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Previous Fic: Strange Elations




Stand out on the edge of the earth
Dive into the center of fate
Walk right in the sight of a gun
Look into the new future's face


“Edge of the Earth” – 30 Seconds to Mars



The woman's body lay crumpled at the foot of the bed, like a puppet whose strings had been cut. One of her hands curled loosely around the butt of a revolver. The other grasped at the ragged hole in the middle of her belly.

The sour tang of blood and cigarette smoke combined with the death room odor of urine and feces and flooded across the back of Faith's tongue, stung her eyes. She stumbled away from the body, crashing into a wooden armoire. Sinking to her haunches amid a shower of empty glass bottles, she covered her mouth with her hand and tried to swallow down the burn in her throat.

She shouldn’t be here. What the hell did she think she was doing here?

And then Moriarty’s voice, with its rolling accent, slid sinuously through her head, insidious as a brain tumor. Take care of Silver, get me my caps, and I’ll tell you where your da’s gone. Simple as that. And if you don’t? Well…it’s a mighty big Wasteland to be searchin’ through.



Faith shook her head. Took a shallow breath. She could do this. It was just a dead body. She’d seen dead bodies before.

Even caused a few of them, whispered a voice in the back of her head.

She frowned. Then, with a quickly muttered apology, she went for the pockets of once-Silver’s softly tattered pants.

No caps.

She turned to the footlocker, the dresser, the armoire…. Nothing but whiskey bottles, inhalers, and a pack of bobby-pins.

“Damn it!” she hissed, kicking at an empty bottle. It slid into the kitchen crashed into the counter and shattered. The shards caught the last bit of light seeping through the boarded up window and sparkled quite prettily.

Until a shadow fell across them.

Through the spaces on the boarded up window, Faith watched, stuck to the spot, as the shadow moved pass the window.

Voices rumbled on the other side of the wall, indistinct. Her eyes went to the kitchen door. The handle rattled. The door swung inward, just as a gravelly voice said: “Can’t believe you didn’t fuckin’ loot the whole fuckin’ place while you was here—Hey!”

Faith was out the backdoor as the first gunshot sounded.


A bullet screamed by her head and she yelped, ducked, scrambled for the gun on her hip.

Putting on a burst of speed, she headed for the Red Rocket, crouched behind one of the legs holding up the eyesore. Bullets dinged off the metal. Too close. A scratchy, high pitched voice was screaming things that she couldn’t understand.

Time seemed to slow as the toe of a boot came into view and Faith raised her eyes, raised her gun.

The woman pointed her shotgun at Faith’s head and smiled—a mirror image of once-Silver’s death grimace—even as Faith squeezed the trigger on her own gun and watched the side of the woman’s neck explode.

The woman collapsed to her knees, dropping the shot gun. Her wildly jerking hands tried to stem the blood pouring from the torn carotid. The woman opened her mouth, gurgled something unintelligible. Warm droplets of bloody spittle hit Faith’s cheeks, her nose and she cried out, jerking back, as the woman fell to the ground.

On the periphery of her vision, she could see the other one—a man, dressed in the same pieced together armor—running for her, firing his pistol into the air as if he were trying to scare off a wild animal.

And like a wild animal, she turned and fled, head reeling.

She fell several times, picked herself up and kept pushing forward until she saw the metal spires of Megaton.

But the man was still behind her.

Heat exploded across the side of her head and she stumbled again, fell into the dirt.

He was close enough she could hear the raggedness of his breath, feel him pointing the barrel of his gun at the back of her head and she squeezed her eyes closed, preparing for the bullet that would tear through her skull.

The shot rang out.

She opened her eyes, twisted her body, saw the man above her stumble back—an absurdly neat hole in his temple—fall and roll down the incline.

Her breath left her all at once and she collapsed on her back.

Above her the darkening sky was rippling with stars and one of them was yelling.

“Simms! Shit goin’ down! Get the doc!”
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dreaming through the noise

September 2015

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