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The Secret Adventurer's Club Second Adventure (part 12)

 
Joe Spivey's picture
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Sadie returned a few minutes later with a beer and sat down. She drank and belched and then noticed Finny staring at her.

“Whut?”

Finny just continued to stare, pent up anger making her lips a thing line across her blood speckled face. Sadie grinned.

“Awww cheer up kid. It ain’t so bad. In a few years you and your little friends’ll be adopted by the gang and you’ll get to live the high life.” She drank again and then delved inside her shirt and rooted around until her fingers reappeared with the bloody remains of what had been sucking her blood.

“You take Justin now. He was a whiney little kid just like you when he was first brung here. Now look at him.” She stood up and addressed all four of them.

“You all behave yourselves and mind you Ps and Qs with your new…” She belched again. “…parents and you’ll get to be just like him.” Sadie drained the bottle and tossed it. “Then yous gets to have fun.”

Finny and Casper exchanged looks. Something Sadie had just said had an ominous ring to it. It was the ‘in a few years’ the sadie had casually thrown in. It was a pretty good guess that those intervening years with their ‘new parents’ weren’t going to be fun.

The turnover rate in the wilderness gangs was pretty high. Raids, inter-gang wars and regular attacks by regular law enforcement agencies… not to mention the psycho clones who turned up every now and then, meant that the birth rate could barely keep up. Consequently, young kids taken on raids would often be ‘adopted’ into the gang, usually around the age of fourteen or so. At that age they would accompany a raiding party and, to prove themselves to the gang, they would be expected to kill an enemy and then return to present the decapitated head to the gang’s leader, chief, warlord or whatever he or she wanted to call themselves. But to get these captives from ‘frightened child’ to ‘savage killer’ in as short a time as possible meant a life of constant, deliberate brutality and abuse to destroy whatever they had been before being taken and mould them into the warriors that the gang needed.

Sadie went back into the tent.

The crowd gathering around Justin and Sadie’s yurt slowly grew. By the time Justin returned some fifteen minutes later there must have been over twenty adults all watching and carefully considering the four newcomers.

Justin cursed under his breath and poked his head into the entrance to the yurt.

“I thought I telt you to watch these kids!”

The voice from inside was slurred.

“They don’t need watching, not with half the damn camp gawping over them.”

“Shit woman, get your ass out here and get them cleaned up.”

“You get them cleaned up! It was your fucking idea to take ‘em!”

Still muttering unpleasant thoughts to himself, and to the amusement of the potential buyers, Justin grabbed a ragged shirt off a neighbour’s makeshift washing line and dunked it in a bucket of brown water.

Finny was the first object of his attention. He grabbed a handful of red hair and tilted her face upwards. Rough scrubbing with the dripping cloth cleaned her face of the collected blood and grime this awful day had deposited there. Then he moved on to Casper and so on down the line, never once letting up with the mumbled invective.

The object of his criticism appeared from the yurt and stood swaying as she watched her partner’s efforts. From her attempts at focusing it was obvious to all around that beer had given way to something considerably stronger. And for those who needed less subtle evidence, the loosened belt still dangling from her wrist did the trick.

Way across the valley another yurt opened up and a short, tired looking woman emerged into the lengthening shadows of late afternoon. A dark haired teenage girl followed her. The woman lifted her head as laughter carried across the natural amphitheatre of the valley.

“Lonely?” The girl looked up to her mentor. The woman nodded in the direction of the small crowd on the far slope. “What’s going on over there?”

Comments

Hyle Troy's picture

Gripping stuff, great serie

I would rather die peacefully in my sleep, like Grandad, than screaming, like his passengers



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