Chapter 4 It was quiet while some mutants had lots of camera angles show different views of where cities used to be and some even followed survivors as they make the journey from there blown out settlement to the capital city of district. A few monitors showed a party of mutants guarding a woman she seemed less mutated then the rest some of these mutants don't seem to have any recognizable way to tell if it's female or male.
The Commander as he was called paced around occasionally barking orders to a few Bruisers. "This is how we die.in a cage killed by some creeps who seem to have taken over the world." Butcher said while Mitch who was feeling a lot better was trying to sleep "They didn't take over they work for us or at least they did at one time." Butcher laughed "You mean to tell me that them rumors of the Government creating human hybrids in some far off lab is real?" Mitch took a look around and said "you can't ignore the evidence Butcher.
Look at there computers there gear hell even there chain of command it's an exact copy of how our military runs." Butcher did notice that they had and obvious military leader and that Markus guy was like a political officer and they rest seemed to trickle down from important of there job.
"They must not have gotten the memo then.we lost the war is done and over with." Markus voice popped back into there heads. "The war isn't over we are not defeated." Clive seemed to enjoy talking to his new friend almost made him feel at peace. "Hey Markus." Clive said out loud "where are you?" Markus enjoyed Clive his mind was simple not so many thoughts to push out the way witch made his telepathic communication much easier then with others especially with Butcher who seemed to always have his mind working on ways to escape.
"I'm not to far away making plans with other mouths." Clive was confused Markus didn't have a mouth he had a flap that covered his face where his mouth should be. "No mouths is what we call others like me." Clive wanted to ask if there were others like him and Mitch and butcher here. "Yes there are other outsiders here who have wronged our clan but it's nothing you need to worry about Clive." " I hate to interrupt but when can we be get out of these cages it been a few days." Butcher asked out loud.
Markus didn't like butcher it was because of him that Clive killed those poor young females. "Soon once the commander and others calm down and I can be assured you won't be slaughtered." That made butcher even more uneasy. "Look here mutant we just want to stretch our legs a little bit." Markus was a bit annoyed and so were a few of the Mutants who heard Butcher.
" We don't use that word here we call ourselves Children of the Touched our official clan is called the Watchers Clan. You be quick to learn that calling us Mutants will not earn you any friends here." Just then a surveyor who was looking at the main monitor with the lady yelled for the commander.
He was just a few feet away and saw what had the surveyor worried. The Bruisers stopped and had there weapons drawn out. Then from the shadows stepped out and agent from the Union Spy Division.
"What is it saying?" The Commander's voice boomed. The surveyor clicked a few keys on the touch screen of the monitor and the voices rose up louder. "The meeting is called off Queen all delegates of the clans have been given the message to return to there clans.
Its far to dangerous right now further envoys with specific instructions will show up once order is returned to American Union." With that the Union Spy handed the Queen a data jack and darted back to the shadows and went deeper into the wilds. The Queen who was a rather young looking fair haired mutant who had no obvious mutations she appeared to be a regular human lady. "We head back now." And with that she stuffs the data jack into her sleeve.
The Bruisers turned back and surrounded the Queen. The Commander marched off to the cages where the deserters where. "You weak meat sacks!" The Commander then kicked the cages bending a few bars.
"That will be enough." Markus walked in with his arms folded in. The Commander shot a look at Markus the other Bruisers in the room also looked at Markus. Markus walked past the commander and fixed the bars with a quick glance at them.
"You won't defy the Queens orders will you Commander?" Markus said in almost a bit too loudly. The other Bruisers backed off but not the Commander "These weaklings killed mating females." The Commander words seemed to get back the Bruisers who stood away once Markus entered the room. "By the Clans laws we have the right to kill them I--we don't need the Queens blessing to kill them." "No one is killing anyone. Not right now at least the Queen will decide there fate." The Commander took a step near the cage and Markus pushed him back with a thought.
The other Bruisers rose up too back up their Commander. "Stop!" The voice echoed from all over an old looking mutants stood in the.middle of the room appearing out of thin air." Think about what you are going to do raise a hand to a mouth and suffer the bite. Deny the hand justice and suffer the disarming of protection. Defiance of the Queen means death to you and me." With those words the old mutant walked out of the room and the Bruisers followed. The Commander turned away from the cages and was the last one to leave with the other Bruisers.
"Thank you elder your words are wise and true." Markus said as he opened the cage and lead Butcher out. "This is the leader of the outsiders. He ordered the death of the females. He will be punished after the Queen states her rule of judgment on him." Then Mitch came out of the cage. "This one followed the leaders orders he too shall be judged." Clive stood up next. "This one is the simple brute a tool that the others manipulated to do there bidding.
