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Imagine a world undergoing systemic collapse. Whether it is war, economic depletion or climate change, it really doesn't matter. Lawlessness, privation and death stalk the land. This story takes place 8 or 10 years after, when the survivors are struggling to stay alive in a world that can't seem to repair itself. The population is crashing. It is a new Dark Age.

"You know there is only a few things in life that really count, one is food, one is staying dry and plus, a few other things,"

spoken by Raif.


Wandering Stranger:

He was maybe in his middle thirties, plain and unremarkable in appearance. He was just another blank looking unconnected male among a multitude. Like everyone else in this new world he was dressed in old worn Chinese cottons and falling apart, Nikes. He was wandering. He was on the lookout for just about anything. He looking for opportunity.

The pistol that was plainly visible at his side made him look dangerous and unpredictable. It made him look like a man that was not to be trifled with. It also made him feel important and more than courage, it appealed to his vanity. Having a gun was less about protection and more about intimidation. You didn't even have to use it to gain some advantage. Most of the time, just holding it up and pointing was enough. Bullets were hard to come by so if there was a purpose to use them, it better be good. People gave him cautious respect and he was careful not to overdo it or test the power he possessed with it. The gun completed the image he had of himself and artificially shaped his personality. The fact that it lacked substance was not important.

Cars or trucks were very rare. If you saw them they were in convoys owned by the clans racing from one compound to another. Bicycle traffic was sparse but a little more common. Most people made lonely treks down the littered roads that seemed to lead everywhere but often led nowhere. What was once an idyllic cul-de-sac of middle class homes were now barricaded into what could easily be a death trap for the unwary. The great suburban dream had turned into endless, desperate and barren rats mazes.

Walking the road to the Vengeance Clan was a long and tedious journey. Shopping malls after all, were built for cars. The well traveled route offered trading opportunities and knots of people could be found along the road selling essentials. Obsolete old silver coins had miraculously had come back into circulations and were being used again as money.

A haggard, old witch of a woman and her three children presided over an odd assortment of used plastic bottles and containers of water that sat on the edge of the road bed. Hot and tired the man picked up a bottle of sun warmed water and drank it down. The oldest, a boy of 17 watched impassively expecting payment of some kind.

The man looked at the boy and considered the youth's potential. There was a long pause where both stared at each other.

Finally the man said, "I'm goin up to Vengeance to get paid for a real important job I did for them.. I'll pay you on my way back."

The slender dark haired boy never changed his expression and did not say a word. The boy had enough sense not to argue with an armed man?

The man smiled and said, "Sound alright to you?"

The boy didn't answer. He handed the empty plastic bottle to the boy who put with the others and then, without looking back, the man continued his journey down the road.


The entire shopping mall structure was surrounded and fortified 3 deep with wrecked, burned out cars among other metal debris. He had gotten through the first guard post but was stopped by heavily armed Vengeance security at the building's entrance.

"Where the fuck do you think you're goin?"

He was stopped at gun point. All four guards were dressed in the same Chinese cottons as everyone else. Aggressively, they approached him. One was wearing a sweat shirt with the words "The Gap" across the front. He came up and removed the man's pistol from his belt. Stepping behind the others, he silently examined the gun.

One of the other guards said, "Who do you think you are comin up here like you fuckin own the place? You are suppose to request back at the first guard post. You could just as easily be dead by now if we felt like it and then we'd hang your fuckin carcass out on the wrecks for everyone to see what happened to a sorry ass like you!"

The man stood in front of the guards trembling and fearful. He tried to speak but his words caught in his throat.

He tried again. "I came lookin for work, any kind of work, I'll even do shit work, I don't care.

The guard that was examining his pistol came forward. He offered the man his pistol back.

He laughed and said, "Here! Take it, what do you expect to do with a gun with no firing pin and an obstructed barrel? Even if it had a firing pin, it would blow up in your face."

As soon as the man took his broken pistol into his hand, all the guards aimed their guns at him. His face turned ghost like realizing that he had just abdicated his right to life in the face of armed men.

The guard said, "Now get the fuck out of here!"

All four guards fired their guns into the air and then laughed out loud. Frightened and humiliated, the man ran.


It took awhile for the man to recover but he did. Once out of sight of the fortress, he put his pistol back at his side and then cautiously recuperated his ingenuous bravado.

It was late in the day when the he got back to where the boy was selling water. He reached down and picked up another bottle and began to drink it.

The boy looked stern and disapproving. "You gonna pay us this time? We gotta live too ya know."

The man listened and then continued drinking the water.

He could have finished his water and walked off and nothing would have happened. The boy was no match and anyway the man was armed.

He studied the boy more carefully. The boy's mother who was sitting on the ground minding the other children was now looking suspiciously up at him. He was not deterred.

"You seen a little kid around here. He was only about this tall and was wearing a sweat shirt way too big for him?"

The boy gave him a blank stare.

"He had messed up blond hair."

The boy said, no.

"He was travilin with an older boy with long black hair. If you know or you seen 'em, there could be something in it for you."

The boy maintained his blank expression but said, "Ya mean like you paid for the water you drunk up?"

The man laughed, "Hey, come on, it's cash flow, know what cash flow is?

The boy didn't answer. Coming up close to the boy he said, "I got something that needs tending, you know what I mean?"

The boy said nothing and didn't change his expression.

"Oh I got money and I can pay for that, but I don't pay for no fuckin water. What'd ya say?"

The sorrowful mother's gaze was unnerving to him and it was also inhibiting to the boy. He pulled him a dozen feet away so that they could talk. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small collection of silver ten cent pieces. some had been cut into smaller fractions to make change.

He said, "You know what I'm talkin about?"

He reached down below his belt and gently shook himself. The boy saw and the boy knew.

He said, "How much?"

The man said, "How about a half."

The boy countered. "One and a half."

The man said, "I don't need you, I can go over there and jerk off or find a real slut for nothin."

The boy said, "Fine, go fuck yourself then!"

He stopped the boy. The truth was that the boy couldn't turn away any money. They settled on two dimes, to be paid... after.

The boy left his Mother at the side of the road and headed up a hill towards a stand of trees followed by the man.

The silver coins were the only redeeming thing about this encounter because the boy already hated the man and the man viewed the boy as no more than trash to fuck.

Out of sight in a small wood, sex between the two suddenly overcame all deprivation. The sad circumstances of the world melted away. The man was urgent and he wasted no time. Exhibiting a rude and stiff piece meat in front of the boy, he displayed it in a show of vane self-adoration that caused the boy to hate him even more. Out of necessity, whatever aversion he had towards the man temporarily vanished when he opened his mouth.

The man was cocky and inconsiderate when he penetrated the boy's mouth. He held onto and handled the boy's head with facility. Stooped in front of the man the boy lost balance and had to grab the man's leg to stay upright.

A passing thought was, why should I care about this boy's dignity, after all, I'm paying for it?

His cock was rising and preparing to giving him the only pleasure and comfort of any kind he had had in maybe days. Looking down at the boy who could just as easily have been a pretty girl and thinking about squirting it all onto the roof of his mouth.... and then with callus deliberation, he did.

When it was completed, the boy spat in on the dirt. The transaction was completed when the man gave the him the small bits of silver.

Then the man said, "I'm going to try to settle down the road in that burned out housing development. If you show up there, maybe we can do this again. Just ask around for Phil."


This piece will continue, Please let me know how it is going.

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