Aftermath Pt.1

So I talk a big game on here and thought I should try my hand out at using all my tips in a story told here and on my patreon. If you follow me there it will be posted earlier than here and you’ll be able to hold that over everyone else that reads it. I hope you enjoy.

 

 

It was cold, it’d been cold since the conflict but today was colder than usual. Buttoning the coat around them tightly they made their way to the run down building. The blade hung heavy at his side.  A large knife handed down to him from his father. Bullets had run out long ago making this pistol he carried just a hunk of metal and an awkward club.

He had agreed to this meeting to spare him and his family the torture at the hands of the gang that ran the area he had settled. Countries were an idea of the long past, before the conflict. Now it was all gangs, clans, and warlords. Everything was ruled by force and bloodshed. Somedays the ground was more red than white with snow.

His families existence had been hard without making a deal with the gang. He figured that if he gave them some of the food they were able to extract from the ground then their time would be better. He slid through the open door and rested his hand on the handle of the knife and sighed heavily.

“Nothing would make this meeting worth it.” He said to himself. Already on edge and the men on the walls of the gaudy red velvet room were not helping the situation at all. He walked towards the stairs. In the old days this building would have been a hotel with conference rooms on the second floor but now it served as the head quarters for the Blood Skulls. And he was here to meet the leader, Red.

An unimaginative name to say the least but the person leading the blood skulls made their living with violence and intimidation not thinking or creativity. No one had seen the new leader but the rumors were that they were crueler and that anyone who said the wrong things in meetings with them were not heard from again. All reassuring things he told himself as he climbed the stairs and saw the conference room turned throne room open in front of him.

On the throne sat a beautiful woman. She wore all red from her boots to her hair. The tattered dress came went down to her ankles with a slip that was cut to her hip. If she made a wrong move everyone would see underneath. The top of the dress had only one strap remaining, and it was on its last leg. She was lounging and unbothered by the entrance of the man in the brown trench coat and jeans. His attire was the opposite of hers in every way.

Where she was barely covered he was completely covered. His boots that were once black, now faded from continuous wear, dark jeans that had seen better days from when he got them, a simple shirt to try and keep the cold off him, and the long brown jacket covering his weapons. His beard was cropped short, not an easy thing to do now a days. He was not an overtly handsome man but his rugged exterior and attitude made him seem more attractive that his outer appearance would suggest.

“And who might you be? Our new plaything? I must admit I was getting quite bored.” Her voice was almost sing songy but had an underlying hint of psychopathic tendencies.

“No, I am Jareth. My family and I run a small farm down the road and I am here to make a deal to keep the Blood Skulls from attacking us.” His father would have been ashamed of him to come groveling to this gang. He had kept them away single handedly for his entire life but Jareth was not like his father and lacked the fighting spirit he had. He just wanted to live peacefully with his family until the cold came and took them forever.

“You certainly did not come equipped to make a deal.” She said as her eyes flashed and Jareth could not tell if it was because of some supernatural feat that more and more people seemed to have in the Aftermath or if it was a trick of the light. “I’ll tell you what with your equipment you will have a fight against my lieutenant there,” She gestured to large man that whose fists looked more like hammers that hands. “If you defeat him I will require a very small tax from your farm and you will be free to go, not to be bothered by us anymore.”

Jareth swallowed hard, had she used some power to see that he had a knife on him? How would he be able to defeat this monstrous man? Would he even make it out of here alive if he somehow did manage to win? But, in the end what choice did he have, he would just be killed here and now if he denied the challenge. He sighed again trying to stop his knees from shaking.

“I accept.” He said his voice shaking terribly and cracking on the end.

The women laughed at him and looked to the man she pointed out earlier. “Kill this farmer for me.”

The man gave a grunt of agreement and headed towards Jareth…

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