Samuel pulled his motorcycle up to one of the gas pumps. He was only stopping here to get some supplies. He killed the engine and kicked out the kick stand to hold up the motorcycle. He turned on the pump and took in a deep breath. He had always loved the smell of gasoline. It reminded him of his father’s garage in the town where he grew up. That town didn’t exist anymore though.
“Hey! Hey you!” Samuel looked over to the direction of where the voice with the thick American accent came from.
An old skinny man with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth stood in the door of the gas station. He wore overalls with a white yellow stained tank top underneath. His face was covered in grey stubble. He held a shotgun in his hands and Sam could see a serious expression plastered his face underneath his cowboy hat.
“You best be plannin’ on payin’ for that there gas, young feller,” he shouted, cocking his gun.
“No worries,” Sam shouted with a grin. The old man sneered at him, but then walked back into the gas station, keeping one eye on Sam.
Normally, Sam wouldn’t care to pay, but he always gave in when it came to the elderly, plus he felt this guy was someone he didn’t want to mess with. He brought his black leather wallet out from his coat pocket, and he counted his bills. He had just enough to pay for the gas, while still being able to buy supplies. He walked into the gas station, where the old man sat in the corner on a fold up chair behind the counter, sharpening a hunting knife.
Sam walked to the back of the store to the fridge, and grabbed two water bottles. Heading back towards the counter, he grabbed the last three cans of soup on the shelf. He also grabbed a loaf of bread, and crackers. He set his things on the counter as well as his money.
“And that’s everythin’?” The old man asked. Sam nodded, and looked at the wall behind the counter. He could see that there was in fact a fake wall, because in the bottom right hand corner, Sam could make out a barrel of yet another gun poking out from behind it.
On the counter, underneath the see-through plastic, there were dozens of old lottery tickets, as well as a picture of a young boy standing next to the man who worked the gas station. The picture was black and white and not a good quality, but Sam could tell that the boy was very scrawny, with light coloured hair, and looked as though he was 8 or 9.
“Who’s that boy,” Sam asked pointing to the picture.
“Ain’t none a’ yur god damn business,” the old man snapped. “That’ll be 75 dollars, and 35 cents,” Sam nodded towards the money on the counter, but before the old man took it, a rumbling noise could be heard that came from outside the station.
Sam and the old man looked out the station’s window to see a rusted red 4 door pickup truck pull up. There were 6 men sitting in the back of it, while two men occupied the driver’s seat, and the passengers. There was an anarchy symbol painted on the side of the truck.
“Damn bandits trying to steal my gas!” The man shouted running out of the building with his shotgun, as well as his hunting knife. The driver’s window on the truck was open, and when the old man shot his gun, it was a perfect head shot.
The bullet impacted the skull right in the temple, and sent blood and brains splattering on the dash and all over the passenger. The bandits in the back looked at their driver, and then at the old man. The old man cocked his gun.
“I suggest ya’ get goin’ before I—” His head was shot off before he could even finish.
Sam’s eyes went wide as he saw the Old man collapse to the floor. He then looked out the window to see one of the bandits in the back holding a sniper rifle.
Sam ducked down in hopes that the bandits didn’t see him. Since there were no further gun shots, Sam stood in a crouched position and watched as the bandits all got out of the truck, and one of them opened the driver’s door. The dead body of the headless bandit fell out, and rolled onto the desert sand, the dirt sticking to his remains.
“Bastard,” One of the bandits shouted. They then all picked up the dead bandit and threw him in the back.
Across the road from the gas station there was a house that looked very run down and abandoned. Some of the shutters on the windows were only hanging off of one hinge, some not even having any, and just nailed to the siding. There were holes in the roof, and the garden that followed the perimeter of the front porch was overrun with brown grass. It seemed out of place against the endless dessert and almost had a gloomy atmosphere about it. The bandits were all eyeing this house down wondering if they should even make an attempt to raid it. The decided against it and Samuel could see why.
It wasn’t just because the house seemed to be abandoned, but also that their whole back seat was filled with boxes of supplies. One bandit, who was sitting in the back, took the driver’s place at the wheel, another started up the gas pump, while the rest went back to where they were sitting.
After a few moments, finally the one bandit turned off the gas pump. The driver then revved the engine, while the bandit who was pumping the gas, ran to the back of the truth to join the others. They and then took off, sending dust in the air as they drove off towards the north.
