POSTED 09/29/2018 14:57
Enjoy this story from the start Click
It was midnight when the Scavenger got home. The streets were practically empty, dark from the lack of power; power, like almost everything in Eden, functioned at half-capacity, and had to be rationed/scheduled. Right now, at midnight, houses were dark save for candle lights and lanterns, which were also used sensibly.
He stood in the shadows, still and quiet, as a LEVI patrol van moved slowly down the street. It would be a cell for the night if he got caught, and it had happened only once before. The curfew was mandatory; business ended officially at seven in the evening, and people were allowed a little 'free time' until nine, when everyone was expected to be locked inside their homes. The reason for this was unclear, but as long as the powers that be declared it, it was done.
Rumors had it that in the elite quarters, where the rich folks lived, the curfew was nonexistent. But when you lived in lower town – the slums of Eden – it didn't matter.
The tail lights of the dark van faded away, and so did the humming of the engine. The scavenger stepped out of the shadows, the choking smoke from the van still in the air, and walked up to his house. He didn't have to knock, he had his keys.
He peered into the frosted windows and cursed. "The fool slept off with the lamp on."
He pushed the door open and walked straight to the lamp. He'd been seething a moment earlier, ready to yell at his guest once he got in. But he couldn't get himself to do it as he watched Adam on the couch, fast asleep. ,em>The guy has been through a lot, I should probably just let him be. He stared at his arm, at the tattoo and the oily glow around it.
Letting out a deep sigh, he turned to the lamp. It was battery powered and, from the look of the digital display at the bottom of the case, the battery capacity was in the red. He grunted and pushed the button, plunging the room into darkness.
Good, he thought. He needed the darkness, and he needed to think. He dragged his feet as he walked across the living room, down the dark corridor, and into his equally dark room. He was used to the darkness so he didn't need a light to find his bed, but first, he thought, time to shower.
The good thing about Eden was its abundance of water. It was weird, considering the yellow desert was merely a few miles away, but most people said it was because the land was blessed. The scavenger was not among those people.
He slowly peeled off his jacket and the rest of his clothes, his pale body exposed to the hot air in the room. He ran his hand across his arm, feeling the bump of the little scar on his arm.
"One hell of a day," he said and stepped under the shower of water falling from the wide pipe mounted on the wall. He shivered slightly as the cold water hit his body, reminding him of a time, years ago, when his mother had always told him that cold water was just water. He'd always been scared of it, but she'd made it seem the most natural thing. She was dead, for years now, and his fear of the cold water was back; even though he didn't have the choice of hot water since power was out.
He shook away the thoughts of his mother and stepped out of the bathroom. He felt relaxed now, enough to light a cigarette and relax on his bed, ready to think. The man he'd gone to meet a few hours ago was a bounty hunter, Jakob. The both of them had been partners at one time, until he quit bounty hunting. But now he'd been given a serious offer, and he was torn between his decision.
Sleeping on the couch in his own living room was a man worth millions of Daris. He was a stranger, but a damn valuable one. A bounty had been place on Adam's head; he was certain it was him – no other person had a strange tattoo and was a new comer in town, he was certain of it. That would explain why that guy had attacked them.
He puffed out a cloud of smoke and began to pace. All he had to do was take him across town, to the guild. He'd get his 60% cut for finding the bounty, the rest can hand him over and share the remaining 40%. He needed the money, and he was going to take it.
"Alright, boy, time to move," the scavenger's voice boomed and filtered into his dreams.
Adam stirred and rubbed his eyes. The scavenger, fully dressed in tight jeans and a black jacket, came into view. v
"Where are we moving to?" he asked and slowly got up. He stretched and groaned as he bones stretched. His body ached from the awkward position he'd slept on.
"Thought you wanted to find out who's after you?" the scavenger said and threw a towel on him. "The shower is that way," he said and pointed down the corridor.
"You know that message I had last night?" He asked and Adam sat upright.
"It was a tip. We might have someone who's seen something, but first you have to shower. You stink."
Adam nodded and grabbed the towel. He knew he stank, he'd not showered in a day, but the scavenger really didn't have to say it that bluntly.
Twenty minutes later, when the sky was bright, and the clouds dull, the scavenger wheeled out his bike from a shed.
"We'll need fuel," he said after tapping the fuel meter and seeing the needle leaning towards empty.
