Some background: Anstractor was my first foray into publishing and it is a story that has a lot of "me" in it, which is why the comment "read more like a playboy’s fantasy than a scifi story" made me grin like a fool with guilt washed across my face. Lol, yeah, I am a little guilty of that with Rafian in Anstractor, but I've learned my lesson... I promise.
Please check out Susan's review on the story and narration of Anstractor. I am always looking for listeners who want to exchange a copy for review, so hit me up if you're interested in hearing it for yourself.
Anstractor is like my heart and I plan to keep adding more and more to the world. It is so flattering that people not only read but lend their thoughts to others that would read my book, so please check out Dab of Darkness and the other reviews that Susan does at the accompanying link. Have a happy Sunday!
Today the luck streak continued when my editor told me that she could fit me in before a lengthy project. Talk about timing ... whew. This means that we can call it a wrap by mid-month for the demon fighting Alysia Knight and her merry band of pixie, sword-wielding badasses.
It was fun to write urban fantasy action for a while, but now I can get back to two-timing space heroes and brain-eating lizardmen!
(Remember, book one "And Then There Were Giants" is free everywhere, including Google Play)
They traveled on legs that had given out hours before to the pain and weariness of a forty-mile stretch. It was a bright hot, cloudless, bitch of a day, and for people stuck in between towns the choice was either walk or die. The sun locked in on them like a peeping tom at a Hollywood orgy, and their world was a microwave; a big, brown, endless microwave.
The man’s name was Zeron, and he was a bounty hunter. The woman … well, she was Zenobia, a barely literate wretch that had followed him from the splintered town of Sail. The dusty, spare-of-the-moment sex that they engaged in before the Orten’s raid was still on Zeron’s mind as they walked. It was uncomfortable—since sand in the wrong places leads to cuts—and Zenobia had a persistent cough, so there was also that.
He pushed forward, the thoughts of their intimacy giving him little respite from the harsh reality that he now crossed a wasteland that many had not. He felt an itch in his groin, and as he adjusted, tugging at it through his leather-patched, cotton britches, he glanced at her, wondering if their 17 minutes of “pleasure” would mean a few days of pissing razor blades before he died.
“Unwise Zeron, very unwise.” He mumbled to himself.
“What you on about?” Zenobia said, her bushy black eyebrows knitting beneath a once-pale brow, burned brown by the cruel sun. Her face was barely visible through a mess of unruly black hair, but if you were to see it, most would agree that she was pretty—even with the dirt and the sunburnt skin.
“Why did you follow me?” He barked at her, regretting that it came out as harsh as it did, but not enough to apologize about it. “You follow every man you fuck, or am I just the lucky one?” He asked, forcing a smile to take the harshness out of his inquiry.
“Took a sweet time asking me ‘bout that didn’t you?” She whined, “It’s just like a man to stick it in and worry after. You bastard.” She lifted her dark, almond-shaped eyes to look at him intensely when she said it, but he wouldn’t look at her, it made her realize that he had a softness for her.
“I see you scratching over there. That ain’t from me. But I reckon you have me with child, the way you went on about it, no control and all that, reckless-like, like a bloody virgin sticking it in for the first time.” She watched him to see if he flinched at her insult, but he kept on marching and so she kept on talking. “So I’m going where you’re going, lov’ah. You got me pregnant and I ain’t raising no seed in this shithole alone.”
“What’s to stop me from gutting your ass and leavin’ you for the John crows circling the wasteland?” He asked, his voice taking on a forced harshness that she read immediately as an act.
“Just shut the fuck up and walk Zeron Ryan,” she said. “I know what you’re doing, and it ain’t gonna work on me.”
“You do know what I do, right?” Zeron asked after a few minutes of silence had passed between the two.
“You take me for stupid? I see the silver on your belt, I know you like to buy what you can’t afford.” She laughed. “Not much of a memory I take it.”
“Memory’s better than most, girl; what you laughing at?”
“You don’t remember sweet talking me when you came into town? Riding that dingy old sand bike like it was some sorta luxury skiff. Flashing me smiles with your silver teeth, and sloshing around water like there’s plenty.” She rolled her eyes and trudged past him to pick up the pace.
“I got you didn’t I? You dropped them pants fast when I asked you to—” He started.
“Keep thinking that was your doing if it make you feel any better. But you put a baby up in me, so now you have a partner. Fucking deal with it, man.” She said.
“So, you are actually serious?” Zeron said, as he pulled his long blonde dreadlocks back to trap them beneath his dusty vest. “I hate to break it to you, sweet thang, but the next town is it. I helped you escape them butchers, but after I collect on this job, me and you, we part ways.”
