A Meeting of Souls – Installment #6
This is the sixth installment of A Meeting of Souls – A Tale from the Wasteland. The read the story from the beginning, start here.
If you enjoy this story and would like to own a copy of your very own, you can purchase it from Amazon/Kindle here and Barnes & Noble/Nook here. The e-book includes a full-color cover and a special, steamy, NSFW bonus chapter at the end of the story that won’t be included on the blog. Every romance needs a “happy ending,” right?
Lash had a general idea of where the slaver camp would be, and unless they’d taken steps to be stealthy, the truck’s tire tracks should lead him straight to it. But when the sun went down, following the tracks would grow more difficult, even with the weak beam of the bike’s headlight. He would have to turn off the light well before he got near the camp, and eventually he’d have to leave the noisy machine altogether and make his final approach on foot. Then, at least, the darkness would work to his advantage.
He knew the camp wouldn’t be too far from the City in case a final customer or two decided on a last-minute visit before the slavers moved on to the next settlement. He had to be mindful that he didn’t just roll right into the camp. A blitz attack had its place, but stealth was the better option here. If he could get in, grab the girl, and get out undetected, they could be back to the City before anyone knew she was gone. If, he thought darkly, she wasn’t just toying with me.
Shortly after full dark, with the crescent moon just peeking over the distant mountains, Lash spotted a campfire and switched off his headlight. He toed the shift lever into neutral, killed the engine, and let the bike coast to a stop behind a clump of sagebrush. He dropped the kickstand and dismounted, removing the shotgun from its scabbard. Then he closed his eyes and stood still for almost a minute, listening and letting his eyes adjust to the dark. Even at this distance, which he estimated to be about half a mile, he could hear people talking and laughing.
From what Lash understood, the last night in a town became a party of sorts. There might or might not be fraternization between the slavers and the slaves, but there was definitely alcohol. And if there wasn’t a strong hand like the Captain’s to maintain discipline, responsibilities like guard duty would fall by the wayside. That was just human nature.
Sound carried very well in the desert at night. He would have to watch his step.
It took him more than an hour to make his way close enough to the camp to be able to pick out details in the dark: slavers, slaves, tents, vehicles, a glowing fire pit. He hunkered down near a thatch of scrub brush to wait until everyone had gone to sleep or retired to a tent. Some time after it had gone quiet, he looked again and saw only a single person sleeping in the open. Was it her? Or was it a guard, sleeping his watch away?
He stood up and prepared to move when a shadowy figure caught his eye. Someone—a man, it appeared—had slipped out of a tent and was clumsily creeping toward the sleeping figure near the latrines. There followed a struggle, and at that moment Lash knew he had to move.