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Wasteland Boy – Chapter 14
Let’s Make a Deal
Squinting from the light, breathing heavily, with a small girl clutching to him, Clyde stepped into the room where everyone started out from. He couldn’t see much and therefore kept walking, navigating only by his memory. He heard the kids behind him, silently following his small figure. Many of them were older and could easily take over, but no one dared to step in front of Clyde. He felt everyone’s eyes on him and felt the bits of hope that were slowly coming back to the children. He put the girl down and they continued to walk hand in hand. They crossed the large room with no obstacles, but once they reached the next one, everyone’s hope faded instantly. Clyde, walking in the front, didn’t notice the line of guards blocking the next door until it was too late to warn the children. They began piling up into the room, lining up parallel to the guards, still hesitating to step forward. He heard the ones in the back whisper to each other to stop and soon, he heard no more footsteps. Everyone in the room were waiting. The guards were very outnumbered and hesitant to attack, the kids seemed to never act without a proper command. Clyde gathered his courage up and decided to negotiate first.
“Why are you doing this? It’s cruel!” His sharp voice cut through the silence. The guards looked at one another, bewildered by the question. Seems like they never thought of it.
“This is our job. Now turn around and return to yours.” One of them spoke up unconfidently.
“Or what? You can’t kill them! They die on their own too often, right?” Clyde felt his advantage.
“Why don’t you tell me?” The voice that replied sounded familiar, but not a single guard had spoken.
The guard blockade shifted slightly, revealing a tall, scrawny figure of a man. The kids shuffled nervously, sensing his gaze of authority upon themselves. He walked out to the center of the room and smiled, doubling the amount of wrinkled skin that seemed overwhelming even when he had a straight face. Clyde gulped, recognizing the man who bought him from the garbage men. He felt scared and disgusted, but stared right at the man. Their eyes met.
“Why, aren’t you the gentleman I took in today?” He was talking slowly, almost mocking Clyde.
“I am” Clyde frowned. “And I hope you get your money back.”
“I presume you and your little army would like to get out. But what will you do once you are free?” Clyde didn’t think it through that far, but showed no signs of defeat. “You know, son, I see some potential in you. Maybe we could talk this through and I could promote you to a better position?”
“Only me?” Clyde felt the need to speak for everyone “What about the rest? Will you promote them?”
The man chuckled, showing off his wrecked teeth.“There is only one position,” His eyes scanned the face of every kid in the room “But I’m afraid not everyone here are suited for the job.” Clyde took a deep breath, trying to come up with a reply. The little girl clutched him by the sleeve of the uniform, scared. He glared at the man. In one quick movement of the man’s arm, Clyde witnessed a fancy musket, cocking inches away from his forehead.
“Let’s make a deal, lad. You kill one of the adults in the room and I give you freedom by making you my apprentice. I cannot fill the streets with orphan children, for that would be just as cruel as keeping them here. However, you will be able to make it better for them here.” The man leaned towards Clyde, handing him the gun. Instantly, Clyde pointed it back at him. The man chuckled, straightening himself out. “Good choice. Unfortunately, it would be the last one you’d make.
“She will stay with me.” Clyde said quietly, pulling the girl closer to himself. “You will let them have medication and better food.” He took a step towards the man, slowly regaining his confidence. He was still aiming at the skinny figure. The man smiled in acceptance to Clyde’s terms and gestured towards his loyal men.
Clyde leaned over to the girl and told her to close her ears and her eyes. Then, he walked over to the row of adults. Some were smirking, not believing that a small boy could shoot at them, some stared, hiding their fear. The boy walked up to one of the thugs who had no faith in him and pointed the gun approximately where the man’s heart would be. The man grinned, silently urging Clyde to pull the trigger. Clyde glanced up at the man and suddenly felt numb. Just like he felt when he watched Lucinda get beat up by the Orphans. It was a strange feeling. As if there was cold water running down his throat on a hot day, but the icy water was spreading from his heart and through all of the veins. It was relaxing, slightly concerning. He inhaled slowly, preparing for a loud gunshot and pulled the trigger. He knew that the hundreds of kids behind him flinched. He knew they felt betrayed and lost. He lowered the gun and glanced at the leftover men. None of them were smirking, none had doubts about his ability to shoot a gun. Clyde’s head started to spin, his muscles gave out and he collapsed onto the floor. Before his eyes closed, they obtained a new color, slightly darker than the previous one.
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!
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