Fiction: Afterlife Volume 3 (Chapter 13)

by Mike Monroe on November 27, 2017

in FICTION

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If you’ve never read Afterlife before, click here to go to the first chapter.

Afterlife is a sci fi/western action serial published every other week. Join us in a post-apocalyptic journey through a future where life has become little more than a struggle for survival. However, where there’s life, there’s always hope.

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Read the previous chapter here:

Afterlife, Volume 3, Chapter 12

Where:

Ace and Della arrive in Rose City.
Warrick learns his men are planning mutiny.
Rennock has a nightmare.

Find the Volume 3 Table of Contents page here.

View the Map here.

Check out Afterlife on Goodreads and don’t forget to rate it.

 

Afterlife, Volume 3, Chapter 13

Paul looked beside him at the toppled skyscraper as Aiyana drove him through what was left of downtown Denver.  The building was mostly crumbled, and there were some trees growing out of it and inside it.  It was covered with vines and ivy and the metal was rusted out and much of it was gone.  This monstrosity was on the right, but to the left were farms where men and women were outside working, planting seeds and turning dirt.  It was planting season.  The sun beat down on the ruined city like a single bulb in a massive prison cell.  The road Aiyana was driving on had been restored in the middle and repaved, but at the edges there were the remains of cracked road and sidewalks.  There were some gorges that small bridges had been built over, also.  Denver was a ruined city over which a new town had been built, but there was still far more destruction than rebirth.  There was plenty of life though, with plants, mosses, and vines covering all of the ruined buildings and even many of the newer ones.  There was far more life than Paul had ever seen out in the desert.

The vehicle Aiyana was driving reminded him of the vehicle Noah had originally brought him to Denver in, but there was no trailer.  Instead, Paul was sitting in the passenger seat.  The tires on the vehicle’s wheels weren’t as big as Noah’s either.  This car was meant to travel on roads, not desert sands like Noah’s was.  It was all open, though, like Noah’s.  There were exposed seats and there were no windshields or glass.  “What do you think?” Aiyana asked as she drove.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Paul said, looking at several crumbling shells of ancient buildings that may have once been stores of some kind.  Now they were unintended greenhouses.

“It’s beautiful in its own way,” Aiyana said.  “I’m so used to it because I live here, but this must all be new to you.”

Paul nodded.  “Where are we going?”

“We’re heading to the Highlands in the northwest part of the city.  They’re all ruins now, and no one lives there, but it’s my favorite part of Denver.  I go there and read and sit and think.  I also like to hike out to the mountains and the foothills, but you aren’t ready for that yet.”

Paul’s crutches were on the seat behind them.  “This city’s beautiful.  And from what I hear, you have a very effective system of governing yourselves.”  There was a shadow over it all, though, which Paul didn’t mention.  Maybe once he could walk without crutches, he’d get her to take him hiking out in the mountains.  That would be the perfect time for him to escape.

“It’s a great place to live,” she said.  “You’ll love it here.”

One of the farmers looked up from his work and smiled when he saw Aiyana.  He stood and bowed as she drove by and she waved back.  Another farmer did the same.  “They bow to you?” Paul asked.

“Some of them,” Aiyana said.  “It’s so embarrassing.”

“Are you royalty or something?”

Aiyana shook her head as she drove.  “The people here hold Native Americans in high esteem.  They believe we have a connection to the land.  That’s what my grandfather always tells me.  He’s seen as a very wise man.  We don’t have true leaders here as we are all seen as equal, but if we did have a leader, he would be it, I guess.”

Paul nodded.  She seemed to be embarrassed talking about it.  “So you come out here to read?” he asked her.  “I love reading.  Maybe next time we can bring some books with us.”

Aiyana smiled at him.  Paul thought she had the kindest, most beautiful brown eyes.  “I’d like that.”

