The Scout

Chapter 14

By Dwayne MacInnes

Scott watched as if in slow motion the guard start to bring his assault rifle to bear on the scout. He knew he could not hope to pull his .357 Magnum from his holster in time. Not to mention killing the two guards, Wade, and the motorcyclists. They were in dire straits.

"My dad shot one of those bastards down in Wichita. He gave me this as a souvenir," Sam said to the guard.

Scott now noticed that his once shiny steel badge was now worn and dirty. He realized now what it was the boy had been working on when they first set out in the buggy.

The guard's face nearly split as he whispered, "Holy sh..."

"Damn, you are one useful S.O.B." Wade laughed.

"Now Joe you have to let him in," Wade continued. "Good against muties and U.S. Scouts that is something you don't find everyday."

The guard caught in a moment of indecision blurted, "How do we know he's not a scout?"

Wade broke into his infectious laugh again, "Are you kidding? It would be suicide for a scout to march in here. Plus, a scout would have no reason to save my sorry butt."

"I suppose you are right. OK, you may enter, but he's your responsibility Wade. Anything, and I mean *anything funny* happens and it is on your head.

"You better to take him to Taylor. He'll decide whether to sign him up or not."

The guard returned to the gate and pulled it open. Scott restarted the buggy and pulled it into the battered town.

Wade acted as navigator as Scott attempted to negotiate the broken roads. The town that once housed over 6,000 people before the Big Bang now was a former shadow of itself. Since that fateful day over a decade ago, it had fallen into decay. Several wooden structures had burned down, and some brick buildings had collapsed. However, it was evident that some urban renewal was taking place. The roads were clear and those buildings that had withstood the test of time were in good repair.

After a few minutes of driving, Wade had Scott pull the buggy into a parking lot on the north side of town. The lot belonged to an old warehouse that sported several rough looking guards. Scott noticed many motorcycles, buggies, and various automobiles parked in the lot.

Wade climbed out of the buggy after the engine died and stretched his thick limbs. Sam scampered out of his cramped area and seemed no worse for wear as he scanned the surrounding area in awe. Scott walked over to Wade patting some of the road dust off his faded denim jacket and leather pants.

Wade smiled as Scott neared, "This is where Taylor will be found. I have to warn you of a couple of things first. One is that Taylor is second in command; Moose Van Dyke is the real leader here. But Taylor is in charge of recruiting so try not to ruffle his feathers. Secondly, you may want to leave the boy near the buggy. This building is a slave pen. I don't think your son will want to see what happens inside.'

Scott thought about it for a second, "No, Sam comes along. I want him with me until...I'm more comfortable with our situation."

Wade chuckled, "Fair enough."

The trio walked across the broken asphalt toward the large building. There were loading docks off to one side and a doublewide door off to the other. Two burley guards, who resembled Hells Angels, stood in front of them with their M-16s at the ready.

"What's up Wade?" one of the large men grunted.

"I've brought a recruit for Taylor," Wade smiled.

"It may be a little while before you can see him. The auction is about to begin."

"That's fine, maybe I'll find something I like," Wade laughed.

"Yeah right," sneered the other guard. "You never bid on anything. Some folks say you don't like slaves."

"Well, that's my problem," Wade said instantly going from jovial to gruff. "Nothing says I have to like it and nothing says I have to own any."

"As long as it remains nothing," warned the first guard. "You and your friends may enter."

The interior was dank and dusty. The only light came from torches and lanterns situated inside. There were some pens made of chain link fencing at the back of the warehouse. In front of the pens was a large stage where a man stood describing the bidding rules in a loud voice to the audience of over hundred people between Scott and the stage.

Scott sucked inwardly as he noticed the people in the pens. The pens appeared to separate the slaves by age and sex. All wore only a sheet or robe. The gaunt faces looked forlornly out from behind the metal barrier.

"Today we have three beauties up for bid," the auctioneer bellowed from the stage. Scott was not paying too close attention he was busy scanning the cage containing a small group of girls running in ages from about five to eighteen. He was about to nudge Sam if to see if he recognized any of them when he felt a tug on his arm.

Scott looked around and noticed Sam. His face was red with rage and he was staring at the stage. "It's Mary," he hissed between clenched teeth.

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This page contains a single entry by Douglas Gogerty published on October 10, 2007 7:36 PM.

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