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Wasteland Boy – Chapter 17 AND 18
My apologies for the delay with chapters there were some technical difficulties and life difficulties to sort out. Without further delay, please enjoy your reading.
Clyde couldn’t tell if it was morning or noon. He could, however, see everything in the room with the lights turned off. He stood up carefully, afraid to have his head spin again. Holding on to the bed, he got dressed to the best of his ability. The boy rang the bell and soon enough, Margo rushed in. Clyde held out the tie, questioning its purpose. She laughed, helped him tie it and then escorted him to the dining room. As Clyde stumbled down the hallways, leaning on the maid, his eyes wandered all over the place. He didn’t know how big his new home was. However, it was already bigger than his bunker. Carl had a knack for luxury and he made sure that anyone who set foot in his house knew that. Paintings in wooden and golden frames hung on the walls. Every hallway had flower vases, full of blooming bouquets. All glass was thin, all china was fine and all wood was polished. He noticed that the maids’ clothes were clean and ironed, although she probably did the dirty work in the house.
The hallway that his room opened to lead to a staircase, then a large hall and then the dining room, which was a very large room on its own. Clydes eyes instantly fixated on the girl he has brought with him. She was smiling, clean, wearing a cute light pink dress. Her hair was still as short as his, however she was offered a hat to go with the dress. Carl stopped the conversation they were having and pierced Clyde with his eyes.
“Well don’t count on a lady to walk you, come sit down on your own!” Clyde was unable to disobey. He pushed off of Margo and moved as quickly as possible to occupy a chair by the girl. Carl scolded him for being late and made a gesture towards the girl.
“Miss Lizbeth, here, made it on time. She woke up in the middle of the night, as a matter of fact.”
Lizzie. So that was the name of the girl. A plate with a poached pear was placed in front of the kids. They both stared at it in bewilderment. Finally, Lizzie picked up the fork and picked a piece off the pear. She licked it, grinned and proceeded to devour the dessert. Clyde shifted his eyes over to Carl, not trusting the strange food.
“It’s not poisoned,” Urged the man “Go ahead, try it.” Clyde hesitated.
“Then why won’t you eat it?”
Carl shrugged “I’m diabetic. There are many things I don’t eat anymore.” A bowl of oatmeal was placed in front of the man. Clyde had to admit, that looked less edible. It appears that although the man had so much power, he still couldn’t control nature and time. Clyde also had to admit that the pear was very sweet and disappeared quickly.
The breakfast passed in near silence. Occasional small talk was made, however, the silence gloomed over the table. People often joke how they are so hungry they could eat a whole giant animal, but as hungry as the children used to be, they found themselves unable to fit in even half of the offered breakfast. After the meal, Carl motioned Clyde to come along with him and began walking. Clyde glanced at Margo, however she shook her head and, instead, handed him a cane. It was a bit big for Clyde, but it was better than nothing. Clyde hurried after his new Guardian.
Their end location was in the man’s’ office, where Clyde finally collapsed into an armchair. Carl sat down behind his desk and folded his arms. The window behind him illuminated his silhouette, making the figure as menacing as it could get.
“So, Clyde Shanks, are there any questions before we begin?”
“My watch.” Clyde raised his head, suddenly angry at the man. Carl chuckled, and fished the pocket watch out of one of the drawers. The gold shined in the sunlight; the old man likely polished it. Clyde didn’t move, just stared at it both in awe and in disgust. This was no longer the relic from Mr. Morrison, but a new, refined watch with a clean cover and, no doubt, with replaced parts.
“It was filthy, you see. I figured I’d fix it up a bit.” The watch was placed on the desk before Carl. He urged the boy to come and get it, but Clyde didn’t move. The old man raised his eyebrow.
“You ruined it. You took the only thing I had and ruined it.” Clyde’s voice was about to tremble, however his eyes began to shift to a darker shade of livid. He wanted to pounce at the man, strangle him, break everything and set the world on fire, however he knew that he was just a boy, weakened and small. Carl shrugged and leaned back in his chair.
“Isn’t it better to start fresh? Your new life is starting, it’s like a rebirth, a fresh start. This watch has seen way more than you did. It was made before the war, likely belonged to some soldier, then traveled to you. However, you will be a new person starting today, so let the watch symbolize your new self.” Carl picked up the watch and stretched his arm out to Clyde. Hesitantly, Clyde rose from the seat and then snatched the watch away from the man, returning back to the armchair.
“Now, let us initialise your new life.”
The Next Master Sanchez
“You will hold your posture straight. You will look stern, yet you should never look grim. Look down at the ones below you, strive to push the ones above you to your feet. Nothing you say has to be true, nothing you do has to be genuine. This is not the survival of the fittest, this is the elimination of the ignorant. Their ignorance is your bliss, Clyde, so don’t you ever run out of knowledge.”