The newly paved road slowly but noticeably narrowed until it could only hold one vehicle, and where the new buildings were previously few and far between, there were now none.  There were only ruins, vines, and trees.  There was cracked concrete and rusted metal.  Shards of old, foggy broken pieces of glass.  Sides of buildings covered with moss.  Paul noticed what looked like some sort of silo or canister with broken concrete surrounding it.  There were some rusted-out metal chairs and tables with ivy and vines growing all around them.  Paul looked closer at the cylindrical building and noticed the remains of a sign.  The only word Paul could make out was “Ice” in big letters.  There were parks and more broken buildings.  There were houses completely covered with vines.  They looked like huge green bushes with leafy porches and patios.  Aiyana and Paul reached the remains of an old church surrounded by trees and Aiyana stopped the car.  “All right,” she said.  “I’ll help you with your crutches.”  Paul nodded as she turned off the engine.  She brought his crutches around to him and she helped Paul out of the car and onto the crutches.

“What’s special about this place?” Paul asked, looking around.

Aiyana walked beneath the trees towards the steps that led to the front entrance of the crumbling stone church.  Paul was happy to see a ramp that was still mostly intact.  “It’s beautiful,” she said.  “It’s one of my favorite places.  Come inside and see.  Only be careful.  There can be dangerous things in this town, especially in the deserted parts.”  Paul nodded and followed her up the ramp on his crutches.

They entered the church, finding tall grass where a floor once was.  The inside was cavernous.  There were marble statues all covered with vines.  It was a Christian church, so Paul didn’t recognize who many of the statues represented.  There were two Paul figured were probably Joseph and Mary.  There was a huge marble crucifix leaning against the wall at the far end, but the Jesus part was missing.  Paul looked up to see huge holes in the ceiling where sunlight poured through.  It was like a beautiful marble garden.  Paul felt something move under him and almost fell.  “What was that?” he asked.

“What was what?” Aiyana asked back.

Paul looked down to see a cockroach the size of his foot scurry into some bushes.  He looked on the grassy floor in one corner of the church and noticed more of them.  There were hundreds of them, rattling as they moved.  Some were even bigger than the first.  The largest ones were probably almost two feet long.  “Cockroaches,” Paul muttered.

“They’re everywhere here in Denver,” Aiyana said.  “We’ve all learned to live with them.”

Paul frowned.  “I guess they take some getting used to.”

Aiyana nodded.  “There’s worse than them, though.  It’s like I said.  You have to be very careful traveling around the city.  It’s all right, though.”  She smiled.  “I’ve been doing it since I was a little girl.  You’ll be fine.”

Paul watched as the dark brown floor of cockroaches in the corner moved, ebbing and flowing like a sea.  “Okay.”

“Well it’s late,” Aiyana said.  “We should head back.”

Paul nodded and the two of them made their way back out to the ramp.  He couldn’t get his mind off the cockroaches.  Denver was really nothing but a giant prison, and now he knew that humans weren’t the only inmates.  He wondered what else lurked in the trees and shrubs that filled the false oasis.

<>

Javy spat a mouthful of coffee out into the sand.  “Yuck.  This stuff is awful.  If I’d wanted to throw up, I’d have eaten some raw eggs instead.”  He held his forehead with his hand.

“I had some, too,” Foxtrot said.  “At least it has caffeine.  Arlene said it was instant coffee that expired months ago.  But it’s all they have in town, thanks to the IAO.”

Javy didn’t look good.  He was sweating profusely and he looked like he was trying with all of his power to hold in the contents of his stomach.  “I feel like I just drank motor oil.”

Foxtrot knew Javy was hung over.  He’d been out late the night before.  Foxtrot shared a room with him so he knew Javy hadn’t gotten in until after three.  At least he didn’t have any strange women with him this time.  “Are you going to be okay?” Foxtrot asked him.

“Just take up your position,” Javy said.  “Don’t worry about me.  Worry about yourself and your men.”  Foxtrot nodded and watched as Javy walked towards the west end of town, where a makeshift barricade had been built out of furniture and broken-down, rusted-out vehicles.  Javy was wearing jeans and a sweaty tee shirt and there were dual laser pistols in holsters on his hips.

