I have to admit, that music Demitri had blastin’ in his bus was pretty metal, but the old CD player kept skipping as we hurtled along over the rough terrain. Still, it was nice to have something to listen too, something to take my mind off of things, even if I couldn’t understand a lick of the Russian lyrics.
He had done up the inside of the bus real proper for living off the grid, and I laid hold up in the back on this mattress that smelled like blood and tears.
“So, yeah, as I was sayin, he proceeds to shove his head up his ass just to impersonate me and…”
Demitri swerved the truck as he burst out in laughter, “Did he really shove his head up is own ass?”
“Of course he didn’t!” I says. “That’s just my way of making light of my own situation…it keeps me goin…” and, as I laid there, I thought I saw that tarantula shackin up over by the door. It was far enough away that I paid it no other mind and, getting back to my 1st thoughts, “What keeps you goin, man?”
Without missing a beat Demitri says, “Taunting people, mostly.”
It produced a laugh from me I did not expect but, “Nah man, I mean, what are you fighting for?”
“Ah!” We hurled down a short cliff face and bounced effortlessly down the terrain as he thought. “Demitri fights for what he has, and for what he can gain.”
“Hm, what do you gain by helpin me?” I axed.
“Huh, Demitri hasn’t thought about it, yet.”
“Well,” I got up halfway from layin down and leaned into my response as though he was lookin, “let me know when you do think about it.”
Old man Fang looked pretty annoyed when we pulled up to the station in Demitri’s bus and, when I hopped out, he saw me and started shakin’ his head.
Demitri saddled up behind me and started up, “Things look a bit sparse around here, Boss…”
“Eh, Diesel told you what happened, huh?”
“She said someone stole her rig from the gas station.”
“Yeah, well, that’s not all that damn punk took.”
“Yeah,” I says. “Well, look. Can you tell which direction he was headin’?”
“What do you got?” the shrewd old man axed.
“We don’t have time for this,” Demitri marched up. “We need to get on his trail before it goes cold!”
“Well, if you’re not buying fuel, then, you’re buying secrets. Now, what do you got?”
“Fine, how do a couple batteries from my next haul sound?”
“Fair enough…he took off north…shouting something about starting a fire…” Fang looked down at this little sundial he had strapped to his wrist, “About two hours ago.”
Demitri put the clues together, ‘north’ and ‘startin a fire’ “Sounds like he’s heading to the colosseum.” That’s where the Firestarters hold themselves up.
“That’s a long drive,” I says.
“Yes…we should stop at my camp for the night, and to grab some supplies. We know where he’s heading, so, we’ll catch up to him.”
Demitri and I piled back into the bus and headed off to leave Fang to his business. The drive across broken roads and hidden paths did a number on my back. I wasn’t gonna lay in the blood-soaked mattress one second longer, so, I sat by the spider spinnin its web, my arms crossed most the time to keep the girls from yankin’ me around. We had hit a couple bumps that sent me near into the ceiling but that was par for course around here. That spider though, it knew how to live, all safe and secure in that new web of his. It took about an hour or so to reach Demitri’s camp, and I was surprised to see just how spacious he’d made it. He really managed to craft quite a palace out of scrap in the back hills.
The rigs he had stashed in there, oh-my-God, let me tell what! Now, I’ve already mentioned he was a raider, and I’ve already told you about his bus…or have I?! See, this guy here, the one standing all proudly right in front of me and his tool shed? Yeah, him, Demitri. Mech-warrior of the wastes over here. You can’t see it now, but just behind the tool shed, tucked away in one of the spaces and hidden by picket fencing sat a wheel gun turret. On that turret, a Goddamn Reaper minigun. Legendary! This guy! What’s more? The whole contraption could be driven as-is OR hooked up to the bus’s port side, and it took up about half the side, too. In the back of the garage, under two massive ceiling vent fans sat his piece de la resistance! A mech style legged behemoth. Just how that thing and the bus, and turret all fit together…well, I’ll leave that to your imagination.
Now, you’re gonna have to forgive me here, but I’m a little fuzzy on all of what happened next. I just remember hearin some electricals buzzin around, comin from behind the door of his toolshed in his garage. It piqued my curiosity, so, I reached for the door. Goddamn…why did I reach for the door?
Wouldn’t you know it? A Goddamn Ravager! I was like, “Demitri, no!” But it was too late.
That Goddamn Ravager leaped up on Demitri and smacked him right up-side the head, took him down like a sobbin little bitch…Then, that freakin tarantula came crawlin out at of the shadows! “Goddamn!” I yelled out and, well, while Demitri was too busy getting his neck broke in a wrestling match with the Ultimate Spiders, I took off runnin for the bus. In the driver seat and crankin the keys over, I looked up, and there he was — Demitri, spiderbot extraordinaire! I crapped my pants. I really did, I tell you what, grindin out a loaf while grindin the gears into reverse…there’s just something oddly poetical about it all. Demirti-bot charged after me but, and thanks to Demitri himself, the bus handled like a damn dream in this godforsaken nightmare. I turned the wheel, it swung around, I double clutched the transmission up to 2nd, redlined it as it lurched forward and, barely able to keep my grip on the skull-shaped gearshift, I slammed that puppy into 3rd like, well yeah, like my life depended on it because it did! I tell you what, that bus plastered me to the back of the seat and splattered a bug to the windshield, and I was outta there. Poor Demitri. So long! And, thanks for all the battles…