Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Life Thief - Victims 1

The story of the Life Thief goes as such. A young teenage girl found it very hard to get accepted by her classmates. She tried a different style and personality every week since they rejected hers, but nothing seemed to work. It then occurred to her that she should be exactly like the others and she picked to be one of the most popular girls. Unfortunately, she made was fun of for this decision, so she ran out of school that day with tears pouring out of her eyes. A normal looking man noticed her crying outside the school and tried to comfort her.
He said, “What’s the matter?”
“I can’t get anyone to like me! I even tried to be like one of them and they just made fun of me!” she answered.
“They probably don’t want another one of the friends they have. That’s why you should be your own person and ignore what the others say.”
Only one part of what he said stuck out to her and she was at her lowest point, so she did the unthinkable. When the girl she was pretending to be was alone, she killed her and hid her body in a place no one would find until years later. Now that the original was out of the way, no one could tell the difference between the original and the new. The girl now felt loved and wondered what else she could do. While she was in Hollywood, she killed and hid the body of a famous child star. Again, with her skill to mimic people, she tricked people that she was that child star and became famous overnight. Being a child star isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be, so she stole another person’s life. That life wasn’t satisfactory enough and again, she moved to another’s. She continued to continuously move from one to another, from one set of positives and negatives to another, from fame to middle class, and from teenager to adult and back.
The legend of the Life Thief is this though some don’t know the real story because it is lost to time. What is known however is that random people every now and then will disappear and their bodies will reappear years later in a condition older than the start of their disappearance. People swear they saw the same person during that time, but they saw a false person. They saw…The Life Thief.
Yana and Umberto are on a bit of a vacation if you can call it that. They’re traveling the country and enjoy whatever they come across. Today, they’re exploring a deep forest, but first, they get stopped by a police car.
“Is something the matter officer?” Umberto asks.
“Yes,” she says as she gets her gun and points it at them, “Out the car.”
Not wanting to do anything drastic, the couple gets out of the car with their hands up while asking why they’re getting this treatment from the officer. The two put their hands on the car then the officer shoots the gun off into the air.
“Hahaha, I got you two!” she says.
“Don’t scare us like that! What’s wrong with you?!” Yana screams.
“It’s just a little prank that us officers from around here. We don’t get much action around here. Did you see the town that you just pasted? It’s a nice quiet little town where everyone knows one another. There’s no real reason it should have a police force unless some strangers cause trouble.”
Umberto says, “Trust me officer, we aren’t going to cause any trouble.”
“Don’t worry about it, I know you two aren’t troublemakers. You can relax.”
Umberto and Yana take their hands off the car and loosen up a bit.
“You two are going to explore the forest, is that right?” the officer asks.
“That’s right. You’ve seen enough people dressed like us to know what we’re going to do?” Umberto questions.
“That’s right. Try not to walk into the denser parts of the forest that’s where the most dangerous animals hunt. If you ever need help, take these.”
The woman officer gives the two, two flares and a transmitter.
“One is to send a signal to us that you’re in trouble and another is to show us where you are. Trust me, we’ve done this enough times to know this work.”
“Thank you, officer.”
“Safe exploring you two. Don’t be causing any fires or having sex in the woods. That’s what usually kills most people.”
“Got it.”
The officer drives off and the two continue their drive to a spot in the forest to park at.
“That officer was weird,” Yana says.
“I know. I bought a pistol in case something or someone dangerous tries to harm us,” Umberto says, “Hopefully, that won’t happen.”
Umberto drives them to a parking lot that keeps the vehicles of forest explorers safe and pays the guard. The two take their exploring equipment and rations and walk through the forest. There’s no particular direction they want to go to. Umberto and Yana just want to have fun together in the forest by exploring it. Smelling the forest air, enjoying nature and each other’s company. They climb trees and mountains, observe the creatures of the forest, and relax near a nearby lake and not swim in it because Umberto chooses not to. After realizing that it’s getting dark, the two decide to camp near the lake. Yana is in the mood for sex, but Umberto denies her this. He’s not a traditional man, he’s just not in the mood.
There’s unrest in the forest as a predator lurks in the darkness. The thing wears the knitted together skin of its prey and has two sharp steel rods as its arms and legs. It approaches the couple's tent and slashes at it. Umberto and Yana quickly get out before the blades get them. They run into the forest together as the predator chases them. As they are chased, Umberto throws sharp branches at the predator’s face. A couple of the sharp branches stick in the predator’s eyes, which blinds it and makes it crash into a tree. Neither of them stops running because of they can hear that the predator is still alive trying to take the branches out of its eyes. They come to a shack covered in forest debris and explore it. Inside, they find the prey of the predator with various coats of skin and masks. Some of the prey are animals while the rest is human. The intestines of the prey are kept in containers and their blood is bottled. There’s a cheap bed on the wooden flooring along with several pictures of people in compromising positions. Several sharp bloody knives and machetes are in a chest, some with skin still on it.
“So this is where that thing came from,” Yana says.
“I guess so,” Umberto says while trying to process all of it.
“What’s this?”
Yana finds a diary that talks about how a person became this predator of the forest after they lost a loved one to a stranger who passed through the town.
“That thing was a person from the town we passed?”
“I guess so. Keep reading.”
The contents of the diary continue to say that this person took inspiration from the legend of the Life Thief to do their killings. After a while, they believed themselves to be the Life Thief as the idea itself overtook them.
“Have you heard of The Life Thief before?”
“I have, but I thought it was the true story of a teenage girl. I didn’t think the idea itself could overtake someone. We should get rid of this person, so they don’t harm anyone else.”
“We have plenty of weapons here and now that we know it’s just a person, we can kill them.”
“I don’t know.”
“If it bleeds, we can kill it, right?”
“But how?”
“We’ll make a lot of noise then stab them in the back.”
“I guess it’ll work.”
“Trust me.”
The two make a ton of noise in the forest then hide in the foliage. The predator comes out to investigate the noise and Umberto and Yana execute the plant perfectly. After they kill it, they find that it was an elderly man they caught a glance of when they passed through the town.
Yana looks over the corpse and says, “Some people are crazy, aren’t-”