Foxtrot shrugged and walked towards the east end of town, where another barricade had been built.  He was carrying a laser rifle and also had a laser pistol in a holster on his right hip.  Like Javy, he was wearing jeans and a tee shirt, but his clothes fit him better, his face was cleanly shaven, and his glasses always gave him an air of class.  He reached the eastern barricade, where a woman named Penny, a teenaged girl named Melinda, and a teenaged boy named Sam were waiting for him.  They were all armed and looking out over the eastern desert, awaiting the forthcoming IAO attack.  Foxtrot had gone on a scouting mission early in the morning and seen the IAO camp, so he knew they were coming.  Foxtrot, Javy, and the villagers quickly finished building the two barricades, blocking the roads into town.  There were other ways in between the sandstone buildings, so two of the villagers who’d been trained by Javy and Foxtrot were watching the center of town, ready to sound an alarm if any IAO fighters showed their faces.  It wasn’t a perfect system, but it was the best they could do with nine people.  Javy had two villagers with him at the western barricade, Foxtrot had three with him at the Eastern barricade, and there were the two in the center.  As they killed more IAO thugs and confiscated more weapons, the villagers would be able to arm and train more of their own.

Foxtrot looked at the thirteen year old girl Melinda as she watched the dunes.  She looked young and skinny, with long brown hair tied back in a ponytail and a freckled face, but her eyes were stern and fearless.  Foxtrot and Javy discussed letting her be one of the watchers in the center of town, but she was the best shot of them all, so she was with Foxtrot at the eastern barricade, the spot closest to where he’d seen the camp.  Penny was her aunt, with the same brown hair and freckled face, though she was twenty years older.  Sam was sixteen and though he was a better soldier than Billy, Javy’s failed project, he still left a lot to be desired.  This group would have to do, though.  Foxtrot noticed some movement out on the dunes.  “Everyone get ready.”  He aimed his laser rifle.  There was something metallic reflecting the sun.  A shot fired.  It was Sam being trigger happy.  His laser blast hit a faraway dune.  “Don’t fire until I say,” Foxtrot said, trying to stay calm and not show his frustration.  “We don’t want to give away our position.  And we don’t want to waste electricity, either.  It’s a wasted shot if you can’t see your enemy.”

There were some laser blasts behind them.  Foxtrot turned to see Amanda, a fifteen year old girl who’d been stationed in the center of town running towards them, holding her side.  She’d cut off her long blonde hair so she’d have an easier time fighting.  Foxtrot had been impressed with her dedication, but now she was wounded.  There was also smoke coming off her shirt, and she’d dropped her weapon.  She fell into the sand behind their barricade and frowned up at Foxtrot.  “There are three of them,” she said, straining through the pain.  “In the center of town.  They killed Maggie.  Lacey went to warn the General.”  Lacey was the other woman who they’d stationed in the center of town.  Maggie was one of the other villagers.  She actually wasn’t supposed to be involved with the fighting.

“How’d they get in without our seeing?” Penny asked.

Foxtrot frowned.  Between the eastern and western positions and the watchers in the center of the village, they should have been able to see all angles into the village.  “Camouflage projector,” Amanda said, her breathing heavy and strained.  “He killed Maggie and distracted us.  The other two managed to sneak in after him.”

“Stop talking,” Foxtrot said.  “You need to take it easy.  You’ll be okay.  Stay here with Penny and Melinda.  Sam, come with me.  If we can get this guy, we’ll have a camouflage projector.”

“Way to look on the bright side,” Penny said with a smile.

