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Defiling the Wasteland – A Memoir, Part 2


I had never killed another human being until the day Amata put that 10mm in my hand. Funny, really, thinking about it.

A couple or a few or however many days ago, I came upon a settlement even more ramshackle than Megaton, a wooden bridge leading straight across into “town.” No wall, no gate—nothing. Even from a distance I sensed the small populace was in a frantic state, sputtering on fumes of fear. Super Mutants, apparently. Pathetic.

They were thus stricken utterly useless. “What are you doing here?” barked the quote unquote sentry “keeping watch” at the bridge (not even a door; not a damn picket fence). “Just thought I’d stop by, slaughter the lot of you, then pick your bones for swag. Needs some repairs.” He laughed—laughed—commended my sense of humor, even slapped at his knee. Vulnerability via stupidity. An insult in ease.

So much for honesty.

However, “truth” is something men invented to pursue the greater farce of “nobility,” a synonym for “superiority” created by those who couldn’t last two days on their own out here. What’s so fucking superior about that? Self-importance, postured morality—I suppose there have been times where such behavior was more conducive to “productive models of society,” but society’s done, and all that goes with it.

From what I surmise, there are two kinds of people left in the world: those who do whatever they can and those too chicken shit to do anything. The whole population of this tin-plated tinker town reveled in their defenselessness, whined about the failures to protect and look after their own, then admitted, one after the next, they were all just waiting to die.

The first person I killed—I mean the first,, right after Dad jumped ship and left me on the plank—my first, the guard, that was reflex; Butch, call it payback; the Overseer…well, that was fun. I hear people call the Raiders psychopaths, but—no. Raiders have, at the very least, some motivation, something I can relate to. That man was a void, an inverted Charybdis. Radroaches have more feeling.

I suppose it was something like disgust, then—an anger toward this tiny population that refused to do anything for itself. At least I presumed as much when I landed Mr. Easily Amused between the eyes. Good, strong armor; rifle; ammo; worth it. I think a shot grazed my side next. Now they fight back.

I tucked into a protective bunker, crouched low to the ground. Leather creaked around my ankles and stabilized my stance against the dust-filled sacks at my back; dirt spilled down my neck as tiny shells dotted holes across the top of the barricade. A young man came around the corner first, leapt right into my scope. His eyes were bright, a blazing blue. The one after tripped over his body, the next on hers—how quickly this harrowed settlement reduced itself to a mangled mass of blood and limbs, grim faces drawn by gravity and life lost.

I admit—a delicious exhilaration filled the vacuum of silence that followed, doubtless fueled by the ambivalence that collided in my chest, caught half a breath in my throat. They hadn’t done anything to me, nor were they terribly likely to do so. Somehow, it didn’t matter. It’s not that they deserved it, but if it was to be Muties if not for me, or Raiders or Lurkers….

My finger still cradled the trigger. I’d made a decision; it was the only one I had.
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About Lenore Coffeeone of us since 8:38 PM on 07.01.2009

Student, explorer, wordographer, photosmith, occasional professor, cephalopod enthusiast, failed romantic.