She’s silenced by a machete through the chest. Before she dies, Umberto shows his chest and reveals to her that he was a she. The original Life Thief. After getting rid of their bodies, the Life Thief uses the transmitter to get the police into the forest. She kills the few officers that are sent including the previous female officer from before. Having never been a police officer, she makes herself look like the officer and takes her life. The bodies of the Yana and the officers aren’t discovered until years later when the Life Thief had gone far away from the town and into the life of another person. Such is the way of The Life Thief.

Monday, November 20, 2017

More free books!

Starting now until November 30th, all my paid eBooks on Smashwords are going to be free. That's right! All of my books on Smashwords are going to be free for ten days so pick them up while they're free!

Link to my profile

Another new release, but this time, it's free!

I just published a short free book that goes behind the scenes to one of my series Society's Monsters. Check it out if you're interested in seeing what makes a monster of society! https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/760127

In this short book, we go behind the scenes of the Society's Monsters stories. The books are based on a series of connecting dreams that reference one another that also connect to present memories. They are a great influence on the author and the stories he tells. What will you figure out when you read this short book on dreams that could possibly be memories?

Friday, November 17, 2017

New Book is out!

Gone Nuclear: A Story about an Everyday Survivor is out on Amazon!
After the nuclear apocalypse, humanity shrugged to live not only in the new world, but also with itself. Zachary Sapphire is one of those survivors who wanders into the Vegas wasteland. People like him are your average everyday wastelanders, but anyone and everyone can help fix the world. Can Zack fix this wasteland or destroy it? Included with this story is various extras are Behind the Scenes extras, Fallout inspired elements, and what would be included in this story if it was a video game. Read the sample of this story here on my blog if you're interested in looking at it first before buying.
Paperback - $8.99 - https://www.amazon.com/dp/1979832625/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1510974374&sr=8-1&keywords=albert+oon
Kindle - $2.99 - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077JNG26F/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1510974374&sr=8-4&keywords=albert+oon