“It’s called being practical,” Foxtrot said.  He motioned for Sam to follow him to the village center.  They ran from sandstone building to sandstone building, using the walls as cover the best they could.  Foxtrot ran from one building to the next and Sam covered him.  Then Sam did the same with Foxtrot covering him.  In this way, they leapfrogged to the center of town until Foxtrot saw something very faint up ahead, like moving sand.  The air was still, so it wasn’t a breeze doing it.  Foxtrot motioned for Sam to stop next to him against the wall of a home and he peeked around to see some more sand move on the ground near another building.  He fired several shots with his laser rifle and there was some blood and a shout.  Sam covered Foxtrot as he ran up to the blood and fired more shots.  There were some thuds and a grunt.  Foxtrot knelt down where he’d seen the blood and felt the sand near the wall of the house until he found a hand.  He felt the wrist to see there was no pulse.  He felt the other wrist and found the camouflage projector, which he turned off.  The nanobots returned to the projector revealing a body.  It was an IAO bandit all right, in leather clothes with iron shoulder pads.  He’d been blasted four times in the chest.  Foxtrot took the camo projector and put it around his own wrist.  He turned it on.  “Stay there,” he shouted to Sam across the road.

Foxtrot heard some laser blasts to the east and some to the west.  He tiptoed through the center of town, disturbing the smallest amount of sand possible, until he saw two more bandits with their backs turned.  He shot them both in the back with his laser rifle and they fell into the sand.  His camouflage projector lost power and he saw Javy and Billy walking towards him from the western barricade.  “We killed four of them,” Javy said.  He still looked like he was about to throw up.  “Two of them rode off on sand bikes.  They’re retreating.  We’re done here for now.”  He frowned.  “They killed Janet, though.”

Foxtrot frowned.  “They also killed Maggie and wounded Amanda.”  Sam came out from behind the building he’d been hiding behind and joined them.

“What about the others?” Javy asked.

“They were fine when I left them,” Foxtrot said, “but they’re watching Amanda.”  He smiled at Billy.  “Glad to see you’re okay.  How’d you do?”

Billy smiled.  “I actually shot one of them.”  He looked like he was trying to show how it hadn’t affected him, but Foxtrot knew the look.  He was trying too hard.

Foxtrot nodded.  “More importantly, you’re all in one piece.”

Javy grinned the proud smile of a teacher happy for his pupil.  “He’ll be a soldier yet.”

Billy frowned.  “I couldn’t save Janet, though.”  Javy put his arm around him to console him.

They walked to the east barricade, where Amanda was on the ground, staring lifelessly up into the sky.  Penny had tears in her eyes as she sat beside her.  Foxtrot frowned.  “She died bravely.”

“We killed five of them,” Melinda said.  “Then I saw one other one ride away on a sand bike.  I think they’re gone for now, but they might be back.”

“They’ll most definitely be back,” Javy said with a frown.

“I killed three,” Foxtrot added.  “That accounts for all of the men I counted in that camp I saw this morning.”

“That’s three casualties for us,” Javy said.  “Twelve for them.”  He paused and looked around at the sad faces of the villagers.  Then he looked down at Amanda’s body.  “Those who died today didn’t die in vain.  They will always be remembered for their brave sacrifices.  The town’s been defended.”  He nodded towards Billy.  “You have more weapons now.”

Foxtrot nodded.  “Melinda, when we leave, I’d like to put you in charge of training the rest of your villagers.  Remember everything we told you and pass it on.  Always have a lookout on each barricade.”  He handed her the camouflage projector.  “Charge this.  It’ll definitely come in handy.”

“All right,” the teenaged girl said.

“You all are ready,” Javy said, looking around at the villagers who were with them.  “We didn’t have a lot of time to train you, but you’ve proven your mettle today.  Send emissaries to other villages.  Train their people also.  We’ll win this thing yet.”  He took a deep breath.  “As for me and Foxtrot.  We need to get going.  We’ve got a date with Rose City.  Once you’re ready and well-defended, send us some people.  We’re going to be mustering an army there.  These thugs aren’t gonna know what hit’em.”  The villagers nodded.  There were no smiles, though.  Everyone knew the victory came at a cost.  And Foxtrot knew that Westwatch, like any other small village, could only afford to pay that cost a few more times.  Hopefully it would be enough.

