The Scout

Chapter 9

By Dwayne MacInnes

A muffled sob brought Scott back to consciousness. On the seat next to him was the small boy. He lay curled in a fetus position with his back toward Scott. The boy shook with each sob.

Scott rubbed the sleep from his eyes and noticed that the morning sun had risen behind him from the East. With any luck, he would be back in the restored United States by nightfall or the next morning at the latest.

The scout reached out to the boy and touched him. The boy instantly became aware of his surroundings and jumped back against the door. The fear in his wide tearful eyes told Scott that the lad did not trust him.

"Easy kid, I'm one of the good guys," Scott said with a smile.

The boy just stared at Scott and shook with fear. He sniffed a couple of times, wiped his nose, but he did not respond in any other way.

"Look here, I'm a scout," Scott said as he showed the young boy his steel badge.

The expression on the boy's face instantly changed. Awe and wonder replaced the fear in the boy's eyes.

"No Fooling?" the boy finally said in a small voice. "I heard of you guys. But, I always thought it was just a story."

"Yep, I'm the genuine article," Scott continued with his smile still intact. "So, what is your name? Mine is Scott."

"I'm Sam."

"Well Sam, how about a little breakfast?"

The boy nodded his head. Scott noticed how thin and dirty the boy was. There were not any showers around and he could not afford to waste water on cleaning up Sam. But, he could at least feed the kid. Scott rummaged through his supplies next to the fuel tanks in the backseat and produced an MRE.

"Looks like spaghetti and meatballs," Scott tossed the boy the Meal Ready to Eat package. The boy wasted no time in opening the brown package and devouring the contents.

"When was the last time you had something to eat?" Scott asked as he observed the boy licking the remaining sauce off the packaging.

Sam just continued licking as he shrugged his shoulders. Finally, after he consumed every morsel he began to talk.

"Ma and Pa were traveling from our old home in Wyndmere to find a new one somewhere else. We were low on food and Pa heard that one of the other towns may have some to spare. Sis and I hadn't had anything to eat in a couple of days and for Ma and Pa it was longer."

Suddenly, Sam stopped speaking and began to cry as the memory of his ordeal replayed itself in his memory. "We…we were attacked by wasters. They shot up the car real bad and Pa crashed," Sam choked out between sobs. "We were all thrown out of the car in the wreck. Ma and Pa didn't move and looked real bad. I heard the motorcycles coming so I…I crawled out into the field to hide. I noticed Mary, that's my sister, getting up.

"I was going to tell her to hide too, but the wasters saw her and grabbed her. All I did was hide. I should have done something but I didn't know what to do. By that time I lay down on the ground and I don't remember anything else."

"You took a nasty spill. I found you just before a radioactive storm hit."

Sam's eyes nearly bugged out of his head hearing this. Everyone knew that exposure to a radioactive storms turned people and animals into muties. Hair would fall out of the body from the severe radiation sickness. Skin would blacken and crack from the radiation cooking it. Open, bloody sores would instantly cover the body and the mind would become twisted in a mixture of madness and pain. Muties tended to live short but violent lives. They would wail and moan in torment and any living thing crossing their paths would be the focus of their fury. If a pack of muties did not finish you off, their radiation would either kill you or turn you into a mutie as well.

Sam looked down at his feet thinking. Scott did not disturb the boy. Instead, he took the time to eat an MRE himself. Scott was nearly finished with his breakfast when the boy looked over at him.

"Mister, I know Ma and Pa didn't make it, but do you think you could help me find Mary?"

Scott nearly choked at he boy's request. "I wouldn't know where to begin, kid."

"They took her to Sturgis. That's their main camp, and they sell everyone they capture in the Wastes there as slaves."

"Sturgis? Sturgis, South Dakota? Look here kid I'm on an important mission and I need to get back to Montana. I can't go down to the Black Hills."

Sam began to open his door. "Fine, I'll go myself!" he shouted as he began to climb out.

Scott reached over and pulled Sam back into the car. "Ok, kid. It is against my better judgment and it will probably land me in hot water back at HQ. But, I will help you find your sister."

The Geiger began to click again. "Sam shut the door looks like there are some muties heading our way."

Before Sam could slam the door shut, Scott already had the Charger started and heading down the ravaged road.

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This page contains a single entry by Douglas Gogerty published on September 5, 2007 7:18 PM.

"The Lost Wizard" - Jaime the Bard - Third Tale was the previous entry in this blog.

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