Monday, September 5, 2016
Sixty Two days after I escaped that hell hole. Civilization has begun to crumble. I don't care if I see survivors. Only I matter. I was dead to the world before it ended, now that the world is dead and I am alive. My name is Maul Asik and I am reborn again.
The converted mail van went down the highway with Maul pushing the pedal to the metal. Where was he going, at this point he didn’t know nor care but he wasn’t stopping, unless something or someone would allow him to remain safer he would skip and skip again.
It had been probably some six months since the world had ended, Maul at this point wasn’t sure anymore but he wasn’t keeping tabs with time anymore, not after all the time that had been stolen from him in prison. Yes, he was a criminal and yes, he deserved to go to jail, he deserved to be treated as a human being too but someone forgot this at some point in the checklist, fucking animals, that’s all he could think about when the memories came back to him, the beatings, the solitary confinement, the in-fighting, at least now I have the upper hand, was the next thought that filled in the gap, he had looted the prison armory and the three police stations in the nearby area, some gun shops had better surplus than what he had originally obtained from the police stations and it made him laugh, paranoid people bless your dead rotten heart, and when looking to make his best loot at the army base he found remnants still around so he really had to skip on that even though he wanted to get his hands on one of those beautiful tanks or an APC at least.
To his amazement there were also civilians or the broken, as he was now fond of calling them, and while they presented an organized threat they were slowly falling apart, conditions were not optimal to keep enough crops to feed people, few knew how to take care of the fields, good water was scarce as far as he had seen, moving to better terrains was a death trap and a logistical nightmare, better on my own, is what always came to mind when he thought about it, no better than fucking savages.
On the distance Maul saw an old gas station and pondered the situation, I could skip this one but a little extra on the side won’t hurt for future trading. The van slowly stopped in front of one of the gas pumps and Maul stepped out of the truck, he had his orange bodysuit from prison, number 552160335542, gas mask hanging from his neck, a generic black Kevlar vest, a holster on his right hip with a semi-automatic pistol Garibaldi .45 inside, a Galt Mk II SMG strapped to his left shoulder; he took a pair of empty jerrycans leaving them next to the pump then proceeding inside the convenience store with sub-machine gun in hand.
As soon as he stepped in he could hear some sort of machinery working, a dim light on the back where a fridge stood, the shelves were empty but he had the feeling this was a recent thing, a few more steps inside and he knew this was as far as he was going until the content of the refrigerator got his attention, water, shit. It rushed through his head to just go for the water and forget about the gasoline, no, this was probably a trap, he was going to really get it this time, fuck it. He rushed back to the van for a backpack then into the store again to fill it up with as many bottles as he could, half-way through he heard the cracking sound of a gun being cocked.
"I’m assuming you are paying with cash" Said a voice to his right, Maul turned rapidly to his right and saw an old man behind the counter, probably around fifty years of age, almost bald, thick jacket, shotgun pointed firmly towards him, on the corner of his right eye he could see another person holding a revolver almost at head level. “So, what will it be, make it quick boy or I’ll just splatter your ass on the floor”
"Old man the world is dead, no point on keeping it all for yourself" Replied Maul with a thick guttural accent, almost as if he was singing.
“Son, I don’t care if the world is gone or not, you pay for the water or you get a couple of buckshots up your ass” Replied the old man, no one was moving, Maul even tried not to blink at this point.
"The world is dead old man and so are you" Said Maul with his finger slowly pulling the trigger to make it go into full action.
"You wish" Said the old man, he fired first but his shot was slightly off to the left and hit one of the racks, the shot from the revolver hit so close to him that he felt the heat from the bullet just on front of his face, his finger pulled hard on the trigger spraying from left to right onto the counter and the entrance, he pulled back quickly once he felt the click from the sub-machine gun and switched magazines as a bullet crossed the shelves behind him with deadly precision although not hitting him directly. "Come out you little shit!"
How the fuck did he do that, thought Maul as he quickly examined his surroundings and noticed a set of mirrors on the top of the refrigerator area, another shot came down his way this time closer to him, not taking any chances he took pot shots at the mirrors above him while covering from the falling glass.
“You spoiled brat, those cost a fortune!” Yelled the old man angrily as he released another shot in the general area of Maul who in turn was already moving with care, avoiding glass in order to not make any noise, as he was turning he felt the bullet before he heard it, it crossed through the top of his right shoulder, he acted fast but the jolt from the impact forced his sub-machine gun to rip the remaining bullets through the general direction, he managed to change magazines again and heard some faint sobbing coming from a shelf or two in front of him.