Monday, November 13, 2017

Gone Nuclear Chapter 9

Chapter 9 – Lonesome Road
Because the place we need to go to is far, Susan and I eat and leave early in the morning before the sun rises. As from before, there’s no trouble along the way to our destination, which is a relatively large area. There isn’t much out here. What did Roosevelt say to do again? Something about Loyal’s Many and mutants…--------------
WOAH! What the hell happened? All I remember was blacking out in the middle of the wasteland, the Sodom and Gomorrah wasteland as I recall. Did someone shoot a tranquillizer dart at me? I think so. Where am I now? It looks like I’m at a dead end of some kind of canyon. The walls of it seem to reach to the sky and what’s all of the junk ahead of me? It looks like some kind of battle took place here or this is just where people throw away their trash. Wait, where’s Susan? Where’s the marriage ring I had? I still have my weapons on me though the spare food and water I had is gone.
There’s a note in my pocket. It says, “We’ve killed your wife and thrown you away like trash. You’re never going to be heard from again.”
“What the fuck?!” I say out loud.
Who do these fuckers think they are?! I’ll find them and kill them all! They’re bluffing when they said they killed Susan and that I’ll never be heard from again. I know it!  I’ll get out of here and prove them wrong! Susan has to be alive. That sly woman knows how to get around. She probably got knocked out like I did and she’s somewhere ahead of me. I know it.
I proceed through the linear canyon to find a graveyard of people. It looks like there was a shootout and no one won. They’re all wearing a particular uniform, so it was a faction battle. I don’t recognize them though, or do I? I’ve seen so many factions fall and rise for the past twenty…five? Years since I started wandering the wasteland. The corpses don’t have any ammo on them or weapons, so it looks like someone’s been through here before. Maybe it was Susan, but why would she leave me here? No, it had to be someone else. Further into the canyon are only more wreckage and bodies. There are a few traps here and there, but a little squeezing gives me a way past them. Oh, one of the bodies here has a note on him.
It says, “Please dear Susanna, I apologize to you for dying here. My pupil has taken my name and killed me. I thought I could trust him. I thought I could teach him the right way to live, but he is nothing but a charlatan who masquerades as myself. Never forget me or my deeds. The deeds of Zachary Sapphire.”
What? Isn’t that my name? I swear this note was either fabricated or he’s talking about a completely different person that just so happens to share his name. My name is Zachary Samson-I mean Sapphire. My parent’s last name was Samson and they called me Zeke-I mean Zacky boy. That’s how it is! I swear! I just have a little memory problem is all. Screw this note! I rip it up and continue on. Why did have a similar name to my first-I mean second-I mean first-whatever wife. Damn it, that note really got to me for some reason-Woah! Almost stepped on a trap.
It’s getting dark out, so I make a small camp and rest until the sun comes back up. This canyon goes on for miles AND now it splits into multiple paths…great. I’m starting to think that this isn’t a naturally made canyon, rather it’s made by the conflict of various wasteland groups. I’ve head that the first twenty to twenty-five years after the nuclear apocalypse, people had a hard time establishing rule since the government was gone. God and natural law worked for most, but others couldn’t help but take advantage of the situation. The Republic, Council, and various other small groups had to use force to get people to cooperate and I heard there was some kind of short war. This must be one of the places the war was fought or at least that’s the theory in my head.
Oh, what’s this? Another letter! It says, “Dear Zack, I’m not able to avenge you. That damned traitor will kill anything and anyone. I’ve even seen him kill children without a second thought or regret. I hope you get this letter in Heaven ahead of my arrival, which will be soon. I love you.”
Is this the wife of the other Zack? Can this be a separate Zack? I guess Zack is a common name. I’ve realized that the traps here have been placed a while ago from looking at the condition of them. So, I was just placed here and left to survive? I don’t think they dropped me here since I don’t have any injuries and I don’t remember there being a pulley where I woke up. Maybe the people who took me aren’t far from me. To make up for lost time, I don’t sleep for the night and just keep going. Now I’m noticing the bodies of mutants and zombie-like people. Why do I keep calling zombie-like people zombie-like people? Some people call them zombies, mutants, or ghouls. Why am I thinking about this right now? Because I’m slowly losing my mind. Have I been walking for days in a graveyard? I think so. Have days past? I don’t know. I just keep walking and walking and walking and walking-oh what’s this? A letter I think.
It says, “I killed Zachary and Susan out in the wastes, but the damage he’s done will take some time to get rid of. Other Zack and Ariel will die after you obtain this letter along with everyone from the Republic and the Council.”
Oh, there’s a signature. Woah! What was that loud noise…eh, it’s nothing. Wait, where did the letter go? I swear I had it in my hands. AHHHHH! Come on Zack, get it together! Just keep walking, just keep walking, just keep walking. Night and day, day and night. No food, no water, no Susan, no love, no hope. Wait, is that her there?
“Susan! Susan! It’s me, Zack!”
…Is this her? It’s a dead body. Is this really Susan? I barely remember what Susan looks like for some reason. There’s also a child in her open stomach. Is it supposed to be mine? It’s a girl…I’ll call her Kiwi. It’s okay Susan and Kiwi. I’ll carry you back home. Daddy’ll take care of you. Kiwi will need a mommy to take care of her. I wonder if Ariel is still available. Now that’s she’s fully a woman, maybe Zack went after her, but aren’t I Zack? Oh, other Zack, that’s right. Maybe I can act like how that one letter said to give Kiwi a mom for now.
I’m here Zack.
Susan? Oh thank God you’re still alive!
You know I wouldn’t leave you for long.
I love you Susan.
Aw, Susan. Such a ray of joy and life. How did she act exactly? Oh yeah. I love you Zack. I’ll always be with you. Dance with me.
Where’s Zack? Oh, he’s such a nice gentleman to carry me and our daughter. I wonder when’s the next time we get to enjoy each other’s company. There’s so much beauty in the world I want to show him. I want to show him how much I love him. Hey Zack, look at that reflection. We’re such a picture-perfect family, aren’t we? How come my lips aren’t moving even though I’m speaking? Zack, are you dreaming about me again?
Wha-wh-wha-what? Damn it, I have to get out of here now! 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Gone Nuclear: A Story of an Everyday Survivor (Prologue + Chapters 1 and 2)

