One For My Baby...Not that it was cold in Novac at night, or well anywhere in the Mojave for that matter, but I could almost feel myself shaking in my boots. I was tempted to pull the hood of my raggedy pink hoodie over myself, but honestly, I figured I'd look like even more of an awkward, spooked outsider than I already did. After busting my ass to get to a bed I could call my own, here I was, helping some jerk of a....what was he? Soldier, ex-soldier? get revenge on his dead wife.
It was less than 24 hours since I'd met Craig Boone, and he unsettled me, to put it bluntly. He spoke cryptically, more like some kind of fortune teller than a big man with a big gun. In the short span of our relationship, I had spoken with a few people about this "Carla" who apparently everyone despised, even Manny...and Manny was one of the few people in the town I'd actually gotten to like. Yet it ended up being No-Bark who gave me the most helpful advice.
Unleash the Khan.Manny had just gotten off duty, and slung his sniper rifle over his back as he made his way across the small motel yard towards his room. The sun was setting, its golden aura lighting the scorched town of Novac and highlighting all of the ruins as though it wanted to point out the humans' faults. The sniper paid no heed to this, as usual, and went directly from the dark setting of the dinosaur mouth to the dark setting of his comfortable room.Unleash the Khan.5 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
As he was shrugging off his jacket, Manny heard footsteps upstairs. He tilted his head curiously; was the girl back again? They had spent some time together the last time she passed through, which was only a week or so ago. She had been temporarily blinded by the cazador stings, but nonetheless chatty and fun to be around. They had shared talks of the Khans, a group who had just recently also accepted the Courier for her sometimes astounding feats. Manny was
Arcade and the Atomic WranglerThe Courier desperately needed this time. She hadn't looked this nice since storming out of the Lucky 38 to unwittingly have sex with Benny, and although her bones ached, her shoulder panged, and her head was sore all over, she still cleaned up well. At the moment, she was at the card table, giggling into the shoulder of Arcade Gannon, a man she had come to relate to better than any single person in the Wasteland thus far.Arcade and the Atomic Wrangler5 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
The dealer passed out a new round of cards, and she straightened on her stool, trying to calm herself. Though the Courier had already won a few hundred caps, Arcade was smoking the table, despite having plenty in him to drink. A crowd had assembled to watch his uncanny poker skills.
"It's.....it's all about st..stassticistis...hmm. Sta-tis-ticss." Arcade said knowledgeably, picking up his cards. He tried focusing so hard on pronouncing 'statistics' that his eyes crossed.
Ring a ding ding, Baby Pt. 2Ring a ding ding, Baby Pt. 25 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
There probably wasn't a more cliche image in all of Vegas history; late at night, a tall svelte woman in a curve-hugging dress ran in heels back to the door of her apartment; hair disheveled, makeup smeared, pale cheeks flushed. But there you go; for once I wasn't the grimy hardass courier. It was dark enough that the people who saw me go running up the stairs to the Lucky 38 were people I didn't give a shit about, strangers who gave me startled looks as I streaked across the pavement and then up the glowing, flashy steps. Victor was outside, and barely got a "Well hidey--" before I threw open the door and crossed the casino main floor.
The elevator ride provided solace, because I was finally alone. I was still crying silently, my forehead against the elevator wall. It wasn't so much what happened at the Tops, it was what didn't happen. Benny had asked me to hold him while he slept. Laying in his bed with him, he hadn't tried to as
Mr. House's Gift.Mr. House's Gift.5 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"I'm surprised you're so very interested in my story. At this point, most people would be focused only on regaining the Platinum chip, and the monetary reward. I can understand, as I am a bit of an aficionado for pre-war information myself, but that was because I lived during the time period. Must we tarry over these things, when I've given you very clear instructions?"
Mr. House had a charming voice, just as the ghoul at the Old Mormon Fort had mentioned. Yet his half-condescending tone really irked me. Though he wasn't up-front with it, I knew the man...er, computer? whatever he was, really found himself above me. Just an hour earlier, he'd explained the situation, Benny, everything to me, requesting I go after Benny and get the package I was paid to deliver.