He too shall be judged for his wrong doings. Any harm to them is a strike against me." Markus then told a few surveyors to watch over the outsiders. "You are free to walk around for now. The surveyors will let you know where you can go and can not go." Clive asked "Who was that old man?" The surveyor answered briefly "He is our Elder he speaks for.the Queen when she is away." Mitch then said "The Bruisers obey this elder?" Again the surveyor answered quickly "They must or suffer death.
The elder is wise and more powerful then his body shows." Butcher was busy looking for air ducts Windows unguarded doors anything to help him get out of this place. "There is only one door in and out of here escape is impossible." Said the surveyors in unison. "You would be surprised how many times I get told that." Butcher said with a grin.
Gruff eyes went blurry but he could make out the outline of a woman then a sharp pain on his neck then back into darkness. After a while he heard light sobbing then a door slamming. The place was dark and hot Gruff was confused about where he was but he remembers how he saved April from the scavenger.
Then he looked to his hands covered in blood.was that a tooth imbedded into his knuckle? Then light sobbing again. Gruff woke up from his strange dream and found April crying softly on the a mat next to him. April was so mad at the world so mad she couldn't help but cry.
As the tears rolled down her cheek Gruff swung his arm on to her shoulder. April gasped at the touch from Gruff who she was sure was going to die. "You awake Gruff?" April asked softly as she wiped the tears off her eyes.
Gruff didn't say a word he tried to but the pain was too much even breathing hurt closing his eyes Gruff just sighed. April held his hand softly. After the whole ambush a few days earlier the whole camp was working hard to get the whole camp ready against attack. Even Terrie was doing her part laying down fences and telling people how and what to do when Jeremiah was out checking on traps and patrolling the area around the camp.
Soon the whole camp was fenced in and debris was cleared up. Tunnels made for travel into other buildings. The camp was even sharpening crude looking swords and blunt weapons to defend themselves until the Guards come back. Mary was still posted up in a newly made watch tower. She was upset that Gruff got in so much trouble and is at deaths doorstep. Captain Shell won't forgive her if she lets Gruff die on her watch. She then spotted Jeremiah coming back from the wilds with a few small dead animals.
"We won't ever starve that's for sure." Mary thought as she whistled to the men posted at the gate to expect company. Jeremiah had moved a few of the traps but kept the ones that still had been discovered by the scavengers baited with poised meat that Jeremiah convinced Doc was the only way to keep the camp safe and fed.
If any of them scavangers come back to check on the traps they won't enjoy the meat they steal anymore. Mary remembered when she saw Winston come running to the camp with two scavenger chasing him She took one out Once it got in range and then the other one ran off when the all of the men in the camp came running out with rebar and crude tools in hand.
Winston turned around and chucked his rebar right at the scavenger piercing him right threw the leg. The men then came and beat the scavenger to death in a fury of jabs and whacks from there tools. Once she got to Winston he just motioned for her to fallow him. The men went back to camp and waited for them. "How's it going?" Asked Jeremiah who offered Mary a small amount of jerky. "Oh.quiet just the occasional rat or bird seems like the fires at night died out." Mary was referring to the random burned out fires the patrols found during the morning patrols a few days back.
"Seems like we sent a strong message to all the scavengers in the city." Jeremiah chuckled "Yeah guess we did.then again." Jeremiah showed Mary a box of ammunition for her rifle."Where you find that?" Mary asked as she went to load her rifle.
"In a building could be a coincidence but the evening's have been warm the past few nights." Mary then looked at Jeremiah pistol. Jeremiah took the clip out and counted the bullets. "Five shots and two clips extra." Jeremiah said with a sigh. "How's the camp been while I was out?" Mary looked at the camp. "Terrie been handling things pretty well Doc goes in and checks up of Gruff every few minutes and Ashley hasn't been out yet.Winston been quiet." Jeremiah should visit April and Gruff next he thought to himself.
"That's not like Winston you know how sportsman are If they aren't moving there mouth is." Mary laughed. "I don't know I don't think he been the same since he got that scavenger killed then seeing Gruff.he hasn't spoken much." Jeremiah took a piece of jerky."I'll pay him a visit soon where's he at anyways I thought he was on gate duty?" Mary shook her head "Oh sorry yeah a tunnel digger got hurt nothing serious but Winston took his place." Jeremiah nodded at Mary.
