The young couple sat beneath the ancient oak at the edge of their land. They watched their son playing the family dog, a mutt of such mixed heritage that its ancestry would never be known, and they smiled. Their work was finished, and the mid-afternoon meal in the shade was a well-deserved treat. Leftover pheasant, fresh picked vegetables and homemade brandy made for a perfect lunch that day.
Times had been hard since the end of the war, but they had survived the war, disease and famine, and their fortunes had finally turned around. The crops were growing and there was almost no sign of the blight, only one of the piglets died before it was weaned and spring had come in March instead of May. They were all signs that the world was beginning to shake off the nuclear holocaust, at least in the places that were not radioactive wastelands. Continue reading
"Rasine, eh? Nice name," Felix said as he caught up with Bernard. "How are you going to get her back to Roscoe? You can't exactly carry her over your shoulder the whole way back. It might be uncivilized out there, but a man carrying a woman over his shoulder is still unusual enough to garner some attention."
"I figure we'll just steal a horse and take the back way," said Bernard. "No sense making it easy to follow us if someone is so inclined." He shifted the girl on his shoulder, making it easier for him to draw his gun if it became necessary. Continue reading
Her eyes were wide, terror filled, like a rabbit backed into a corner by a fox. Bernard was no fox, but he was certainly a predator of some sort, a wolf perhaps, but even that was far too limiting. Bernard fancied himself as more of chimera, a beast of ancient legend, singular, but possessing the attributes of numerous creatures. It was as close a comparison as he could imagine.
"Don't run and I won't have to kill you," Bernard said as he stepped over the dead man at her feet.
"Don't hurt me. I didn't do anything wrong," she whimpered. She was young, not much more than eighteen, but you had to grow up fast this close to a hot zone.
"No one ever has Continue reading