But I couldn't help it. A curious person and someone who was mystified with pre-War memorabilia, and here I was talking to yet anoth
Meet me at McCarran.Meet me at McCarran.5 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
The tent had emptied since I left earlier, everyone filing out to let a doctored-up Boone get his rest. Arcade had warned me that Rex, due to having a broken foot, was under tranquilizers so he wouldn't thrash around and damage himself further. The dog was laying on his side quietly in a full-sized hospital bed, his one dog-leg in a cast. My eyes moved past him to the dark figure on the accompanying bed.
"Boone," he was awake, and I rushed to his side. It was no coincidence a tall stool sat by the bedside and I unceremoniously plopped down onto it, drawing my wounded legs up on the footholds and leaning towards him. He was awake, laying on his back, looking very uncomfortable in general. Boone was shirtless, and a huge bandage smeared with red adorned most of his side. I didn't touch it, but stared at it momentarily, before meeting his eyes.
He looked at me strangely there in the darkness, a lantern the only f
Accipere Quam Facere Praestat.Accipere Quam Facere Praestat.5 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
A ringing sounded in his ears, and even Boone's heavy steps were in slow motion. They rang through his ears like the last of the gunfire. So much carnage, and he was still alive. How?
The sun illuminated Cottonwood Cove, firing off the water so brightly that everything around Boone was white. His delicate eyes couldn't filter any other color except red. Red on the ground. He'd killed so many...since the woman left on the boat toward the Fort. But that was forever ago, it seemed.
He'd chosen to come here, die fighting as he was meant to. And at least a hundred blood-red-clad warriors had fallen under Boone. But the battle wasn't over. He pursed his blood covered lips and looked to the top of one of the buildings. Facing the sparkling, pure white water, nothing but a black silhouette could be seen.
It was the Centurion. A hero in battle, a bloodthirsty killer. The man was nothing but a great shadow as
Back to Freeside.She opened her arms, and the small figure jumped onto her torso, ready to play. But the Courier was too tired for games. She kept her eyes closed, and opted for a hug. The boy was not one for hugs, as no five-year-old boy was. He pushed away, getting uncomfortably close to her reposed face.Back to Freeside.5 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"I'm too tired......"
"You've got to wake up!"
"We can play some other time, Liam. Your mother will be--"
"Please, please..." Never was there such urgency in a young child's voice. Desperation, even. The Courier's eyes snapped open, ready to console him.
As her eyes intook the scene, the boy vanished, nowhere to be seen. His small visage disappeared amid the strange blue-black surrounding her. A golden coin floated strangely in front of her face. With a gasp, she choked, and then kicked. She wasn't suspended in air. She was underwater. The Courier
To the Fort."No." Boone looked at me as though I had just slapped him across the face. Then again, maybe I had, figuratively. "You can't be saying this."To the Fort.5 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"I...I KNOW the Legion--" Nipton was still fresh in my mind.
"No, you don't. Anyone with half a brain wouldn't say they were going to go talk to the Legion. Talk to them? They're slavers, barbarians, they're not gonna want to talk to you. Do you know what they do to women?!"
We were standing near the entrance to Cottonwood Cove. And I had yet to see Boone this furious at me.
"Look, I'm not an idiot, okay?"
"As far as I'm concerned, yeah you are. You have no idea who the Legion even is, who Caesar really is. You don't even have a clue."
"You call them barbarians, but running into the middle of their headquarters guns blazing is suicide, and I won't stand for it! Not yet, anyway. I want to see the Legion
A Fort in Nellis.I was mostly stunned and proud of Boone and myself for surviving the barrage of explosions that greeted us at Nellis. Boone, never one too thrilled at finding himself alive, was far more angry toward the Boomers. While I could understand his impatience at a people so backwards and sheltered that they just blew up anything that came toward them, he seemed to be holding a grudge. At my request, he helped clear out the generators where the ants had taken up residence, and sat on the roof handing me tools to repair the solar panels. But he spoke barely a word all day, letting his anger seethe. I didn't disturb him with idle conversation.A Fort in Nellis.5 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I didn't mind helping the Boomers, and indeed felt akin to them in some way. They were frightened of the fighting and what had happened to the world. They were, by a stroke of luck, sitting on a horrendously large stockpile of weapons that they could use to defend themselves
Are We There Yet?"Liam," I pondered, watching the latter haphazardly dissect an insect. He sat at a makeshift table with several other boys, their heads all bowed together, intently poking and prodding with the most delicate of hands.Are We There Yet?5 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"Its eyes are buggy-funny!" Liam chirped in response, then turned his head to me.
