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 Forgotten Memories

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Lily Greyson


Posts : 5
Join date : 2013-03-06

PostSubject: Forgotten Memories   Wed Mar 06, 2013 6:06 pm

The smoky wisps of breath slowly floated from the lips of a young girl. Her body was stiff, eyes locked directly on her on her target. Though her limbs were still, her heart thudded painfully in her chest as if it was desperately attempting escape. Just squeeze the trigger, her mind coaxed. You need to eat. She seemed to lay there for an eternity, the soft flakes of snow collecting on her camouflaged clothing. Their delicate frozen bundles accenting the shiny black of her hair. What if I miss? she responded to her inner voice. Then you run. She could feel the tightness of her skin, her starved body adding depth that shouldn’t be there. Her lungs worked painfully, pumping air in and out. She wanted to gasp for air, but only treated her lungs to steady slow breaths to keep herself from trembling. She had been wandering around the blackened thin trees for what seemed like ages, hoping to find some sort of wildlife. Instead all she found was ash and snow. Nothing grew in these woods. Nothing could live out here. All she had was her hunting rifle, a dozen bullets, and her desperate need to survive. The night before she contemplated suicide, but when the muzzle entered her mouth she couldn’t pull the trigger. If she was to die, it would be slowly and painfully from starvation. There was no way she could summon the courage to end it herself.

This now was her only chance. Her gun was aimed at a sleeping man, most likely a drifter of some sort. His body rose and fell with the peacefulness granted with sleep, a pack lying beside him and a campfire slowly dying. He rested in a large clearing which meant he would be an easy enough target to hit. She didn't know why he was all the way out here and frankly she didn't care. He was the only living person she had seen in days which made her want to cry, call out to the man for help. But she knew the Wasteland too well and had witnessed the horrific acts of men. There was no way she could take him down in a fight, so the element of surprise was her chance. Her frozen fingers gripped the gun with a new fire, a refreshed determination to live. Finally she squeezed the trigger. Click. The girl let out a soft squeak of panic as she desperately tried to shoot the gun over and over. Click, click, click, click, click. The girl looked over the weapon, trying to figure out what to do. Her now trembling hands frantically fluttered over the rifle, even though she knew it was hopeless. She knew next to nothing about guns and how they worked. The girl looked up to see if the man was sleeping, but what she saw made her heart skip a beat. He wasn’t there. Where could he have gone? She shuffled back through the brush and rolled on her back. Her body was about to get up and make a run for it, but a figure stood over her. She wanted to scream and desperately attempt escape, but all she could manage to do was limply sit up and wrap her arms around her legs. She then placed her head in between her knees and wept. Her eyes clenched shut as salty cold water leaked through her tear ducts, waiting for whatever he would do. But all he did was stand there. What was he waiting for? Just kill me! her inner voice screamed. Her head pounded painfully and her breath wracked through her body as she gasped for air. Her body trembled and instinctively rocked itself, trying to soothe the horrible panic. She then felt something she did not expect, a heavy arm around her.

The man belonging to that arm picked her up and walked back to the camp. Her eyes remained shut and her body continued to tremble as he gently set her down. She could hear the man rebuilding the fire, the flame’s warm comfort made her slowly open her eyes. He sat across from her, staring at her intently. His skin was tanned from years traveling in the harsh Wasteland sun. Wavy chestnut brown hair flowed down to his lower neck and a rough beard warmed his face. He wore a heavy brown leather jacket and dark blue jeans that were tucked into tough workman’s boots. A pale knitted cap warmed his head and ears, a dark blue scarf wrapped his around his neck, and black leather gloves protected his hands. The girl envied his clothes, herself only wearing thin rags and a camouflaged jacket and boots she had scavenged from a dead Wastelander. The man seemed to notice this as he rummaged through his pack and pulled out a large black hoodie. He walked over to her carefully, seeing that any move he made resulted in her wincing with nervousness. He then held out the clothing to her, which she took after eyeing it with disbelief. After she swaddled herself in the huge hoodie that fell down to her knees, she curled up by the fire and passed out in a dreamless sleep.

By the time she woke up the fire had died and the snow sparkled in the mid-morning sun. She shifted only slightly, not wanting to move from the warmth and the comforting smell of cow hide. The same man was sharpening a blade across the campfire’s ashes. Himself now only wearing a sweater rather than the large leather jacket she had seen the night before. She then realized he must have given her the jacket in the night, which puzzled her a bit. Sitting up she groaned softly as her head pounded in protest. Her ears rang and the snow became a fuzzy blur of white. “Hey now, careful. Just lay down.” said a low, quiet voice. The girl did so without response and laid there until the fuzziness had passed. She looked over at the man who had returned to sharpening his knife. “Are you going to eat me?” she asked softly, her voice hoarse and almost inaudible. She could see a small smile sprout on his face, but he shook his head slowly. “Nah, not enough meat on you.” he replied without looking up. The girl’s face grew even paler than before as she watched the man for a moment. “You’re not shaky. People eaters shake.” she said quietly, more of a reassurance for herself. The man nodded. “That is correct. I’ve eaten plenty of odd things in my life, but never a person.” he replied as he stopped sharpening his knife to look over at her with warm eyes. “That includes little girls.” The girl nodded slowly to show she understood. The man then sat up and walked off into the woods without another word. He returned shortly with a bundle of sticks. “You hungry?” he asked her, though he knew the answer. One doesn’t have to travel far to see what a starving person looks like. The girl nodded which made the man smile. “Alright then. Let me build up a fire.”

The girl stared with hungry eyes at the large bowl of heated up Pork N’ Beans. The man was still stirring it, seemingly taking his time. Or was that all in her head? Her desperate need for food was most likely elongating the cooking process. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, he handed her a small bowl of the pre-war treat. The food was gone in a matter of seconds. She even cleaned out the bowl by scraping it with her fingers then popping them into her mouth. She watched him, wanting to ask for more. The bowl over the campfire was still nearly full, wasn’t there enough for a second helping? After taking a few bites of his own bowl, he calmly addressed her without looking up from his meal. “Just wait a bit. Make sure it stays down.” The girl nodded, this made sense. Yet her stomach still ached with what seemed like an unquenchable hunger. But then sure enough, her stomach began a different kind of ache and she was sure the precious food would make an unwanted return. The man noticed her turning green, so he handed her a large milk jug that was slushing with water. She took it and sipped the liquid little by little until the queasiness had passed. After about thirty minutes he refilled her plate, this time she ate with slow careful bites. She didn’t want to waste an ounce by throwing it back up. She then drank tiny sips of water again to soothe her stomach.

When the large bowl over the fire was empty, the girl looked and felt remarkable better. The man cleaned the bowl with a washrag and fed more wood to the fire. He sat there for a moment, looking off intently as if he were planning something out. The girl was too nervous to ask him what would happen next. She wrapped herself tighter in the hoodie and curled closer in her cocoon of leather. “Where did you come from?” asked the man, making the girl jump from the sudden break of silence. “A slaver camp southwest a ways.” she replied, gesturing to the woods he found her in. “I escaped and traveled for…um…” The girl looked up and moved her fingers, counting the number of days she had traveled. “Two weeks I think.” The man nodded. “So I suppose returning you to a family is impossible then?” he asked softly. The girl looked to her right, staring at a muddy boot print that had defiled the white snow. She then nodded slowly, but didn’t speak further of family. She obviously didn’t want to talk about it just yet. “Well then,” said the man softly, as he watched her carefully. “Let’s start off simple. What’s your name?” The girl looked up at him, a small sense of shyness on her face. “The Legion said I couldn’t have a name anymore.” she whispered softly. The man chuckled then shook his head. “Well, I’m not the Legion. What’s your name?” The girl pressed her lips together for a moment then mumbled. “Lily.” The man nodded. “I’ve always liked that name. It used to be a flower, you know. Not like the ugly ones now a days, but a pre-war one. It was said to be real pretty.” The girl looked up, interested in what he was saying. “I can see why they named you that.” he then added with a kind smile.

Lily learned the man’s name was Greyson. He was a forty-seven year old man, even though he only looked to be in his mid-thirties. He was a bounty hunter on leave, or as he put it “on vacation.” “This isn’t a very good place to go on vacation.” the girl stated as she looked around the thin, dead woods. “It isn’t for most, but it’s quiet.” Greyson replied. “And mighty pretty, it always snows. Not like a blizzard, but a gentle shower almost every day in the winter.” Lily hopped along in his much larger footprints as they traveled through the snowy forest. “The snow does make it look cleaner, but every time I tried eating some off the ground it tasted like ash. I had to eat it off the tree branches.” This made the man smile. “I never said it was perfect.” he replied softly as he stepped over a large log then turned around to help Lily over. But instead he saw her jump right over it, landing on the other side without difficulty. “Well then,” he said with a small laugh. “I’ll have to start calling you Tiger Lily.” The girl grinned with pride, but then tilted her head slightly. “What’s a tiger?” she asked. Greyson continued on walking as he replied. “Before the war, there were these huge cats. They were bigger than people with powerful teeth and claws. But they were also beautiful; their coats were a vivid shade of orange with deep black stripes and bits of white.” His words sent a vivid image to Lily’s head that amazed her as much as terrified her. “Did they eat people?” she asked, still hopping around in his footprints. Greyson chuckled then shook his head. “No, no. But they were fierce hunters. They would couch down real low to the ground… waiting for the precise moment then…” The man turned suddenly with a “Pahh!” making the girl let out a little squeak. “They pounced on their prey.” he finished with a grin. Lily giggled and repeated “Pahh!” each time she hopped in one of his footprints. “Are there still tigers?” she suddenly asked with a tone of hope only a child could have. The man sighed and shook his head. “When the bombs fell, there already weren’t many of them. I doubt they could have survived the nukes.” His tone was laced with disappointment, but it perked up when he added. “But I’ve never seen one. Maybe they did survive. Maybe they are even bigger, scarier, and fiercer. Maybe they are all different colors now too. Like green and purple.” This made the girl grin, an image of a giant blue and black cat pouncing around after a huge ball of string flashed in her mind. Greyson couldn’t help but smile, even though he knew if tigers did survive the blasts they certainly wouldn’t look pretty anymore. “How did you learn all this?” Lily asked as she watched a small black bird fly far up in the clouds. “I’ve read lots of books.” he replied. “Can you read?” Lily nodded then squatted down in the snow. She took her index finger and wrote in clean large lettering “TIEGER LILY.” She then looked up with a small smile of pride. The man chuckled then with his index finger wrote “TIGER” above Lily’s misspelled one. “Don’t worry; you’ve never heard that word before.” he said softly when he saw the girl turn a soft pink from embarrassment. “You have very pretty handwriting too, whoever taught you must be proud.” Lily nodded with a grin. “Yeah, my papa taught me. He made me do lessons every day. He said I was a natural at it like him.” The girl’s eyes then dulled, sorrow clearly developing on her face. “I can keep teaching you if you want.” offered Greyson. The girl’s face brightened instantly at his proposal, his offer meaning more than simply the promise to educate. He planned on letting her stay with him. The man smiled then continued to walk with Lily following his footsteps close behind.

