To Live Another Day

Dogs, Rats and Mystery Meats

Dogs, Rats and Mystery Meats

CansThey thought they’d licked the plates clean, but they were awoken to the howls of wild dogs. A pack of the slavering things was closing in. Lock and load, thought Vincent 430, as he took aim with his rifle. He was more rueful of the ammo he was about to spend than fearful of the dogs. With a snap shot and a yelp one went down. The Rat shot at another with his crossbow, and the newcomer Val Clewes fired off a few rounds with his fancy officer’s pistol. Then the remaining dogs were about them, snapping and growling. Vincent preferred this sort of work to wasting ammo. He grabbed a snarling pooch and snapped its collarbone.

The dogs were soon driven off. Mike was delighted with the meat they had gained, and immediately started butchering the carcasses. From starvation to plenty in just a day! But the carcasses would attract predators, human and otherwise, so it was time to move on. Vincent shouldered four of the dogs and the three packed up and moved out.

They cautiously moved through the Rubble. Vincent was scouting ahead. He heard a man’s shouts. He was about to investigate when several rats burst out of the rubble and headed straight for the group. They didn’t last long. Within minutes two of the rats lay on the ground and the others had fled. More meat. This was really getting ridiculous. Vincent was distracted by the rats and forgot about the man, who popped up suddenly. Vincent spun around and found himself facing a wild haired old man, with one red-glowing mechanical eye and a crazed expression. “Wotan of the Rubble!” shouted Mike, “what in Hell are you doin’ here?”

“You know this old guy?” asked Vincent, nonplussed. Wotan chuckled.

“I’ve got a treasure map. You can have a share if you help me.”

“We’ll think about it, old man,” said Mike. “Why don’t we discuss it over gumbo?”

The mystery meat gumbo was soon cooking. The old man licked the grease from his fingers. His treasure map, he explained, was a sure-fire thing. Vincent430 could scarcely understand how the old coot had survived as long as he had if he habitually followed such schemes, but he ended up agreeing to go along. Mike decided to hold his tongue about the stash until they returned.

The ‘treasure map’ led them to a hole in the rubble. Cackling, Wotan descended, followed by Val Clewes. Rolling his eyes at his own insanity, Vincent followed cautiously. He found himself in a rubble-strewn chamber. There were the sounds of rats — the big ones — all around. The chamber led to another and another. Vincent followed the voices of Wotan and Clewes, keeping his eyes peeled. The rats were squeaking and moving around. It seemed to be some kind of collapsed military bunker. Vincent picked up a few valuable items including some military grade armour. Vincent caught up with Wotan and Clewes in another low chamber. The old man was cackling and stuffing his pockets with trinkets he’d scrabbled from the dirt. They made their way out into the fresh air where Stanislavski waited for them. He said a horde of the giant rats had exited the hole and run off. Vincent was glad of that.



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