A man sits on a log by a fire in a wooded area. It’s raining out. Pretty cold, too. He’s not really sure how cold, to be exact, but he knows that it’s cold enough to cause his little friend to shrink and almost crawl back inside of him. So it’s pretty damn cold. Rain bounces off of the brim of his cowboy hat as he sits, not moving a muscle. He’s in deep thought about what he’s going to do next. He knows that all of the towns north of his position have already been heavily looted and ransacked. He’s also aware that the area in which he is currently a guest is known for having raider groups. He needs food, though. He can feel the pit in his stomach growing larger and larger as each hour passes. He can go maybe one more full day without food.
A twig snaps in the distance, causing him to lunge towards his rifle. He scans the woods for a few minutes and then puts the rifle back down when he decides it must have been an animal.
“Well, I guess I’m gonna head north. What’s the worst that can happen, besides dying? That’s right, Wyatt, nothing.”
He starts heading north. Some twigs crunch as he steps through a few trees that were knocked over. He doesn’t pay any attention to the skull that lies next to one of the downed trees. It’s nothing he hasn’t seen before, and it’s not uncommon for this area. As he gets closer to the edge of the woods, he starts to hear chatter. Once he leaves the cover of the trees, he ducks behind a car that sits next to a gas station. Three men, one woman, and a child walk down the street in some sort of military-like formation. They all have weapons, heck, the kid has the biggest one.
“Well, well, well, this is about to get very interesting…”
He brings his rifle up to his shoulder and takes aim at one of the men, who is wearing a red hat. “Hey, you with the red hat!”
The group immediately spreads out and they all get into a combat stance.
“Where are you, friend?”
“Clearly somewhere where you can’t see me, friend.”
“Well, what do you want?”
“That is one very open question. I want a lot of things, but right now I could go for some food. You have any food, sir?”
“We have food, but why would we give you any?”
“Because, otherwise I’ll kill the lot of you.”
“Oh yeah? Well, buddy, there’s five of us a-”
The man with the red hat falls to the ground, blood spewing out of his head. The group freezes, clearly their whole combat formation deal was nothing but a facade.
“There’s four of you now. So, how about that food? Bald man, you’re in charge now. Gimme an answer.”
“I said give me an answer. You gonna give me some food or not?”
“We’re kind of low on food right now, I really don’t think that giving some of it to a str-”
The bald man’s body slams into the concrete, blood oozes from the wound in his chest. The group now knows for a fact where the shots came from, but are still frozen as if they have no weapons.
“Last man standing, are you going to give me an answer?”
“Yessir, you can have all of the food you want.”
“Now THAT is what I like to hear, my man. I’m gonna come out of my cover now, and I swear to god if you have a gun pointed at me I will shoot you dead where you stand.”
Wyatt moves away from the car he was using as cover and looks at the man he’s talking to. Pure hatred fills the man’s eyes. Clearly the two men that Wyatt gunned down were close to this guy. Perhaps even family. As Wyatt draws closer, the man becomes more and more uneasy.
“Where is this food, anyway? You guys look to be packing pretty light.”
“We don’t have any you son of a bitch.”
The man attempts to raise his rifle but he never gets it up. Two holes are blown through his chest and he falls back into the woman, who tries to catch him but gets taken down by his weight.
“All I wanted was whatever food you had. Now you made me kill three of you over nothing. So, woman, what now?”
She pushes her husband’s body off of her, stands up, and stares Wyatt straight in the eyes.
“Fuck you, you fucking maniac.”
“Hey now. Don’t blame me for something these other assholes did. They lied about having food, and now they’re dead. Unfortunately for you, no food means you’re of no use to me either.”
She just stares at him. Partly surprised, partly sad, partly angry. She looks back at her son. A faint smile creeps across her face right before a bullet tears through it. She falls to the ground and the boy rushes to her side. Tears stream down his face as he processes what has just happened in a matter of minutes. He suddenly feels the touch of metal on the back of his head. He closes his eyes.