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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.


Whose Property?

It was a desperate option but Phil thought the only thing to do was to rush in and direct his all of his energies towards Max.

Before entering he muttered to himself, "I have to kill him, now don't fuck-it-up!"

Max and Newt stood there stunned. Phil ran up to Max and brought the butt of his pistol down hard on Max's head. He collapse in a pile at Phil's feet. He had to tackle Newt to bring him under control.

Newt was flailing and trying to get away. Phil put a slip knot of rope over Newt's head and pulled tight choking off his air.

Newt's face was red but he continued to scream and struggle. "Listen you little fucker, I have been traveling day and night tryin to track you down and you're goin back with me and I will beat the shit out of you every time you give me a hard time. You're my property, I paid that sick mother of yours fair and square!

He dragged Newt down the flight of broken stairs and pulling him along with the rope to get as far away from the house as he could fearing that the other one would return. Newt was like a wild cat scratching and clawing at everything.

He screamed, "I hate you, You killed Max! I hate you!"

The man smacked him again and again to get him to shut up.

Staying in the woods just out of sight of the road on the way out of town. Their progress was slow because Phil had to stop and struggle with Newt, hitting him to make him compliant. Newt didn't give up trying any possibility to get away from the man who had stolen him. Phil sat and tied the end of the rope to his own wrist to tether the two of them together. The rope around Newt's neck amounted to a choke collar.

"If you want anything to eat or you want water, you better fuckin mind me or you get nothin!"

It was not easy, nor was it a fair fight but Phil was much bigger, eventually it exhausted Newt. The sun was setting and the man and the small boy walked towards the inter-state.

Vengeance Fortress:

Raif met the two men at the overpass. Their rifles still slung on their backs. The three walked on the road towards the Vengeance.

"You ready for a good time?"

Raif was playing a role for survival but he had more than himself to care about now. He was also doing it for Newt and Max. The three found themselves starving and in many days they had only just enough. Every bit of food was important. No opportunity could be discounted. It really was life or death.

Raif acted silly and dumb because the two men liked that sort of thing. They treated him like a woman or more specifically, like a whore.

"We've been savin it up for you. Ain't that right Lenny?"

The two guards at the waved them into the fortress.

Clark said, "He's wid us!"

It was dark, torch lit and cavernous inside. There were people coming and going in all directions. They were met with an assortment of strong smells the most luxurious of which was the smell of cooked meat.

"Raif, you want sumthin to eat?"

He nodded yea and they stopped at a stall and got meat for all three. Raif took 2 bites and concealed the rest fearing that the rich food would cause chaos to his system. Clark and Lenny chomped on their portions like barbarians from olden times.

They went into what was once a large department store with high ceilings. These days it was dark like the interior of a some medieval castle. Inside covering the entire floor was a village of small, hand built, plywood houses. They were all individual in shapes and sizes. There were narrow walkways like little streets connecting to other meandering around and around. Many people lived here, men and women children crowded here and there. In spite of this being in the belly of the Vengeance Clan, these were all common working folk. Everyone had chores and duties. Like the people on the outside, they were bound together for survival.

Lenny and Clark had their own house that was no more than 8 x 8 foot square. The interior was all bed. The two men squeezed in and began to undress Raif. Next to the men, Raif was skinny and frail. His ribs were showing and he was helpless in the company of the two well fed, animalistic men. The ensuing event was no better than an ugly porn video.

Two hours later, Raif was on the road home with a bag of valued goods as payment. He was thinking of the fine meal he and Max and Newt would have together. For Raif, Max and Newt made life worth living. The tension of being in the fortress began to lift and without meaning to, semen had suddenly poured out of him soaking his pants. It ran down his legs calling to mind the nasty episode he had just gone through.




Max heard a voice in the darkness. It echoed like he was in a well or some sort of cave. Gradually his vision began to return.

"Max, Are you ok?"

Raif's face slowly came into focus.

"Where's Newt!"

He sat up and was burdened with pain..

He looked a Raif and could see his frantic concern. "Raif, he stolled Newt!"

He buried his face in his hands hoping that it wasn't true.

This time Max shook his head to wave away the pain. "I gotta get him back."

Raif was trying to tend to the bloody lump on Max's head. "I have to go right away."

"I'm goin with you!"

Max said, "No you don't, I know where his is going and I can run day and night and I'm am going to catch that motherfucker and you don't wanna be there when I do!"

"I'm goin with you!"

"No you're not because I can't risk losing both of you. One way or another I'm gonna survive and I gonna kill that motherfucker."

He looked up at Raif, "Newt belongs to us, he's what made us into a family.."

Raif helped him to his feet. Max was shaky but he began to organizing his backpack.

"Maybe you should rest a bit?"

"No, I can't let them get too far ahead of us. How many hours after sunset is it?"

Raif told him it was still early. He put the can of tuna that were saving and some other cans along with the last remaining pack of cigarettes into his back pack.

Max said, I don't need no cigarettes.

"Yeah you do! They're to trade with, they're like money."

Max was at the door ready to go. "Raif, you gotta to let me take your gun."

He retrieved it from its hiding place and gave it to Max.

"There only 3 bullets so mind how you use them."

"Max, how far you think it is?"

"It's in the River Clan territory, maybe 40 miles."

They hugged and Max was out the door and then,.... gone.


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

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