They travelled nearly all day, taking quite a few breaks since Lily was still weak. “Lily, why don’t you just let me carry you?” Greyson asked after the fourth break. The girl twiddled her hands and shrugged. “I don’t want to be a bother...” she replied softly. The man grinned and crouched down to be eye level with her. “You are not a bother, Lily. Here, hop on my back and put you arms around my neck.” he said as he turned around and shook his backpack off. The girl did as she was told then let out a little squeak when he stood up. “I’m gonna choke you!” she said shakily as her small legs dangled off the ground. “Wrap your legs around my waist, silly girl.” he replied with a soft chuckle. Lily did so and grinned when he started walking, still managing the same speed as before. “I’m like your new backpack.” she giggled as they walked. Greyson smiled then shook his head. “Nah, you’re lighter than the backpack.” He carried her on his back and the pack in his arms as they continued their journey. After about an hour Lily drifted off, still tightly holding onto her new guardian. When she woke up it was already evening and the landscape had changed. Instead of the dead skinny trees and floating snow, they walked in a large barren field. “Where are we?” she asked, rubbing her eyes. Greyson replied with a word she never heard before. “We are almost to Wichita. We’re going to go around the ruins since it’s so heavy populated.” The girl gulped, she had heard stories of raiders that lived in the ruins. Even the word Wichita sounded menacing to her. “Don’t worry,” he added, sensing her discomfort. “I know lots of safe roads to travel.” The girl felt better, but still wasn’t so sure. Then she noticed for the first time, a gun holstered on his right side. She thought for a moment then spoke up. “Greyson, what’s a bounty hunter?” Lily asked, still staring at the weapon. The man hesitated for a bit then responded, choosing his words carefully. “Well, when someone does bad things people want that person gone. So they offer up money to anyone who can take care of that bad person.” he replied quietly. Lily listened intently, still not completely following. “You mean, like, an assassin?” she asked. Greyson was somewhat surprised to hear she knew that word. Then again, he noted it shouldn’t surprise him. She was a Legion slave at one point and they have plenty of assassins. “Yes, kind of. But I only take care of bad people. People who do horrible things to others.” Lily thought for a moment then asked another question. “Does that mean you kill people?” Greyson cleared his throat out of nervousness. He didn’t want to scare her, but there was no use lying. “Yes, Lily. I do.” he replied softly. The girl then smiled. “So you kill bad guys. Like a superhero.” she claimed, admiration sparkling in her eyes. This made the man laugh then nod as he grinned. “Sure, I guess you could say that. A superhero who’s armed with a gun and gets paid for using it.”
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Lily Greyson


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Join date : 2013-03-06

PostSubject: Re: Forgotten Memories   Sat Mar 09, 2013 9:23 pm

The sky was growing dark, the swirly powdered hues of orange fading into the impeding navy night. Soon small stars peeped into sight, ready reunite and mark the world with their diamond collage. The night usually frightened Lily, herself seeing the horrors of what occurred during the late hours. But this was different; a feeling of curiousness and safety enveloped her instead of fear. The young girl couldn’t help but gaze up and at the shining dots. Greyson looked over his shoulder to catch a glimpse of her astonishment.  “You trying to count them?” he asked with a smile, following her gaze up to the heavens and stopping his steady walk. “No, I just haven’t seen them in a while. They’re pretty.” she responded softly. Unfortunately this fact was true, the smoke and light from the large Legion campfires tended to block them out. Even when she was free, the snowy clouds and blackened branches covered their sight. Greyson felt a pang of sadness in his chest as he placed down the pack and crouched down so Lily could slide off his back. They were still in the large barren grassland of what must have been farming ground. No trees meant no fire for the night, but it wasn’t too cold so they would manage. He took off his leather jacket and placed it over Lily’s shoulders as he sat down beside her. She was already busy looking up again, watching as each star popped into the sky. “What are they?” she asked without looking away. “They look like glitter.” Greyson smiled as he opened his pack to get some food, luckily he had brought extra just in case he’d be away from town longer on his vacation. “Now where have you seen glitter?” he asked as he placed a pack of Fancy Lad cakes in her lap. “My dad bought it from a junkman. It was in a little tube.” she replied as she held up her hands to indicate how small it was. “I wanted to save it so I put it in my drawer way in the back. I bet it’s still there.” She opened up the pack of pastries and nibbled on the end of one. Greyson himself was eating some sort of dried meat that was wrapped in a plastic bag. “Still where?” he asked after a moment’s thought. Lily shrugged and took another bite. “Back home where I used to live. But that was a really long time ago, like when I was five.” Greyson looked over at her for a second and wondered how old she really was. He guessed maybe seven, but he was never really good with telling what age someone was. “How old are you, Lily?” he asked. Lily thought for a moment then spoke up in an unsure voice. “I’m eight.” she replied, not looking up from her cakes. “Well, I think.”

The next morning, the young girl was wincing slightly as she tried desperately to free the knots that had developed in her hair. Her ebony locks were tangled with twigs and grime from wandering around the forest for nearly two weeks. By the way she was tearing at her hair with Greyson’s pick-comb, it looked as though she was just going to rip it right out of her head. “Hey, hey, hey.” Greyson whispered gently as he crouched down beside her. “You’re going to tear that hair straight from your skull if you keep doing that.” Lily pouted then sighed with frustration. “It won’t work, I’ll just cut it off.” The man chuckled softly and took the comb from her. “Here, let me try.” he offered as he began to pick through the knots. The process took almost an hour, but finally her hair was no longer dreaded. It was simply dirty which was a giant step up. The girl felt much better as she ran her hands through the freed hair. “Thank you.” she said to him happily. Greyson helped her up then began to organize supplies for the journey ahead. He also made sure his revolver was loaded just in case the two ran into trouble. By mid-morning they were on their way, continuing to trek the seemingly never-ending fields.

The journey was quite uneventful, the only hostile creatures being wild bighorns. The large ram-like creatures didn’t attack, but kept a close eye on the two. “Will they hurt us?” asked Lily as she watched the bighorns look up at them. “Not if we leave them alone. They are just protecting their babies.” Greyson replied, not even looking over at the animals. The young girl smiled with delight when she saw a baby bighorn grazing in the dry grass. Its large horns seemed to unbalance his stout little legs, making him stumble a bit when he put his head down to eat. The two continued on walking until small dots of buildings developed in the distance. “Is that where we’re going?” asked Lily as she squinted her eyes, trying to see better. Greyson nodded then replied, “Yep. We’re almost there. Maybe a few more hours.” They were on the outskirts of the town by late-afternoon. The dots had become faint buildings in the distance. A couple Brotherhood of Steel paladins guarded the road, acting as somewhat of a checkpoint. Lily wanted to run when she saw the strange robotic men, but she remained calmly walking beside Greyson. She did however reach up and clench his hand. As Greyson and her walked past the guards, she heard one of them speak with what Lily could only describe as a “radio voice.” When the two were a good distance away from the paladins, Lily looked up at Greyson. “Who were they?” she asked curiously. “They belong to a group called the Brotherhood of Steel. They're there to guard citizens. Well, that’s what they claim. I’ve heard other wise.” Greyson replied with a serious tone. “Let’s talk more about that later, we’re almost to town."

It was hard to miss Ashwood, the large trading down in the middle of Kansas. It had a huge barrier made of random pieces of scavenged junk that scaled thirty feet high. It circled all the way around the town except for a large gap in the front so people could enter and leave as they pleased. Lily couldn’t help but lean in closer to Greyson as they entered the junkyard metropolis of a town. The whole area buzzed with both humans and ghouls, all trading and making deals. The girl was amazed by sight, never seeing so many strange people. Lily wanted to ask Greyson a million questions, but she kept quiet as he lead her though the busy streets. Never once did he let go of her hand, in fact he was so tightly holding it she almost thought she was in trouble. But the girl knew better, she understood he just didn’t want to lose her in the sea of people. As they winded through the streets, Lily noticed that some people seemed to avoid Greyson. They would try to hide their faces as they passed, some even saw him then turned right around and headed back to where they came from. She wondered why they didn’t like him. To her Greyson didn't look too scary, but maybe it was the shiny gun strapped to his waist that made them anxious. After pushing through the crowded town, they reached a metal structure that from the outside didn’t look like a house at all--but a large patchwork collage of rusted steel. Greyson unlocked the door and opened it for Lily who walked in curiously.