<>

The beat up enforcer hover car sputtered to a stop on the side of a dune.  Mick Callaway fiddled with the ignition, but the starter didn’t make a sound.  “This thing’s done,” he said with a frown.

Eileen Traymont looked up at the sky through the cracked windshield, as if expecting some sort of divine intervention or a sign of some sort.  “I’ll send Stanley out to scout.  We’ll wait here.”

“And if he finds the IAO or the resistance?” Mick asked.

Eileen looked at the back seat, were Dusty Snow, Phil Funk, and Gerald Remus were sitting snugly.  Like Eileen and Mick, they were all still wearing their blue enforcer uniforms.  “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” she said.

“Ma’am,” Phil said, “I know you don’t like the resistance.  None of us do much.  We’ve been fightin’ those commies for years, but at least they got a sense of order.”

“What are you saying?” she asked him.

“Maybe we should turn ourselves in,” Phil said.

“I agree with Phil,” Gerald said.  “I mean, they killed some friends of mine.  But they listen to reason.  Maybe we can join them and then work from the inside, you know?  Maybe still make the world a better place like we all wanted to.  That’s why we’re enforcers, right?  Right now, as far as I’m concerned, the real enemy is the IAO.  They’re criminals.  I know the resistance are, too, but the IAO are far worse.  It’s a lesser of two evils thing.”

Eileen watched as Stanley turned off the engine of his sand bike which he’d parked up ahead of them.  He started trudging through the sand towards them.  Eileen turned and looked at Gerald.  “What do you think of all this?” she asked him.

He shrugged.  “Maybe they’re right.  We’re gonna have to find someone to help us, right?”

“We’ve been traveling for days,” Mick said, “and there’s no sign of General Schmidt or his army, or any of Rennock’s men.  No more enforcers.  No nothin’.”

“They’re out here somewhere,” Eileen said, looking out at the dunes and the horizon.  “An army doesn’t just disappear.”

“They do if they’ve been slaughtered,” Mick said.  “Lookin’ for them is, quite frankly, silly.  Pardon me for sayin’ so.”

“Are you in charge?” Eileen asked.  “Or am I in charge?”  There was silence in the car.  “This isn’t a democracy.”  Stanley was now standing next to her window, which she opened.  “Now everyone listen closely.  I’m going to make myself very clear.”  She looked around at each of their faces.  “Yes, the IAO are criminals.  We all know that.  But so are the resistance fighters.  They’re a threat to our freedom.  They’re a threat to the freedom of everyone in Numurka, the world even.  Because they want to push forward a society that rewards people for nothing.  The idea that you’re rewarded for hard work is going to be thrown out the window.  The wealthy will be ostracized by the poor and the weak.  Those who keep the order, like us, will be looked down upon, and possibly attacked.  They’ll set up a backwards world that quite frankly, we will have no place in.  So it might seem to you right now that they’re a good alternative to the IAO, but they aren’t.  And we have to fight them.”  She took a deep breath.  “So as long as there’s any chance that we can find General Schmidt’s army and unite with them, I refuse to give up.   That’s what joining the resistance would be for us.  It would be giving up.  So are you all with me or not?”

“I’m with you,” Stanley said with a smile, looking at Eileen through his broken, one-lensed glasses.

The other men nodded reluctantly.  Eileen wasn’t sure if she could trust them any longer.  She’d have to find Schmidt and his army soon.  “Very well,” she said.  “So we’ll wait here while Stanley gets on his sand bike and scouts the area.  We have food.  For now at least.  It should be enough to last us until we find General Schmidt.”  She considered having one of the other men go out searching so she could keep Stanley, her most loyal man, by her side, but if any of the others left with their one remaining mode of transportation, they would be far less likely than Stanley to come back.

“And if we don’t find him?” Mick asked.

“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” Eileen said.  “Like I said before.”  Stanley nodded and walked back to his sand bike.  The silence in the car made Eileen uncomfortable.  She still had her laser pistol at her side.  She prayed she wouldn’t have to use it.