Prologue – Setting the World on Fire
In the year 2139, the world ended. The powers of the west and the communist east were at war for years with the west slowly approaching victory. Not wanting to lose, China was the first to launch their nukes followed by every other nation who had them. The world trembled that day with forty percent of its roughly six billion population died within a month. Radiation infected some of its people and the ones that weren’t lucky enough to die became either zombie-like or full on mutant monsters. Most of these people lost their minds or their minds died which lead to them killing and eating other people. Some animals, insects, and plant life also became hostile and mutated. It’s been forty years since the apocalypse and humanity has been rebuilding while surviving the world they’ve created.
My name is Zachary Sapphire and I’ve been living in this wasteland for twenty-five years. I’ve been settling in so many places that it’s hard to remember where I’ve been and where my final destination is. I keep repeating things in my head to remind myself of what I’m doing and what I’m supposed to do. Right now, I’m heading into the area what people call Sodom and Gomorrah or what used to be the Las Vegas area. Why would they name it after ancient cities that were wiped out in a second by the wrathful hand of God is beyond me. Maybe they think it makes them sound edgy or cool. Maybe only the people I talked to call it that. The place is full of commerce and interesting and untouched locations like pre-war protection shelters. It is said that they conducted experiments in some of those shelters to “better humanity”. There are also pockets of rule such as The Council of Preservation, The New American Republic, and Loyal’s Many. The Council of Preservation consists of parts of the pre-war American government, military and some of its people. They’re trying to bring things to the way they were. They have the most advanced weaponry including suits made of steel that are nearly indestructible. These suits of steel were used exclusively by the US during the war and are rarely found around the wastes. The New American Republic is made of pre-war American people and various other people of the wastes. They might not be as organized or equipped, but they say they’re trying to move us away from politics that destroyed the world. They do worry more about the problems small settlements of people rather than whole groups, so they are a bit of a people’s group. Finally, is Loyal’s Many which is made of all wastelanders. They want to bend the old rules and make new ones for this new world. They are a bit too violent and horny for my tastes though they do have a way with certain desperate people. Other groups exist in these wastes, but they aren’t here now though they may show up later given my luck.
I’m finally in the area after a long walk. What do I have again? Let’s see…A rifle, a silenced pistol, a knife, lockpicks, an extra pair of clothes, some food and water, a couple pre-war comics, rad-remover, a map of the area and some adrenaline and bandages. This’ll be good for the giant scorpions ahead. They have hard shells that takes a bullet to crack, but if you know where to hit them, it’s one shot, one kill. I snipe them from afar then cut out their insides to cook later. You can essentially eat anything in the wastes if you burn it enough and add some salt and pepper. The gunshots have attracted a small group of four marauders. They look like trash and smell like it with their clothes that look like they’re made from all kinds of material including human skin. Their weapons are makeshift guns and sharp knives and blunt hammers.
One of the men come up to me and says, “You’re an expert hunter, aren’t you?”
“I’d say I’m almost there,” I respond with some disgust in my voice. These people smell horrible.
“How about you join us? We could help each other out in this crazy world.”
“How about I get back to you on that after I think about it? I just got here.”
“Then how about this for an incentive to join us. If you help us on this one task, then we’ll give you anything you want even one of our women or men.”
Hmmm…I could always use more supplies. I’m not too sure about them giving me one of their women. The two women that are here with them do have their charms, but they need a bath, addict-away, and a doctor check-up. One could be useful.
“You got yourself a deal. What’s this task you want me to do?”
“We’re just going to be eliminating a rival gang, so if you think we stink, then you’d at least be wiping out a similar group to us.”
They might’ve caught my disgust of them or they’re used to people thinking of them like this. It would be good to get rid of a different group of these people while being on good terms with another.
“Ok. Let’s do it.”
“Great! Follow us back to our camp and we’ll go from there.”
The camp they lead me to is a crash airplane. It looks pretty decent with its added walls and buildings. It’s surprising that they were smart enough to make a camp out of this. Inside the camp however, smells way worse with chems and the sex in the air. They do have some special weapons and armor here. I’ve seen glimpses of a laser rifle, a fifty-caliber rifle, and a rocket launcher. There’s also some decently made metal arm and leg protectors so they at least have the bare minimum to survive out here. I might just kill these people instead and take their stuff if the other group is better than these. They take me to a lookout point and give me a pair of binoculars to see the other marauder camp. These other people appear to be more civilized as they’re held up in a military checkpoint. There are a couple damaged tanks over there and they only appear to have an alcohol problem which is strange since I thought most of the alcohol in the country was gone. Some of their weaponry is pre-war with pistols, rifles, submachine guns, and a min-nuke launcher. This group I’m with now only has numbers as an advantage.
“What’s your main problem with them?” I ask.
“They’re competition. Plain and simple,” the male marauder says.
“Have you tried talking to them to try to make some sort of deal?”
“Now why would we do that?”
“Maybe you could help each other out in this crazy world.”
“I like the way you think, but I’m not too sure about it. How about you go over there and talk to them yourself since you’re good at talking?”
“I could do that.”
“Got it.”