The inside definitely looked more like a house, yet smelled musty from the dust and unseen mold. There was a table and fridge towards the back of the room, which Lily guessed was the kitchen. To the left of her was a chair with a large make-shift bookcase filled with tons of books. She walked over to the collection of books, wondering how in the world Greyson had managed to find so many barely burned. Greyson flipped on a switch that illuminated the house with light and closed the door behind. “It’s not much, but it’s safe.” he said with a heavy breath. Lily picked out a rich orange colored book from the shelf and looked it over. “The Begi…Beginner’s Guide to Tra…Training Your Dog.” she read carefully, having a hard time reading the strange fancy font. There was a small illustration of an odd small, rat-like creature with long hair sitting politely on the cover. “That’s a dog?” she asked Greyson doubtfully. The man chuckled as he walked over to see the book she was indicating. “Yep, sure is. A little pre-war dog.” he replied, handing her back the book. “What’s the use of a dog like this?” Lily asked, trying to figure out why people would even want to feed something that was useless. “It was a different time, Lily. People had more than they needed.” Greyson opened up the book that was in her hands and flipped through the pages. “Some did work for their owners though, just like today. They would herd animals, help with hunting, and even guarded their masters.” he said, pointing to an illustration of a border-collie running after some sheep. Lily looked over the picture then closed the book and placed it gently back where it came from. “I wish I had a dog, but not one of the Legion ones. Those are scary.” she said, shivering at the memory of their sharp teeth and threatening snarls. Greyson smiled and sat down in the chair. “I used to have one, but he passed on years ago.” Lily perked up and looked over at the man with a concerned expression. “What happened to him?” Greyson shrugged and leaned forward, holding his hands together. “Old age I think, he was tough brute. Lived a long life.” The girl felt relieved that the dog died of natural causes rather than being killed by some Wastelands nasties. Suddenly her stomach growled, making the girl flush with embarrassment. Greyson smiled then patted his own stomach. "I'm getting hungry myself." He stood up threw his pack back over his shoulder. “Come on, let’s go get some food.” Greyson said with a chuckle.

The Bronze Gecko was the name of one of the bars in Ashwood. It was dark and smoky, five or so people sitting around drinking and eating quietly. Lily didn’t hold Greyson’s hand this time, not wanting to look weak despite the fact she was an eight year old child. She sat on the stool next to her guardian and ignored the heavy stares she was getting from around the room. “Well, look who it is.” greeted an amused friendly voice. "Mr. Greyson, returning from his two month vacation. Did you lie out on the beach, maybe catch some waves?” Greyson laughed slightly, shaking his head. “Oh yeah, went to a tropical paradise.” he replied. The bartender who was joking with Greyson looked over at Lily who was silently watching the two. “And who is this? I didn’t know you had a daughter, Grey.” he said looking her over. “She’s a pretty little thing, doesn’t look an ounce like ya!” Lily couldn’t help but smile, even though the bartender’s loudness made her a bit anxious. “This here is Lily. Lily, this is Mace.” introduced Greyson. Lily gave Mace a shy little wave, making the big man chuckle. “Nice to meet you Miss Lily. You two look hungry, good thing I’ve made a whole new pot of squirrel stew.” Mace said cheerfully. “I’ll get you two some.” He leaned in closer to Lily, cupping his hand around his mouth as if to whisper it away from Greyson. “I’ll get you a bigger bowl.” he loudly whispered with a wink. The girl giggled and nodded as the loud man raced away to the back room which must have been the kitchen.

The warm stew was surprisingly good; even though Lily had a feeling the meat in it wasn’t squirrel. Still, she ate it hungrily, scooping large spoonful and shoving them into her mouth. Mace had been called away by another customer, finally leaving the two alone. However the peace didn’t last long when a man came over and sat next to Lily. The foul smell of whiskey seemed to protrude from every pour on the rugged man’s skin. The hair on the back of her neck stood up, which usually meant trouble was about to start. “Hey thur, girl.” slurred the drunken man, eyeing her without much discretion. “Whash a purty lil'
thang like you doin’ in a plash like this?”
Greyson stood up stood next to Lily, putting a protective arm in front of her. “I suggest finding another seat.” he said with a tone Lily never heard before. The drunken man waved a hand and rolled his eyes. “Pshh, she’s not complainin’. Mind your own bushhiness. Come ‘ere honey, a lil' young thang like you won't lasht long out here…” The drunken man reached towards Lily who got off her stool and hid behind Greyson. Then without a moment’s hesitation, Greyson pulled his gun and pressed the barrel deep in the middle of the man's forehead. The drunk froze instantly, surprised by the quickness of the gunslinger. He looked up at the bounty hunter with wide eyes, beads of sweat stringing down his face. Greyson didn't have to say a word--just the cold glare was enough to make the man back up slowly, crashing to the ground off his stool then scrambled to sit on the opposite side of the room. Lily looked up at Greyson with shocked eyes then reached up and clenched his hand. Her guardian was gritting his teeth with anger, but snapped out of it when he felt Lily’s hand on his. “Come on, Lily. Let’s go home.” he said as he holstered his gun and put the proper amount of caps on the counter for their food.

Lily shivered slightly from the cold water as she dunked her head into the tub. She was on the upper level, in the bathroom trying to get herself clean, but it felt to her that she was just giving herself frostbite. She didn’t dare to step all the way into the tub, already having trouble with the ice cold water on her head. The girl instead grabbed a washcloth and scrubbed over her body until she saw clean skin. After successfully removing most of the grime, she combed out her wet clean hair and braided it down her back then dressed into new clothes Greyson had given her. When she asked him why he had clothes so small already, a pained expression formed on his face making Lily not wanting to ask about it further. She then clomped down the stairs to find Greyson reading in his chair next to a candle. He looked up and waved her over. “Come here, I want to show you something.” Lily nodded and walked over towards him, sitting on the chair next to him. “I found a book that I think you’d like.” he said with a smile as he handed her the book. “Big Cats of the Ju-Jun…” The girl looked up at him, requesting help. “Jungle.” he said softly. Lily nodded then repeated, “Jungle.”  She opened the book and was greeted by a huge collage of different creatures, illustrated on the first page. It didn’t take her long to find the bright orange fur of what Greyson called a tiger. “Ohh…” she whispered softly with awe. “She's so pretty.” She looked over all the other illustrations of different cats, but none of them were as beautiful to Lily as the tiger. She read the book for hours, mostly staying in the chapters involving the striped felines, until her eyes began to droop. With a great yawn, it was clear that she was fading. Soon she was fast asleep, the book still open in her hands.
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Lily Greyson


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PostSubject: Re: Forgotten Memories   Tue Mar 12, 2013 10:59 pm

The young girl sat up, trembling in the dirt. Her eyes were wide as she slowly held up her shaking hands, seeing that they were burned and caked with dried blood. The smell of burning flesh and black smoke filled the air, making her cough as she stumbled up to her feet. The world was on fire. The flames licked the heavens, destroying everything in sight. The night sky was brightened as the world glowed with the chaotic element; the distant screams of the damned filled the air from all around. As the girl started to run, specks of embers spewed into Lily’s face making her cry out from the startling burns. She shielded her face, clenching her eyes shut—but she knew she had to keep moving. Her desperate basic fight or flight instincts kicked in and she knew there was only a chance to flee. But as she opened her stinging eyes, she saw them. Their crimson armor and covered faces, marching with the brute aggression to kill and destroy. She backed up slowly, too shocked to run. They came closer and closer, and as they did the screams of the unseen grew louder and louder. Lily stumbled and fell to the ground—clenching her ears to block out the vicious screams and impeding footsteps. The Legion’s sharpened spears were aimed at her now, ready to pierce the child’s weak flesh. But just as she thought she’d feel the horrible cold embrace of death, a large animal leaped from the flames and stood in front of her. The giant cat was so perfect and out of place from the hellish scene, that Lily thought she had died and this was her angel. But the tiger stood still in front of her, snarling and roaring at the unprepared Legionaries. But the soldiers did not retreat, instead slowly marching on foreword with their spears pointed at the feline’s beautiful fur. “No…” Lily hoarsely whispered, the smoke caught in her lungs. No matter how much she tried to yell or scream the only thing that came out was a soft whisper. Her body grew limp and she tried to stand and soon she couldn’t even move. She was completely useless, forced to watch the scene before her with horrified eyes. But just when she thought the Legion had speared the tiger, its roar twisted into another’s voice. “Lily! Wake up!”

When she opened her eyes, the world was still on fire. Greyson stood over her, trying to wake her up from her confused daze. “Lily, we have to leave!” he shouted through the horrible moans of the burning house. He coughed harshly then grabbed her arm pulling her up and shaking her a bit. The girl finally foggily faded back into reality and eventually understood what he wanted her to do. As Greyson grabbed his pack and medical stash, Lily threw on her outdoor jacket and pulled on her boots. They were downstairs so most of the smoke had risen up to the second floor, but the small metal house was growing horribly hot. Greyson grabbed her hand and began pulling her towards the door, but Lily pulled away. She ran to the chair she had fallen asleep in and grabbed her book, but when she turned to run back to her guardian, a large wooden beam fell between the two. The flames grew higher, creating a wall of fire between Greyson and Lily. She could hear his shouts for her, but the crackling flames and creaking metal made his voice nearly inaudible. She held the book in her arms and ran, leaping over the wooden beam just as she did to the log in the forest. There was a sharp pain on her leg from the excessively hot flames, but she cleared over the obstacle and crashed into Greyson’s body. He caught her as she flew over the beam and kept her in his arms as he kicked at the door. It wouldn’t budge. She buried her face into his sweaty shirt and clung to his neck as he tried again. This time she heard the door hinge break slightly. With one more kick the door broke down, allowing the two to escape their fiery death. Lily let go of Greyson and fell to the cold ground. She breathed the fresh air desperately, her lungs pumping painfully to get enough oxygen. Greyson was still standing, but hunched over with his hands on his knees. He too was catching his breath and coughing out the vile smoke from his lungs. Their break didn’t last long, when Greyson looked up to see a group of men fleeing in the distance. He pulled his revolver and aimed carefully, denying his body’s desperate need for oxygen to slow his trembling. Then, with a single thunderous roar, a bullet flew from the chamber and hit one of the silhouettes.  The man crashed to the ground, but wasn’t helped by the other fleeing arsonists. The bounty hunter finally released his breath and allowed his lungs to continue their job. “Are you…burned…” Greyson whispered hoarsely between breaths. Lily sat up and looked over her body--other than some burned bits of hair and singed eyebrows she seemed fine. She shook her head at his question and laid back down on the cold ground. “Y-You?” was all she managed to choke out. Greyson nodded but didn’t respond further. She looked over at him and let out a little squeak of shock. Lily had seen burns before, so she could tell it wasn’t too severe. But even the sight of the red, slightly blistered skin on his upper arm made her want to puke. And she did. The girl rolled over on all fours and trembled as a horrible acidic liquid forced its way through her mouth. Her head grew dizzy, but her body continued heaving until there was absolutely nothing left to throw up. She then rolled back over on her back away from the stinking vomit, her mouth and nose burning and eyes stinging with tears. Greyson walked over to the girl and sat next to her, he stroked her hair gently as an attempt to comfort her. “I’m sorry Lily.” he whispered softly, guilt clearly riddled in his voice. “I almost got you killed.” The girl remained limp on the ground, but she shook her head weakly. “It’s okay, Greyson.”