I smiled at him in the dim light, not being able to get a grasp on our surroundings. There was Isaac, the troublemaker, Elijah the brainiac, Alex, the clown. All of them were five or six, all of them were intrigued with the bug we found on our wanderings.
"What?" Liam said, his assertive tone not unkind. Seeing that I was reclining on the floor watching the group, he put down his tool and dropped to his knees by me. I stared at him for a moment, realizing this was someone I loved more than anything. I knew him unlike anyone else: he was squeamish, intelligent, and had the darkest sense of hu
The Uniting of Vegas.The Uniting of Vegas.4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Even Boone couldn't be too down as the group entered Freeside at long last; their steps were light, they'd traded all their winter equipment in after descending the mountain and were now back to their signature selves: the Courier in hoodie, boots, beret, cargos, machete dangling at her hip; Boone in cargos, beret, undershirt, rifle slung over his back, sunglasses masking his cold eyes, and Arcade in his long Follower's jacket, thick black frames, his blond hair the brightest thing on the block.
Their smiles and lightheartedness would soon come crashing down when one of the Kings, loitering by the Freeside gate, gave them a very serious look. "King's lookin' for you guys, told me to--"
As the blond girl's smile faded to a look of concern, the King himself came through the once-rail car gateway, walking toward them. Rex was alongside him, and now the dog bolted from the man, recognizing Boone. Recognizing the urgency with which the man was advancing, the
Handling Boone.Everyone had folded, even Arcade. While we waited with bated breath, the last better shook his head, and forfeited to Boone. My jaw dropped as Boone drunkenly scooped the mountain of chips toward him.Handling Boone.5 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"Wait, what was your hand?" One player asked. Boone paused, narrowing his eyes, and then said, "Oh."
He threw down a pair of two's.
Arcade erupted into laughter, I shook my head slowly with a dumbfounded smile. The other gamblers sighed, the early folders laughing with Arcade for having gotten out easy. Again, a crowd had formed, most buying our drinks in the hopes that someone would win the pot if Arcade or Boone got drunk enough. And while Arcade was performing at his peak it appeared Boone could out-poker him. How, we still weren't sure. The blond had rambled on about chance and statistics some more, while Boone's shrewd glare kept the other players on their
A far-sighted Sniper.A far-sighted Sniper.5 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
The Legion were trained to stay and fight, yet several of the younger members had already turned to flee, wanting to keep their heads on their bodies. Around Boone, hell had broken loose and he was forgotten about. Though he wasn't hoping for anything, except for the possibility that a spare bullet would hit him, soon the shouts and yells subsided, and the only thing that could be heard were the heavy footfalls of the fleeing Legionaires, and then the sound of a growling dog, and another.
Boone looked up at this; to his left a Legion mongrel bared its teeth, looking in the direction of the sniper. Its fur was bristled, its eyes crazy. The man glanced from the dog to the mountain range, and there, thirty feet away stood Rex, his own fangs bared, his growls rising to match the other dog's. As Boone stood helplessly by, alone now except for the two alpha males. The dogs began to circle each other, and moved as one, jowls tw
Leaving Novac.Leaving Novac.5 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Boone didn't want to spend the night in Novac after reading the letter the Courier had given him. He wanted to leave immediately, but she pressed the point: they needed a good night's sleep before traveling the long haul to New Vegas, and both of them were beyond exhausted. Her week in Novac had consisted of her helping seemingly everyone in town; she'd discovered the ghouls at Reppcon, the Nightkin bothering the Brahmin, and who knows what other good deeds, before completely blindsiding Boone himself with bringing him partial justice to Carla's....slavery deal.
