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by JBrown
Rated: 13+ · Novella · Fantasy · #822378
a work in progress .Adventure in a post apocolyptic world.

Wind whipped through the valley. The air was crisp. It was spring but snow still lay in pockets along what had once been a freeway. The pavement had started breaking down and patches of the asphalt were now just beds of loose stones. The sun had not yet reached the floor of the valley and the rusting hulks of automobiles were still shaded. The ragged pines on each side of the old road had been planted long ago. Some were just now starting to thrive again.
The two people plodding along the old road were not making very
good time. A man in the lead pulled hard on the rope around the young girl’s neck. The girl stumbled along as best she could, trying to keep up. Patches of snow lay on the old road and the loose stones on the pavement tore deeply into her bare feet. The cord cut into the skin around her neck with each yank on it.
Another man sat, about a mile away, under an underpass. Brett
Logan sat crouched by the remnants of a campfire. He examined the campsite very carefully. He knew that you could tell a lot about a person by the things they leave behind. He felt the dead coals of the fire and could tell that the pair he was tracking was not far ahead. Their camps had not changed over the last few weeks. The man always slept by the fire and the girl was tied just close enough to keep her from freezing. He could tell that the man had beaten her again in the night. The bloodstains were not at all encouraging. In fact the only good thing he could see was that he was feeding the girl again. There had been little evidence of this in the last week or so. He wondered if Beal was getting her ready to sell. As far as he could see Beal had not raped the girl, but he did not know for certain. With this type you never could.
Logan walked out into the sunlight. He saw that they continued in the same direction as always. The road they were traveling on would take them under an ancient railroad trestle. The trestle had not been used for
years before it all ended. Logan also knew of a road that ran that way. The side road was not far away and it was fairly clear. Logan walked up onto the road and passed them without them ever knowing it. His ghost-like movements had become legendary.
Logan waited patiently as the pair worked their way along from car
to car. He wondered why Beal would bother. Was he searching for some thing? All of the ruins had been picked over years ago. They had been gone through dozens of times. Still the man stopped and checked each car. Could one be used as a cache for something? What could he be looking for?
Logan worked his way down the hill. He darted from one support to the next. Careful not to be seen he crossed the road while they were still several cars back. He waited, watching them as they approached. Beal stopped and reached into one of the cars. He pulled out what looked like an old envelope. Logan could hear them now, as they approached.
"You've been nothing but trouble to me since I took you in! Now come on!" Beal said.
He yanked on the rope. The girl pitched forward onto her hands and knees. He was on her in an instant. He was kicking her and screaming for her to get up.
Logan walked up behind the man slowly and stopped about ten feet
away. His hate for this man and those like him was growing by the second.
"Are you John Beal?" He asked.
Beal froze in place. He put his foot down and slowly turned to
face the voice he had heard. He glared at the tall man in the buckskin
shirt. Logan stood there very casually. He seemed to be totally at ease. He
almost seemed bored.
Beal managed to sputter out "What?"
"What part of that did you miss? Are you John Beal!?" Logan asked a bit more forcefully.
Beal stood there for a few moments. He finally said " I haven't been called that in a long time."
"That's right for the last few years folks have just called you
asshole." Logan said with contempt.
"Who are you?" Beal almost screamed.
" I am Brett Logan. I have come for the girl."
John Beal looked as if his soul withered and die. Brett Logan was well known wherever people gathered. Tales of the tall stranger from the before time were told in every settlement and around every campfire. He was a man to be feared or trusted depending on which side of him you were on.
"How do I know it's you? Anybody could say they’re Logan." Beal said.
He was stalling, trying to buy time and think out the situation. Logan had seen this before. The little man needed time to think of a way out. He was not about to give it to him.
"Look Ace, I don't need this. Are you going to come along easy or do you want me to go on and kill you now?" He asked very calmly.
" I'll come, I'll come," Beal said.