When the beginning sights of daylight skimmed over the distant horizon, Lily and Greyson began slowly walking up to the man he had shot. He was still breathing, but unconscious from the shock of being hit."Lily, see that well over there?” Greyson asked as he pulled his revolver. “Get a bucket of water and dump it on his head.” The girl nodded then trotted off to do what he asked. When she got the bucket of dirty water, she stumbled back over to the two and dumped it over the man’s head. The arsonist jolted up and looked around panicked, but didn’t try to run when he saw a .44 magnum staring him in the face. “You have two choices: tell me where your friends are going or I’ll shoot you here right in the dirt.” Greyson said steadily, his voice surprisingly clear. The man put up his hands and nodded obediently. “Alright, alright. Now don’ don’t be doing somethin’ rash…” Lily took a step away from the bumbling man, his face slightly discomforting her. He looked like someone whose parents might have been related; at least that’s what she was told before. People who didn’t look too right in the head were called “nefas” by the Legion. When one of them were caught by a slaving party, they were shot on sight when being reviewed in the capture pen. “You sees, sir, you sees them fellas don’t want you. You’s in their ways. They’s the White-Tail, yes’um the White-Tail.” continued the man, whose hands were moving around anxiously when he spoke. “White-Tail?” Greyson asked slightly puzzled. “Is that a new gang or something?” The man smiled widely, flashing a display of gums and rotting teeth. “Oh, no. They’s be servants. Yes’um, servants. To the swiftest one. Of yes, swiftest.” Greyson shook his head; there was no making proper sense of this fool. But by the sound of it, it seemed like the White-Tail was some sort of cult. “Earlier you said, I’m in their way. What does that mean?” The man’s eyes wandered over to Lily who was watching quietly. She took another step back when she saw his attention turning to her. “They wants the child. They wants her burned.” he said softly, his own eyes reflecting a hint of madness when looking at her. Lily’s eyes grew wide and took another step back, her heart pounding painfully in her small chest. “Alright that’s enough.” Greyson said irritably, interrupting the man’s stare. “Where are they going?” The man shrugged and then replied with a soft sigh. “Not far, you see not far no. The Witch City, yes. But I can’t tell where! Swiftest one will smite, yes, smite me.” Greyson remained staring coldly at the mentally handicapped cultist and signaled Lily to come back over to him. She walked quickly around the strange man and over to Greyson who extended a hand to her. She took it and clung on, her heart still beating frantically. “We’ll make sure to stay clear then.” Greyson near growled, holding protectively onto Lily’s small hand. “And because you talked, you won’t be killed.” The bounty hunter holstered his gun and began to leave the town, not wanting anything else to do with Ashwood. The injured man shook his head. “They’ll find yous. She’s been chosen, yes chosen.” he near taunted as the two began to walk away. “She’ll burn you know! SHE’LL BURNS YES, BURNS! AHA!” Every time the man shouted, Lily flinched and gripped her guardian’s hand a little tighter. Even when they were far from the town of Ashwood, the girl could still hear the man’s voice ringing in her mind.

“What’s the Witch City?” the girl suddenly asked, breaking the heavy silence after hours of walking. Greyson sighed and shook his head. “If I was to guess, I’d say Wichita. The city I mentioned earlier.” Lily thought for a moment then stopped in her tracks, releasing Greyson’s hand. “Why do they want to kill me?” she asked, her eyes desperate for an answer. The man was silent for a moment then walked over to her and crouched to be eye level. “Lily, some people are very desperate. They convince themselves that they can somehow boost the odds in their favor.” The girl listened to him carefully, still not quite understanding. “You see, some people believe that if they sacrifice another person’s life then their own lives will be better.” he continued, trying to keep his words simple. The girl’s brows furrowed slightly, but it was clear she understood. “But… I thought the Legion only did that.” Greyson shook his head and sighed. “No, Lily. There are other bad people in the world who do just as bad things as the Legion.” The girl looked to the ground, feeling a tad foolish for believing the Legion was the worst of the worst. “Those people must have saw us in town and decided to attack like cowards. Whatever god they serve, I hope they meet him in hell.” The bounty hunter stood back up and offered a hand to Lily. She looked up and smiled wearily then took his hand. He gave her a smile back then continued on walking west, making sure to take a route around Wichita. Lily’s mind was racing, but her lips remained pressed tightly together. After about another hour of walking, Lily spoke up with a hesitated tone. “Where are we going, Greyson?” she asked shyly, not wanting to sound like a nuisance. The man seemed to snap out of a focused state then responded quietly, “We’re heading west. The NCR has protected territory there and I think it would be good for the both of us to reach it.” He then continued his focused gaze, keeping a sharp look-out for anything that moved. His serious demeanor made Lily not wanting to disturb him further. She simply nodded in response and assisted him in watching the distance carefully. After a few hours of quiet walking, Lily noticed something in the distance. “Greyson, I see something shining over there…”

Just when Lily spoke, Greyson dropped to the ground and pulled Lily down with him. He cupped his hand over her mouth and put a finger to his lips to gesture ‘be silent.’ With slow carefully movements, Greyson peeked out from behind the old billboard they were hiding behind. Lily slowly moved to the ground, pressing her body against the dirt and looked under the large sign to catch a glimpse of the hostiles herself. Not far off Lily could see huge men, their skin an odd grayish-blue. She had overheard tales of super-mutants from Legion scouts, but she was certain they said the mutants were green. She watched them curiously, a wonderment that made her want to move closer. Yet an oppressing fear made her freeze in her tracks. But then something happened she did not expect: they disappeared. Lily let out a little soft gasp as their bodies vanished, leaving only a soft ripple of what looked like a mirage in their place. With focus she could still make out the outline of their brutish bodies, but if she hadn’t seen the shining of metal Greyson and her would have been ambushed by now. She looked to Greyson who was frowning sadly. Lily’s brow furrowed, puzzled by his expression, but when she followed his gaze she knew why he was torn. Three wastelanders were heading straight for the hulking invisible mutants. Lily wanted to shout at them, give them some sort of a warning, but she knew they couldn’t do a thing. She covered her ears and tightly clenched her eyes shut, waiting for the screams… “Stay down Lily.” was what she heard instead. The girl opened her eyes and let out a gasp of shock when she saw her guardian pull out his revolver and aim out from behind the billboard. The loud gunfire made Lily cover her ears again, but her eyes remained open to watch the scene. As Greyson shot the brutes, never once missing, their invisibility quivered. Eventually whatever was powering the talent was depleted or switched off because their grey-blue bodies where once again exposed to the naked eye. One of them roared in pain as four bullets hit his body with deadly accuracy. The wastelanders held up their own weapons and fired at the brutes, now aware of the monster’s failed ambush. One out of the two mutants fell, leaving the second one charging at the three men. Greyson quickly fired his last two bullets, making the mutant slow down to hold his head in pain. The large brute dizzily stumbled, but was able to recover quickly and swing a deadly blow with some sort of a club at a wastelander. The man let out a horrible yell as the sickening crack of bones rippled through the air. Greyson reloaded his revolver quickly then stood up to fire all of the bullets into the monster’s torso. Finally, the mutant fell dead in the dirt next to the wastelander it killed.

Greyson let out a sigh as he reloaded his gun then holstered it before moving up to the two remaining wastelanders. The men were crouched next to their dead comrade, one expressing a silent sorrow and the other distinctly showing anger. “God damn it, Trance.” one of the wastelanders grumbled as he stood up and turned away from the dead man. The other man shook his head sadly and closed the deceased wastelander’s eyes, before whispering softly, “Rest, friend.” They both perked up when they saw Greyson calmly walking up to the two. “You two alright?” he asked, looking over the men carefully. The one already standing smiled bitterly and replied sharply, “Yeah, we’re peachy.” The crouched man stood up, pushing his dirtied glasses up the bridge of his nose, and held out his hand to Greyson with a sad smile. “Don’t mind him, he’s just sad. We both are, but without you we’d be in Trace’s state right now. So, thank you.” the man said to the bounty hunter. Greyson took his hand and gave it a firm shake then politely replied. “You’re very welcome. Name’s Greyson.” The man nodded and slung his assault rifle over his shoulder. “I’m Loc and this is Xavier. We’re mercs returning from a job.” Xavier gave his comrade an irritated glance as he spoke. “Yeah, go ahead and tell the stranger everything, Loc.” he spat. Loc rolled his eyes impatiently then pushed up his glasses that had already slowly sunk to the tip of his nose as he replied, “The man saved our lives, X. He didn’t have to ambush the nightkin and save us.” This statement made Xavier go silent, but it was clear he was still raging with a quiet temper. Lily peeked out from behind the billboard then steadily followed Greyson after summoning the courage to do so. She stood behind him, not looking at the corpse that was five feet from her. “And who’s this?” asked Loc with a smile. Greyson gave the girl a little playful push of encouragement which made Lily smile shyly. “I’m Lily. I’m sorry about your friend.” she said softly before retreating back behind Greyson. The man chuckled and nodded in her direction. “Thank you Lily.” he replied before addressing Greyson again. “Lovely girl, you don’t see many these days that look so pretty. Is she your daughter?” Loc asked with a polite smile. Greyson nodded and patted the girl’s head which peeked out from behind him. “Might as well be.” Loc nodded, understanding their relationship was the outcome of an adoption of some sort. “It was actually Lily here that saw the nightkin in time.” said Greyson, himself impressed by her acute perception. This caught Xavier’s attention who had been remaining silent. “Must have good eyes.” he said simply, his arms still crossed in an untrusting manner. Loc nodded before taking off his glasses to wipe them off on his shirt. “Sure is better than mine.” he replied before adjusting the glasses back onto his face. “We could use you two, I doubt X and I will make it three more hours if there are more nightkin ahead.” Loc said carefully. Lily was sure she heard Xavier scoff after his partner spoke. Greyson thought for a moment then nodded as he replied, “I think we would all benefit.” The man looked to Xavier who had kept his mouth shut nearly the whole time, but blatantly displaying a sour expression. “Would that be alright with you?” the bounty hunter asked politely. Xavier shrugged, but nodded to acknowledge he too thought it was the best decision. “Yeah, yeah. I guess, but not for long.” he replied, finally uncrossing his arms. “Alright then,” Loc said contently, “Looks like we got a new team.”

