Scott followed Sam's gaze up to the platform where the auctioneer was standing. The man was holding the sheet that once covered the young woman who stood next to him. She had to be in her early twenties, but the resemblance to Sam was almost uncanny. The beautiful nude woman stood there in front of the crowd shivering in shame and fright.
"This lady here will make a good maid," the auctioneer bellowed. "She is young, strong and healthy."
The auctioneer forced Mary to turn completely around for the audience. Her long black hair swirled in the air as she turned. "I am sure I do not need to describe her other qualifications," the auctioneer laughed. "I shall now begin the bidding at five rounds or one can."
Wade leaned over to Scott and whispered lowly in his ear, "Money's no good now days, so everything's price is determined by bullets or food. Rifle cartridges and human canned goods are the highest form of currency. Pistol rounds and pet food are lower. One can of human food equal five rounds of rifle ammunition."
"I bid five rounds," one man yelled.
"I have five rounds here," hollered the auctioneer.
"Two cans and five rounds," another countered.
"Those better be two cans of human not pet like you did last time, Burke," warned the auctioneer.
"Two cans human, and five rounds rifle," the man named Burke clarified.
"Twenty rounds," a third man offered.
"I have twenty rounds for this beauty. Are there any other takers?" the auctioneer worked the crowd.
"Four cans and five rounds," the first man shouted to regain the bid.
"Six cans," a big man sitting at a table near the stage bellowed before the auctioneer could acknowledge the previous bid. The crowd hushed. Scott figured that this was a rather large bid.
"I have six cans, do I have any other offers?" the auctioneer asked. The crowd remained mute.
"Will anyone give me six cans, five rounds?" the auctioneer queried the crowd.
"It is too early in the auction for me to blow money like that," a man yelled to the auctioneer. Many of his fellows nodded their heads in agreement.
"Very well, six cans going once...going twice...sold for six cans," the auctioneer concluded by draping the sheet back onto Mary's shoulders before she was escorted off the stage.
Scott marked the man who had purchased Mary before giving Sam a reassuring squeeze. Wade stared ahead towards the stage. Scott thought he heard a low throaty groan come from the stocky man.
After two and half hours of bidding, the auctioneer sold the myriad of slaves. Many of the young strong men were to be field workers, as were some of the more stout females. Most of the women however were termed 'maids' and were sold obviously to add to one's harem or as breeding stock.
What sickened Scott the most was that some of the young boys were sold to become eunuchs to serve as personal guards as they matured. He did not want to dwell on what would happen to the young girls. Scott felt an unbridled rage building in his gut. It took all of his effort to force it back down deep inside of him.
"I guess it is time to introduce you to Taylor," Wade said with a little remorse in his voice.
Scott nodded and gripped Sam's hand tightly as Wade led them forward. Scott did not want to risk losing his grip on the boy for the fear of becoming separated from him. If that happened, one of these people could mistake him for a slave.
The crowd of bidders stood around talking to each other in small groups as Wade made his way through the throng. Finally, the three made their way to the base of the raised stage where there was the table Scott noticed earlier. A small lamp burned on its surface giving off scant light. A group of four men was in deep conversation on the other side of the table when Wade approached.
Wade cleared his voice and the four men turned towards him.
"Mr. Taylor I have found a man interested in becoming one of the Anarchists," Wade continued.
Scott stepped forward and tried to make out the faces of the men in the dim light. It was difficult to see in the deep shadows.
"Very well," one of the men replied as he stepped closer to the table. "What are his qualifications?"
"He's a former member of the Reavers down in Kansas, he saved my life last night when my bike broke down on patrol, and he has personally killed a United States Scout," Wade replied.
"Wade, I need more proof than that. I am sure he saved your life, but how do I know he isn't lying about the other two?" the shadowed man named Taylor asked.
"I figure lying is a quality you would appreciate," Scott interrupted Wade. The once boisterous crowd silenced and turned their attention to the exchange between Scott and Taylor. Taylor took a step back, obvious surprised by Scott's response. Before Wade could remind Scott not to ruffle Taylor's feathers Scott added, "I cannot prove my first claim however I can the last." Scott tossed the worn steel badge at Taylor.
The dark man grabbed the badge in midair and studied it. Everyone was now paying attention to the two men. Low whispers broke out from the crowd as Taylor weighed the evidence presented to him.
"Son, I like the way you do business. Welcome aboard," Taylor said as he shot his hand out. Scott grabbed his hand and pumped it in a firm handshake.
Taylor bent forward and the light from the table revealed his broad grinning face, "I think we are going to get along just fine."
Scott hid his surprise as he stared into the smiling face of the man who had just purchased Sam's older sister.Posted by deg at October 17, 2007 6:47 PM