|| Heat Shield - An AlienLove Community Story – Part 2|
Authors: FrogDaddy (FD), Oskarskids (OK),|
Soulgazer (SG), Blue1Moon (B1M)
From AlienLove’s forums comes the “community story,” Heat Shield. Begun by FrogDaddy, members have been contributing since, so the story is ongoing. I am reprinting the next ten entries, more to come at a later date. Read Part 1
The story continues:
(SG) "Damn home brew", I thought to myself, "probably half full of peyote buttons".
I began to stagger my way back thru the doorway, though I was sure I could not drive in this condition, I certainly didn't want to be alone in a strange crowd if I'd been set up with a clumsy attempt to drug me into submission. I remembered the rumors I'd heard of a sudden resurgence of slavery in the area, and the pistol was a comforting reassurance in my waistband.
I did wish I'd been able to afford the scarce ammunition for the rare caliber, but these days you took what you could find, and hoped the seller wasn't a Fed. Still, it had a full clip, even if it was likely that most of my unpracticed shots would go into the sky, the .50 magnum had a heavy enough report to give any assailant pause, if not an outright heart attack.
(OK) I made myself get sick too, hoping that would get rid of anything that might have been in that beer.....damn I thought, it had tasted so good. When I got within ten feet of my car I stopped...someone was in the car. I reached for the pistol, took off the safety and tried as quietly as I could in this condition, to sneak up and surprise the occupant.
I must have been drugged heavier than I thought because it was ‘her’ in the passenger side and a bag in the back seat.
(B1M) My head was spinning - could it really be her - or was this some trick? Even if it was her, could she be part of the drugging scheme, had she become one of the slavers? It had been a long time since we parted, and in these strange times, people changed.
She noticed me standing there, and gave me a great big smile and a wink, motioning me closer. I took a few more steps toward the car, when she began talking quickly, but softly. She begged me to get her out of this place, said I owed her at least that much.
Perhaps I did, but not enough to end up a slave in some compound. It was so hard to think, her smile and pleading for help began reducing my wariness. She asked me if I remembered our trip to Niagara Falls, not long before all hell broke lose. I got lost in the memories, and when I came to myself again, I was driving through the strangest area I had yet come across in my travels. I turned to look at my old love, only to find...
(SG) her face in her hands, weeping softly. The shadows dancing across the back of her head in her hands obscured the few strands of grey in her hair, and the New York nights by the Falls came dancing back into memory.
We had talked for hours in the solitude of a small grove of maples, the red leaves on the ground of a late September softly rustling under our hands and feet as we had sat and discussed what we had then thought to be known to only the two of us. The coming fruition of a hundred years of ...
(FD) reprogramming human minds, and the collapse of society as our great-grandparents had known.
The political madness that ruled at a time when religious leaders of the world’s only super-power would call for assassinations of lesser rulers, who could not keep their 'sheep' in control. The final battle for freedom was being lost. The elite had wiped out almost all traces and memories of what life was like. Only a rare few like us, that remembered the stories told by our elders, and knew that life wasn't always like this.
I still wondered if there was ever 'really' a time like my grandfather talked about. When you could practice your own religious beliefs and that payment received for toiling was actually paid in a way that you could purchase the things you wanted.
With all liberties lost, slavery became the norm. Taxes paid to the government had become so exorbitant that 99.9% of the people couldn't pay them. Now you couldn't own anything more then what you could carry on your back and then you had to protect that, from the starving masses.
I tried to help the ones I loved and headed for the hills.
And now I find myself driving across a barren wasteland with a pistol in one hand and a weeping survivor in the other. How was I going to take the lead? Had she given up her dreams of a free world?
I knew running into any authorities out here was unlikely, but survival was tough in the wasted area. I glanced down at the broken glass on gas gauge and wondered how accurate it was.
My head started to clear from the drug induced haze and I noticed she still looked awfully good, she was a natural beauty and wondered how she managed to survive as long as she had. What was her tale of survival? ...
(OK) Did I really want to hear how she had survived all of these years? Would I judge her for what she might have had to have done ? Would I want to put her through all of that pain again, to relive the hell that she might have gone through to get to this point? Or just let it go......till another time, there were more pressing things to think about.
(B1M) After remembering some of the situations I had been in over the past few years, I decided that I did not need to know where she had been or what she might have done.
It was enough that she was here, with me, it seemed a gift beyond imagining. I had lately begun to wonder if I would ever see an old friend, a face I knew, again.
The car was, without doubt, a better shelter than most of the struggling survivors still had. But in this wasteland, water and food were quickly going to become a problem, twice the problem with two mouths to feed.
Then there was the issue of gasoline or at least a decent home-made substitute.
As if reading my mind, my former love pointed toward the East and smiled. "There is a small village, I guess it isn't much yet, but I hear the people are trying again. I am not positive, but I think it is not too far. I hear they welcome those who are willing to try to live in the ancient ways again. You know, close to and in harmony with the Earth and each other."
"Wow!" sounds great I responded.
She nodded, but turned more serious, "But there are other rumors too, of those who roam in groups, taking the unsuspecting they come across. It is said these unfortunates are sold further North as slaves".
(FD) With that, I turned the steering wheel eastward, and stepped a little harder on the gas pedal than I probably should have. As we got pushed into the back of the seats, I looked into the rear-view mirror to see we were sending a plume of desert dust into the setting sun.
I knew I had enough gas to go for sometime, maybe even through the night. I wouldn't want to run out in the middle of no-where land without fuel ... but then again, what choice did I really have. There "was" no where else to go.
There was still enough light to see some distant mountain range in front of me so I set my sights on it and figured we'd see some lights as we got closer.
I asked her to reach into the glove box and look for my old compass. The glass was broken on it but it still worked well enough for our purpose. As she handed it to me, I noticed the beautiful shape of her hands. Yeah, they were older now, but still had that same shape. I could still see those long, thin fingers stretch a across the keyboard of the piano she used to play.
I could hear music in the hum of the engine and wondered if she could hear it too.
(B1M) We sat quietly, as comfortable as if we had never parted so long ago. The car zoomed across the wasted landscape. As dusk fell, there were indeed lights ahead. Unfortunately, the mountains I'd set my sights on were apparently quite a bit further off than I had originally thought.
A couple hours after dark, the last of our gas ran out. I checked my gas cans again, to see if any had just a splash or two left, but all were completely dry.
Now it was decision time, the car provided protection, but immobile, might also attract the wrong attention. To leave it behind, meant leaving what had become my home.
My lady came to see if I had found any gasoline, and remarked, "It's damn hot during the day, if we're going to walk it'd be best to do it now."
Well, that's true I admitted to myself, but it also left us open to the possibility of one of those roving bands of thugs sneaking up on us. But then, perhaps they would look to the car and we were best away from it. "We had better carefully hide our tracks away from here, or they'll be on our trail for sure in the morning."
As I looked for something to wipe away our tracks, I realized how rocky the ground was, probably wouldn't be much to see anyhow. We gathered the few belongings within the car worth carrying, and set out on foot....
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