He was surprised it wasn't Manny--his friend HATED his wife, but upon reflection Boone couldn't remember a time that Jeannie wasn't complaining about the "snobbish look" on Carla's face. These thoughts were making it increasingly difficult for him to even think about sleeping one more night in this town. Obviously the Courier was having no difficulty. Boone was sitting in
An Overqualified Courier.Dejected didn't even come close to describing how I felt all the way back to Vegas. I don't know what I was expecting from Boone, but now I could expect nothing at all. The Mojave seemed just as lonely as it did when I had bravely stepped foot out of Goodsprings, even when Boone busied himself with making a fire or cooking a meal for both of us. He never failed in his job as a spotter, and seemed keen on getting back to Vegas.An Overqualified Courier.5 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Then, "I don't get it. Why did he shoot you?"
We were less than a mile away from the Vegas entrance, and I paused to look at Boone as though he were an extraterrestrial. "What?"
"You must have been...." Boone shrugged, not understanding what he wanted to say. "Before your memory loss, I mean..."
While still staring like a baffoon, it occurred to me how little Boone had known about the situation. Through my own tight-lipped nature, I had neglected to tell him anything other than the fact
Follow the Leader.Follow the Leader.5 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I will scream if I have to live with this idiot Manny for one more day. I mean, he's an ex-Khan, if that tells you anything about how lowly and just dirty his thinking methods are. I don't care if he is best friends with Craig. I shouldn't be subject to live with someone so--
These were the only words of Carla's diary that Boone had read as he sifted through his old house. The book was then snapped shut and discarded, thrown on a counter-top, and he exited. It bothered him that the only words he read were about Manny, and not about him, but whose fault was it for prying?
Boone had honed in on his tracking skills the past month or however long it was, only stopping in Novac once the black-haired men found his mark, led by the cyber-dog. He had stayed for supplies and to enter the house, where he unwisely picked up Carla's journal, the one she had carried with her since they had met. Imm
Meet me at the Dinosaur.Meet me at the Dinosaur.5 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Boone awoke with a start. A scream echoed in his ears, carrying him out of his dream and into the present. The present was the Courier's motel room in Novac, where darkness lay around him like a sheet, the ever-present neon sign outside glowing eerily into the room. He'd fallen asleep? Boone hadn't intended to, taking up watch in the same sooty chair he'd raised a pistol to himself in, mulling over thoughts of this town he had a severe love-hate relationship with.
The scream echoed again, faintly, and Boone pressed his fingers to his temple. Get out of my head, he willed the memory of Bitter Springs, closing his eyes. But his senses were telling him something was dead wrong. With eyes that could adjust to the blackness quicker than most, the sniper stood, realizing that the Courier's bed was empty. A jolt of fear went through him--it was after midnight, where could she have gone? and he pivo
Playing Nice With Little JimmyPlaying Nice With Little Jimmy5 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"Almost there, buddy, just hang on a little longer," the Courier breathed to the cyberdog, in a voice much kinder than the voice she used with Boone. The latter was making his way up the mountain after the two, eyes on the pink-clad woman and the animal she was taking care of. Boone had never even heard of this tiny settlement called Jacobstown, but his companion had been excited to go there once they looked it up on the map and realized it was nestled in the higher mountains outside of Vegas.
She had a penchant for wilderness, it seemed. The woman would rather be secluded, in the sanctity of nature, than spend time in any inhabited area. She seemed far lighter in step when they traversed the Wasteland. More curious, alert. Something about civilization seemed to drain her energy, make her fatigued. Not that Boone couldn't sympathize; he despised interaction for the most part. Especially in Novac. But that was
'Two Blonds Walk into a .....'Aaron and Jesse were the names of the Kings members who had returned with Rex to the spot in the Mojave where I lay near death. They were the last people I wanted to say thank you to before heading back to Goodsprings. The pair lounged against the wall, pointed out to me by the white-suited King. As the leader of the gang had another bonding moment with his dog before he set off with me again, I sauntered to the young Kings.'Two Blonds Walk into a .....'5 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
They nodded at my advance.
"I just have to say thank you, personally, to both of you. I know what you did wasn't easy."
"No problem," Aaron said, slightly older of the two. He ran a hand through his greased hair. "When you're healthy, you seem to make things happen. And we knew the King wouldn't want anything bad to happen to you."