“Make us proud and if you get this deal going, then we’ll double your reward.”
This is excellent. If I can get this deal, then I’ll be handsomely rewarded. Maybe I can even get a reward from the other side as well-oh wait a sec…If these two groups combine, then the innocent people further in will have double, triple, or even more than quadruple the trouble if they decide to keep combining with other marauder groups. I gotta be careful with this deal, maybe even add in my own terms. I walk up to the front entrance and the marauders point their guns at me.
What I assume to be one of their leaders walks out to me and says, “You’re in the wrong area bud. Turn around while you still can. Or are you here to join our group of misfits?”
“I’m here to make a deal with you and a nearby marauder group.”
“We’ve had our eye on them and they want to make a deal? Why now?”
“I convinced them to.”
“Ok. What are their terms?”
“They want a share of your slaves and your alcohol. You must send a small shipment of medicine, food, and ammo as a mutual peace offering that they will send after you send them yours first.”
“No deal. Our slaves and our homemade alcohol are expensive to keep and make.”
“How about we have a sit down, so we can find middle ground to agree on?”
“That could work. Ok, let’s arrange it.”
Yes! At this meeting, I could exert some influence on their choices. I manage to get the previous group to agree on having this meeting and they have a sit down in a small rest stop between the two camps. Both groups have guards with their best weaponry and armor out to show.
“Let’s start out this conversation with some civility,” I say, “Introduce yourselves to one another.”
The leader of the first group I was with says, “My name is Dirty Danny of The Maggots.”
The other leader says, “My name is Perry of The Tanks.”
“Do you guys have actual working tanks?” Danny asks.
“We’re working on that,” Perry sheepishly admits.
“We’d love to trade something valuable of ours to get us one of those babies.”
“I’m afraid you’re asking for too much even if we do get one to work.”
“Awww. Fine.”
“How about we talk about those terms you gave Danny?” I suggest.
“Sounds good. Maybe we could trade some of our drugs for your alcohol?” Danny proposes hoping for a quick yes.
“No,” Perry sternly says, “Our alcohol is homemade and expensive to buy.”
“Our drugs are homemade too and gives you a better kick than pre-war drugs. They can even help you not feel the pain when you’re heavily injured.”
“Alcohol can do the same thing.”
“But doesn’t it cost more? We make our drugs with the cheapest and most easily found ingredients.”
“You got a point there. We’ll give a couple bottles to try your drugs.”
Yes! Progress.
“Now how about weapons and ammo?” Perry asks.
“We have a fair amount of that, but where we lack in ammo, we have numbers.”
“Could you spare a few of your soldiers? We need more members.”
“Sure, if you could train a couple of our men as well.”
Now they’re really moving.
“Is there anything else?” Danny asks.
“Not really no,” Perry says with a satisfied look on his face, “Everything else just comes with the time and fair trade.”
“So we got a partnership?”
“Yes sir.”
As they’re about to shake hands, I pitch in that, “Hey what about your slaves and marauding?”
“What about them?” Perry asks.
“Yeah, what about them?” Danny says.
“If you keep doing that, then you’ll run into trouble from the Council and the Republic.”
“Screw them,” Perry says with Danny agreeing, “Together, we’ll stop anything they’ll throw at us.”
“Are you sure about that? Perry, with your pre-war weapons, the Council will come at you will everything they have. Danny, with your numbers and slaves, the Republic will come at you for the betterment of humanity and you know they have better numbers.”
“So….what do you suggest?” Danny asks.
“Train your slaves to be your members and just recruit new ones normally with your homebrewed drugs and alcohol as both incentives to join and/or trade so you don’t have to pillage and plunder.”
“I don’t know,” Perry says, “Pillaging and plundering is fun.”
Danny agrees with him, but then I counter by saying, “You’ll just get on people’s nerves and cause conflict. Why would you do that when you could lay back and focus on making money without that much trouble? Plus, there a still a ton of places you could pillage and plunder that don’t have innocent people in them. You could even do mercenary clean-up work if you wanted to.”
Both of them think about it for a couple seconds before agreeing with these terms. In return for my efforts, they give me a small portion of their ammo, food, medicine, and a place to stay. They even give me a special weapon from each of their armory. The Maggots give me a special knife that’s extremely sharp while The Tanks give me a pre-war pistol both of which are incredibly useful. Both groups offer me one of their group members as a companion. The Maggots offer me a person that’s a bit drugged up, horny, and a little crazy, but they’re dedicated and thankful of what I did at least. The other group offer me a decent shooter, but they’re an alcoholic and not too trusty of me. I choose a female Maggot member for two reasons; the first being I don’t want a dick up my ass and the second being I trust a dedicated druggie more than an untrustworthy alcoholic.
The female member the Maggots give me has red hair, average build, and carries a makeshift submachine gun and a baseball bat. Her name is Susan Serenity and she is pretty excited to see me.
She rubs up on me while hugging me while saying, “You’re my new master? I know what you did for us and I love you for it!”
“Yeah, ok…”
“Please give me your children…”
“Then I’ll have to coax you to.”
“Fat chance. Just watch my back and I won’t put a bullet in yours.”
“Ooooh. I like the bad boy attitude.”
This girl’s going to be a handful. I cook the scorpion I caught earlier for dinner and we both eat that for dinner. I share the rest with the other gang members and teach them my cooking secrets of burning and S&P. Since the closest small town and city is far away, I sleep at The Maggots camp. They don’t have much in the way of blankets or warmth so they all cuddle together in a small area. Fortunately, I got a space where I only got Susan spooning me, which is either a positive or a negative. Wait, that’s a negative.
“Can you stop rubbing your body up on me like that?” I ask her.
“But I must keep you warm,” she says.
“I’m good.”
Damn, choosing her might’ve been a mistake.