"Alright," Adam said and followed him as they moved down the street which was already full of people carrying baskets and pushing carts, and of course, yelling and fighting.
"Who's the guy?" Adam asked.
"The person with the lead you got. I mean, who is he?"
The scavenger stopped rolling the bike and turned to him, "excited, huh?"
"Not really," Adam said sincerely. "I'm just nervous, but maybe a little excited."
The scavenger gave him a distant look and then nodded. He stopped at a wooden shed which had a large oily-black drum which had 'PETROL' boldly written on it.
A young man with scruffy beard and dark, brown clothes, which Adam suspected had been white at some point, stepped out from inside the shed.
"Fuel. 200 daris." The scavenger dug into his pocket and produced some crumpled notes which he shoved into the young man's dirty palm.
The scavenger had a satisfied smile as he watched the needle point towards full.
"We're good to go," he said and turned to Adam. "The place is inside the town, that's where we'll meet him."
"Thank you," Adam said.
The scavenger looked away, “don’t mention it."
They got on the bike and zoomed off.
The scavenger began to have second thoughts as they drove deeper into town. He just needs to find out who he is, and he thinks you want to help him. His thoughts jeered at him, but then there was the other voice reminding him of what he could use half a million Daris to do.
He was still deep in his thoughts when he heard Adam's voice behind him.
The scavenger gasped and focused his eyes on something black stumblingly down the road. A tyre! He thought and squeezed the brakes while trying to avoid the rolling rubber.
"Thieves!" He yelled to Adam and tried to start his bike which had already snuffed out due to the sudden braking. It was already too late. Three men, with red cloths wrapped around their faces as masks, jumped out of the bushes surrounding the road and rushed towards them.
"Get out!" They yelled, waving heavy clubs around.
The scavenger gritted his teeth and shouted back at the men. "You get out of my way, filthy pigs!"
They did the opposite. One of them got really close and waved his club towards the scavenger. He shifted and tried to dodge the attack, succeeding partially as the blow caught him on the side of his head.
He grunted and fell to the side. The bikes handlebars bent and the bike tilted sideways, throwing its passengers onto the hard ground.
Adam rolled off the bike, lucky it hadn't fallen on his leg. The scavenger was not that lucky: his head was bleeding and the bike pressed down on his legs.
The armed men laughed and walked around them.
"Give us everything you have, including the bike," one of them said, a muscular one with a spiked club.
"Just leave us alone," Adam pleaded, breathing heavily.
"Ah, we should teach you some manners."
Adam slowly got to his feet. He winced and held his left arm, his forehead covered in sweat.
"Crying already?" one of the thieves said and touched his shoulders.
That was all it took. Adam yelled and grabbed the hand on his shoulder. He twisted it until it snapped, sending the thief howling in pain, then he smacked his throat and threw him to the ground.
The muscular thief with the spiked club attacked, and swung a blow with his weapon. Adam moved quickly to the side and watched as the thief stumbled to the ground. He grabbed the weapon from him and lowered the spiked edge on the thief's head, shattering his skull and making a mess of blood and flesh.
The scavenger watched in awe as the other thief's ran away into the bush. He watched as Adam breathed heavily and stood close to the dead thief covered in blood. He watched him drop the weapon and gasp in shock.
"How did you...you just killed that guy?" The scavenger said, clutching his bleeding head as Adam helped him up.
"I...I didn't mean to. It just happened. The tattoo, it controlled me and..."
"Don't apologize, boy. You saved my life," the scavenger said and then gasped. He glanced around and then felt a beep in his pocket; the sign from Jakob.
"What is it?" Adam asked.
"Uhm, Adam, I...uh, I think we should turn back."
But it was too late. The air was soon filled with roaring sounds as several bikes came out of nowhere and surrounded the both of them.
"What's going on?" Adam asked.
A man jumped out from one of the bikes and walked towards the scavenger. "What happened to you?" He then turned to Adam, "is this the package?"
"Jakob, leave. I'm not interested anymore," the scavenger said.
Jakob shook his head slowly. "You don't get to decide that. You'll be a rich man soon, Aaron."
"What's going on?" Adam asked, looking confused.
Jakob smiled slyly and shifted his gaze between the scavenger and Adam. "Of course he didn't tell you. There's a bounty on your head, your friend here just sold you."