A Reluctant Return



Scene Title A Reluctant Return
Synopsis Maybe coming back was a mistake…
Date October 17, 2019

Somewhere on the road to the Safe Zone

The road was a rough one, full of potholes, thanks to the fact that the government couldn’t get it’s shit together. In fact, an old rusted olive green truck bounces hard through a good one. “Oops! Sorry.” The old man driving it calls back to his harshly jostled passengers in the back.

One such passenger runs fingers through short dark hair, rubbing at the back of her head where it connected with the metal of the truck bed. “Fuck. Old man needs some damn glasses,” sh grouses grumpily. “For what we paid for the lift, should be a smooth fucking ride. Not a trip through every damn pothole from here to kingdom come. ” This gets a chuckle from the other two in the back with her.

“Right?” An older woman says. “Pretty sure that one is gonna leave a bruise on my ass.”

All of them had paid a sum of money to save their feet. It had taken the last of what she had saved from her last odd job back in a small settlement in Georgia, but she had gone further then if she had traveled on foot. Days on foot, reduced to hours.

A small shaggy brown dog was pressed against the young woman’s outstretched leg, head resting on her thigh. When they hit another, less jarring pothole, he growled wuff. His owner gives him an affectionate scratch between the ears, which draws out a happy sigh. He lived for those scratches. “Soon.” She reassures the dog, who in turn gives a gruff grunt.

The other person in the back, a young boy, watches the interaction with some jealousy. “It’s almost like he knows what your saying.”

“Who? Goober? Naw.” The young woman brushes off the comment with a laugh. “He’s a dog… probably reading our body language or something simple like that.”

The boy giggles and tilts his head at the dog, who tilts it back at him in return. “His name’s Goober?”

It takes everything in the young woman not to bristle, instead she forces a smile on her lips. “Fuck yeah it is. The shit he gets into… he deserves it.” Plus, she couldn’t think of another name that fit and after calling him a goober for the umpteenth time, she decided to keep it. “Name’s Roxie what’s yours?”

“Jimmy,” say the boy shyly.

“Nice to meet ya, Jimbo.” Lifting her hand from Goober’s head, Roxie motions to him. “You… uh… you wanna pet ‘im?” The smallish dog for his part has been watching the boy with a wag of his tail. A potential playmate!

Never has a boy lit up so brightly, especially when Goober crawls over closer and lowers head to his paws and continues to wag his tail slowly at the kid. “Can I?” The boy is almost breathless at the prospect. “I miss my Lizzie.” The kids saddens reaching out to scratch between the dogs ears like he had seen Roxie doing. “Some guys shot her… and my daddy.” And like that the light was gone from his small form and a sort of awkwardness descended upon the lot of them.

Ugh… she had not expected a sob story. Lips press tight. Roxie hated those stories. Unfortunately, they were common anymore. The government could barely hold on to what it had, much less bring law and order back to the rest of the states. Still she resisted the urge to throw herself out of the moving truck.

Maybe it’s a bit insensitive, but there is no ‘I’m sorry for your loss’ from Roxie, instead, she looks away and off into the trees around them. She prefers to ignore the grief of others, it just reminds her of her own and the fuck-ton weight of guilt that comes with it. Her focus on the reds and golds around them is razor sharp, ignoring the glare of his mother(?) or sister(?)… who-fucking-ever they are amid the sounds of a happy boy.

Beyond the treetops, Roxie could just see a hint of the crumbling structures of big city. They were skirting it, but it was the ultimate goal. Everyone there was headed to the Safe Zone. Even her… however… seeing it her anxiety spikes and the memories of why she left come flooding back.

Leaning over suddenly, Roxie bangs on the cab and calls out over the sound of the rough road. “I want out. I’ll walk from here.”

The driver looks at her with surprise in the rearview mirror. “What? I thought..”

“I changed my mind, old man. Just let me off here.” Roxie snaps back at him, less than thrilled with his reluctance. No doubt over the fact she was a girl and alone… She hated when they got like that. “Look I ain’t asking for a partial refund or anything. I just want off here… so stop the truck.” A glance goes the skyline again and a fresh wave of anxiety tipped with fear spikes through.

“I heard there is militia out here,” the man turns slightly to look back at her with worry. “Be smarter if you held out till the Safe Zone. And no I ain’t saying it ‘cause you are a girl.”


“I said…” Without thinking about it the man behind the wheel starts to answer the unspoken question.

“Let me off right now.” Roxie’s panic and distrust slaps her at full speed. Fuck! He’s an Evo! The girl jerked away from the evo in the truck cab and scrambles to the back of the truck. Thumping hard against the tailgate when the man suddenly applies the breaks. That was going to leave a sizable bruise on her shoulder.

Alarmed protest erupts from the others at the sudden stop, but Roxie isn’t listening to them. Grabbing her pack and bow, hastily throwing them on, the young woman vaults over the side of the bed, grunting as feet hit the uneven ground.

Still in the back of the truck, Goober barks after it’s person. What about him?!? She can hear the scrambling of claws on the metal of the bed. It doesn’t take a genius to know what he was doing.

Roxie straightens just in time to catch several pounds of flying fur as the dog uses the wheel well to leap from the back of the truck. “Fuck you’re getting heavy.” Goober is on the ground before he can get her with that long tongue that smaller dogs tend to have; and both start running away.

“Hey! Stop! Some back! I didn’t mean…”

There was nothing in this world that would get her back in that truck, with him. It was fear that drove her into the woods and she wouldn’t stop until she felt safe.

What a fucking welcome back to her home state… a fucking telepath.

What if he learned the truth about her? Did he know?

Those questions were enough to keep Roxie’s legs moving at full speed, Goober bounding through the tall grass behind her.

This was her life, away running from the sins of her past.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License