Chapter 1 – The Usual First Quest
Fucking hell!
I wake up to see Susan all over me with our clothes barely on so I shook her off.
“What are you doing?!” I ask her not expecting a good justification.
“I wanted to pleasantly wake you up,” she says as she tries to cuddle again, but I deny her.
“Thanks, but no thanks.”
With my all my new stuff, I leave The Maggots and they all wave goodbye while saying to come back anytime and that they’ll miss me. Yeah, I probably won’t be back. While we travel the wastes, Susan stays extremely close to me and sometimes jumps on me. The smell that she carries from The Maggots has gotten on my last nerve. As soon as I see a small pool of water, I grab her and throw her in it. She comes out laughing and doesn’t even get the message-woah! Bitch pulls me into the pool and now we’re both wet. Ok, how about this! I have to wash her myself to get all the dirt and whatever else she got on her while she was with the marauders.
Susan continues laughing then says, “How did you know that this pool wasn’t severely irradiated?”
“Because you would’ve melted by now.”
Actually, some people become zombie-like or mutants if they become too irradiated. I don’t know why some do while others just die. Water in the wasteland is either slightly irradiated and won’t do much to you as long as you don’t drink too much of it at once in a day or it does what I previously mentioned. I think some people have gotten used to the rads and have suffered less because of it, or at least it’s that way with me. Besides the bath, I need to get her some Straight, which will get rid of her drug addiction. Hopefully it will get rid of her horniness as well. After a small bit of walking, we come to a small town that’s turned into a farm. They appear to grow vegetables and care for cattle here. Some of the cattle are mutated, but always remember the burning and S&P rule. Maybe the shop will have that Straight I thought of and they do. Since it’s so expensive, I sell some of the ammo, my old knife and pistol, and the drugs Susan has on hand. I told her I sold her drugs to get a better one and thankfully she doesn’t know about Straight.
“This better be worth it!” she says.
“It is,” I say before getting the needle and inject it in her arm.
“Awww you’re going to do it for me? How sweet!”
“I lo-Oh…oh wow. Wow I feel so much better!”
“That’s because Straight instantly gets rid of your drug addictions.”
She’s gonna start yell-
“Thank you so much!”
She hugs me and kisses my cheek. Well that went better than I thought. I wonder if I can find a job here. It looks like the best place to find one is the nearby restaurant. In the restaurant, I find families who appear to be having breakfast. There are even three kids here, which is good I guess. I catch one of them talking about a problem they have and inquire about it.
An old man in leather armor says, “There’s a camp of marauders not too far from here that keep attacking us every day. We manage to fend them off, but we never get a chance to fully get them out of our hair.”
“It isn’t the marauder group that hide out in a plane or a military checkpoint, is it?” I ask.
“No, it isn’t them though they do bother us every now and then.”
“Well you don’t need to worry about those two groups anymore since I got them to be peaceful.”
I explain to them what I said to convince them, and Susan backs up my claims and even adds the parts where I cleaned her both physically and her drug addiction.
“Then you’re the perfect man for this job then,” the old man says, “But I’m afraid you can’t talk to them. We’ve tried already.”
“What do you want me to do?”
“Kill them all.”
“Ok, but can I get some backup?”
“I’ll spare one of my best soldiers, Allen.”
“Yes sir,” who I assume to be Allen says.
He has similar armor to the old man. Allen has two revolvers and honestly looks like a cowboy. This guy will honestly be a better partner than Susan. After this, I should leave her here to lead an honest life while I let Allen help me until I find someone I can journey with. After we introduce ourselves, we go out hunting.
Along the way, I ask him, “I didn’t get a chance to ask, what’s the history of your little town?”
Allen says, “We were a traveling caravan of traders looking for someplace to settle down and we just found this town.”
“Did you guys already know how to farm and raise cattle or was the land already owned?”
“We learned and integrated with the people who were already there. Since we had so much stuff that we were willing to share, we got along just fine.”
“What about your shooting skills? You good with them revolvers cowboy?”
“I’m the best shooter in the town so much so that I should’ve gone with someone else to eliminate those marauders before you got here. No offense.”
“None taken.”
Ok, we’re here now. The town doesn’t look that bad. There are a few watchtowers and people that patrol the perimeter of the small camp. They’ve also built small shack houses and their own little farm. Compared to the previous marauder group and the ones I’ve faced before, they don’t seem half bad.
To be sure we don’t have the wrong people, I ask Allen and he says, “Yes, we do. I remember the faces of at least four of those bastards. They killed two good friends of mine and they need to pay!”
“Gotcha. How do you want to approach this? Silent or loud?”
“Do I look like a silent man? I go in loud and hard.”
“Ha! I like it.”
We do as Allen says and go in guns blazing. I take out the people in the watchtowers first then some of the other people from afar as Allen goes in like it’s the wild west with how many people he drops with his fancy cowboy skills. Quick and effective.
“See Susan? That’s how you’re supposed to-Susan?”
Where is she? Was she even with us when we headed out? She’s probably back at town. I shouldn’t worry too much since I’ll be trading her out anyways. After the jobs done, we scavenge some of their stuff and save the rest for later.
On the way back, Allen laughs and says, “We make a pretty good team, am I right? You shoot them from far while I get up in their face.”
“I could also get up in their face, but we could work like that. What do you say? Want to join me on my travels?”
“Sure man. With the marauders gone and the neighboring gangs peaceful, the town can live a while without me. What do you think your girl Susan will say?”
“Oh I don’t think I’ll bring her along. She needs to learn how to live an honest life of farming or something like that. Susan isn’t my girl by the way.”
“I gotcha ya. The way she was acting around you made me think you were close.”
“Nah that’s just the way she is you know? The people who stuck her with me are very touchy if you know what I mean.”
“I might need to pay them a visit then.”
“Sure, if you can clean up a druggie.”
“Hey, if a girl ain’t dangerous, she isn’t fun am I right?”
“Can’t argue with that man.”
“Then we’re going to be the best of pals!”
When we get back to town restaurant, they congratulate me and give me some money and a spare revolver they have. Susan isn’t here though so where…Oh there she is and she looks worried.
She pulls me away from the group of people and says, “Stay away from my Zack!”
“Woah, what’s going on Susan?” I ask.
“These people are marauders who took over this town and forced out the original owners!”
“What? How did you figure this out?”
“I was talking to people.”
“Allen? You got anything to say about this?”
“It’s true. Why do you care? Aren’t you two marauders?”
“I’m not. She’s-”
“Not anymore!” Susan says.
“Oh? Oh?! Was that story you about the town you told me true or bullshit?!”
“It was mostly true. I unintentionally left things out since I thought you knew what filled the blanks.”
“Well I don’t so enlighten me.”
“We arranged a deal where we could use the town as our base while doing our usual business. As for them, we protected them from mutated monsters and other marauders. After a while, their conscience got to them and they tried to talk us out of our ways, but we didn’t want to change. They weren’t going to tell us to leave so they left us instead since they knew they couldn’t convince us or kill us. What we didn’t know is that they would come back a week later and terrorize us. Thanks for helping us get rid of them bud.”
Fuck them, fuck them, FUCK THEM! I shoot Allen with the revolver first then the rest of the adults. Susan manages to get two of them. The three kids slowly walk forward with their hands up and I shoot one which prompts the others to act more quickly. Little shits don’t get the chance as I gun them down too. I don’t even care that I killed them. Did I do it before to a brother, sister, daughter, son, unborn child? I don’t even remember if it’s one of those or if I’m making it up to justify my non-feeling. Have I killed children who are like this before? Feels like I have.
“Get a large bag and let’s take their stuff,” I say to Susan who’s a bit shaken up.
We take their guns, bullets, armor, and whatever isn’t nailed down that’s valuable. We just take one large bag each to not weigh us down too much. Even though the sun is just starting to set, I have to rest. Susan cooks for us by remembering the rule I taught her. While eating, she tries to comfort me by hugging me and for some reason I don’t feel like pushing her away. It feels familiar, nostalgic. Wife, mother, sister? I don’t remember. All I want to do is rest. Susan doesn’t talk or get touchy for the rest of the day even when we go to sleep. I don’t know why I let her sleep with me even though there are other beds in the buildings we sleep in. All I know is that I want to feel this feeling a bit longer.