Beal stepped away from the girl and dropped the rope he was holding. The girl lay on her side. She was holding her now bloody hands across her ribs. Beal turned to where the girl lay crying and bent down as if to help her. He eased the old pistol from his belt and spun around to fire. Brett Logan or not Beal would kill this tall stranger for talking to him like that
The bright flash of Logan's muzzle blast was the last thing that John Beal ever saw.
The girl lay very still. She had just seen the very thing she had
prayed for happen. Logan could tell she was almost in shock. He walked over to the man who had tortured her all this time. He bent down for just a moment and checked Beal's pockets. He took an envelope from Beal’s coat pocket then stood up very slowly.
He had taken what little there was of value from Beal's body. He walked slowly over to where she sat. She had sat up with her back against the rusting fender of a now ancient relic. Her feet were pulled in close and her arms were pulled tight to her chest. He knew she would be terrified of any man right now. He squatted down in front of her. She cowered back almost against her will.
"Well now Miss Amanda Tate, you sure are a hard person to find." He said softly.
He reached inside his shirt and pulled out a leather wallet. He took
from it a picture of a lovely young girl and a distinguished looking older
gentleman. He showed the picture to the girl. She reached out for it and stopped looking from the picture to Logan.
"It's all right," he said softly, handing it to her. "Your grandfather is very worried about you. He sent me for you. I am going to take you home.”
She sat and stared at the picture for a long time. She hardly noticed Logan. She just stared at the picture of her poppa. Tears began to run down her bruised and dirty face. Her sobbing could just barely be heard.
Logan walked over beside her. When he touched her she flinched. He knew it would be a long time before a man could touch her without her flinching. He removed the rope from around her neck and cut the straps to the pack she had carried.
"Is there anything in here you want?" he asked. She shook her head and then for the first time she spoke.
"Where are we going?" she asked in a child like voice.
Logan looked up in surprise. He had not expected an answer. Logan had lived through the crazy years when it all ended. He had seen what people became when society broke down. He had seen girls treated like this and far worse. In her condition, he had not expected much at all from her.
"Well, Kimsey first. Then I will take you home to your grandfather. I know you want to go on home, but we are going to need a few things for the trip. As much as I would rather we didn't, we’re going to have to go by there to get them. Besides I have a couple of friends there. It'll be all right."
Amanda just looked at him. Logan walked back to the bridge that covered the old road. When he came back he had a pack and a rifle with him. He came over to her and took from the pack some clothes. He had come prepared. He handed her a sweater and a pair of pants. There was also a bundle that contained underwear and socks. He told her to change but not to put on the socks.
He walked up the road a short distance. By the time she was dressed he had a small fire going in the shelter two cars parked at an angle provided from the wind. He was melting a pot of snow. She came and sat across from him, warming her hands and feet by the fire. He looked up at her and smiled. He was adding the contents of two small jars to the water.
"We are going to let this cool a bit. Then I want you to wash your feet and hands in it. It will help the sores not to hurt so much and they will heal faster," he said.
“Have you eaten lately?” Logan asked. He knew she had not .He also knew how important it was to treat her the same as if nothing had happened. If she wanted to talk she would do so in her own good time. Now was not the time to push.
Amanda shook her head. The girl didn't want to talk much. Logan understood. After she had cleaned the cuts on her feet he handed her some
thick cotton socks from the bundle and some cloth and rubber shoes that would have been called tennis shoes in another age. Logan wasted no time in preparing her breakfast. He wanted to be away from there but he also wanted to take his time with Amanda. After she had put them on and eaten the first full meal in weeks. He led her back down the road they had been traveling on.
Beal, like many of those in the after time, knew only the main roads. Those roads that had once been known as the freeways.
They went back to the first exit. There he led her down a small street
past the ruins of what had been a small town. When they reached the outskirts on the other side they came upon three horses tied to a tree. Logan approached the horses slowly . He was looking all around and studying the ground. He had seen these tracks before. He wasn't sure where but they were familiar.

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