The four worked together well, but surprisingly Lily ended up being the most important asset of the group. Her perception and pure instinct made the priceless element of surprise obtainable.  It was actually Xavier and Lily who ended up working together more often due to the man being a sniper. She could point out the possible threat from far away then he could take care of it without difficulty. The bitter gunman ended up even liking Lily rather quickly, though he never would admit it through words. They were all settling for the fifth night of traveling together, a carefully watched fire in the middle of their camp. Lily was bundled in the huge black hoodie Greyson had given her the night they met and her book was propped protectively in her hands. Greyson and Xavier were discussing different routes they should take the next day and Loc was sitting next to Lily helping her read. “What’s your favorite cat you’ve read about?” the man asked after helping her with the word ‘ravenous.’ Lily flipped through the pages until she reached the chapter about tigers. She pointed to her favorite illustration of a tiger that was crouched down in the grass, ready to pounce. “Ahh… the Siberian tiger. I think that suits you.” Loc said with a smile. Lily nodded with a dreamy smile, not taking her eyes off the picture. “I want to find one.” she said softly. The man chuckled then replied, “You know, I used to have a cat that sort of looked like a tiger.” Lily perked up and gently closed her book before looking up at him. Seeing he had her attention he continued, “Well, it wasn’t really mine. It was a wild tabby that liked to sneak into my son’s room.” Loc laughed slightly at the memory he was reminiscing. “It would curl up next to him like he had been its master all its life.” Loc let out a laugh then pushed up his glasses. He then was quiet for a minute before he spoke again, “That was a long time ago.” Lily felt a sting of sadness for the man, her mind wondering what happened to his son. But she didn’t ask him, not wanting to bring up bad memories. Loc didn’t look that old, maybe in his late forties like Greyson. He had short graying hair that had hints of light brown and bluish-grey eyes that were mostly hidden behind his dirty eyeglasses. He was lighter skinned, but had patches of sunburn here and there from the harsh wasteland sun. His built was tall and even slightly muscular most likely from the years spent being a wasteland mercenary. Yet there was something about his look that wasn’t like the other two men, something about him seemed more sophisticated. A rugged look of unmaintained class that Lily felt was familiar. “Loc, are you a doctor?” the girl asked curiously. The man’s brow furrowed, but he nodded slowly with surprise. “Why yes, I used to be a doctor. How did you know that?” he asked as he cleaned off his glasses for what seemed to be the hundredth time. “I don’t know. You remind me of someone I guess.” she replied with a shrug. Loc cocked an eyebrow with intense thought. “I haven’t worked in the medical field for almost ten years now.” Xavier laughed; apparently he had been listening in on the whole conversation. “Come on, Loc. You even look like a doctor. You got that nerdy vibe to you. All proper and shit.” he joked waving a hand to dismiss the conclusion Lily made. “Your name also sounds like doc.” Greyson added to the conversation, smiling at Lily. Loc smiled and nodded, yet seemed not quite convinced. “Yes, yes, X. You do love to remind me of that. Not all of us can look as flashy as you.” the doctor replied. He was right; Xavier looked to be the near opposite of Loc. He had an unnatural hue of bright red hair that faded into an equally bright orange. The sides of his head where shaved, leaving a distracting spiked mohawk in the middle. He was shorter than Loc, but was around the same height of Greyson and had quite a muscular build. The man was also younger than the two, looking to only be around his early to mid-twenties. “Flashy? Don’t be jealous of the younger generation, oldie.” Xavier snapped back with an ornery grin. Greyson chuckled and Loc rolled his eyes as he tried to hide a smile. “Your hair does look like fire.” Lily said with a smile. Xavier nodded, unknowingly softening his tone when replying to the girl. “It’s ‘cause I’m a fiery soul.” he said with another grin. Lily giggled then began comparing the campfire’s flames to Xavier’s colorful spikes.
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Lily Greyson


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Join date : 2013-03-06

PostSubject: Re: Forgotten Memories   Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:22 pm

It was the early morning; the cool air was crisp with the beginning promises of spring as Lily’s eyes fluttered open. The girl still had a slight feeling cloudiness from the weak clutches of sleep as she sat up from her nest beside Greyson. He was still sleeping silently while Xavier snored on the opposite side of the campfire, dead to the world. The girl looked around, wondering where Loc could have wandered off to. She stood up slowly, careful to not disrupt Greyson while he slept and walked steadily to a silhouette that was perched on a rock. “Oh, good morning Lily.” greeted Loc when he saw the girl approach him. It was his turn to stand guard and since he had the worst eyes they all decided to give him the safest time to watch. “Hi.” replied Lily shyly as she stood next to the rock he was sitting on. “Would you like to come up here? It’s quite safe I assure you.” Loc asked with a kind smile. Lily nodded, but before he could offer to help she was climbing up the rock like a cat on counters. In no time she hoisted herself up and plopped next to Loc who was chuckling at the display. “Wow. You’re quick aren’t you?” he said softly, careful to stifle his voice to not wake the others. The girl smiled and nodded before she replied, “Greyson calls me Tiger Lily because I leapt over a log.” She didn’t add how she also jumped over a fiery beam, worried that he would be skeptical of her for running back into the flames to save a book. Loc smiled and turned to face the horizon again. “I’m sure you can do much more than that.” Lily’s face grew slightly puzzled by his statement as she asked, “What do you mean?” Loc smiled as he took off his glasses to clean them on his shirt. “Lily, I doubt Greyson would have bought you from the Legion. I’m going to guess you escaped.” The girl’s face grew pale at his words, but she replied right away. “H-How did you know?” she asked nervously. Loc was quiet for a moment before he responded. “I saw your scar. Just a glimpse, but I could recognize it anyway. The Legion always brands children slaves on their shoulders.” Lily nodded slowly, this was true. She could remember the hot, smoldering burn as the metal tool seared away flesh to create the Legion’s symbol. Branded like cattle, forever labeled a slave. “If I were you, my dear, I would hide that scar always. Never let anyone see it.” Loc continued, still looking into the horizon. “The Legion pays scum that are low enough to rat-out escaped slaves.” Lily felt foolish as she thought about the numerous times she had taken off her jacket, slightly exposing her scar behind a strap of the small tank-top. She let out a frustrated sigh, but remained quiet. Loc looked to her, an expression of concern riddled on his face. “I’m just warning you, Lily. I don’t want you back with those murderers.” Lily shook her head after he spoke, her finger tracing a pattern on the rock. “No, that’s not it. I just feel stupid for forgetting. I should know nowhere is ever going to be safe for me.”  Loc’s face softened as he pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose. “Well, haven’t been in any towns yet, so it’s good you realize this now.” He let out a weary sigh and was quiet for a beat before he continued, “But you’re not alone in that struggle.” There was a distinct sadness in his voice, a tone of mourning. She looked up to see him facing the horizon once again, his lips pressed tightly together. Even though it was dark she could see a watery glaze building up in his eyes. The girl looked away to face the now peachy color of the distant sun, her thoughts quickly connecting dots. The son he had mentioned earlier, Lily was guessing he was a victim of the Legion somehow. Maybe he was taken from his father and forced to live the life of a slave like herself. Even though she was curious if she was correct, she didn’t ask him about his long-lost son. They instead sat there quietly watching the east, until the peachy hues transformed into oranges and yellows. Soon the sun peeked up, showering its warm rays over the barren wasteland. “Ahh…” Loc said with a sigh. “A perfect sunrise, that’s what I was waiting for.”

The morning light stirred Greyson, who nearly panicked when he saw Lily wasn’t beside him. He was about to call out for her, but stopped when he saw the two figures sitting together on a boulder. The man got up and walked sleepily over to the couple who were lost in yet another conversation. “Morning you two.” he greeted as he stood beside their rock. Loc jumped slightly at the interruption which made Greyson laugh. “Very alert.” he added with a chuckle making Loc smile back with a shake of his head. “It’s this daughter of yours. I can’t concentrate when there is a conversationalist around.” he replied jokingly. Greyson chuckled and shook his head, but before heading back to the camp he addressed Lily, “You’re a quiet little thing. How on earth did you get up without waking me?” The girl shrugged then giggled when she pointed to Xavier. “He snores so much that I could have stomped away and you wouldn’t have noticed.” Greyson chuckled and began walking back to prepare for yet another day of traveling the Wastes. Wanting to join him, Lily nearly gave Loc a heart attack as she leapt from the boulder and stuck the landing elegantly on the ground. As for Xavier…he was still snoring undisturbed, seemingly without a care in the world. “Greyson, your daughter almost killed me.” Loc said with an exasperated expression as he joined Greyson back at the camp. Lily cheerfully trotted behind him with the biggest mischievous grin. The bounty hunter laughed and shook his head as he threw his pack over his shoulders. “Yeah, she tends to do that.” he replied, tossing the girl a bag of her rationed breakfast. As Lily nibbled on her meal of different dried fruits and nuts, she carefully walked over to Xavier who was still dead asleep. “Shouldn’t we wake him?” she asked, watching the man’s mohawk rise and fall with his loud breath. “Go ahead and shove him with your boot then run away like nothing happened.” Loc replied, busy packing up his own things. Lily nodded and popped a peanut in her mouth as she poked the man’s face with her small boot. She was about to trot away, but Xavier only stirred slightly before rolling over and continuing his snores. The girl frowned, this time she nearly kicked the sniper in the back making him scramble to his feet with panicked confusion. Before he could see the culprit was her, she had ran over to the opposite side of the campfire and preoccupied herself with innocently eating her breakfast. Xavier grumbled curses as he sat back down on the ground, rubbing his back painfully. “Bad dream?” Loc asked the young man innocently, trying to stifle a stubborn urge to smile. “No, it felt like someone kicked me.” he grumbled back, still rubbing the bruising skin. “Maybe you slept on it wrong.” Greyson added, having an easier time displaying a poker face. Lily continued to stuff her face with dried fruits and held her head down so he wouldn’t see her silent giggling. “Yeah maybe.” replied Xavier still none the wiser.

