Monday, October 25, 2010

The Greenway Part 1; titled SIX

My name is Six. I live in the outer- reaches of the City known as Traders. It started off as a safe haven for the few of us who made it through the war. For a while, we felt human again. That was until the Trackers took over. The ones lucky enough to survive out here are considered scrappers. That's me, I'm a scrapper. I take a trip into Traders once a month to get water and gas, the two most important commodities on the planet right now.

It doesn't matter what time of day it is, the outer- reaches are always full of noise. Even in the middle of the night, people out here think they have to be somewhere other than home. Who can blame them? Every night, I sit on the roof of the broken down building I live in, and watch all the idiots go about their lives. Most of them don't realize or care that the Trackers are growing in numbers. Rumors about the Greenway have been spreading for a while now. Most of them are thought to be just stories of dark and torturous fantasies.

The girl who just exited the building, she's trouble. They call her 97. I've watched her take credits from men on a daily basis. She climbs into the car for about a half an hour and then pulls her skirt down on the way out. I assume she counts her credits before the deed is done. A girl's gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, but you better watch yourself around her. She'll rob you blind with a kiss.

There's a punk kid who lives two floors down. He sells drugs for credits on the corner so he can live, because his mom is too busy hitting the pipe herself to give him anything he needs. I feel bad for the kid because it's not like he has a choice. We all do what we hafta to survive.

“3, why are you out so late? Get inside,” I yelled down to her.

She looked up at me with a defiant look on her face then shrugged her shoulders and went up to the room we were in. I’ve been watching out for her since she was a toddler. I found her abandoned in the room we live in now. She was in a wooden box, and like me, she was alone. Today she had purple hair; yesterday it was neon green. I have no idea what it’ll be tomorrow.

I looked at my pack of smokes. Damn it, almost out. I forgot to stop down at the market and grab a pack. Doesn't matter, the store is open all night. I walked through the door leading back inside. The torches lighting the hallway didn't bother me as much as the stench from some of the dirty rotten bastards who lived in this building. I guess using an out-house was too much for some of them. I swear I'm going to shoot the next person I catch pissing in my building.

I jumped across the missing stairs with ease. I'm not worried about the jump or even falling. It's the land at the bottom that will hurt if one of the stairs breaks during my jump. I walk out the door and down the steps. The toxic smell of burning rubber filled the air. No doubt the smoke came from Trader’s. They use old tires to make the power for the lights there. It’s a god awful smell, but I guess if it works, oh well. Health isn’t exactly the main concern now a day.

"Hey Six, how's it going?" 97 asked. She looked about as strung out as you can get just before you kick the bucket. Too bad really, she was probably a beauty at one time. The streets here did a number on her.

"Fine," I said.

"Well, how would you like a little-" she started to say.

"You know better than to ask. Besides, when was the last time you had a med check?" I asked.

"That's our secret," she said. She winked at me with her long fake lashes.

I walked down the cracked sidewalk to the market. It’s kind of a funny to call a single store the market. It was named by the old ones who were here before. It reminded them of a time when things were easier. He has his steal cage around the cash register all the time now. I remember when I was a kid he would raise it during the day. Today, it's just safer to hide behind the bars of steal.

"How's it going Six?" 149 said.

"It's goin," I said.

"Need a pack?" he said.

"Yeah," I said.

"Kind of eerie tonight. Too quiet. Troublesa comin," he said.

"Yeah, I heard. They're rounding us up and sending us up the Greenway," I said.

"Bad deal for those who are taken. I hear they do things, unspeakable things to those who are taken," he said.

“Unspeakable or not, 3 and I are leaving soon,” I said. “You should do the same.”

“Where are these old bones gonna go?” 149 asked.

“Yeah, that’s what I’ve been thinking about. Where to go,” I said.

