The six-lane highway was cracked, dusty, and barren. The dividers were in the same condition. Along the sides of the highway was an outstretched, empty, desert. Dunes, cacti, and the road, were the only thing visible for miles. On this road were two travelers, one, a man, the other, a woman. They seemed young, in their 20's at least. The woman wore black, dusty jeans, a dirty white tank top, and brown boots. She was scrawny and short, with a bit of an hourglass figure. Her jet black hair that was kept in a ponytail complimented her pale skin nicely. Her skin was cut, scarred, and sunburnt in places. Her backpack seemed larger than her. She had a flatbow on the rear of her pack and some arrows in a quiver attached to her belt. The man was tall and a bit lanky. His brown cargo pants were tucked into his tan boots. His drab green t-shirt, with a small blood splatter across the stomach, fit him nicely. He was strolling beside the woman, using a pump-action, wooden, slim, shotgun as a walking stick. The sun beat down mercilessly on them.
Alyssa, the woman, hunched over as she trudged along, hooking her thumbs in the straps of her backpack. She stared at the ground, listening to the thump of their feet on the asphalt and trying her best to ignore the dull ache in her soles. Boots weren't exactly the best choice for walking a hundred miles.
”I think I'm gonna die,” she mumbled, panting quietly. This heat was crazy. She wiped sweat off of her forehead, closing her eyes and wiping her hand on her jeans.
"God, I didn't think it'd be this far," he grumbled, running a hand through his fluffy, somewhat short, black hair. He squinted at the horizon while they were walking, occasionally surveying around and behind them.
Some time passes and he pokes her side playfully, smiling a bit. He picks his gun up by the stock, a finger on the trigger, and points at a cluster of small buildings on the side of the road ahead of them. A gas station seems to be the biggest building.
"Look," he says. "They might have a backpack for me in there."
Glancing up from the road, she sighs in relief, hoisting the backpack up further. ”And then you can finally carry your weight around here.” She nudges his arm with the backpack and smiles. ”Treating me like a pack mule..”
Alyssa watches the town as they slowly approach, becoming a bit more nervous with each step. ”What if they're not friendly? Or what if it's just another trap for an ambush?”
Shaun giggles and holds his shotgun with his other hand on the pump, pointing it downwards. "If they're not friendly, I'll kick their ass back to where they came." He looks at her and raises his eyebrows, walking at her sluggish pace. "Just for you."
He jogs up to the gas station and waves his hand back at her, looking at the derelict pumps. "Cover me." He finds a rusty old SUV and bends over, resting his gun across the hood and towards the convenience store.
He yells, "Anyone home?"
Alyssa smiles and pulls her bow off of her back, slowly pulling an arrow out of the quiver and peering around. She placed the arrow on the string, putting her index finger over the shaft to hold it in place. The town, if you could call it that, seemed fairly empty.
Until a man wielding an old, about-to-fall-apart rifle and a woman stepped out from the convenience store. The two looked rather frail, the small woman hiding behind the man. He spoke up, obviously not very confident in his ability to protect himself. ”What do you want?”
Glancing up at them, he stands confident and holds the barrel of his gun against the car. "All I want is a backpack and some food and water."
He waves with his left at Alyssa, his right hand holding the gun.
The man raises his gun, just barely visibly shaking. ”We don't have anything. Uh.. Leave. Now.” The woman gripped him tightly, peering around him.
Alyssa stepped forward, keeping the arrow pointed down, and standing by Shaun's side. ”Listen, we just want to stay the night, resupply, and then we'll be on our merry way. I don't believe you when you say you have nothing. You both look healthy enough.” She eyed them up and down, flexing her index and middle finger around the string. ”Me and my buddy here aren't afraid to get violent. Just let us look around.”
While they're talking, Shaun looks around at the settlement and notices something. "All these buildings are made out of semis and cars. There's no reason for just these two to have them."
He steps around Alyssa and the SUV, standing in front of the couple and looking over them into the boarded up convenience store. "I see light. Alyssa, I don't feel like whacking anyone today."
He looks down at his shirt and picks at the old dried bloodstain. He then glances up at the couple, a finger on the stain. "What's it gonna be?"
The man stepped back, clutching his gun tightly. ”I- uh.. Yeah, come on in.” He nudged the woman toward the door, opening it and holding it open.
Alyssa smiles warmly at the two, keeping her bow drawn and stepping inside the store. ”Like I said, we only need a few things and a place to sleep. Then we'll be gone.”