The Prodigal Son

Karma!

The trip back to the BLVD was uneventful, the way it was meant to be. No mutants gnawing at my ankles, no radiation storms, no dehydration induced hallucinations, and most importantly no bandits. The caravan guards were silent and stoic, but Saul Fore kept me company. I’m worried I’ll jinx it, but it’s true! Nothing bad has happened to me in a whole week!

We pulled up to the BLVD’s gates sometime after dusk. The guards greeted Saul Fore like an old friend. They didn’t even rough us up! I guess he’s a pretty popular guy around here.

Unfortunately, we had to go through customs. All my weapons, including knives, had to be shoved through a slot that said “BOOK RETURN.” For some reason, our guards were allowed to keep their shiny chrome rifles. My stuff was confiscated, tagged, and stored in an old bank vault. Saul Fore assured me it was standard procedure. Sure it is.

After a thorough pat down by two guys in S.W.A.T. armor, we were finally allowed inside. The BLVD was a long street illuminated by the alluring glow of neon advertisements. My ears immediately lit up to the slow strumming of a guitar. The sound was coming from a crowd had gathered around the rotting body of a car in the middle of an intersection. I couldn’t say how long it had been since I’d last heard music. I wanted to see what was going on, but Saul pulled me aside.

“Listen boy.” He whispered. “Boulevard ain’t kind to newcomers. Don’t go lookin for trouble.”

I gave him a thumbs up and wandered off into the night.

What’s the worst that could happen?

-Joe Junkman

On the Road Again

On the road again…

A week has passed since I’ve been in the hospital. With Saul’s dog-tags, I was able to get my arm fixed and receive anti-radiation medicine. Saul Fore is up and about. His skin looks like melted plastic and his fingers are fused together, but otherwise he’s doing fine.

This morning, Saul told me that he has to get back to the Boulevard and invited me to accompany him. The way I see it, going back to that horrible place can’t be any worse than being stuck in this dustbowl. I just hope I don’t get imprisoned, again.

After receiving our discharge papers, we made a pit stop at the fortress armory. I got a canteen, a pistol, and a new backpack, complete with a sleeping bag. Hopefully I won’t have to use the last two.

I thought we were just going to charge into the wasteland. Instead, we waited by a crumbling overpass for hours. I don’t know if you’ve ever stared out into a barren desert for hours at a time, but it’s really really boring.

Finally, a caravan pulled up. The cart was drawn by a handful of strange armadillo creature with trunk noses. Each of these beasts the size of a dog. Accompanying the cart was a handful of guards dressed in maroon fatigues and reflective black armor. I guess Saul wasn’t taking any chances this time.

We set out just when the sun was directly overhead. This should be a smooth ride. Our guards are armed to the teeth.

I just hope that the Boulevard is kind to me.

-Joe Junkman

Hallucination

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Well….

I let Gray walk off over the mountains before I started following him. I made sure that I was always just out of his sight before continuing on to the next pass. It was obvious that the Bushman was looking for something, but I’m wasn’t sure what. I tracked him for hours, seemingly walking in circles through sandy hills. There’s nothing out here but brush, rocks, and cacti.

Normally, I would have been up to follow Gray all day. Unfortunately, I am not a smart man. I had spent most of the day walking uphill, in the desert, while wearing insulated pants and a long sleeve shirt. At the time, I didn’t even think about taking them off. Not to mention that all of my food and water had been stolen. I developed a horrific pounding headache and it felt like I had been gargling sand.

As the sun dipped below the valley wall, my whole body felt shaky. I was stumbling about on my hands and knees, too weak to turn back. I just hoped that Gray would find me and lend me a sip of water before I turned into a piece of jerky. I crawled as far as I could, making my way over one last hill. Before I passed out, I saw Gray sitting cross legged in a cactus field, his back turned to me. I tried to cry out, but my voice was just a raspy squeak.

I woke up to strange noises coming from ahead. It was too dark to see, but it sounded like shifting sand. I was helpless to do anything. All I could do was look straight ahead and clutch at the dirt.

Cast against the moonlight, I could make out figures surrounding Gray on all sides. I could tell they weren’t human. Their silhouettes were elongated, almost uncanny in their proportions. One stretched out a hand to the Bushman. Its palm was teardrop shaped while its fingers were short, fat, and stubby. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

I dipped my head into the dirt and nodded off again.

-Joe Junkman