Just the thought of going to the greenway was enough to make me want to pack up and leave now. There are a lot of sick people in charge of Traders. They each have a different fantasy and they have enough credits to pay for what they want. A pretty thing like 3 would sell for millions on the market for the greenway. I couldn’t risk some sick son of a bitch wanting to rape her hard and fast. The image of a huge sweaty fat man with a knife in his hand, carving her in little sections, flashed in my head. All the while, she’s alive and feels all of it. It happens. I know it does. I watched them take a body out of the Greenway a week ago, pretty little thing; just like 3. I heard her face and tits were kept as trophies. I don’t know if that’s true, but I’m not waiting around to find out.

Lost in my own thoughts, I didn’t hear the truck creep around the corner. Spot lights shined in my face and the sirens sounded. Running across the street, I pulled out my guns and fired at the lights on the truck. I didn‟t hit a single thing. 3 called out from the window above me.

“6, are you ok?” she yelled.

“Get inside, hide!” I yelled up.

I couldn’t stay hidden behind the wall forever. I took a few deep breaths in and readied myself for the fight. With both guns blazing bullets past them I raced to the other side of the street. A couple of the Trackers fell out of the truck. They aimed their sites at me. That’s just what I wanted. I ran across the alley and into the building adjacent to mine. There I found the stairs and ran up them as fast as I could. ‘I have to get to the roof.’ I thought.

Unable to run faster, I just missed being shot more times than I cared to count. My heart pounded against my chest. My lungs felt heavy. I heard the homemade Gatling firing shots. What could they possibly think they would be able to round up by firing that at us? The building chipped and shattered behind me with each step I took. Just when I reached the roof, the gun stopped. I don’t know why.

I knew something was coming last week when I saw the body of the dead girl. Something sick was paying big. I had a bag ready for 3 and I along with extra ammo stashed on the roof. Who would think to look in an old building under a piece of the roof that was coming off for something of value? People don’t think today. I was counting on that.

“3,” I yelled.

“6, help me!” she screamed.

“Get the board, you know what to do,” I yelled across to her.

I waited for what seemed like an eternity for 3 to show up with the board. She tossed it across as a bridge. Every steady step shook the board. Trackers saw the bridge above them and shot at the board to make it fall. I took out my automatic and fired rounds at them. The board slipped from beneath her and she started to fall towards the ground. I grabbed her by the foot and pulled her up to me. “No time for thank yous, Come on, we gotta go.”

3 stayed behind me. It wouldn’t be long before they found us. They had already gathered up a few people from the broken down building I lived in. Damn it pissed me off too. I have known most of the people they’re taking for a long time-too many years to count really. We headed to the fire escape. A thought occurred to me, ‘Did they intend it to be an escape from gun fire when they named it?’ We landed safe on the ground. I watched for a moment from around the corner.

3 tugged on my shirt. “Come on. Let’s go. Please,” she said.

We walked out into the night, hugging the walls as we went along until we reached the warehouse. The screams and gunfire could still be heard a few blocks away. I flipped the release switch to turn off the traps. I could hear the sirens getting closer. I put the cage down on the side car and climbed on the bike. A couple of revs and it started. She purred like she wanted to be driven. Crashing through the walls in front of me, we sped out of the warehouse. The pieces from the crash dropped to the ground. If it wasn’t for the gunfire, it would have echoed through the outer-reaches.

One of the Trackers trucks raced after us. I pulled out a sawed off shot gun and blasted at the truck. The tires blew out on the right hand side and flipped the truck. I stopped the bike and got off. There was a Tracker trying to get out of the truck. I wanted to shoot him, but I couldn’t with 3 watching me. She’s seen too much already. I hit him with the butt of the gun and walked back to the bike. We sped off into the night without looking back.

Deep inside the single thought gnawed at me. ‘That’s going to be a mistake. I should’ve killed him.’

What’s done is done. That’s all there is to it. There is nothing else to say. 3 is safe for the moment. We both are. I know it won’t be the end of the Trackers. The greenway will call from all around. Now, I just have to figure out where to go.


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