Clyde woke up in cold sweat, coughing and wheezing. His hand tried to feel for the inhaler in the dark, but he only knocked it over. Frantically trying to wake up, he turned on the lamp, grabbed the inhaler and finally relieved his asthma attack. Over the year that he has spent in the City, he discovered his lack of tolerance towards air pollution. It wasn’t usually too bad and rarely got to him, however lately, the need for an inhaler increased. He laid on his back, breathing, staring at the ceiling. His watch showed 4am. He sighed and got up, throwing a robe over himself. On such nights, he would get too paranoid so go back to sleep. He drew back the curtain of his large circular window and gazed down onto the dark streets. It was hard to make out the road beneath, the view was covered by passages between buildings, clothes lines and wires. He could see the yellow light of the street lamps, illuminating patches of the ground. In a few hours they will be turned off by lamplighters.
By the time Clyde turned fourteen, he got rather accustomed to the city life. He preferred to stay at home, more isolated from the chaos, however he liked to blend with the diverse crowd and watch so many events happen at once around him. His personal doctor, picked out by Carl, advised the boy to wear a mask as often as possible in order to avoid inhaling the gas emissions. The citizens in the city divided into two categories; The majority was of the new generations, ones that were nearly immune to any lung diseases as this was their natural habitat. Clyde was a rare case, like most people with the same problem. He came from outside the city and although he lived at a wasteland, the air was much cleaner there and kept Clyde away from dust and smog. Upon his arrival to the city, he quickly found out that the air here wasn’t quite compatible with his sensitive lungs. Clyde hated wearing his mask, however looking at his caretaker, who seemingly had every disease and disorder one could imagine, he decided to be responsible from the very beginning.
Clyde was a fast learner, however the concepts of numbers were hard to grasp for him. At some point, Carl gave up on attempting to educate him the traditional way and exposed Clyde to the business world around his company, where Clyde began showing way more understanding, since it was way beyond mindless paperwork. The progress for the orphans hasn’t been very far. The working and living conditions were still very bad, even though Clyde insisted on ventilation in the workshop. Once he partially took over the workshop finances as part of his education, the boy quickly realised that even if Carl had the best intentions in mind for the kids, he wouldn’t be able to afford much for them. The kids were doing some of the toughest jobs in town, however that job paid for all their expenses. Some percentage, of course, went into Carl’s savings. Clyde had the access to most paperwork, however he couldn’t figure out why Carl was way wealthier than an owner of a few bars. The profit he got out of there didn’t add up to the cost of everything in the house and even the old man’s expenses. Now that Clyde and Lizzie came into the picture, the expenses increased, however Carl couldn’t care less.
While Clyde became gradually more stern over the year, Lizzie completely rehabilitated and turned out to be a joyous and light soul. She didn’t care much for academics and the cruelty of life, therefore remaining the naive child that she was. Both Carl and Clyde enjoyed her company and decided to not pressure her too much. Clyde was in a more difficult position, as the man was desperate to make him a worthy replacement as fast as possible. Clyde didn’t mind at all and frankly, Lizzie contrasted his darker world quite nicely.
Clyde stepped away from the window and quickly got dressed. He sneaked out of the house and set out to the streets, wandering aimlessly. It was a habit that he has developed during the year. While most citizens avoided the streets during such hours, Clyde found it to be the most relaxing time for the City. He risked running into some bad luck, however his pocket knife never had the need to flip out before. Most people don’t pounce at small boys in the middle of the night. Such are generally assumed to be orphans. After the war, many children were left without families, however when the City arose, the government couldn’t care less about them. The city on it’s own was like a giant machine, where every part had to do something useful. Otherwise, they would simply die. There were no beggars on the streets, everyone were taken in and although it could be perceived as hospitality, it could also be seen as the use of cheap labour. As far as Clyde understood, it was better than leaving them to die on the streets.
He eyed the tall bulky man who was leaning on a wall, puffing out cigar smoke from underneath the raised collar. His goggles reflected the yellow street lights as he shifted his head to look at Clyde. Once they locked eyes, Clyde attempted a friendly smile, but remembered that his mask concealed most of his face. “It’s better that way in our circles” assured him Carl. He walked over to the man and leaned on the same wall. He learned to estimate the arm span of a person and stay about that distance away from them. Clyde looked up at the light across the street.
“Nice night, isn’t it?”
The stranger shrugged in response and took another drag from the cigar.
“Say, have you heard the last name Sanchez? ”
“And what does a little kid have to do with master Sanchez?” The stranger’s voice rumbled like faraway thunder.
“Ah. I assume you are one of his employees who hasn’t met me before.” Clyde stepped away from the wall and tipped his hat “Good evening to you, sir. I am the next Master Sanchez.”
As always, dear readers be sure to comment or PM me any of your ideas and suggestions for character and plot developments. Once again, sorry for the delay.
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