“Old man, time out” Said Maul as he walked to the next shelf and taking cover on the back, he examined the next shelf could barely notice a tennis shoe showing slightly from the side, it twitched slightly with what Maul assumed was every breath, the sobbing had stopped but assumed it was the same person. “Old man talk to me, I’m not fucking around here and I will shot whoever it is if you don’t give me an answer back in three seconds”
“Calm down you little turd” The voice was somewhat closer, Maul assumed the old man was moving towards the figure so he rapidly crossed to the next shelf and peeked through the corner, he saw a woman, probably in her late teens, she had three bullet shots on her right leg and was applying as much pressure as possible but evidently that wasn’t working too well for her, she looked pale, tears running in a non-stop line down her cheeks, having small spasms as she tried controlling her breathing and sobbing, lips twitching fast, eyes constantly gazing at her wounds, the blood covering almost all of the right side of her jeans.
“You are an absolute piece of shit, sending your granddaughter to do your own shit” The teenager immediately turned to her right, Maul had placed the end of the barrel as close as possible to her head, her left hand instinctively reaching for her revolver. “If you raise that thing I will shoot you, I am not kidding”
“I am not his grandfather and who are you calling a piece of shit, you wanted to rob me” Asked the old man who was at the other end of the hallway probably taking cover for all Maul knew at this point.
“Your daughter, niece, whatever, had you let me go with the water none of this would be happening right now” Maul slowly examined the wounds and noticed she was still bleeding, this reminded him of his own wound but a quick checkup gave him good sign on his shoulder although the pain was probably going to hit him hard after the adrenaline was gone. “She’s bleeding badly, man”
“She’s not my family and I already know that, you flushed that thing down on her” Maul found it curious that the old man was trying to take care of someone that wasn’t her family, what an alien concept to consider right now of all times. “Look, just get out of here and we’ll call it even”
“Can’t do chief, I’m not going out empty handed, I want the water and the gas plus everything else that’s useful in this store”
“Unbelievable, you are worse than the fucking military or the nomads, whatever happened to loving your neighbor and helping in times of need, Christ”
“Homo homini lupus est” Replied Maul as he checked the other side of the shelf, his suspicions confirmed that the old man was trying to go around him when he could see the edge of his jacket on the next shelf on the other end of the hallway. “You know what I mean?”
“Cut me a fucking break, now you speak Latin, what a world to live in, of all places I find a guy trying to rob and kill me that tells me proverbs in Latin at the very end of the world, the odds I tell you what” Maul was seeking silence, he knew the old man was not as nimble or fast moving as him, he knew that he had to act fast as soon as he slipped, he needed patience, patience, haven’t I learned to have a world of patience now after so long; Maul looked at the teenager who in turn looked back at him enraged, her right hand still holding tight to the largest wound while her left hand floated on top of the revolver, twitching, just waiting for that right moment.
Maul let loose on the shelf on a general direction, he sprayed from right to left at what he thought would be hip level, as soon as he heard the click he moved the weapon to his side and took out his sidearm with which he advanced quickly towards the refrigerator area, there he found the man laying against one of the refrigerators, glass broken over him from the refrigerator doors, a small pool of blood forming below him, he wasn't sure how badly wounded the old man was until he noticed a bullet hole on the side of his head, Maul figured that he had probably crouched in order to avoid his bullets, fucking irony, he holstered his handgun with peace of mind.
Maul immediately grabbed the shotgun and pumped it, no shell came flying out, he was going to bluff it, that man had balls, and with that he had some pity on him, going all the way to risk it for someone who wasn't even his family, no matter how young the person it was foolish in his eyes, what a true waste. Maul went for his backpack and finished filling it with as many water bottles as he could, back to the van to drop his loot including the shotgun and back for whatever was left, as he went in for the second time he heard sobbing again, how the fuck is she alive, Maul walked toward the sound and found the teenager trying to raise the revolver at head level with her left hand, shaking and probably unable to lift that much weight at this point Maul walked towards her.
“Hey, kid” The eyes of the teenager slowly turned to him, rage still filled them but there was also disappointment, lose of hope, he knew that feeling too well from his time in that hole. “How do you work the pump or is there even any gas left here?”
Maul wasn't waiting for a reply, he didn't get it anyway, he took the revolver with ease and stashed it on an empty holster he carried with him for such occasions.
“I could give you the benefit of blowing your brains out, kid, but I could always use that extra bullet, you're dead anyway” The words came out with such ease, he smiled perversely not because he felt joy in what he was doing or what had happened, he felt a natural smile because this is how life was turning out to be.
Maul did not take much time to look around for loot, he took the extra water, an incomplete first aid kit and a box of .44 bullets that would go well with his new acquisition, the jerrycans back without any extra gasoline since he did not have the time to figure out how to work out the system, a small gasoline can on the back of the store next to the still working electrical engine worked as some additional decent loot, aside from that nothing else left, the van roared as he turned the engine on and before leaving he thought about the situation, shit, I can't leave this like that.
He turned the engine off, got off the truck and into the store, he heard a gasp coming from the back of the shelves but he ignored it, he simply started piling up some of the trash he had found on the store and with a lighter lit it up then dropped some of the flaming trash on the shelves, the counter, the back of the store, he made sure everything started burning up before getting back into the van and into the road, no need to leave any sort of valuable behind.
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