"Keep an eye out for us." April heard the door open and saw Doc shuffle her way in. "Oh dear. Isn't that adorable." April blushed but didn't let go of Gruff's hand. "How has he been?" Doc asked April. "He moved earlier I think he was even awake for a minute." April said staring at Gruff's face. "That's good he might pull threw that bullet missed major organs but he lost a lot of blood but it's good to see some color in his face." Doc went to change his bandages and April watched on as her dad came in the doors."April.have you eaten yet?" April shook her head no and kept looking as doc applied new bandages and put the old ones in water.
Jeremiah walked in and placed some jerky on a table. "Here some jerky the James family just smoked up. I'll leave it here on the table do try to eat April sweetie." April just shook her head yes. As Jeremiah walked out of the building he saw a tunnel digger drinking some water. "Where is Winston?" The worker just pointed to a building that wasn't to far out of the camp boundaries. Jeremiah took the tunnels to get to there.
The people been making holes in the buildings for easy passage threw the different buildings in there camp so the planes that fly by won't notice them as much.Jeremiah soon found Winston alone chipping the finishing touches onto the wall big enough for two people to pass threw.
"Winston how you been?" Winston just grunted. Jeremiah sighed "Look what's a matter you haven't been this quiet since we first found you half starved fresh out the wilds it's strange." Winston then stopped. "The guy.who shot at me looked young like really young." Jeremiah tried to remember his face but all he could see was a rifle sticking out from the window.
"I just remember a long rifle shooting at me." Winston wiped some dust off his face.
"I saw him he was a child couldn't be more then fifteen the kid.wasn't dead." Jeremiah took a sec to get what he ment. The scavengers where young but not that young most of them looked to be in there early or mid twenties.
"So.there still out there no way a kid lives out there in the wilds alone it might be a group of scavengers and we killed there kids.or bandits." Winston said as he went back to work "we can't rest we have to be ready.
We killed there kids they will be back and they will be furious and the children, the old, and the women in the camp won't be safe." Jeremiah thought about it no young teen was found dead among the bodies of the Scavangers.
Also where was the animals that they stolen from there traps no bones or fires was found anywhere near where the scavenger were hunkered down at or around the building. Winston was right they weren't just any regular scavengers they had uniforms. April said they were bold bright orange sewage uniforms with worn rubber boots. They could be traveling in the sewage lines. They were empty and non fictional they make for a perfect way to travel from and into the city.
Jeremiah knew he had to locate all the sewage entrances so they don't get ambushed at night. Jeremiah said goodbye to Winston who didn't bother to even turn back as he was smoothing out the edges of the hole in the wall. The next day the sewage entrances were covered up and some traps were placed around the camp now with the camp looking a bit more solid and the traps set around the camp.
Jeremiah also said it would be best not to leave the camp so the people had nothing to do. Winston taught a few of the men how to hold a weapons right and how to fight bare handed. Mary kept and eye out from her post April was now out with Gruff who woke up in the middle of the night with April laying her head on his shoulder.
Once Gruff stepped out from the infirmary the whole camp rose up and cheered. Gruff wasn't used to having so much attention but soon people went back to doing there work and training. With the help of April and a home made cane Gruff walked around and saw how the camp got put together so fast. "How long was I out for again? You guys got this place more secure then a Guard Station." Gruff laughed and then winced at the pain in his gut.
April got a worried look "Are you sure you want to be walking around? I know Doc going to yell at me." Gruff just smiled and then said "I was a little tired of staring at the roof." April knew what he ment she was a little stir crazy herself but was glad she was there when Gruff first woke up. Doc came yelling "Oh child what are you doing up and walking? You should be laying down still your stomach going to tear in two if you don't slow down." Doc was staring right at April who just ducked her head down to avoid doc's stare.
Terrie came with Doc "Oh honey you and your boyfriend shouldn't be out go to our place and rest up there I'll get a few people to help you up stairs." April blushed hard at that word "boyfriend" Ashley sighed "Mom! Fine he just wanted some sun and fresh air is all." After a few guys helped Gruff and April up to her parents home.
She brushed her hair out of her face.
Gruff then noticed the small scar on her cheek. "How did that happen?" Gruff said running his hand over it. "It's nothing it's just a flesh wound I didn't want Doc to worry about it so I just closed up the cut myself with a heated up metal and it scared up A little." Gruff looked at her and said "Sorry I should've got to him before he pulled the trigger." April face scrunched up "Don't say that it's not your fault I shouldn't have gone in there." Gruff wasn't the boldest man truly he hasn't even kissed a girl yet but he just pulled April close to gave her a kiss and her face was as red as her hair.
