shotgun as though it were a baseball bat and then ran at him. He blocked my swing with his sniper, and I prepared to deliver a punch to his gut but stopped due to a familiar, gruesome roar and a loud crash. The bear was in the hallway.

The bandit and I looked at the bear, then each other, before turning and retreating up the stairs. We reached the second story and ran into an apartment, the bandit shutting the door behind me and locking a series of locks.

"It's just gonna crash through," I said, noticing a window behind me.

"Then we have to fight it," the bandit said, backing away from the door closer to me. I looked at the window, then at the bandit, with escape on my mind.

With no final hesitation, I handled the shotgun again like a baseball bat, before crashing it down on the bandit punks skull. He fell to the ground and I brought it down, four more times, effectively killing him. Blood was everywhere, but I didn't care. I backed u[p to the window and waited eagerly.

Soon the bear crashed in and I hopped out the window, using the bandit sacrifice as a distraction as I made my escape.

Submitted: December 13, 2015

© Copyright 2021 Mackboy Darth Vader. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:


A. J. Bluefield

Huh that was quite unexpected. The main character seemed all nice and noble until he killed that bandit like that to save his own skin. At first when I read this I was a little concerned that I thought this would be like my story but as it went I realized the setting and asthetic to it is quite different than mine. Saw this in a entry to the contest. Want to wish you a best of luck as I'm enter as well.

Sun, October 22nd, 2017 8:06pm


@Aj thank you man. What's your story called? I'll check it out.

Tue, October 24th, 2017 1:12pm

A. J. Bluefield


Wed, October 25th, 2017 3:09am

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