Indooroopilly, Queensland. Ruins of Brisbane.
The air was still and the night was silent as she hopped down along the golf course with hersubmachine gun clutched tightly in one paw. Her ears twitched in the starlight as she stopped and pulled out the aging, yet still reliable, Geiger counter. Still in the safe zone, for now. She turned her head and looked out across the Brisbane River, at the massive hole that was once the city of Brisbane. The Reds had blasted the city to hell and back and no one went there these days.
Well. Nearly no one.
There was, of course, the increasingly common survivalist who hid in the outskirts of Queensland's former cities. There were gangs and pirates, marauders, monsters, misfits, and whomever else called the rubble home.
Not generally the sort of people one has afternoon tea with. Zoe was sure about that.
The reason she was here herself was fairly simple. There were some lads back in Redlands who had been looking for some goods, but had been chased off by some squatters. They left their gear bags and they were willing to pay top caps and even motorcycle tires for their property back. How could she refuse such a good offer? The only issues was where they left them. Bloody Kindies. But she couldn't argue with a good deal the boys from Redlands was giving her.
"No one so far." She mused out loud, shifting the submachine gun in her paw. "Maybe the squatters they saw have scattered. But if they took the bags, I can't have that."
The Kangaroo made her way onto a street, and hopped down the western suburbs. About a half hour of looking in every nook and cranny, she came up to the Indooroopilly Shopping Center. It had seen better days. The roof was caved in, but luckily the walls were still standing. A dead squatter lay sprawled out next to the mall's entrance. "Luck done given up on you." She told the dead man as she stood up on her legs. Either the squatters had a disagreement, or there was someone else here and mad as a cut snake.
Well, wasn't this corker.
She hopped into the mall. Rows of retail shops and department stores, ruined and long since looted, greeted her as she made her way down. Escalators had either collapsed or were on the verge of doing so. Her ears twitched again. Someone was here. Something was clashing into something else, but it was too far away to hear clearly. She hopped softly as she made her way to the source, a bowling alley.
Hugging the wall, gun at the ready, she rolled around the corner and ready for battle.
What she wasn't ready for was the sight of a young woman bowling. The woman in question turned around quickly and Zoe about jumped out of her skin. The woman's skin shimmered in the light as a faint bluish-grey and a pair of yellowed eyes which bore out of a hooded cloak. Her face was missing its nose. And yet, even more strangely, was the fact that she carried a scythe in her hand. The bodies of several dead squatters lay scattered across the alley.
"Oh hey! Didn't see ya there! Mind playing a game?"
"....what the ever-blooming fuck...."
"So... you... you're telling me that you - a Yank - are the Grim Reaper."
"Not the Reaper per se. I'm kinda just his temp."
"So where's Death then?"
"Oh, he's taking a vacation on Pluto."
"Pluto... the planet?"
She nodded as if it was the simplest thing in the world. "Yeah, it's the only place now where no one's died." She shrugged. "He did use to go to the Moon, but you wouldn't believe all the restless souls up there these days."
Zoe blinked. She... she was having a chat with Death, or Death's intern, or "Penny" as she preferred to be called. Turns out even Death needs a break. The two were at the bowing ally's bar, Zoe nursing a rum in her paw while Penny was grinning into her Nuka-Cola.
Zoe paused. "So..." She began. "About the squatters... did you... did you reap them?"
Penny gave a laugh as she leaned back. "Oh them? Yep. One accused the other one stealing a can.."
"It's a billy! Not a can, a billy!"
"Fine! Stealing a billy." Penny sighed dramatically. "They started to argue, and then they start shooting... when I was alive, the worst yelling I got when I got fired from a job." She glanced at her bare wrist, sat up, and used her scythe to push herself out of her chair. "Well, it's been fun, but I gotta go. See ya!"
And with a flash, Penny, the Grim Reaper was gone.
Zoe sat there for a good 10 minutes, playing the events that happened over and over in her mind. She found the gear she had been hired to find and, getting back to Redlands, needed a much stronger drink.