“Yeah, you just see how far you’ll get out there on your own, bitch. If it wasn’t for us, you’d have already died of starvation.” Bart, one of the so-called leaders of the compound, shook his head, his lips curled into a sneer.
“Maybe not, Bart. She’s got enough fat on her to last at least a week or two. Maybe someone will find her and make her their slave. I hear a lot of men out in the backwoods will take whatever they can get when it comes to a woman.” The other man laughed and threw her backpack at her feet. “Nothing in here of any importance. Let her take it. Won’t get her far.”
Abby fought back the hot tears burning in her eyes. She wouldn’t give them the satisfaction of seeing how much their cruel words cut into her already shaky self-esteem. Before the year of catastrophes that had devastated the U.S. and, as far as she knew, the entire world, she’d been a confident, happy woman. She’d had a devoted boyfriend who’d just asked her to marry him. But Evan was gone now, killed in the horrible fire from the erupted gas lines that had swept their neighborhood in a matter of minutes.
Earthquakes, floods, and some of the most devastating weather anomalies in history had left entire states devastated from the mass destruction. The resulting plagues of diseases had further thinned the population until there were mere handfuls of the once-numerous inhabitants of the huge cities and rural countryside.
During the initial chaos that broke out, Abby, at twenty-six, had been frightened to find herself alone in a world turned upside down. She and others had moved from building to building, trying to stay one step ahead of the looting and the criminals who’d just been handed a free pass to do as they wanted. It was no wonder that after a year of sleeping with one eye open she’d breathed a sigh of relief when she stumbled on a group of people traveling to what they called The New Promise Land. It turned out to be what had once been Iowa. They planned to form a community where they could keep each other safe.
After nearly ten years of living in the community they’d boasted would be a utopia of sorts, Abby finally realized that they weren’t all equals, nor were they truly safe. The self-appointed leaders still made all of the decisions, though it was supposed to only be for a short time while they built their community and made it safe. Instead of stepping aside so that new leaders could be elected as had been planned, the group of men formed a hierarchy system much like what she’d read of early Europe. Those without alliances among that privileged group found themselves on the bottom of the ladder and tended to work the hardest to support those above them. Abby hadn’t been all that surprised to find herself at the bottom.
“I’ll be just fine. Anything’s better than doing all the work while the rest of you live the high life without getting your delicate hands dirty. Screw you, Bart! You too, Sam. The crops weren’t all that healthy this year with the drought and no one but a few of us to tote water back and forth to the fields. I’ll take my chances on my own. That way, anything I find I don’t have to give to someone else.” Abby grabbed the strap of the backpack and took several steps backward, holding no trust for the two slimy bastards watching her.
As soon as she made it to the scraggly tree line, Abby turned and slipped into the woods. There wasn’t much cover since there weren’t a lot of trees, but with all the dying undergrowth and broken limbs from previous storms, she was confident she’d hear them coming if they tried to sneak up on her.
I can’t believe they’re just letting me go. They’re going to follow me in a little while and try to hurt me or take me back. Who’s going to work for them and keep them in the luxury they’ve gotten used to?
Don't forget that it comes out on a Monday. September 19th!
Hope you enjoyed. There will be more later this weekend.