Their travels remained peaceful for the next four weeks, the original decision to trek a less popular route proving useful. There was of course the occasional critter to fight off, but if the four kept their distance the animals usually stayed away. Loc and Xavier both decided California would be the best place for them to head to as well, each man having their own reason. Loc wanted to see if he could join with the Followers of the Apocalypse to practice medicine again and Xavier said something about finding his brother out there. The four grew closer, even Xavier warming up to the idea of friendship (though he of course never admitted it). “We’re almost out of Kansas.” noted Loc as he studied Greyson’s map. They were all taking a lunch break, sitting in an old pre-war farmhouse. “Where are we going next?” asked Lily as she leaned over Loc’s shoulder to look at the complicated paper. The girl had noticeably grown, already looking a few years older in just a few weeks. Loc had made a comment a few days prior saying he didn’t believe she was only eight now that she was no longer malnourished, but around the ten mark due to her facial features and body structure. They all decided she was nine in case the doctor’s observations were wrong. “Southern Colorado.” he replied as he continued to study the map. Lily nodded and turned to Xavier who had finished gobbling down his lunch and was now cleaning his rifle. She watched him work, trying to remember the steps he showed her on how to assemble, clean, and load a gun. “You up for target practice, squirt?” asked the man as he finished his task. Lily nodded with an excited smile, she had grown to love target practice. “Like she needs it.” Loc added, his eyes looking up from the paper. “She can already almost shoot as well as you, X.” Xavier moved a finger back and forth with a grin. “Ah, ah, ah. That’s because her teach’ is amazing.” he replied, still giving the doctor an ornery smile. Loc rolled his eyes and pushed his glasses up, ignoring the young man’s statement. “Besides, we don’t want her rusty. She might save all of our asses one day.” Xavier continued as he stood up and walked out of the house. “Come on, ‘ily.”

“Alright, slow breaths. Concentrate. When you’re ready, shoot.” Lily let out a long steady breath as she slowly squeezed the trigger, sending a thunderous roar rippling through the air. The last of the bottles Xavier set up about 36 yards away made a faint shattering sound in the distance. “Damn, Lil’. You were made to snipe.” the man said with a crooked grin as he stared off at the glistening shattered glass. Lily smiled as she stood up and handed the rifle back over to Xavier. “Out of bottles?” she asked, hoping to shoot some more. The young man nodded as he slung the rifle over his shoulder. “Out of bottles.” he confirmed before leading her back to the farmhouse where Greyson and Loc were waiting. The girl had started off practicing with pistols with Greyson the week before. He too was impressed by her accuracy and quick ability to learn without becoming frustrated or scared of the loud noise. The only real problem was that they ran out of things for her to shoot. When the two returned from their target practice, Loc looked up a smug smile. “Let me guess, she missed every bottle?” he asked sarcastically. “Ha. Ha.” replied Xavier and he plopped himself in a scorched couch. Lily looked around, noticing her guardian was nowhere in sight. “Where’s Greyson?” she asked with slight concern. Loc was about to speak when Greyson came quietly walking down the stairs. “Right here, I was just looking to see if there was anything useful.” He looked to Xavier who was picking at his teeth with a small switchblade. “How did she do?” the bounty hunter asked. Xavier flipped the knife shut and gave Greyson his usual grin. “Takin’ after me. I’m such a proud momma hen.” he replied as he dramatically wiped away nonexistent tears. Greyson chuckled softly and handed Lily something wrapped up in a cloth. “Here, you said your birthday was in spring. Might as well get you a present.” Lily’s face lit up instantly as she unwrapped the first present she had gotten since she was a tot. “Whoa.” she said softly as she touched the smooth silver metal of the pistol Greyson had given her. “Found it upstairs in the safe. Looks brand-new. I thought you're good enough to handle it.” the man said with a smile, obviously enjoying her stunned expression. “I love it.” she said softly, not taking her eyes off the reflective shine of her brand new gun. “Hey, lemme see that.” Xavier said reaching for the pistol. Lily clutched the gun to her chest with a playful, “Never!” Loc rolled his eyes with a soft laugh. “Leave her be, X. It’s hers.” he said to the young man sternly. “Hey, hey. I wasn’t gonna steal it! Just gonna admire it.” he replied, raising his hands innocently. “But, uh, happy birthday Lil’." he added, somewhat embarrassed as he scratched the back of his head. “Yes, happy birthday Miss Lily.” Loc said to her contently. Lily smiled widely, not remembering the last time someone said happy birthday to her. “Thanks.” she replied shyly.

“Gar…den City.” read Lily as they stood beside an old rusted road sign. “Another few weeks and we’ll be in Colorado I hope.” added Loc as he studied the map intently. He pushed up his glasses that were sliding down the bridge of his nose quicker than usual due to the sweat. Lily looked up at Greyson who was watching the distance intently. “We’re going into a city?” Lily asked, trying to hide the fear that cracked her voice. Greyson looked down at the girl and crouched beside her. He touched her shoulder gently and replied with a comforting smile, “Don’t worry, Lily. I’ve been there years ago. It’s nothing but a trading settlement now.” Lily thought for a moment then nodded, feeling better about heading into a populated area. Her guardian tousled her hair and stood back up to join Loc on his map observation. “We’ll cut through the corner of Colorado and into New Mexico to avoid the mountains.” said Loc, staring at the web of roads and terrains printed on the paper. “Once we get to Garden we can follow this road down a ways to get to Highway 56.” Greyson added as his finger gently traced the road he was indicating. “56 can lead us for a good while.” Loc nodded, agreeing with Greyson’s plan. He folded up the map and stuffed it gently into the pocket of his worn-out backpack. “Are we ready to bounce?” asked Xavier, obviously growing impatient. His brightly colored mohawk seemed to glow brighter in the late-afternoon sun making Lily compare it to the campfire’s flames again. “Cause I’d like some whiskey and a few who—“ Loc cleared his throat right before the young man could finish and shot a stern look in his direction. “Yes, X. We are almost there. Another few hours and you can…” The older man cleared his throat again as he pushed up his smudged glasses. “…resupply yourself with comforts.”

They sky was growing dark, a faint pale yellow line remaining in the horizon. Lily’s feet ached from the almost nonstop walking they had done that day, but she didn’t utter a peep of complaint. She was fed, hydrated, and protected—everything she could possible hope for. Besides, the occasional bickering between Loc and Xavier was rather humorous making the long hours tick by faster. “For God’s sake, Xavier, can you please stop your whistling?” Loc sternly requested as the group walked along the cracked cement. This of course made the young merc whistle an even louder more obnoxious tune. Loc let out an irritated sigh, but he remained calm as he usually did. The doctor seemed to finally tune out the young man, preoccupied by his own thoughts or because he was simply too tired to argue. After a bit Xavier stopped his whistling, seeing Loc gave up the struggle. He turned to Lily who was playing her own game by trying not to step on the numerous cracks in the pavement. Her long dark braid flew up and down as she carefully leapt from place to place. “Whatcha doin’ froggie? Think them cracks are gonna spilt under your feet?” he asked her, grinning as she almost fell over but regained her balance. “She’s passing the time without bothering others.” replied Loc with a dulled voice. Xavier scoffed and was actually quiet for a while until they saw lights glowing ahead of them. “Fina-fuckin’-ly.” he muttered, picking up his pace. Greyson, who had been quiet most of the night, finally spoke up with a hushed urgent voice, “Wait!” But it was too late. They were surrounded in no time, some coming from the bushes and other popping up from behind rocks. The town up ahead was no trading market anymore, but a perfect place to lure unsuspecting travelers.

“Well lookie what we have here… four new visitors followin’ our fires.” mocked a twainy voice. The three men had drawn their firearms, all taking a different side even though they had to be outnumbered five to one. Lily’s eyes were wide when she saw that every person surrounding them was shaking slightly. She pulled her own pistol receiving a few laughs from the crowd. “Oh, now now. Even the baby bear got some bite.” the man added. The leader who was addressing them was skinny and pale, covered in different scars. His hair was short in some places and long in others, patches of torn out pieces here and there as well. Lily couldn’t tell what color his eyes were, but she was sure that they had to be as ugly as the rest of him. For some reason the starving vicious dog that Xavier had to put down a few days before flashed in her mind at the sight of him. But the one thing, the one last detail that unnerved Lily more than anything else about his appearance: a necklace of human fingers dangling over his chest. The girl wanted to hide behind Greyson, run to the comfort of his protection—but she remind still in the proper shooting stance Greyson had taught her. Animalistic hoots and hollers echoed through the darkness, making Lily bite her lip to keep it from quivering. “Get ‘em!” the leader shouted, sending the pack of vicious humans upon the group.  “Don’t kill ‘em if you wanna have the real fun later!” None of the raiders were wielding firearms like the four were, but the sheer numbers were overwhelming. Chaos erupted as gunshots rang out and yells echoed through the night. Lily was grabbed by a rather slobbery raider who laughed like a madman as she squirmed in his grasp. She held up her gun and closed her eyes tightly as she squeezed the trigger, sending a lucky shot through the man’s eye. She tumbled to the ground with his body making her cry out in shock as she hit the pavement with a thud. She trembled horribly, blood splattered all over her face and clothes as she picked herself up. Another raider was heading right for her--she held up her pistol to shoot but the attacker fell to the ground before she could fire, his brains splattered all over the cement. She turned to see Xavier giving her a thumbs up before continuing to fight the hoards of rabid humans. “Lily!” shouted a voice. She turned to see Greyson not far off, the girl began to run to him lowering her guard completely at the sight of her guardian. Arms grabbed her, but not the comforting grasp of Greyson, shaking skinny arms that placed a cold object to her throat. “KNOCK IT OFF!” the leader screamed as he pressed the metal blade against Lily’s soft flesh. “Or I’ll gut her right here.” The fighting ceased to a stalemate as the three men froze in their tracks when they realized what happened. “You let her go now you son of a bitch!” Xavier yelled, as Loc held him back from running at the raider. “I’ll kill you if you hurt her, you hear me? I'LL FUCKING RIP YOUR THROAT OUT!” he continued fully enraged, as he kept attempting to charge. Lily looked to Greyson, her eyesight growing blurry from the accumulation of tears. As they leaked down her cheeks she could see Greyson place down his revolver and held up his hands. Loc too put down his weapons, placing his assault rifle and combat knife on the ground carefully. Xavier breathed heavily, an expression of pure rage marked on his face. He threw down his rifle, spitting in the direction of the lead raider. “Tie ‘em up.”

