The Blacktop Desert

Daryl walked along the blacktop desert and wondered how society had gotten to this point.  The pavement pitted and crumbled in the relentlessly pounding sun and wind.  The melted buildings in the distance were a testament of what had happened in the distant past.  Daryl always enjoyed imagining what had happened all those years before.  It didn’t really matter though, because this was now reality, and it was the place her and her children now lived.

Daryl looked over her shoulder and noticed someone was following her.  Daryl stopped and turned to face the stalker.  Daryl held her shotgun firmly in two hands, a small smile just peeking out from under the breathing mask.  The person dressed all in faded, blotchy black slowed down and stopped a respectable distance away.  “Sorry madam,” the stranger said holding his hands in the air, “but I was wondering if you happen to have some food to spare.”

Daryl slowly reached into her belt and grabbed out a small rat she had caught and dried just recently.  She tossed it to the stranger.  “Here you go,” she said.  “Take it and leave me alone.”

The stranger agilely caught the rat with one hand.  “You are mighty generous,” the stranger said.  “Does that mean you have a surplus around here?”

Daryl shook her head.  “I believe in following the rule of help when you can.  If you do you will be rewarded,” she said.

“You are truly a generous soul,” the stranger said.  The stranger bowed deeply at the waist.

Daryl watched closely and noticed the stranger mess with the tops of his boots.  As the stranger stood up suddenly, Daryl gave another gift, two barrels blazing.  The stranger fell backward as twin knives the stranger had threw sailed to either side of Daryl.  Daryl closed the distance and quickly put one more shot in the stranger’s head.

Daryl pawed through the stranger’s pockets and removed their contents.  A few more knives, some medical herbs, and bits and pieces of local currency quickly made their way into her backpack.  She also took back the rat and began carving up the corpse.  “Like I said,” said Daryl, “I did good, and now I’m rewarded.  My kids won’t have to eat rat tonight.”

She shoved the best cuts into her backpack and continued to walk along.  She chewed on the stranger’s pinky as she contemplated how society had gotten to this point.

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