April was surprised and wished she didn't smell as bad as she did, but she kissed Gruff back. It was a small but nice kiss before Terrie knocked on the wall "brought you guys some food." After a nice meal Gruff was helped back to his room by Jeremiah. "We need to talk." Gruff feared that Terrie had told Jeremiah that he and April were making out he prepared for the worst.
Jeremiah helped Gruff down on his mat then said. "What happened out there with those scavengers?" Gruff blew a sigh of relief "Well when I was checking out the traps I saw one was poached. I checked the other and then I saw a young girl she looked dirty and half starved. I offered her some water and told her there was a place for her back in camp if she wanted to go." Jeremiah was listening while images of a young girl who had her neck snapped by April few in his head.
"She shook her head no then a few other teens showed up. They said there were looking for food but then as soon as they said that I was shot right in the gut. If it wasn't for the hard plating in my uniform I might have died right there. The kids charged at me and I knocked one of them out cold with a quick swing." Jeremiah has heard of stories of cannibals deep in the wilds and wondered if the cannibals were that far from the middle of the Wilds. "Then the kids backed off and dragged the knocked out kid back to a building I took a few shot at them while I ran to the guard tower as I kicked the door open the sniper got me right in the gut again.
My plating wasn't strong enough and it shattered. I bled in the guard post while I tried to stop the bleeding it took a while but it slowed down some. I pushed out a board that was near me took a bit more strength then I like to admit. I was bleeding again so I decided to make my way to the back after I reloaded my rifle. I found a few scavengers they ran though after they saw me it was three of them." Jeremiah realized them scavangers weren't chasing Winston they were running away.
"I heard few different shots. I figured that was you and I tried to get to the sniper in the top floor. I was bleeding pretty bad. I blacked out for a while but then heard a fight just ahead of me when I got to the room I saw a gun pointed at April and just charged at him and didn't stop punching until he stoped breathing.
Then I saw April was still standing then I blacked out again." "Was the kid with the gun the sniper?" Jeremiah asked. "No.couldn't be the shooter had blond hair I saw that much from when I was shot." Gruff said after thinking about it for a few seconds. That ment there was at least one more scavenger out there who was still alive. "Ok rest up Gruff we'll talk more in the morning." Gruff awoke in with the sound of thunder booming threw out the city.
Looking around he didn't catch site of April or any one of the Steel family. The heavy rain dropping on floor near a hole in the roof began to pool around the mat Gruff was sleeping in. Gruff got up and then with the help of the lightning Gruff saw the camp was empty the low sound of fighting coming from just below him.
Gruff grabbed the cane near his sleeping mat he rose up and made his way to the sound of fighting. Lighting shining a eerie light to help him threw the hall and down the steps.
Passing threw the archway leading to the what was once a lobby he found three dead men. They wore the same clothing of the scavangers and had guns and even small explosives. Gruff grabbed the small fire arm it had three shots in it. Grabbing a small crude looking explosive device some what like a pipe bomb he felt the weight and saw it looked like it was patched together by an amateur. They could explode just by throwing them to hard. Gruff carried it and made his way to the middle of the camp no sign of the survivors or Mary a few dead scavengers lay around littering the camp ground.
As the rain got heavier the loose dirt got wet and made itself into mud that made it harder to walk in. Soon Gruff noticed that his cane couldn't get out of the mud. Struggling to get free Gruff used his massive strength to pull himself free. Looking back he saw the mud was never there. Confused Gruff made his way to the shelter the camp set up in case of attack.
Once he was there the shelter was empty nothing but bloody rags and Doc's medical bag. Gruff turned around and then heard a loud booming voice. "They are coming prepare.
They won't negotiate. They are mad. They are brutal. They won't let it go." Gruff was confused and noticed he was alone Gruff ran to the camp and the voice got louder. "Leave now. They will not give up. The pipes are not safe. " Gruff yelled out of his sleep. "Shut up!" April and Jeremiah stared at him blankly. Gruff looked on and said. "Sorry nightmare." with a deep sigh Gruff got up.
April asked "Want to talk about it?" Gruff tried to remember his nightmare but couldn't remember the thoughts were fuzzy. "No I can't even remember." Jeremiah rose up from the floor dusted himself off. "One of the traps near the sewers was cut. Another trap caught someone it was a busy night, Doc patching him up as we speak.
I just came to let you known." Jeremiah left the room as Gruff got up. Gruff took a step but it was too much for him. April caught him and passed his cane to him. "Thank you." Gruff said with a quick peck and grabbed his rifle and gun holster. After catching up with Jeremiah they both walked to the medical area. Doc was busy wrapping the man's leg in bandages. Doc saw Gruff coming with Jeremiah. "How's the stomach boy?" Gruff looked at his gut and noticed the bandages were dry a little caked with dry blood but relatively clean.