<>

Razor’s room, which was really just a cell in a system of caves and corridors, was bigger than most of the others in the Southwest Iron Mines worker’s quarters.  The walls were gray rock lighted by a bare bulb hanging from the ceiling.  The constant hum of the air ventilation system was a mind-numbing sound, coming from the small metal grate next to the light.  The cot she was sitting on was the only furniture.  Still, it was better than a small bunk, like the ones she’d seen in the other cells.  She was lucky to have a cell to herself.  Most cells were shared by at least four people from what she’d seen.  She was a gladiator, so she was at the top of the slave, or “worker” as Brevington and his men liked to call them, pecking order.  Supposedly she could leave whenever she wanted, but Razor chose to stay in her room to avoid the suspicious eyes that had met her when she went to the cafeteria for lunch earlier in the day.  Lunch had been a bowl of slop, the same as everyone else had gotten.  From what she could tell, the slop was some sort of oatmeal-type concoction, but it tasted like cardboard.  She’d brought the food back to her room, since many of the slaves were glaring at her like they wanted to start trouble.  Razor didn’t want any trouble with them.  She wanted to save her anger for Brevington, and after him, Warrick Baines.

Her cell had a barred window in the door, but there was more privacy than the others, which were only separated by bars for the most part.  Brevington’s men in their gray uniforms were everywhere, so the freedom was obviously just lip service.  Razor had no doubt if she left the caves to try to strike out on her own, she’d be instantly attacked.  There was also the fact that she had nothing to her name but the gray jumpsuit she was wearing, which she, along with the others, had been forced to wash in the morning.  There were monitors in one of the other rooms where workers could scan a code card to see how much money they owed Brevington.  Razor was told people rarely checked because the amounts were always too high to ever pay off.  Razor didn’t bother.  She was told she was being charged for shelter and food and she hadn’t had the chance to actually start working yet.  Regardless what Brevington or anyone else tried to say, Razor knew she was in a prison, and as soon as she figured out a way to escape, she was definitely going to.  She needed to leave Iron Town and take out Warrick Baines.  “Come out!” someone called from outside.  “We need everyone out in the common space now!”

It didn’t sound like dinner.  The shouting was far more vigorous than the lunch call had been earlier.  Besides, Razor wasn’t sure what time of day it was, but it seemed a little early for dinner.  Her morning sickness was bothering her more than it had been even a few days ago, and she’d spent some time vomiting into her cell’s metal toilet earlier, so she wasn’t ready for food, regardless.  She slowly stood, opened the metal door to her cell, and ventured out into the gray stone passageway.  The guards herded her and the other slaves past rows of open barred metal doors.  There were men, women, and children of all ages.  They were almost all black or Hispanic, though Razor had noticed one or two other white prisoners in a crowd of hundreds.

They were ushered into a large cavern where there was a natural stone stage.  Like the rest of the caverns, it was lighted by hanging bare bulbs and there were passages leading off in all directions.  Scattered grates in the walls and ceilings provided ventilation.  Through the corner of her eye, Razor noticed a guard beating a black woman.  She was careful not to pay too much attention.  There were six guards in gray uniforms standing on the stage.  One was holding a bullwhip.  A black man and a black woman, both shirtless, were chained to two of many posts on the stage.  “These two are guilty of theft,” one of the guards on the stage said.  His bushy brown beard hid his mouth as he spoke.  Razor could tell he was smiling from the look in his eyes, though.  “They’re guilty of runnin’ off without payin’ back the debts they owe Mr. Brevington.  Lazy cowards, these two.  It figures, right?  As y’all know, we’ve had to increase our security after your attempted uprisin’ a few weeks ago.  We all could have been friends, but since y’all don’t seem to wanna go along with the arrangement we’ve had for decades now, we’re gonna have to dole out some justice.”  He spoke as he paced the stage.  “It’s a first offense, so they’ll just get ten lashes each.  For those of you new here, a second offense you get twenty lashes.  A third, and we take you into town so you can see what some old fashioned justice looks like.”  He chuckled.  “Y’all need to watch, and take this in.  Y’all need to know yer place.  Watch and see what happens when niggers try to act like they’re the ones in charge.”

