The Scout

Chapter 10

By Dwayne MacInnes

"How did you survive in Wyndmere?" Scott asked the young boy.

"We still had some areas that weren't completely blown away. We could grow some crops and the water wasn't bad either," Sam replied distantly looking out the windshield.

"I guess I never made it to your neck of the woods. I just assumed all of the land was blasted and blown like here."

"Most of it is. That is why it is important that we grow what food we could. The wasters wouldn't bother us if we gave them some of our food."

"I never thought of that. I guess that explains why the wasters survive so well up here. Normally the parasites like to live in warmer climes and just raid the communities that survived the Big Bang."

"Pa said they used to do that, but many people started to leave or were killed so raiding wasn't so good anymore. Then the wasters made many people move to the towns and start to farm. As long as we had food to give them, they wouldn't bother us. But, if we didn't they would sell everyone off into slavery."

"Is that why your family left? Because the crops failed," Scott continued.

"Yes, but the wasters don't allow people to leave towns. Pa was hoping to find a new home somewhere else without the wasters noticing. Other people have done it," Sam became quiet and withdrawn after this. Scott knew that the wounds of losing his family were still too fresh. Even in a time when losing loved ones was common it did not lessen the pain.

"So you ever hear of the ‘land piranha's'?" Scott asked changing the topic as he drove southwardly down the rough road formerly known as Highway 8 towards South Dakota.

"Yeah, I heard of them. But, I never seen them. Aren't they a bunch of squirrels?" the boy responded.

"You're close they are actually roving packs of Chihuahuas," Scott glanced over at Sam noticing the question in his eyes. "Small dogs, they were annoying before the Big Bang. Now they are deadly. I don't know what, but something changed them. So now, down in Mexico and Arizona you have these packs of dogs…packs of over a hundred little mean dogs that can devour a buffalo in a matter of sixty seconds."

"Yeah right, mister," Sam snorted in disbelief.

"No really, I've seen it myself. Hell, I didn't even believe in muties until I saw one myself and you know they are real."

Sam nodded in agreement.

Ping! Ping! Ping!

Scott shot a glance at his monitor. Following behind the Charger was a two-person dune buggy. The driver was accelerating and weaving the light vehicle through the wreckage on the road. The passenger was firing a .30 machinegun mounted in front of him. Fortunately, the ammo was still of a small enough caliber that as long as it hit the armor the Charger would be fine.

Nonetheless, a lucky shot from the automatic weapon could still seriously damage the scout's vehicle. Scott was not about to let that happen. He stomped on the accelerator and the Charger surged forward on the torn-up highway as the M-60 chewed up the concrete behind the car.

Sam's face paled, his last run in with the wasters had left his parents dead and his sister abducted. The young boy gripped the dash with white knuckles. His jaw clenched tight in fear.

The scout started to weave the car back and forth in hopes of throwing off the pursuers' aim. However, the buggy was a much more maneuverable vehicle and could easily keep up. An occasional ping off the armor audibly reminded Scott of that fact.

Scott also knew that trying to turn the Charger around to face the buggy would be futile. The buggy could easily stay on the muscle car's tail and fire away at its rear armor. Alternatively, the buggy could just also drive off road with ease and snipe at the Charger's side. No, Scott's plan of attack would need to rely on something in the Charger's favor. In this case, the scout figured it would have to be its weight.

Scott started to aim for debris and wreckage on the battered road that he could plow through that might ensnare the buggy. Unfortunately, what large obstacles Scott encountered would just explode or fly away once the Charger smashed into it. The net result was that Scott was actually clearing a path for the buggy that was still firing burst after burst at the car.

The scout desperately searched for something that would work in his favor. So far, the buggy had the advantage. The only redeeming thing was that the gunner still had not been able to get that lucky hit to incapacitate the Charger. Thank God, the buggy did not have an M-2 or a grenade launcher or the battle would already be over

Sweat was starting to stream into Scott's eyes; he wiped his brow with his left arm while wildly cranking the steering wheel left and right. Scott scanned the horizon for anything that might work to his advantage. Then he saw it, an old off-ramp leading to some small dead town.

The Charger was easily doing 120 miles per hour with the buggy keeping pace. The engine on the light off-road vehicle was definitely not stock. The horsepower on the small block engine may just be too much for the dune buggy Scott figured.

At the last minute, just before passing it Scott quickly cranked the wheel hard to right. The Charger barely managed to make it onto the off-ramp. Caught off guard the driver on the buggy tried to correct his mistake in anticipating the scout's move. Unfortunately, the buggy was a second too late in matching the Charger in reaction. As a result, the fast but light vehicle caught the left embankment of the off-ramp flipping the buggy into the air.

Scott watched in amazement as the buggy corkscrewed in the air towards the Charger. Just before the unguided projectile hit the muscle car, Scott made a hard right turn onto an intersecting road. The buggy instead plowed into the ground and now started to flip end over end down the off-ramp kicking up a cloud of loose concrete and smoke. The buggy finally came to rest as it slammed into the wooden front of an old store.

The scout slowed down his Charger and started to head back towards the wreckage of the dilapidated building that was now billowing smoke. Sam looked over at the driver and began to pant. He was now just remembering to breathe again.

"What are you doing?" the young boy asked between breaths.

"If we are lucky I think I found our ticket into Sturgis."



I read your blog often, mr. douglasg, but I don't comment, don't know why, but I will from now on.
I do care as well.

Thanks for coming and commenting. I was a bit facetious when I mentioned in on MNSpeak, but it is good to know that people occasionally read the stuff here besides Dwayne and me...

Another commenter from MNSpeak. I think your stories will be good to check out while at work, pretending to be busy. So... thanks for existing!

I hope you enjoy them Jane. We appreciate all comments. So, if you like something or hate something, let us know. We're always looking to improve. Thanks for coming by!

I actually like your analogy to the pack of chihuahua's, first because you spell the word correctly, and two, because it is my nickname - kinda struck a chord with me.

Your writing really brings out the bleak view of North Dakota, which is just like my experience driving through Fargo one early winter morning recently.

As you can tell I've made the MN to MT and vice versa run way too many times myself. I prefer Amtrack especially when it passes through ND at night.

It has been an old joke of mine that in the old days packs of chihuahuas roamed the southwest and could skeletonize a bison in 60 seconds. They were known as land piranhas.

Thanks for commenting. I hope you enjoy the story.

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This page contains a single entry by Douglas Gogerty published on September 12, 2007 6:14 PM.

"The Lost Wizard" - Sorcerer Cyrus - Third Tale was the previous entry in this blog.

"Commander Joe: Chapter One" - Part 5 is the next entry in this blog.

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