The rays of the setting sun refract as soon as they strike the bullet holes in the windshield, and they cast even more dazzling colors down upon cracked leather upholstery. Max has no idea how long the wrecked RV has been sitting here, on its side in the ravine, but it will make a comfortable enough shelter for the night.

Stick figure drawings of two children and two adults are tacked to the walls, drawn by the hand of a child and faded with time. It is likely that a family once called this vehicle their home. They might have loved one another here, and dreamed of a better world. The signs of love still linger in the place. Well made custom cabinets, clearly designed to hold cooking implements lay cracked open near the remnants of a gas stove. Fold out bunk beds lean out from the wall that now functions as the RV’s ceiling, their hinges rusted and cracked.

Max almost feels bad harvesting the springs from the bunk beds folding mechanisms. But no matter how much love went into this vehicle, that love died with the people that lived here.

The RV can’t be spotted from the road above, it’s hidden by the overgrown chaparral, but Max hunkers down and makes sure that he is not visible through the windshield, just in case. There are a number of bandit gangs in the territory, and he doesn’t really have a lot of salvage to give them in tribute if they make a stink.

Max runs his hands over the remains of the bunk beds.

What had this family been like? One of the kids loved art, that’s for sure, and someone designed some custom features for this rig, someone made it beautiful, made it personal. They must have been driving on the road above, when someone tried to take what they had.

Maybe it was Charlie Company, or the Death’s Head, or goons from the Garlic Kingdom, or…a billion other people. People like that, they are all just bandits of one stripe or another.

Max thinks of the violence and selfishness that ended the lives of this beautiful little family, and he has to remind himself that it isn’t even the bandits that are the enemy.

It’s scarcity.

Hunger and desperation make monsters out of small minded folk, out of people that are too weak to hope for something better. Max checks the action on his pistol and puts it under the duffle he’s using as a pillow, then he puts his rebar sword within easy arm’s reach as he settles in for the night.

So many people he loves have dreams of the before time. When humans flew through the skies, and lived in towers of glass and steel. They dream of the technology, the computers, the healing, the robots, the…ease with which humans went about their lives.

But that’s not what Max dreams about. Long ago, people learned how to combat scarcity, and he knows that it can be done again.

This doesn’t need to be a wasteland. One day it won’t be. One day, it will be something special. One day.

For now he sleeps, and dreams big dreams.

Leave a Reply