“Or any of you workers,” one of the other guards added.  “Don’t matter what color y’are.”  His gaze fixed on Razor and he smiled.

Razor watched as the man with the bullwhip took turns whipping each of the slaves across the back.  She grew angrier each time one of them winced in pain, and she focused that anger on Phillip Brevington.  They were given ten lashes each, as he’d said.  When it was finished, the guards made them turn around to show everyone the bloody stripes on their backs.  Then, everyone was ushered back towards their quarters.  Razor noticed a pretty black girl as she walked.  The girl would have been absolutely beautiful if she’d been allowed to clean up and wear nicer clothes, but she looked tired and overworked in her well-worn gray jumpsuit.  Still, she had a nice body and beautiful, big brown eyes.  She smiled when she saw Razor looking at her.  Razor had been used to suspicious eyes and angry scowls since coming to the Iron Mines.  The pretty girl’s smile was a welcome sight.  “Are you new here?”

Razor nodded.  “Been here a day and a half, I think.”

“You must be a gladiator or somethin’,” the girl said as they walked.

“Why do you say that?”

“I saw you come out of one of the solo rooms,” she said.  “They save those for the gladiators or the ones who sleep with the guards.  You don’t look like the type to do that.  I’ve seen how you look at people.”

“What do you mean?” Razor asked.

“Like you want to rip our hearts out,” the girl said, “but it would be too much trouble.”

Razor frowned.  “I am a gladiator.”

“You’re lucky, then,” the girl said.  “Most of the rest of us here have to work in the mines.  Everyone five years and up.”  She noticed something in Razor’s expression.  “Don’t worry.  I don’t resent you for it.  A lot of the others do, though.  Your white skin don’t help, either.”

“Why are you talking to me?” Razor asked.

“You need help,” the girl said.  “I got a kind heart, I guess.”  She winked at Razor and bit her bottom lip.  “I’m Jenny.”

“I’m Razor.”

“A gladiator name.  You picked it out already?”

Razor nodded.  “Yeah.  That’s it.”

“Well if you need anything, let me know,” Jenny said.  “And when you come out, try to stay near me if you can find me.”

“Why?” Razor asked.

“You ain’t the only one here who’s favored,” she said.  “Some of the others have power to go along with it, though.  They could make your life a living hell if you don’t have friends.”

“So you’re a friend?” Razor asked.

“I can be more than that if you want,” Jenny said with a smile as she walked into one of the barred cells with two other girls and a young boy.  Razor nodded to her and walked down the passageway to her own room.  She thought about her unborn child as she walked.  There was no way she wanted her baby to be born in the Southwest Iron Mines.  She had to find a way to escape.  Brevington and Iron Town were stuck in an awful past the rest of the world had grown beyond for the most part.  Their racism and isolationism would be their undoing, like it had for so many places like them.  A place unwilling to learn from history was bound to repeat history’s mistakes.  These were Razor’s thoughts as she entered her room.

 

 


To be continued in Volume 3, Chapter 14:

Appearing here on December 11, 2017. Stay tuned!
Where:
Della hits the town in Rose City.
Razor and Jenny are confronted by a bully.
Della visits Ace in his jail cell.

Find the Volume 3 Table of Contents page here.

View the Map here.

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Mike Monroe

Michael Monroe was born in Baltimore, MD and has lived there most of his life. He’s a poet and fiction writer whose preferred genres are Science Fiction and Fantasy, and he’s always had a thing for Allen Ginsberg and the Beats. His poetry has been published in Gargoyle Magazine, nthposition, the Lyric, Scribble, the Loch Raven Review, Foliate Oak, Primalzine, and various other publications.

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