Episode 1 Scene 13
The piece of shrapnel that sliced through my cheek hurt. They say chicks dig scars, but no one was going to dig Leon’s scar. The same wedge of metal that gouged past me ripped a large chunk out of his throat. Not large enough to kill him instantly, but definitely large enough to kill him. I’ve seen a lot of people die, and watching someone’s throat foam with blood and bubbles is no fun at all. I’m guessing it wasn’t pleasant for Leon either.
I staggered out from behind the bike and surveyed the scene. Oily smoke was pouring out of the generator building and billowing out the front of the compound. People had already formed a bucket chain and were dealing with the flames. They knew what they were doing; there was a sense of controlled urgency but no panic. But something didn’t feel right. Generators don’t simply blow up on their own.
I retrieved the binoculars from my saddlebag and scanned the ridgeline above the compound. They always had a watcher up there, keeping an eye out for the War Clans. Nothing had been seen for weeks, but no one was slacking off. I twisted the dial and got the watcher into clear focus. She was jumping up and down and vigorously waving toward the front of the compound, out beyond where the generator was burning.
I was about to swing the binoculars around to focus on what she was pointing at when her head exploded. One second she was a human semaphore, and the next there was a crimson bloom of blood and bone. What the hell had done that? There was no echo of gunshot. No nothing. I might’ve missed it above the crackling of the burning generator, but I didn’t think so. Something was definitely not right.
The next explosion was as big as the first and took out the grain storage shed. Smoldering red-hot wheat was flung through the air, setting fire to any flammable surfaces. My travel gear protected me from most of it, but the others weren’t as lucky. The bucket chain disintegrated as people started rolling on the ground to douse their burning clothes. Something was seriously wrong.
I ran along the side of the still-burning generator shed and moved down the compound wall. I considered scrambling up the watchtower, but sanity prevailed. Something was taking precise shots at the compound, and I didn’t want to become another victim.
A small set of stairs led to an earthen ramp behind the wall. I climbed these and popped my head up to take a look. Something glinted in the sun: it looked small and far off. I risked the binoculars. What the hell was that?
The vehicle was low and sleek, a future interpretation of a motorbike maybe. There was a figure standing off to the right of the vehicle. It was dressed in an off-white garment that rippled in the still air. The figure lifted a device to its face and looked directly at me. How could I be sure of this? Because it fucking waved at me. The figure lowered the device and studied its surface. Then with a long finger, it pressed something. I know a targeting mechanism when I see one, and I’d just become the target. I got the hell out of Dodge.