“That monster was as big around as an old tree, but on its side and hurtling toward El Dorado on more wheels than most beasts have legs! It roared and belched hot blackness into the cold air and made the whole earth shake. I hid in a ditch as it passed. I don’t know if it saw me, but if it did it didn’t care. Hell Dorado has enough problems these days... I really hope there’s still a town when we get there - a warm meal sure sounds nice, and the next big town is days away.”
“You see all those figures in black come pouring out of the morgue? Musta been a couple dozen from what I could tell. And as scary as those folks looked, I’d hate to see what killed all of them.”
“I can’t wait to get to El Dorado. This craptacular caravan is great in the summer, but having no roof sucks with all this cold rain,” the driver sighed deeply and shivered.
“At least we’re getting a free shower!” His buddy in the passenger seat grinned, sniffed an armpit, and pulled his shirt off over his head. “I wanna smell nice. We gotta make a good first impression at that new cabaret place in town. I hear their prices are better than most around these parts, and their matches got looks AND skills.”
“You’re crazy!” the driver glanced over and gripped the wheel even tighter against the cold, wet, wind. “Besides, sweat don’t smell if it’s frozen solid. Put your shirt back or you’ll get sick!”
“I’m not worried about being cold for long. I plan on making some friction happen soon!” The passenger stood up in his seat and yelled out into the wind: “Get ready, matches!!! Here we come!!!”
“Did ya hear!?” Tracker asks his brother as they load up the Caravan.
“Hear what?” Seeker asks, handing another large box to the other Rover.
Tracker lifts the box and hefts it into the Caravan, wiping his brow with a handkerchief. “The Elders did it. They actually did it! They officially Shunned Aurelia. It’s a statement that our honor transcends religion and will not be intimidated. At least that’s what they said. There was a whole announcement that Nyx read to me.”
“You know that girl’s full of shit,” Seeker retorts, grabbing another box. “She loves to jerk your wheel.”
Tracker hmphs, taking the box from his brother. “Yeah, but she wouldn’t lie about something this fucking big!” he argues. Then he frowns. “Do you think she’d lie about something like this?”
Seeker remains silent for a moment, thinking to himself. “No,” he replies slowly. “I don’t.”
A Full Dead steps quietly into the bar. He says nothing, yet his visage seems to draw every eye. The bartender regards him warily.
“We don’t get many of you around here,” she says, her gaze moving over his well-dressed yet rotting form. “I’d offer you a drink, but I’m pretty sure we don’t serve what you like.”
“That’s quite all right,” the Full Dead replies, fixing her with his dead, slightly vacant stare. “I won’t be here long. I’m just looking for an old friend of mine. A...very old friend.”
The mushroom cloud rises in the distance, casting its shadow over the wastes. “Ho-lee shit,” Garrett mutters, grabbing his things and packing quickly. He knows he needs to evacuate before the hot irradiated wind makes its way to him.
He hurries into his caravan, turning the key. As usual, it takes several tries to start it. As he roars off, ahead of the hot wind, he looks back behind him. “Fucking Retrogrades,” he grumbles. “I guess the family’s staying in and playing checkers tonight.”
“I hate this shit man, sitting in a wet hole, getting mud everywhere and in my boots. Part of me wishes those damned demon lovers would just hurry up and charge, at least that way we could get it over with. That’s the way I like it, you against someone, you fight, someone dies, then you go about your life. This war shit takes too long.” “North.” “Yea?” “You’re an idiot.”
“I said no! We are not doing this!”
“Okay, fine, if it’ll shut you up. Who’s there?”
“Thrill-Kill Raiders are coming into town and are about to wake up and get really nasty!”
“That’s...that’s not even funny.”
“It’s not meant to be. I had to give you the news and I felt like annoying you.”
“I fucking hate you.”
“Do you smell that?” Johnny-Sue asks his friend.
Ricard sighs. “I don’t smell anything but the bullshit you’re about to let out,” he retorts.
“Okay, so,” Johnny-Sue continues, either ignoring or not registering Ricard’s barb. “What if...what if New Vegasia was secretly a base for the Sainthood, and they’re gonna come in at the last minute and save everybody? Nobody would see it coming. It’s the perfect disguise!”
Ricard looks up from stirring the fire. “Nobody would see it coming,” he replies slowly, “because it’s absolutely im-fucking-possible. Just like your theory about the Stonegreen being a secret bunker.”
“Secret dance bunker,” Johnny-Sue corrects. “It locks down so nobody can get in, and when it’s an inpen…impen...unable to be broken into fortress, they have a dance party. Sometimes the zombies dance outside.”
“Zombies don’t dance,” Ricard sighs. “They never dance. I have never heard of a zombie dancing. Can you please stop making the rest of us Mericans look like idiots? You’re like the poster child for Merican Du-Mas.”
“You hear what happened to the watch last night?”
“No, what?” “Apparently they were just sitting there, same as usual, the occasional shambler and whatnot, routine night, when all of a sudden! Arrows! Arrows started coming out of the dark and ripping ‘em to shreds.” “Eh, sounds like bullshit to me.” “Why?” “Who uses bows?”