The Scout

Chapter 11

By Dwayne MacInnes

Scott removed wooden plank after plank. The buggy had done a great job of burying itself inside the partially collapsed building. After a few minutes of hard work, Scott finally reached the buggy. The vehicle laid upside-down half immersed in rubble; the occupants were bloody and torn remnants of human beings. The scout cursed to himself as he did a quick survey.

For the most part the buggy was still intact. The engine was relatively undamaged, just a thrown belt and some loose hoses. The frame was a little twisted and a few of the welds on the roll-cage were broken. Scott could fix these minor things in a day or two with the proper tools. However, the rear axle was broken and the driver's side rear wheel had completely broken off.

Time was not a factor on their side if Scott hoped to get to Sturgis in time to save Mary. It would take just a few days alone to repair the axle and replace the wheel by himself. Again, that was if Scott had the proper tools, which Scott did not. There was always the small chance that some tools remained in a garage or gas station. However, that was unlikely for the wasters immediately would have looted the town for such equipment.

The scout had really been hoping to use the buggy to get into Sturgis. Going in with the Charger would have been suicide. It was clearly a scout vehicle and though it was better armed and armored than the wasters, the gang of thugs could easily overwhelm Scott with their sheer numbers.

Sam reached out and placed a hand on Scott's shoulder bringing the scout out of his musings. Scott looked over at Sam with a reassuring smile. Scott hoped that he could project some hope into the boy. Sam's face suddenly took on a look of horror. Scott twisted his head in the direction of whatever was scaring Sam.

Six large men with long beards and assault rifles aimed at the pair were standing in the open wall. They looked like hillbillies with their unkempt beards, dirty overalls, and menacing looks. The only thing out of place was the fact that they carried M-16s and AK-47s instead of muzzle loading rifles.

"What do we have here, Brent?" asked one of the men.

"I'd say we found ourselves some lost souls," replied the man supposedly called Brent.

"One of ‘em looks like a scout," said the first.

Brent sniffed and looked coolly at Scott. "Well, I guess we better take care of them."

Scott was about to launch himself into a suicide leap at the one he perceived to be Brent and therefore the leader when he heard him say:

"How can we help you boys?"

Scott blinked his eyes and his mouth dropped in surprise. This was the last thing he expected to hear.

Brent broke into a loud laugh that instantly infected the other five men. "Who'd you think we were, wasters?"

Scott relaxed and started to laugh himself. By some divine luck, he stumbled upon some friendly people.

Brent held out his hand and grabbed Scott's in strong firm handshake. The big man continued to talk as he nearly pumped Scott's arm out of his socket. "We're Anderson Brother's Salvage. Finding a scout out here was the last thing we expected to find."

Scott relayed his story about opening a path to the Twin Cities and that now his quest was to help Sam rescue his sister. The six men eagerly agreed to help the scout fix up the buggy and offered to hide the Charger in a nearby Post Office.

What would have taken Scott a matter of days or a week by himself they accomplished in only few hours. The six Salvagers had all the necessary tools packed in the back of the two full ton pickup trucks that they used for their scavenging. Soon the buggy was nearly as good as new. They even painted the buggy with a gray primer to help disguise it. Scott transferred some .30 ammo to reload the almost empty M-60 and then placed his .30-06 hunting rifle in the back of the buggy.

"Yeah, it would not do you any good to walk into the Anarchist's camp with one of their patrol buggies," Brent said while they ate a light dinner.

Scott looked at Brent questioningly, "Anarchist?"

"Yep, that's the name of the wasters who run this part of the area. A dangerous lot they are. We saw that buggy drive by on patrol yesterday. With the storm last night, it is possible that the Anarchists will think it was lost. Plus, with that patrol out of commission we can extend our salvage operation another day before the Anarchist send out a search party."

"What are Salvagers?" Sam enquired of the large man.

"We are. That is to say, that is how we make our living. With the world gone to pot a few of us more adventurous entrepreneurs will scavenge the Wastes looking for things they can use back in the U.S."

"But you guys have factories, right?" the boy asked.

"Sure we do. But, production still isn't what it was and the demand outstrips supply. This makes many things very expensive. We are able to help with the supply by salvaging things out here and selling them back in the States at a slightly less cost than a new one from a factory. There are big profits to be had out there if you are willing to take the risks.

"Anderson Brothers Salvage is the most successful salvaging operation out there. We use our wits and avoid the wasters as much as we can. Part of that is to study and know who those wasters are."

"Why are you hiding Scott's car in a Post Office?" Sam asked taking on a new line of thought.

Brent laughed, "Easy there isn't anything in those Post Offices that a waster would want so it's the perfect hiding place. Now it's my turn to ask a question," Brent turned his attention to Scott. "When do you expect to take off?"

"Right after we finish eating," Scott replied.

"Then you better take this," Brent tossed Scott a dirty, faded, and worn denim jacket that said, ‘Anderson's Garage' on the back. "Wouldn't do to have you walk into Sturgis looking like a scout would it?"

| 2 Comments

2 Comments

Interesting! Look forward to the next chapter!

Thanks for the comment. I hope you are enjoying the story.

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This page contains a single entry by Douglas Gogerty published on September 19, 2007 6:48 PM.

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