Chapter 2 – No gods, No Masters
Early in the morning during breakfast, I get the idea to protect Susan better.
“Susan,” I say as I take some of the leather armored we picked up, “You need to protect yourself better. Put this armor on.”
“Eh, it’s not my style.”
“Not your style? You need to protect yourself better and this armor could save your life.”
“But it’s not my style.”
“Just put it on!”
“You have to make me!”
“Damn it, I will!”
Susan’s a stubborn bitch and every time I put the armor anywhere on her, she just takes it off. She laughs while we do this as if we’re playing a game and this is getting annoying, but I uncontrollably let out a couple chuckles of laughter.
I finally give up and ask, “If I find armor more fitting to your style, will you wear it?”
There has to be something here…Maybe this? I get a few individual pieces of leather armor and she accepts it. Shoulder pads, leg guards, and ammo pouches that goes from her shoulder to her waist. It’s not much, but she’s happy with it.
“Alright,” I say after sighing, “Now we need to teach you how to shoot better.”
I set up a couple bottles that I found in the restaurant on a fence. Since she shoots fine with a submachine gun, I give her a rifle to use.
“Go ahead and shoot’em up.”
…Come on. Show me what you got. She’s not shooting for some reason and just aiming. Why’s she smiling now?
Susan tells me, “Can you help me aim correctly?”
That’s why.
“Ok,” I say with a sigh.
She knows how to hold the rifle ok, but it’s a bit off.
“Now keep holding my arms like this,” she says.
This girl really likes testing me, don’t she? She shoots and aim just fine so I let go after the first few shots. After which, she misses two shots.
“I think I still need your help,” she tries to say with an innocent smile.
“Damn it, fine.”
I help her aim and she shoots the rest of the bottles down.
“Do you think you got it down now?” I ask.
“I do, but I think I’ll do better if you-”
“No, you’re fine shooting on your own. Trust yourself.”
“Do you believe in me?”
“S-sure. I do.”
“We’re heading out now. Let’s hope we can find some normal people.”
We take our loot and head out. Maybe I’ll tell people about this town and the abandoned camp so the supplies don’t go to waste. Along the way, there’s nothing to kill and dead bodies to loot which is good, but now I’m wondering why Susan hasn’t said anything about killing those people and their kids. When I look at her, she just smiles and giggles. It’s unnerving.
Not wanting to leave it on my mind, I ask her, “What do you think about what I did to those people, the ones back in the town?”
“I think you did the right thing.”
“…That’s all you have to say about it?”
“Yes. I trust you especially since you brought peace between my marauder gang and the other. You even cleaned and take care of me.”
Shit. I didn’t expect that kind of answer.
“Do you still feel bad about it?”
“No, I was just wondering why you didn’t say anything about it.”
“Okay. Well if you ever feel bad about anything or need me to help you, I’m always here,” Susan says while hugging my arm.
Great, getting attached to someone like this is the last thing I wanted, but I don’t want to lose it now that I have it. Finally, we’re at a town or rather a junk pile made into a town. Everything here looks like it’s made with scraps and pre-made items they found. They do have electricity generations and looks to have a small garden and a dinner. There are walls high enough so an ordinary adult shouldn’t be able to climb it with spikes on top just in case someone or something tries. We go to the front gates and a woman with a pre-war assault rifle comes to it. She’s wearing a sort of pre-war army outfit with pieces of armor on her.
The woman says to us, “Welcome to Scrap City. My name’s Marcy. You couple looking for a place to stay or trade?”
“A little bit of both,” I respond.
“Well if you’re going to stay, then you’ll need to help out around town.”
“I was looking for work anyways.”
“That’s good. We have a marketplace if you want to lighten the load you got there or trade it out for whatever you like. Just don’t cause any trouble.”
“We won’t.”
“Good. Because if you do, then we’d have to beat you up, a portion of your stuff, then send you back out.”
“Duly noted.”
Marcy waves us in and we trade our stuff for better equipment. I get a silencer and scope for my rifle and silencer and extended mags for my pre-war pistol. As for Susan, I get her two one handed submachine guns and her own rifle. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get her any new armor, nor could I get her to try any on. I sell the revolver that Allen gave me along with Susan’s old submachine gun. With those bags out of the way and a bunch of cash in my wallet, I ask Marcy if anything needs to be done in the town.
She says, “Our scavengers have found a protection shelter in a nearby mountain side. We’ve sent out two groups of three people and none have come back. All you have to do is find out the reason why they disappeared, and you will be rewarded. You can loot the shelter if you want as well.”
“Sounds exciting,” I say, “Just mark it on my map and give me a picture of what they look like.”
“It’s…here and these are the pictures of our people. It’s called The Morning Star Shelter. Nice sounding name, but it’s cursed if you ask me.”
“I’ll have information on your missing people in no time.”
“I hope so. Good luck.”
Susan and I actually passed this mountain on the way here and I didn’t bother pointing out the cave since I usually find huge mutated bear or lizards in them. To my not surprise, I find a huge mutated bear in the cave, but at least our equipment is good enough to take it down. I take some of the bear’s meat and proceed further into the dark cave. We then come across the shelter with its huge steel doors already open. The power seems to be wavering in the facility and no one appears to be home.
