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Wasteland Boy – Chapter 11

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Wasteland Boy – Chapter 11

    • Gilbert
      Participant

      Chapter 11

      Smog Clouds

      The airship lifted itself off the ground slowly, but gained speed as it flew higher. The children felt uneasy to sit inside the machine they were hiding from for months, but quickly got used to it. Clyde peeked out over the border and gasped, both scared and amused. The ground below him was racing somewhere to the back, as if the wind was blowing it away. After a few moments, he started getting sick and returned to observing what was in front of him, rather than above. They were quickly nearing the tall wall, that was built all the way around the city. Even from above, it seemed like a massive structure, impenetrable, able to withstand anything. He started breathing heavier. The air didn’t feel right, as if they were entering another atmosphere. Ronald noticed his reaction to the new air and said they entered the smog layer above the city. It was thick and grey, as if the airship was riding through fog. It smelled of chemicals and ashes and it felt like all of the components were piling up in Clyde’s’ lungs. He coughed and gasped for air, but the grownups on the ship didn’t seem to have a problem with it. Lucinda patted his back cautiously and Ronald assured Clyde that they would get out of the smog soon.

      As the smog cleared, it revealed towers and towers of the industrialized city. Many stone and cement buildings with bizarre windows and decorations passed by too quickly for Clyde to fully soak in the beauty of it. The airship maneuvered between bridges and buildings. It circled around a giant statue of some man. It was so strange, like a completely different world. It seemed the ground was dominated by the ones  who preferred walking, while the air was infested with airships, flying chaotically, avoiding each other skillfully. Clyde heard so many unfamiliar sounds, weird smells floated around the city, but most of all, there were so many people, he began feeling anxious. He prepared himself for something of the sort, but the city was far beyond his imagination.

      They landed in front of a bar, which occupied the first two floors of a large building with gargoyles. The sign above the main entrance said “Clockworkers’ Sin ” and the inside, as could be seen through the windows, was packed with wild, drunken citizens. Clyde knew they were adults, drinking alcohol, doing whatever adults do, but it looked more like a zoo cage, full of yelling, laughing animals. Lucinda hesitated to get off, taking Clyde’s’ hand just in case, but Ronald and Alfredo beckoned them to follow. The kids walked into the bar, staying close to each other, and followed the lead of the garbage collectors towards the far back. They walked through a door that read “Staff Only”. There, waiting for their arrival, was a tall, scrawny man, with a face wrinkled like a raisin. He was bald, dressed wealthily and was smoking a cigar. Behind him, stood two buff thugs, looking identically intimidating. The old man grinned at the sight of the children, showing his yellow teeth with a few golden crowns. Clyde heard that smoking wrecks teeth, but this was the most severe case of it he has ever encountered.

      “Who did you bring me today, Ronnie?” The man spoke in his raspy voice as the cigar smoke burst out of his mouth in bits.

      “Two more orphans from the dump. Those ones were trying to get into The City themselves.” Ronald turned to the kids, suddenly grabbing Lucinda and pushing her towards one of the thugs. The shrieked and tried to run, but got restrained by the buff man.

      “Children, I forgot to mention,” Ronald smiled his warm smile, but his eyes had an evil twinkle in them “Most of the money in my job doesn’t come from dumping garbage out. It comes from kids like you.”

      As Clyde got handed over to the other thug, Lucinda tried to protest, but Ronald cut her off.

      “It’s a cruel world, kiddo. I’m just doing my job.”

      Alfred and Ronald received two stacks of paper bills and walked out. Clyde figured that the old man was the big boss here and cautiously asked what will happen next. The man laughed, took a drag from his cigar and exhaled, adding to the already dirty air.

      “Why, you are a curious one. We clean you up, get you a uniform, and then you work until you drop! ”

      Clyde and Lucinda got dragged away by the two men. At first they arrived into a brightly lit room, where a woman chopped off Clyde’s and Lucinda’s hair, giving both of them short buzz cuts, similar to the ones the thugs had. Lucinda continued to protest, making the thugs hold her down, while Clyde endured everything silently and obediently. He knew there was no purpose in rebelling at the moment. After that, they were taken to a shower room, with gross fungi and moss on the walls. The water in the showers was cold and orange from the rust in the pipes. After a quick shower, they were presented with uniforms similar to the ones the garbage collectors had. The ones the kids had were grey, with the initials “C.S.” sewn into the fabric above the heart. Lucinda spoke up again, addressing one of the thugs.

      “What is this? You can’t possibly think this is okay! This is illegal! You can’t just buy and sell humans! We are not just objects!”

      “Oh yea? Rules don’t apply to the ones that have money.” The thug chuckled.

      “I’ll get out of here and bring all of you to justice!”

      “Oy, be grateful, ye brat!” The second thug stepped in “Ye got yerself daily housing, food, and free clothes. What else can ye ask for? ”

      “Freedom.” Lucinda glared at him, but both thugs burst into laughter.

       

       

      As always, dear readers, feel free to comment or PM any suggestions for the rest of the story. There is always room for your characters and plot developments!

      -Gilbert

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