A Meeting of Souls – Installment #9
This is the ninth 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?
Bud rolled his head back and forth, feeling his neck crunch. He’d been sitting in this damn tent sipping a surprisingly good bourbon and waiting for Arnie to “get a little action” for too long, and he was getting restless. He didn’t like staying in one place. Staying still was how you wound up dead.
He stood and stretched, then slipped his flintlock back into the holster on his thigh and headed out of the tent. A cool pre-dawn breeze ruffled what was left of his hair and he scanned the area before heading toward the truck. A quick piss and then he’d go track Arnie down so they could get back on the road.
He walked several yards past the bumper of the truck and found a snake hole to pee into, then turned and headed to the driver’s side of the cab, intent on helping himself to one of the smokes Arnie always kept on the dash. He yanked the door open to find a slave girl crouched down in the driver’s seat fumbling with the ignition.
“Hey!” he managed to get out before she caught him off guard and shoved him onto his ass in the dirt. He was on his feet with his pistol drawn in another breath, intent on hauling her out of the cab and making her pay when she cold-cocked him with the stupid little club Arnie always kept in the crack of the seats. The blow connected solidly, breaking off several teeth and splitting his lip and chin open. He reacted without thinking, stumbling backward and clutching his mouth, his pistol falling at his feet as he staggered backward. Blood spurted from between his fingers and dropped onto his flak vest as he spat teeth but by the time he had the sense to recover his gun, the truck had started up and roared away. He took aim but then changed his mind. “Save it for between her fucking eyes,” he swore, striding back toward the tent. He needed to find his partner, now.
Bud pushed the flap of the tent open and took two steps inside before he froze. Arnie was heading toward him, or at least he thought it was Arnie. The man walking toward him had Arnie’s long hair and overcoat, but his face was a hideous blotchy purple and his eyes were bloodshot. There was an angry, swollen gash around his throat and for a moment, Bud wasn’t sure if he was alive or dead.
“That bitch we picked up at the Atomic Cafe escaped. I think that Guard you shot helped her.” His voice was a hoarse, painful rasp from the damage to his throat.
“Yeah, she just clocked me and stole the truck.”
“What? Shit!” Arnie thrust his hands into his pants pockets, swore again and kicked at a chair, toppling it. He glared at Bud for a long moment before looking away, shaking his head. “We’ve got to catch her before …”
“With what? She has our ride.”
“I don’t know, but if she makes it back to the City and word gets out she wasn’t a willin’ volunteer, we’re screwed.”
Bud pulled an old T-shirt off the back of the overturned chair and splashed some water on it from a canteen on the table. He pressed it gently to his mouth, considering.
“She won’t make it back to the City. The truck’s still on the main tank. She’s got about two gallons, tops.”
“So what, we run down the road after her?”
“You wanna ask the boss if we can borrow his car?”
Arnie swore again and snatched his canteen and knife off the table, storming out of the tent. Bud trailed behind him.