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Devil's Valley: The Oasis Beyond

By Donovan Gordon All Rights Reserved ©

Adventure / Action

Blurb

North and South America have been stricken with voracious totalitarianism; stripping citizens of freedom and silencing those who dare to oppose. The mysterious leader of the Americas, once in power, began attacking other countries and continents around the globe in an attempt to assimilate them into one massive super nation. The operation was a colossal failure, the ensuing conflict ravaging the Earth, destroying entire countries and killing millions. Thermonuclear warfare devastated the planet’s surface, erasing most of the water, nearly snuffing out humanity. The world’s governments dissolved, leaving only the surviving scavengers to fend for themselves amongst this continually deteriorating world. Those unlucky enough to be alive fight for what little remains of the fresh water and edible food. The story follows Sheldon and his slightly-off friend Bailey as they venture through this dangerous, Mad Max-like wasteland in search of a legendary oasis said to exist somewhere in the devilish valley within which they reside; a place that might just save them both from the radioactive desert they are forced to call home.

Chapter 1

Sand and dust sputtered out from beneath the madly spinning tires as the small car ripped across the pale desert face. Quickly closing in from behind were three old pickup trucks, baring their massive shark-like grill jaws as they approached. The spiny car sped just out of their reach, swerving this way and that, kicking up rocks and dirt.

“Dammit!” the driver spat through his red hockey mask, “They’re gaining on us! Drop some caltrops on ’em!”

“We’ve been out for a week, you know that!” the passenger yelled over the roar of the engine.

“Then get back there and start shooting, we can’t let ’em reach us!”

The passenger hastily climbed out of his seat, crawling through the miscellaneous rags and supplies as he grabbed for the handles of the rear-mounted launcher. Flipping up the crosshairs, he loaded a steel round into the chamber, feeling the satisfying click of the priming mechanism as he pulled the massive bolt back. He fired the projectile, startling the driver of the nearest truck as it flew through the windshield. Losing control, the pickup swerved to the left, running over a slanted rock, soaring into the air and crashing face-first into the sand. The other two vehicles continued on in pursuit, flames spewing from their long vertical exhaust pipes as they rushed closer.

“Eat this, Sharks!” The passenger shouted, letting loose with another bolt. The shot wedged its way into one of the hinges of the closest truck’s metal mouth, leaving it permanently open. Angered, the oncoming 4x4 drove up beside the speeding car, giving it a swift broadside, popping its own tires as it impacted the Neon’s spiky flank. The truck slid onto its side and flipped over, flinging its driver from its open sunroof.

“Don’t these dumbasses understand the concept of spikes?” the passenger laughed, reloading the launcher.

“The Valley Shark boys make up for in brawn what they lack in brains,” the driver replied, “That’s what makes ’em fun.”

The sounds of scraping and clanging steel were heard as the final Shark approached, opening and snapping its jaws menacingly. A long sheet metal-plated ladder extended from its roof, its hooked ends ready to snag the car’s sharp bumper.

“They’re bringin’ out the boardin’ ladders!” the passenger shouted over the wind, “What do you think they’re hoping to find?”

The driver reached down to his left, snagging a half-full beer bottle, “A drink, perhaps?”

He reached for the cigarette lighter, igniting the bottle’s cloth tip, “Maybe even...a cocktail?”

The passenger took the explosive as his friend handed it over, flinging it at the windowless front of the approaching pickup. Flaming shards of glass splattered across the truck’s exposed dash, setting fire to everything inside. The blazing vehicle drove into a deep ditch, throwing off those riding in the back.

“Hell yeah!” the Neon driver cheered jubilantly, pulling a 180, “That was a pretty epic throw.”

“Thanks,” his friend replied, crawling back into the front passenger seat, “I learned from the best.”

“Ha-ha, thanks man.”

“Not you, Bailey…” the passenger remarked sarcastically, “I was obviously talking about that one dude who chucked the Molotov at the killer robot in 9…duh.”

The young man laughed, bringing the car to a stop, “Ah, Sheldon, you never change.”

The two friends stepped out of the porcupine-like car, observing the crashed Valley Shark pickup lying in its sandy grave. The thick dirt and dust had snuffed out the flames, the unconscious bodies of the Sharks strewn about like filthy ragdolls.

Not wanting to waste any time, Sheldon started for the truck, “Well, let’s see what they’ve got…”

Suddenly, without warning, one of the Sharks rose to his feet, swinging his scrap sword wildly at the bulky young man who stepped back, narrowly dodging the attacks. The bearded curmudgeon lunged forward, slashing at Sheldon with animalistic ferocity. Running up from behind, Bailey leapt into the air, landing both feet on the man’s back, giving him a mouthful of sand as he fell forward, face planting into the ground. The gangster quickly snagged a nearby rock, bashing it into Bailey’s knee as he got back up, causing him to collapse back into the sweltering earth. Sheldon reached up, catching the hilt of the road pirate’s blade before he had a chance to deliver the finishing blow. In one swift movement, he brought his gloved fist down onto the Shark’s right temple, knocking him out instantly.

“Desert Shark scumbag…” Bailey groaned, limping to his feet, “They better have something good in there.”

Sheldon rummaged through the bed of the truck, retrieving a tin ammo box and an old satchel.

“See what’s in there.” he said, passing the box to Bailey as he unzipped the bag.

“A few rags...a flint… Oh, sick! Found a couple of shells.” The young man exclaimed, holding up three buckshot rounds.

Sheldon’s eyes widened, “Nice! They might even have a shotgun hidden in there somewhere.”

“On it!” Bailey responded, diving face-first into the back seat of the pickup.

“Dude…they totally have granola.” The young scavenger called out, digging deep into the satchel.

“Hell yeah, they do!” came Bailey’s muffled voice from inside the vehicle, “I found some snake jerky, too, and…yep, there’s a shotgun. Man, this is a hell of a score!”

“You know, say what you will about the Sharks,” Sheldon put forth, shoving a thick tube down the open gas hatch, “They have some pretty good stuff.”

“You said it."

Quickly and efficiently, the two scavengers siphoned out what remained of the truck’s tank, and then hopped back into the rusty Neon, spitting up patches of dirt and rock as they sped off back towards the city ruins.

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