A sample of something I’ve wanted to write for a while (about a month) but I’ve been focusing on you-know-what instead.
It’s also a piece of Discovery writing, ie not the type I usually do.
They call me Paladin.
Obviously that’s not my real name – that would be something else entirely, and in this world, exchanging names just leads to emotional connection. I don’t need that shit and you don’t need to know my real name; only the story that follows.
So call me Paladin. Everyone else does.
The highway passes by in patches under dirt and sand, barely visible but definitely there, somewhere. The corpses of skyscrapers appear in the distance and I know I’m going the right way towards Terminus. I haven’t seen jack out here, so I feel confident doing a hundred and fifty, because it’s a highway and I ain’t seen jack.
Having a car is a big neon sign to wasteland punks desperate for fuel. The guns on the bonnet of the Inception V8 are a deterrent, but the system picks up five of them closing in fast on my position from the right over a small mound, a bunch of motorbikes and dune buggies. I wait until they get close enough and press the auto-fire button. The guns open up – one of the bikes takes a hit and spins out of control, barely missing another bike. The guns swivel and fire on their own, but the punks know I’m armed now and they spread out to flank me.
I brake hard.
One rider on my left crashes into a buggy and the two collide in a screeching tangle of metal and pulverised limbs. Two left; the guns take out a buggy, and it spins out of control, going airborne when it flies off another desert mound. For a brief moment it’s flying, then it slams back to the ground and hits a dead tree. I barely see the punk slam forward, head smacking into the tree and splattering blood everywhere, before the low ammo alarm blares.
I hit the pedal.
The guns miss the last punk, and the chambers are empty, the only thing left is the smoke from the barrels.
The punk – this last one in a buggy – turns and shoots at me, the bullets thumping into bulletproof glass. The glass takes the hits, but only just. Cracks spider-web from the impacts.
Switching to auto-drive I grab my Vortex Thermal Rifle, which I call Grace, and lower the window. A hail of bullets pepper the side of the car, and some hit me, but I’m unconcerned because of my healing factor – though it hurts like a motherfucker. I lean out the window, fire off two multi-hued energy beams one after another, and the second one hits, vaporising the punk instantly. The vehicle rolls as it hits a pot hole and comes to a rest upside down.
I stop by the wreck, turn the car off and inspect the punk’s possessions.
He has food and decent shoes, so I take those. He also has a small statuette of a bobcat. I look it over, when I hear movement I pocket it and rise to standing, and point my gun at the noise. One of the punks has survived, crawling on his belly over the sand mound. He reaches for his gun, pulls it out with trembling fingers, and then dies. I take his gun too, and some more food from his bag.
Then I get back in the Inception and drive for Terminus.