"You two really took care of me. It was a long travel, needless to say a long stretch from Freeside. You even took care of ban
In Time-Meet Me At the Lucky38I couldn't sleep. Even a full bottle of whiskey hadn't lulled me into a coma as I'd hoped. Above me, high in his tower, House lay dead in a sickening mockery of human longevity. Boone had mysteriously pinpointed a riveting quote in a book I had before any of this Vegas stuff ever happened. Arcade had left several minutes ago, not being able to sleep either. With him were my holodiscs from Goodsprings. He had headed down to Freeside to grab Emily, the resident computer genius, and have her assist him with the decoding process.In Time-Meet Me At the Lucky385 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"If I decode it while drunk it will probably end up one of my philosophical debates, but Emily can take the wheel," Arcade said, pushing up his glasses. Boone was pouring water from the sink into Rex's bowl as I handed over the discs. Arcade kissed my forehead and stepped to the elevator. He saw the lost look in my eyes as I said, "I hope this does more good than dam
Mr. House's Gift III."What's going on," Boone sighed, talking to one of the other slaves. They had stopped walking, the Legionaries up ahead discussing something. They had stopped several times along the grueling journey for several reasons; Deathclaws, raids to pick up more slaves, but nothing littered the dusty road as far as Boone's shrewd eyes could see. The other slave shook his head, not risking speaking for fear of getting beaten.Mr. House's Gift III.5 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Two children had already died on the journey; the adults pooled together their food to give to the remaining youngsters and after the pen had been set up, the Courier sat with them and told them the story of Heidi, the young girl who went to live with her grandfather up in green, quiet mountains. She told them about snow, in her crackling dehydrated voice, and the kids would hang onto her every word. Some of them, the ones who hadn't been abducted with their parents, grew so attached they slept huddled by h
First Memory.First Memory.5 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
The courier awoke with a start, the red of the campfire the first thing she saw. Reclining near her, his rifle resting on his shoulder, sat Boone. His expression was one of deep thought, however he turned his head to look down at her.
Her face was wet. The slender girl drew her long legs up, scooting on her butt into a sitting position near Boone. She curiously brushed her cheek, realizing she had cried in her sleep. Boone, wherever his thoughts were, had a more peaceful expression than he had in the few days since they'd left Novac. He glanced at the girl, noting her teary eyes and cheeks. "What's up?"
"I......I dreamed," she said triumphantly. Though they were still getting acquainted, she moved closer to him. Boone's back was against a rock, and now the Courier faced him, her shoulder leaning against the same rock. Relaxed, the sniper tilted his head back against the rock. "
Meet me at the Mesa.I lay on the canyontop grass on my stomach, my upper torso propped up with my elbow. My chin was in my hand, a dorky smile on my face. My legs kicked up behind me in a slow scissor motion, bending at the knee. It was night, and the sky was beautiful, crisp and clear. Hours ago, Arcade and I had rushed down this canyontop after Rex, where I had taken out a fair share of Legionaires. We were back up in the ancient canyon dwelling, where Arcade was preparing dinner for three.Meet me at the Mesa.5 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Though I was not stupid in medicinal terms, Arcade's knowledge far surpassed mine, and so he was the one giving the final inspection to Boone. While I grinned like an idiot, Arcade gave him the once over and unceremoniously jammed a stimpak into Boone's arm. This caused a stream of curses that I haven't really yet matched to emanate from my sniper. When we ascended the hill, the four of us--me, Arcade, Boone, and
Dec. 25, 2881, Nevada.Dec. 25, 2881, Nevada.5 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
The fire was mostly spent, and the Courier and Boone now lay under a sheltering rock fifty yards away from the spot where the Securitrons hit earlier that day. The girl was still so frail even after all the water and food she'd consumed in the past hours. With Boone finally settling down by her, and Victor silently standing guard over the pair, she'd already fallen asleep. Now the sniper, not even bothering to change out of the burlap shorts he'd been given, lay down as well.
He ached, everywhere. Not one part of his body had stopped screaming for respite in the past week, and now he had it. There was nothing to fear until he opened his eyes again. And yet Boone couldn't immediately drop off to sleep. It wasn't the fact that the Courier, beside him, was crying quietly in her sleep, nor was it the dimly lit screen with a smiling cowboy face that hovered nearby. For the first time today, Boone had fe