Rest of the World - Chapter One
---The year is 2087, December 23rd.
When he felt the terrifying contact of a gun against the middle of his back, Dean froze and stuck his hands up in the air automatically after shoving his rented handgun into his pocket. "State your names," the gruff voice behind him barked.
"Dean Salvadore and Adam Lordon," he said calmly, glancing over at his companion. "Age nineteen and sixteen."
"Be you part of the Rebellion?"
A slight smirk tugged at the corners of Dean's lips, and Adam barely stifled a chuckle. "No, sir."
"You may continue."
They passed through the gate and into a field with seven-foot tall weeds and grass. "This is probably where your dad went to get food, may he rest in peace," Dean said solemnly to Adam. "This is where we all go, so the supply is runnin' low. I dunno what these guys are eatin', but it sure as hell ain't meat considerin' we're takin' it all. Otherwise huntin' would be outlawed too." He snarled his face.
Adam nodded, not saying anything. The kid hadn't spoken much after the day Maya and Mortecai found him curled up in a pile of rubble, his father on the ground in front of him with a mangled body. Adam had agreed to join the Rebellion, and then he only spoke when necessary.
The two boys trekked through the high weeds and occasional mud before Dean perked up and crouched low, gesturing for Adam to do the same. Adam obeyed, squatting beside Dean. "What's wrong?" he whispered.
"I hear somethin'," Dean replied, voice barely audible. "Maybe footsteps, maybe an animal."
He withdrew the handgun from his pocket and readied it. It would take a couple of shots to kill an animal, depending on the size. They waited and listened for what seemed like an eternity before three rabbits bounded into the clearing a few feet in front of them. Adam held his breath. Dean raised the handgun and shot once, hitting the rabbit to the right. The other two scrambled, but Dean managed to shoot another one before it escaped.
"Alright. That's dinner. We can ration it out between all...eight of us." Dean grimaced and grabbed both of the corpses. "Home's not far, let's get runnin' while I still got this gun."
"That's it?" Milo snarled, glaring down at the rabbits that were just tossed in the middle of the room. "This is why we send Luke out. He's got the best shot of all of us, not to mention the guy can actually choose what friggin' animal is gonna even feed us and-"
"How about you shut your trap?" Mortecai snapped. Six pairs of eyes turned to stare at him. Moretcai continued, "Luke's too sick to barely even move, much less go find us something to eat, you ungrateful vermin."
"Well, why didn't you go?" Blake countered, "I don't see nothin' wrong with you."
Mortecai clenched and unclenched his fists several times - he didn't have an answer. Then, he inhaled deeply and spat out, "Dean needed to show Adam the place, anyway."
"Right, the newbie," Blake snickered. Jess peered over at him and smacked him in the back of the head, saying, "As if you weren't new to this whole crap yourself."
"Guys, stop freakin' fightin'," Dean growled. "Is bein' cooped up in this place together really makin' you guys all bitter toward one another? I don't think I can handle you guys fussin' day in and day out. We've been together, what, three years now? Just be quiet and get over yourselves," his words were coated with venom and his irritation was obvious in his expression.
"I get it. We don't have Marcia. We don't have Thomas. We don't have Dorian or Jason, and Melina came and went. I know you guys loved them, and I know it hurt to lose them, but please, they weren't the only ones that kept this group together."
His avoidance of mentioning Nika didn't go unnoticed. Mortecai pressed his lips into a thin line. Jess scrunched up her nose and tilted her chin up slightly, saying, "Well, I don't appreciate the way Blake thinks he can be a stupid bully to every new person that comes along. He's the reason we don't have any good accomplices."
"You're the reason we don't have anymore female members. They know they ain't gonna get none with you going around like you do," Blake retorted.
Jess turned on him, eyes filled with pure rage. She raised her fist but Milo lunged forward and grabbed her arms, "Stop it, you two! Dean's right, okay? We gotta chill out. That means both of you, Blake," he snapped, glaring.
Adam shifted his weight from each leg awkwardly and looked over at Dean. He spoke quietly, "Look, maybe I don't belong with you guys..."
"Don't be stupid," Dean rolled his eyes. "You're practically family now. You're not leavin'."
Adam tossed and turned on his newly designated pallet. There obviously hadn't been much to eat that night, what with only having two rabbits and a few vegetables to split between eight members. He wasn't used to having this much of an empty belly - his father had always provided him with the sufficiet amount of food when it had been just the two of them. He bit into the skin around his filthy fingernails as he stared into the darkness. Dean's pallet was close to Adam's, and Adam reached out and touched his arm, whispering, "Are you awake?"
Dean rolled over and rubbed his eyes, "What's up?"
"I have a question that's been nagging at me since I showed up."
"Yeah, what is it?"
"Why's your brother Luke...the way he is?" he cringed and his face turned apologetic, even though Dean couldn't see. Simultaneously, Dean's expression darkened.
"Well, 'bout four years ago, he pissed off a Highruler. You know, one of the five right below Winter. Anyway, he kept talkin' back to 'im...an' the dude got so mad that he strapped Luke down and sewed his mouth shut." Dean swallowed hard. "We've never tried to get them out. He won't let us."
Adam was quiet, thinking about this new information. He blinked slowly and then said, "I'm sorry...I was just wondering. Goodnight."
" 'Night," Dean mumbled before turning over and going back to sleep.
There is no such thing as "bad art", regardless of talent or skill. For every craft or drawing you create, is a creation from your mind. Whatever it depicts, it is immensely beautiful.