Lily squirmed as the raider dragged her through the town by her braid, each tug sending a ripple of pain through her body. “Let me go!” she demanded desperately as she fought weakly against the man. He responded with a horrible laugh that erupted into a fit of coughs which made him shake even harder. She didn’t want to look around at the horrific scene of what used to be a peaceful trading town, but her eyes couldn’t help but wander. Bodies and limbs were strewn across the old worn buildings, their walls decorated in red with horrible insane words. There were bones and bottles scattered all over, the stinking smell of rotting flesh lingering through the air. Bonfires were everywhere, illuminating the town with an eerie yellow light making shadows deeper and the night much darker. The girl looked behind her to see the group of raiders surrounding her companions as they walked. All three of them had their hands tied behind their backs with Xavier being the only one with a cloth tied around his mouth. Greyson watched her with a pained expression of worry when she looked back at him. He mouthed her something, but she could not understand. She replied with a silent ‘what’, but when he was about to repeat it the leader holding her hair tugged harder making her yell out in pain. “Move faster, girl.” he growled as he moved through the street. When they reached a large building of what must have been the town hall, the leader turned to the group. “Alright, lock those three in the cells with the others.” Greyson lurched forward slightly when he saw that Lily was being taken somewhere else. A couple from the raider group restrained him, one of them knocking the man in the back of the head with a two by four. Lily whimpered when she saw blood appear on the wood after he hit her guardian. He looked groggy, but was capable of stumbling along when the group of raiders pushed the three in a different direction towards a building labeled ‘jail’. Two from the group stayed behind with their leader and followed him as he dragged Lily towards the Town Hall, the girl desperately fighting as he tugged her up the stairs.
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Lily Greyson


Posts : 5
Join date : 2013-03-06

PostSubject: Re: Forgotten Memories   Wed Aug 28, 2013 4:58 pm

“You damn brat!” shrieked the raider as Lily’s teeth sunk deep into his hand. He threw her on the hard floor as he clenched his bleeding wound to his chest. “Did you see that, boss? The bitch bit me!”
The leader rolled his eyes as he watched the raider pathetically trying to wrap his gushing hand. “Oh shut up.” He grumbled as he plopped himself into a large, ripped up plush chair. The leader shoved a stool over with his leg and propped up his filthy feet to warm them beside the massive fireplace.
The girl peeked over to look at the huge brick hole which housed a heavy violent flame, but her eyes widened when she caught sight of what appeared to be small charred hand dangling from the corner of the fire. She scrambled back into the corner of the room then shuffled her way under an old oak desk in a desperate attempt to hide herself from the horrifying sight.
Another of the leader’s goons was about to fetch her, but the skinny man raised a hand to stop him. “Nah, she ain’t goin’ no where. Let her hide.” The leader said with a dark-yellow grin.
The raider nodded then smacked his bleeding comrade teasingly making the other man spit a defensive curse back as he continued to clutch his swaddled hand.
A soft knock padded at the door, making Lily jump slightly from under her wooden cover.
“What?” asked the leader, his tone impatient with the sudden interruption.
“Um, it’s me.” replied a softer voice that could only belong to that of a child’s. The sound of such a being made Lily peek her head out of her hiding place, hoping that maybe she wasn’t alone in her plight.
“Get in here.”
The door opened cautiously until one of the goons grew impatient, grabbing the boy and tugging him in the room. “We ain’t got time for shyness, boy.” said the raider as he slammed the door shut.
The boy nodded without looking at the raiders, he then glanced over at the pair of eyes peeking out from behind the desk. His expression was dark, yet pained as if he knew what her demise would possess. He then forced himself to look away, aiming his attention at the leader. “Uh, the guys want to know if they can kill the people you caught last night.” the boy reported quietly as he stuffed his hands in his pockets.
Lily whimpered softly, but was quietly thankful her companions weren’t on the menu tonight.
The leader waved a scrawny hand and replied with a distinct boredom, “Yeah, yeah.”
The boy glanced back over at the desk, this time being noticed by the leader.
“Ah, see somethin’ you like, kid?” the man teased with an amused grin.
The boy looked away from the girl quickly and shrugged, his eyes locked on the dirty floor.
“’Bout time you got your balls.” the leader continued with a sickening chuckle that turned into a few choking coughs.
“Careful, kid. She bites.” joked a raider with a laugh as he nudged his injured comrade with his elbow. The bleeding raider shoved the man back with irritated force, making the other raider laugh even harder.
The leader grinned at the two then focused his attention back on the boy. “Tell ya what, kid. I’ll let you have her. Time to show you’re one of us.” he said giving the boy a forceful pat on the arm.
The boy didn’t look up from the floor, his dark hair covering most of his face. He then nodded slowly and began to walk steadily over to the desk.
Lily scrambled back under the wooden furniture, pushing herself into the corner. The boy’s feet slowly came into view, making Lily instinctively attempt to push herself even closer to the corner of the desk.
The boy crouched down, looking Lily directly in the eyes before pulling a finger up to his lips.
Lily tilted her head slightly with confusion, but remained silent like the boy told her to be.
He then stood back up and placed his sweaty palms on the old wooden surface. “Can I, uh, take her to my room?” he asked nervously, his tone shaking under the heavy presence of the three dangerous men.
The leader nodded, still not getting up from his plushy chair. “Yeah, whatever. Just bring me a finger when you’re done, kid.” he replied coolly.
The boy then crouched back down and slowly extended a hand to the girl. Lily looked at it nervously, unsure what she was supposed to do. She then realized that the boy’s hand wasn’t shaking like the other members of the cannibalistic raiders. She then carefully reached out and weakly grabbed his hand, deciding that any death would be better than whatever the leader would give if she was to stay.

The boy’s grasp was nearly cutting off her circulation due to so much force, but Lily continued to stay silent as he quickly walked through the building. They had traveled down the stairs and to the other side of the town hall until they finally reached a door. The boy turned to her and released her sore arm. He was about to say something, but hesitated. Then without a word he turned back around and opened the door, grabbing her arm again and pulling her inside.
Lily stumbled into the room and looked around cautiously, her eyes already swelling up with tears again making the dusty room blur.
“Please don’t.” the boy muttered as he shut the door and locked it in place with a chair.
She turned around and crossed her arms over her chest. She fought back the impending tears, but her lip continued to quiver as he tilted her head down to hide her face. “Okay.” she replied quietly, as she sniffled.
The boy stood there awkwardly, not quite sure what to do. “I’m Ari.” the boy said as he walked across the room and sat down on a dirty mattress.
Lily didn’t look up, only stood there quietly as she continued to fight back the urge to cry. “L-Lily.” she finally choked out. A few tears dripped to the floor making the girl rub her eyes violently.
The boy was silent for a moment, but then cleared his throat with an uncertain expression. “Hey, it’s okay…” he started, but Lily turned around quickly which gave the boy a startle.
“No! No it’s not okay! They’re going to die and it’s all my fault! I wasn’t paying attention!” Tears were streaming down her face now, her hands desperately trying to wipe them away. “They relied on my eyesight and I wasn’t paying attention! Now they’re all going to die!” she continued, as she held her hands to her face. She then fell to the ground and curled up in a small ball, crying in almost the exact same position Greyson found her in.
The boy bit his lip and shifted his hand through his dirty dark hair, not sure what to do. He let her cry for a while, understanding that she needed the time to process the reality of the situation. When her cries turned to whimpering he finally spoke up. “Doesn’t mean you can’t try to save them.” Ari said softly, his eyes on the ground.
The girl’s whimpering stopped almost immediately. She slowly looked up, her eyes red and face puffy. “What do you mean?” she asked with a sniffle.
Ari shrugged and tucked a strand of hair behind his ear. “I mean what I said. Just because you messed up doesn’t mean you can’t try to fix it.” the boy said, his eyes flickering up to meet hers.
Lily let out another sniffle, suddenly feeling embarrassed for her childish outburst. His stare seemed to pierce through her with his strange grey eyes, making her feel even weaker. She finally had to break eye contact before she could salvage whatever dignity she had left.
The boy looked back to the ground and thought for a moment. “They aren’t very smart. They drink too much at night so they tend to all pass out without keeping a watch.”
The girl looked back up at him with a suspicious gaze. “So why haven’t you left yet?” she asked.
Ari was silent again as he picked at a small loose string on the mattress. “I’d die out there in the wild by myself.” he replied quietly before meeting her gaze again.
Lily examined him for a moment, for a boy he was tall and seemed strong; he’d be even stronger if he wasn’t so malnourished. It didn’t appear he would have much trouble adjusting to the tough living of the Wasteland. Hell, any living would be better than being a servant to insane cannibals.
He seemed to notice her suspicions, but didn’t give her a better answer than the one he had already given. The room was silent again as the two looked at each other, both unsure whether to trust the other.
“Will you help me free them?” Lily asked, breaking the silence with a small whisper.
Ari nodded almost immediately. “Yeah, if I get to go with you guys.”
The girl nodded and scooted closer to the boy, her whole demeanor changing. Though her eyes were still red, they shined with a distinct intensity she always got when it was time to focus on something important. “Alright, then we’re going to need a plan.”