“I don’t like this Zack,” Susan says while clinging to my arm.
“Me neither, but we shouldn’t worry.”
At least, I hope we shouldn’t.
Further into the facility, the intercom comes on and a male voice that goes from distorted to comforting says, “This is your angel reminding you that you can do whatever you want to.”
An angel eh? I think I’m going to need a guiding light now. Speaking of which, I find a flashlight-
“Oh shit!” I scream as I shine the light on two eviscerated bodies.
Susan screams with me and appears to be terrified of this place. The two bodies are of the people that went missing.
“Ok, we found these two people so we can guess what happened to the others. Let’s get out of here!” Susan says while squeezing me.
“N-no, we should keep going to find the other two. That giant bear we killed is probably what got them.”
“Y-yeah. I hope that’s thing that did it.”
I take an item from each of their bodies to show that we truly found them. We stumble into what is labeled the residential area and find the remnants of a shoot-out. All of these people that appear to have been living with each other seemed to have hated each other. Some of these people are wearing different clothes and have different markings on their bodies for some reason.
The intercom voice comes on again and says, “This is your angel reminding you that you give life your own meaning.”
Susan and I scavenge some of what they have and they do have some decent pre-war guns and items. I enter a room that has some weird body thing on the bed and a terminal on a desk. There are entries on this terminal from weeks after the bombs dropped.
-          I didn’t expect to be in place where everybody can set the rules. It’s honestly great here and freer than it was up above. I’m surprised it didn’t even cost that much to buy space here.
-          Some people have been taking advantage of the rule here and have stolen things that aren’t there’s. Since we each can set our rules, we set our own punishment for them. They have been set out into the wastes with only what they stole and nothing more.
-          Things have started to get out of control. The power given to us where anyone can do anything has made people do anything they want. It’s sometimes fun and sometimes dangerous.
-          That’s it. I took Lily for myself. I cut off her arms and legs and now she stays with me. I’m going to
Fuck this. I throw the terminal across the room. Fuck all of this! The rest of the rooms are in similar situations with one room that hoarded cakes, one is full of dolls, another is full bodies, and another is full of mirrors. This damn place is a madhouse and I can’t wait to get out.
The intercom comes on again to say, “This is your angel reminding you that everyone is equal and decide what’s good an evil.”
Psh, angel. More like a devil. Susan and I go to the director’s room and find a large snake that crawls out from the door and tries to attack us, but we react fast enough to kill it. We find the bodies of the two other missing people who weren’t so lucky in dealing with the snake. Despite what I previously read, I immediately go towards the director’s terminal to see if there was a point in making these people think that they’re their own god. Here’s something, it’s a mission statement. This was an experiment to “see what happens when people are given the freedom to decide what’s right and wrong”. There was also no real director, security guards, or automated turrets or machines to keep some kind of order. They accepted atheists, agnostics, and those of weak faith in particular for this experiment to work. The footage of what happened here was sent over to the company who made the shelters for analysis. There’s a physical holotype copy here in this terminal that was apparently made after the system say that all the residents flatlined.
“Whatya taking that for?” Susan asks.
“I’m gonna use it if I ever encounter the Council and if they start talking about how good pre-war people were,” I say, “This place is a disgusting blemish on humanity among the others.”
“So can we leave yet?”
We take something defining off the two people to show we found them and finally go back to Scrap Town. Back at town, I explain to Marcy and some of her people what we found and even show it to them on their one terminal they have.
Marcy slams the desk then says, “We should go after whoever made these shelters and make them pay for what they’ve done!”
“Marcy,” I say, “I know how you feel, but we don’t know where their main base I, though the Council might know.”
“Then we’ll pay them a visit in the Vegas Strip.”
“Doesn’t it cost money to enter the strip much less get a meeting with them?”
“It does, but it’s a cost worth paying. Are you headed there as well?”
“Susan and I will be headed there after a couple stops along the way.”
“I’ll see there then. For now, here’s our reward to you. Also feel free to stay at our hotel for free. You’ll also have discounts at all of our shops.”
The items they give me are pieces of metal armor, which I give to Susan since it’s her style. I take the payment and gun mods for my rifle which includes a fire mode mod, extended mag, and better stock.
After dinner, I again let Susan sleep with me, but tonight I ask her, “Why do you always sleep with me? Is it because you’re used to sleeping with people?”
“No, I just want to. You’re such a nice person and I think I actually love you.”
“Love. Do you know what that word means?”
“Of course I do. I can also feel it or rather, I only feel it when I’m with you. Are you blushing?”
“I uh-no!”
Damn it, don’t kiss my forehead! It just makes things worse!
“Goodnight Zack.”
“Yeah, goodnight.”