Zenobia smiled, and her chapped lips cracked painfully when she did. She grabbed her water pouch, took a swig and then replaced it on her hip and kept on walking.
“If you felt so sour with me, why’d you let me follow you out onto the road, huh?” She asked him, and he merely grunted in response.
“Wasn’t nobody sour till you opened your goddamned mouth.” He spat. She smiled again at his reaction and then decided to let him cool off before he got crazy. The black birds circled like leaves caught in a typhoon above them, and the sand beneath their feet began to feel like coals. “There’s more to you than you giving off, girl.” He finally said.
“Oh?” She replied.
“Yeah, you play a good role but I saw you back there during the scuffle. You bashed that fucker’s skull in when he reached for you.”
“Ain’t nothing special ‘bout me, Zeron, so don’t go buying me a companion bracelet just yet.” She said. “When you been through enough of that shit like I have, you learn to let that animal inside you come out. You a bounty hunter, I’m sure you seen your share. That’s why between you and me we have to make sure this boy grows up tough and ready. You know what they do to boys and—”
“You still on about that? Plus what makes you think it’s a boy?” He said.
“A mother knows, Zeron Ryan, a mother knows.” She said.
He gave up on the conversation bit when he realized that she was only intent on pissing him off. His toes felt slimy inside his boots and the sweat—those wet snakes of perspiration, born of heat and exhaustion—only added to his misery. In the distance he could see the outline of the town of Falan, and it gave him hope that they would make it after all.
Zenobia smiled when she saw it and then emptied a bit of the water into her palm. An hour ago she would not have dared to waste it, but there was Falan, and her lips had a texture that was not unlike the arid ground.
“I hear that in America they got buggies that run on nothing but air. They got the resources, but they keep it secret from dirt-eating vermin like you and me.” Zenobia said.
“That’s what you heard, huh? That’s what you heard?” he chuckled. “Who tell you that? One of those flesh-peddling scoundrels you worked for back there, or was it from some happy customer, impressing you bout the big city and the luxuries of the Invention Age?” He stretched his arms above his head and then dropped them to his sides and wiggled his fingers. His shoulders were burning and his arms felt void of circulation. When he looked down at his fingers they were swollen, and the grime around his nails reminded him of how hopeless his situation was.
“All I need to do is turn in this bounty and I can get a goddamned bath.” He mumbled to himself.
“Of course you wouldn’t believe me about America. You probably never been nowhere else but here, you dirt eater. My daddy took me to America when I was just a girl. I rode on the heated balloons, seen bikes that you don’t have to peddle, and folks was clean. You can’t even imagine it because all your life you been in the dirt!” She spat at him.
Zeron spun and swung a hand at her face with all the energy that he could muster, but the tiny woman was fast, and ducked below it to run ahead.
“Missed me, you pathetic piece of shit.” She said without looking back at him. “I hope it was worth it, using up your energy like that. You don’t like me reminding you of your ignorance, but you put a hand on me and I’ll be telling our son you ended up dying back there to them Orten raiders.”
Zeron was out of breath but he kept on marching. “I wasn’t trying to hit you, you silly wench. Just … was … trying to put my hand on that big mouth of yours. Shit girl, you ain’t stop talking since we started out.”
“You think me so stupid that I can’t tell a punch when it’s been thrown at me?” She said. “I know what it looks like, trust me. You ain’t strike me as the type but now I know. I let you in my bed again anytime soon and it will be me and this here knife.” She flicked out a cruel carving knife to let him see it.
“That’s an Orten knife. You pull it off one of them back there?” He asked.
“What you think?” She said, looking back at him through venomous, dark-brown eyes.
“I think that I ain’t taking no more swings at you. That’s what I think.” He said.
Finish up at: http://gregdragon.com/short-story-the-itch-a-post-apocalyptic-dilemma/
- HallofTheBlackDragon.comEditor in Chief, 2003 - presentA Gentleman's Lifestyle Magazine, aimed at celebrating manhood, admiring the sexiest beauties and sharing advice on relationships, business and being a man's man.
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From my profile you can see that I love women, science fiction, and really good music. What more can I say? I'm your black Buck Rogers with a Blues guitar...
Seriously though, I am an author, designer, and entrepreneur with over twenty years of experience on the worldwide web. My passion lies with creativity and building things; but while I am a business man before anything else, I am an artist at heart who loves to write.
I've written books in crime and science fiction. see my work at GregDragon.com.