When Sam was sure they were gone, he stood back up. He took his bag off of his back, and put his things from the off the counter into it. He then put his money back in his wallet, and looked more around the store for other things he might need. Sam rationalized that since the old man was dead, it wouldn’t count as stealing if he took anything.
He grabbed 6 noodle packages, and walked back to the fridge to get a few more bottles of water. He then left the gas station stepping over the body of the old man, and walked to his motorcycle. Before Sam got on the motorcycle, he looked back at the house that was across the road. His curiosity was almost unbearable to see what may lie inside.
He then saw something.
On the second floor of the house, in the left window he could’ve swore he saw something run past. From this, his curiosity took over, and he headed towards the driveway of the house. Getting a closer look of the house, he could see that some of its grey siding pieces were chipped off, and he could see vines growing up underneath. The front porch steps creaked as he climbed them getting closer to the front door. He reached for the handle and tried to turn it, but it was locked. He pressed his ear against the door in hopes of hearing something. He waited a moment, but heard nothing.
Then there was a thump.
Sam saw this as a sign, and hurdled himself at the door, breaking it open. He saw a wood stove, and a red couch sitting in front, as well as a wooden end table. He looked to his right, and saw a hallway that lead to another room. In this room, on the left, was a little table with three chairs, and on the right, the kitchen complete with a stove, fridge, a few counters with cupboards built in, and a sink with a few unwashed dishes lying in it.
He heard the thump again.
It was coming from the second floor. He quickly walked back into the living room, and through a doorway that was next to the woodstove he saw a set of stairs. He climbed them slowly, trying to be quiet, but each step seemed to creak louder, and louder, from his weight. When he reached the top, he came to a hallway that went both left, and right.
He took his chances and first went right. The first room he came to was a bedroom. A single bed was pushed to the two far walls, with an end table beside it. On the end table there was an alarm clock and a picture frame. He looked over to his left at a closet door that he could’ve sworn he heard creak. He took a closer look, but before he could get his hand on the closet door handle, he heard the cock of a gun.
“Don’t come any closer,” Someone said from inside the closet. This surprised Samuel a little but, he didn’t move from where he was standing.
“I’m not here to hurt you,” Sam said in reply, in the softest voice he could muster.
“Were you the one who killed grandpa?” The person in the closet asked. Sam could hear a faint whimper as person said this. He assumed that the voice meant the old man.
“No,” Sam answered.
“Then who did?” The voice asked.
There was a silence, and after a few moments, the door started to slowly open. When it was all the way back, Sam could see the voice had come from a boy. This boy had short blonde hair, and bright blue eyes. He was the boy from the photo. He had long scrawny legs that poked out from his brown cargo shorts, and a white button up shirt had stains of dirt. He held a small and gun with both hands that trembled and Sam could see trails that tears had left on his face.
“Who are you,” the boy demanded. There was a faint American accent that could be heard in this boy’s voice.
“I’m just a traveler,” Sam answered to the boy. He then lent out his hand to the boy. The boy cringed back from it, but then he then took it. Sam then helped him to his feet. The boy held the gun at his side and then looked to the floor.
“Do you live with just your grandpa?” Samuel asked the boy.
“Yes,” the boy answered. Sam nodded at this.
“Do you have any other family?” He felt sorry for this boy. Seeing a member of your family being shot is something Samuel knew too much about.
“No,” The boy said shaking his head, still looking at the floor. “No, wait,” The boy said looking up at Sam, his blue eyes flashing. “My Aunt Lily lives in Porter,”
“Then why don’t you come with me, I was actually just heading in that direction.” Sam said with a smile.
The boy returned it and said, “You’d do that?”
“Wow, you’re one of the nicest sir’s I’ve ever met!” The boy said, wiping the tears from his face. The boy’s smile then disappeared and looked at the man seriously, “How do I know I can trust you?” He asked.
“Well, you’re going to have to,” Sam said, “Cause how else are you going to get to your Aunt,” The boy smiled a little at this. He then followed Sam down the house’s steps.
“What’s your name, by the way,” Sam asked the boy.
“Name’s Thomas,” He said, “Thomas Ribbinstien,”
“Sam,” Sam answered, “Just Sam,”