Madoc “Lucky” Lee
So…it was true what everyone was saying. The city really was locked in.
Lucky stood in front of the fifth blockade that he had seen that day, towering overhead, completely sealing the street off from the outside of the city. The military had disappeared. People had gone underground. There were rumors of attacks, evidence of riots, and food had become scarce. He scratched his head, his shaggy black hair in need of a good wash. How long had it been since the city had run normally? Two weeks? Three?
It felt like an eternity.
Well, there was no way to get over those walls, topped with entropic disruptor, no matter how agile he was. If things really were becoming desperate, then he was going to need to figure out what his next steps were.
He found the window kicked in of a Quick-N-Pick, and slipped inside. Even in the daylight, it was still better to stay in the shadows. He found a handful of food stuffs, as well as some bandages, some antiseptic, and some clean socks. He stuffed them all into his bag, and headed back out the window. The store owner wasn’t going to miss them, anyway. If he was even still alive.
Lucky moved across the city, down the streets, sticking to the walls and the alleys. The places that were once the most dangerous had become the best places to hide. The rotting brains of the “Crazies” didn’t think to check there. He found himself in the middle of one of the more prominent commerce districts of the city. He knew it was the most direct way back to Gadget’s auto shop, but it left him very exposed.
He was surprised to see self-driving cars still parked in spots as if their operator were just inside their office, putting in their nine to five day. They were still drivable, of course. Gas had been exchanged for fusion power almost a decade before. If it wasn’t for the glittering pieces of shattered glass and the occasional questionable stains on the ground, he might have even let himself believe it, if only for a moment. It was hard for him to know for sure, but he could have sworn that his old man worked there, in one of those big, fancy offices when he was alive. Lucky was too young to remember for sure. Was it possible that he ever lived a life that wasn’t on the streets? Was that his own life he was remembering? Or someone else’s?
He was just turning the corner around one of the office buildings when he heard a mighty screech of fear from someone on the street. Lucky retrieved his recurve bow, which was strapped across his back, and hunkered down. He inched his way forward until he came to the edge of the building, and then peered around the brick wall. Crazies. With their twisted forms, shredded clothing, and blood-stained hands, they stood around a small heap on the street.
“Please, no!” came a sharp, panicked voice.
It was the voice of a child, and one that he recognized. One of the homeless kids from St. Mary’s Group Home. How did he get all the way out here? He was cowering on the asphalt, his hands over his head, screaming hysterically. He couldn’t have been older than six or seven. Lucky grit his teeth. If he kept on like this, he would only attract more of them. And then he would really be in trouble.
Without taking another moment to consider the circumstances, Lucky stared down the sights of
the bow, lined up a shot, and let an arrow fly. There was a zwing as it whizzed through the air, but it met its target with precision, burrowing into the back of the Crazy’s skull.
It collapsed immediately.
Lucky shot off another three, four, five arrows, all of which found their mark. The Crazies all slumped to the ground. The young boy, his dark hair littered with pieces of gravel, was still shrieking, but as he lifted his head and realized what had happened, the cries morphed from fear to shock. Wildly staring around, he searched for his savior. Lucky moved ever so slightly out from around the building, into the full sunlight. When his eyes fell on Lucky, he started to run toward him.
But Lucky shook his head, and pressed a finger to his lips. Quiet. They needed to leave quietly. The little boy, his eyes wide and face pale, nodded in understanding, and took off across the street to another narrow alleyway. Lucky exhaled in relief, shouldering his bow.
That was the third time he had done that this week.
His world, which used to be so simple, had now become infinitely more complicated. Not only did he have the cops interfering when he tried to help those less fortunate, he had these creepy, distorted humans who were making every move even more dangerous than the last. Whatever they were, he wasn’t unhappy to have just ended a half a dozen of them. Swallowing passed the lump in his throat, he turned and started back toward the auto shop.
The sun was still high enough in the sky that he would probably make it back before dark. He wasn’t sure, though. His watch had stopped working weeks ago. And no one was going to be happy that he had so little to report. The city was still a prison. They had no way out. Abandoned. Alone. They were going to have to fend for themselves, or die trying. That, or get out. He wasn’t sure how yet, but he would find a way. They couldn’t just lock them all in there. Something was going to be done, right? Someone was going to come and rescue them? There had been little to no communication with anyone outside the city. What were they supposed to think? Loved ones, friends. No one. It was as if…San Lazaro was all that was left.
He kicked at a stone on the concrete, watching it clatter away. Whatever was going on in this city, it was going to eat him alive from the inside.