"It's getting there. How's him though?" Gruff was pointing to the man in old sewage workers jump suite. "He'll live got a nasty cut on his ankle. He was suffering from a flu treated that, and he was severely malnourished a meal and some antibiotics and he will be fine." Jeremiah step up and shook the scavanger awake. Doc looked on disapproving how Jeremiah was acting but stepped out instead of speaking up she knew scavangers were branded outlaws by the law and so they had no rights.
"Get up." The scavenger opened an eye. It was red and blood shot staring back at Jeremiah. "What are you doing here? Scavenger? Bandit? Outlaw? " Grinding his the scavanger reached for something but quickly realized his hand were strapped to spikes set on the ground. "Looks like a bandit can't let him get to his gang best to kill him don't you think Gruff?" Jeremiah said hoping that his bluff would work.
"I'm a scavanger looking for a few things to scrap." Gruff stepped up and towering over the scavanger asked "where is your camp or cart." The scavanger scoffed " I spent years collecting and hiding my stash of goods. You really think I just give up my treasures just because you asked?" Gruff slammed his cane on the floor next to the scavenger's head. "You will tell us your camps location or I will do my duty as a Guard and hang you from the city's gate to keep your kind out of the city." The scavenger wasn't frightened.
"Hang me then I had enough of the world and it's false promises because I won't give up my stashed goods." Jeremiah asked Gruff to leave. After three hours alone with the scavenger Jeremiah had a rough map pointing to three stash spots and the camp.
"He talked tough but I'm a very persuasive guy.I will lead a team of two men to grab what we can from the scavengers hideouts and survey the camp you and Mary move out the camp women and children and ask for volunteers to stay back to defend the camp while we come back." Gruff nodded and went to work gathering all the kids and women to different safe spots outside of the camp.
Mary was able to convince half the men to stay back and fight. After a few hours Jeremiah and his small band found the camp of the scavangers miles away from the city but not too deep into the wilds. They took count and found twenty people mostly men and small children not many women though. "Ok if they attempt to attack the camp it won't be to big a fight they hold a third of our numbers." Jeremiah thought to himself.
Just then he noticed a small fight started in the scavangers camp. It was between a young male and a savage looking grown man. The man had patches of animal furs and leather covering the man who had a large sword and a military style rifle. A old man who looked similar to the scavanger back at the camp stepped up.
"Hey what's going on here?" The bandit smeared. "This punk trying to rob me saying I need to pay for a part I need for this rifle." The old man looked worried "Sonny is this true?" Sonny shook his head no "He bought the rifle but won't pay for the scope. Its not a set and if he wants it he needs to pay up." The bandit took his sword out. "See he admits his guilt. You don't need me to go to the Chieftain and tell her about your unfair practices. She just might decide your camp isn't worthy of our protection and waste all of you." The old man begged for Sonny to hand over the scope.
"Think of our brothers and sisters. Why should they suffer for your greed." Sonny looked at the scope then at his scavangers."Fine take the damn scope." The bandit took the scope and tried to attach it to his rifle. "It won't fit you little shit it's broken and you tried to sell it to me?" Sonny spoke up "No you dumb fuck I told you it's not a set that scope is too small for that model." With no hesitation the bandit struck his sword deep into the young man's chest.
"Damn thief can't trust them for nothing." The old man went to say something but turned away in the last second. "Your lucky I won't tell the chieftain about this." Said the bandit as he went and picked over the dead man's stuff. After he was done the rest of the scavangers picked up what was left for themselves. "Savanges." said Jeremiah "We got to get out of here and get to the stashed goods before they find us." Once all the valuable things were gathered up into duffel bags they made there way back to camp just before sundown.
Mary greeted them at the main gate.
"How was it?" Jeremiah handed over the duffel bags. "Fifteen small guns eight rifles and a bunch of scrap metal. No food though we did find a ton of ammunition." Mary looked over the weapons most were old and she wasn't even sure if they would fire. "Well we are better off with these weapons for sure." Mary said as Jeremiah stoped walking and said " They have bandits protecting them if we go in and wipe them out the bandits will be pretty pissed off that we had cut them off from a steady supplier." Mary wasn't surprised scavangers often team up with bandits for protection from other scavangers and bandit gangs.
"How many bandits?" Jeremiah walked off to the medical area "That's what I'm going to find out."