The two waited for a couple of hours, listening with sadness and fear as screaming erupted from the outside. The boy assured Lily that the screaming didn’t belong to her companions since the raiders captured a different group the day before. More insane hollering followed once the screaming stopped which Ari described as their “celebrating” time. After a few more hours of yelling and laughing, the noise died down until the world seemed completely silent. Ari nodded at Lily when she gave him a questionable look. With the softest of whispers he instructed her what to do, “Follow me, watch your step, and don’t make a sound.”
The girl nodded, knowing that stealth wouldn’t be a problem for her. Quietly, Ari moved the chair out from under the doorknob and opened the door. The building seemed even darker and more menacing without the insane sounds echoing throughout the town. The smell of burning flesh could be hinted in the distance, making Lily wrinkle her nose with disgust. Ari steadily began to walk through the building with Lily following him like a shadow. He had to look back a couple of times to make sure she was still there due to her surprisingly silent steps. A few raiders were scattered throughout the building as they made their way to the exit, but they were knocked out cold from the heavy liquor and chemicals  they had consumed. The night air was refreshing to Lily as the two made their way outside, but the distinct smell of charred skin still lingered in the air ever so distinctly. But suddenly Ari stopped for a moment then quickly took cover behind some brush, dragging Lily down with him. She was on top of him in the uncomfortable sticks, his hand planted firmly over her mouth to keep her from letting out a surprised yell. She tugged his sweaty hand off her face, but silently laid still as a stumbling raider passed the hidden children. He was mumbling some strange song, but eventually passed out in his tracks.”landing on the hard ground with a thud. The girl could feel Ari let out a sigh of relief when the man remained still, so the girl cautiously stepped out of the prickly bushes. Ari followed behind her then continued to make his way through the sleeping town with Lily trailing carefully behind him.

On their way to the jail, Ari lifted a knife off of some passed out raider and gave it to Lily just in case she needed to defend herself. When they reached the outside of the building the two could see three raiders sleeping next to a plate of picked-clean bones among some empty whiskey bottles.
“A pathetic attempt at keeping watch.” Ari whispered in a somewhat amused tone. “Come on.”
Lily nodded and followed as the boy carefully tip-toed around the sleeping men. Lily carefully tried to stay in the same places Ari had stepped in, but one distance was too far for her to reach resulting in her stumbling a bit. A whiskey bottle let out a small clink from her foot, making one of the raiders stir in his drunken sleep. Without even the slightest hesitation Ari stabbed the man in the back of the neck, quickly silencing him after a few gargles of blood.
The girl’s eyes were wide as she looked at the man then at Ari—almost horrified at his efficiency to murder..
The boy didn’t return a look; instead he pretended to be busy cleaning the blood off his blade before opening the jail door. The girl swallowed her shock before following the boy into the jail, giving the raider’s corpse a last glance.

“Lily!” Xavier whispered excitedly as the two entered the jail.
As Lily and her group reunited, Ari began looking around the jail making sure the building was clear.
The girl returned an excited grin as she pushed herself close to the bars of the cell, her hands clenching the metal. “Are you guys okay?” she asked softly, looking over the three.
Loc was crouched beside Greyson who was sitting on the cell’s floor while Xavier stood beside the bars, his hands near hers. “Greyson seems kinda out of it, got hit on the head pretty hard. I think he’ll be fine though.” Xavier replied.
Lily stared worriedly at her guardian whose eyes were clenched shut and hand held the back of his head.
Loc looked up, pushing his now cracked glasses up the bridge of his nose. “Concussion. He wouldn’t relax, kept mumbling something.” he reported tiredly. He then brought his attention back to the Greyson, untying a bloody makeshift bandage from his head and tearing off a piece of the jailcot’s bedsheet to make another.
Lily looked back up at Xavier whose hand was touching hers through the bars, his expression was serious and somewhat frightening. “Did any of them hurt you?” the man asked, his eyes piercing into hers for an answer.
Lily felt a tinge of fear when she looked at him, seeing a whole new intensity that she had never seen before in him. “N-No.” she replied, her voice barely above a whisper.
Xavier looked down and examined the clench marks on her wrists, then looked back at her with an unconvinced stare.
Lily shook her head and whispered again, “I promise. No one hurt me. Ari helped me escape.”
Right then the boy came back into view, keys dangling from his hands and his knife slung over his shoulder. “No one’s in here, but we should get going. I think your guys’ stuff is in the armory downstairs--none of these keys will open the door though.” Ari quickly unlocked the cell and carefully opened the door, making sure the rusted metal would creek as little as possible.
Xavier quickly bursted through the cell and headed off in the direction the boy had came from. Within a moment a loud ‘thud’ could be heard below them which Lily assumed was the locked door giving away to Xavier’s strength.
The loud noise made Ari clench his teeth irritably, his eyes now locked on the jail’s entrance. “Someone was sure to of heard that.”
Loc nodded without a word as he slung Greyson’s arm over his shoulder and stood up carefully. The injured man’s lips moved and eyes fluttered open, as if he was lost in a half-asleep reality. “Urhhg...” he mumbled before his eyes rolled back in his head.
The girl looked up at Loc with a questionable look which Loc responded with a shrug. “He’s been mumbling jargon. Don’t worry, he’ll be alright.”
The girl nodded wearily then decided to head off downstairs to help Xavier with the weapons while Ari remained upstairs with Loc and Greyson. She quickly pounced down the stairs with steps as soft as a rabbit. Soon she saw Xavier, his rifle slung over his shoulder as he rummaged through the supplies hoarded in the basement. “Lots of guns down here.” she said softly which made Xavier turn around startled.
He sighed with relief when he realized it was Lily and continued his scavenging. “Yeah, idiots probably don’t know how to shoot. Or they’re just too shaky to hold a gun..” he replied as he stuffed a bag full of ammo. “Here, catch.” the man said as he threw the satchel at Lily who caught it reflexively.
The girl then began looking around herself, trying to find the pistol Greyson had given her. She sighed with frustration when her search came to no avail.
“Looking for something?” Xavier said with a grin.
Lily looked up and smiled when she saw the shiny metal of her pistol gleaming in Xavier’s hand.
”Found it in a locker earlier. I think we’re good and supplied now, let’s get out of here.”
No one must have heard the thud, since the outside remained quiet. Even the two unconscious guards that could be seen through the window outside appeared to have remained still.
Before they headed out, Xavier handed a pistol to Ari who took it without question. “You know how to shoot, kid?” the man asked as the boy pulled out the round to check the amount of bullets.
The gun clicked as Ari shoved the round back in and cocked the gun without difficulty. “Yeah.” he replied when he was finished looking over the weapon.
Xavier glanced over and Lily with a questionable look to which she returned the same. “Alright then, lets get the fuck out of here.” Xavier grumbled as he opened the door.

Ari and Lily took the sides of Loc who was still helping Greyson stumble along with Xavier taking the lead. They had to move more slowly due to Greyson, but the boy seemed to be correct on the fact no one kept guard. When they reached the outskirts, the whole group seemed to relax a little.
Xavier cocked a half-grin and slung his rifle over his shoulder as he spoke, “Well, looks like they’re more stupid that I thou--” Just then an arrow whizzed through the air and sent it straight into the man’s shoulder. “Fuck!” Xavier yelled as he fell back in surprise.
“Get down!” Ari yelled as the group rushed to find cover.
Loc half carried, half dragged Greyson behind a large broken cement wall while Ari and Lily helped Xavier get cover behind a billboard. “I thought you said they don’t keep guard!” Lily hissed to Ari.
The boy’s eyes were wide as he looked out from behind the billboard to see a group of five or so men who were certainly not passed out. “They usually don’t!” Ari replied.
Just then, Lily could see the color drain from his face. She peeked out from under the billboard to see what he was staring at and soon she too went pale. The leader of the raiders walked out into view and joined the five other men who all seemed perfectly sober.
“Shoulda known you’d do this, boy.” the leader shouted as he lit a cigarette. The tip of the bud glowed as he inhaled, but soon he erupted into a disgusting fit of coughs. When he was finished with his fit he continued, “I’ll make you all a deal. If you give me those two brats I’ll let the rest go.”
Xavier broke off the shaft of the arrow and threw it aside, his face was growing sweaty and eyes were turned a gruesome red.
“Oh, and that arrow that gotcha, you might want the antivenom that takes care of that poison.”
Lily’s eyes grew wide when she realized what he meant, she had seen these symptoms before and she knew it had to be radscorpion venom. The poison most likely wouldn’t kill him, but it would cause horrible hallucinations that he might never recover from. Her mind flashed with the memories of insane Legionaries being treated for the stings, some recovered--but others were killed due to the mental illness developed from the venom. The Legion doesn’t accept weakness, but did fix the problem. Soon all soldiers were ordered to carry antivenom on them so they could address the issue immediately. The girl turned to Xavier who was already beginning to shake, then at Ari whose mind was racing with the early formations of a plan. “Ari, how good of a shot are you?” the girl asked.
The boy looked over at her with a questionable look, but responded. “I’m good enough.”
Lily nodded and took out her gun, she knew her group had the upper hand due to possessing firearms so this seemed like their only shot.
Loc was busy keeping a panicking Greyson down and Xavier was already falling off the deep end with a raging fever and shaking body. “I know how to cure Xavier, we just have to take care of these guys.” she said steadily, even though her heart was racing at an absurd speed.
The boy hesitated for a moment, but then slowly nodded. “Alright, let’s go.”

The two walked out, their guns tucked in the back of their pants which sent a yellow grin dancing on the leader’s leathery face. “Knew they’d offer you two up. Come’ere kiddies.”
The two slowly began to move closer, but only a few steps before they glanced at each other. Then with a quick synchronized move, they grabbed their pistols and opened fire. Lily missed the first two shots, but after seeing Ari already take out two she felt a tinge of competitiveness. She focused and breathed--pretending the men were the bottles Xavier taught her to shoot. Soon her count was three with the only the leader remaining.
The skinny man was shocked as he looked around seeing his men all dead, his whole inner circle wiped out from two children. The two looked at each other as the leader began running away like a coward, unsure if it would be worth it to a man in the back. But before either one of them could make a decision, the leader fell dead after a loud thunderous roar echoed into the sky. Lily turned to find a sweaty, shaking Xavier sitting on the ground behind them.
He was clenching his rifle with a smug, but pained look on his face. “Sorry I took your kill.” he muttered before he fell backwards into a fever-ravaged unconsciousness.
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