The Way to Town

In the aftermath of war, a thinly stretched military is trying to help bring some sense of order back to as much of the country as possible. Many from around the area have gathered in cities and towns hoping to get back on their feet and have a fresh start. But when corruption threatens to dismantle the work of those in one small town, some unlikely people decide to band together to root it out.

Rick McClean rifled through the shelves. At the rate they were going, even rationing it out, the food wouldn't last very long. He sighed as he grabbed a can of beans, then another, and another, and stuffed them into the laundry bag at his shoulder.

When the shelves were empty, he pushed some of it around so that the water bottles he had managed to find and fill wouldn't break. Then he shut the bag and slung it over his shoulder so that it hung by the makeshift strap he had sewn onto it tightly.

He ducked and crawled through the collapsed bits of the building before coming to plain walls lined with doors. Many of them he had shut already, but one remained open.

Rick slipped inside the cell and knelt down in front of a bed, where man in a rumpled guard's uniform laid covered in sweat. "How are you feeling, officer?"

"Worse." the man moaned. "Why haven't you killed me yet?"

Rick shrugged his shoulders. "You didn't do anything wrong. I brought the rest of the food. Think you can stand?"

The guard wiped sweat off his forehead. "I'll try."

Rick leaned down and pulled the guard's arm around his shoulder. When they tried to stand, the guard nearly fell back down again.

"Just let me sit, McLean. I need a minute." the guard wiped sweat out of his eyes.

Rick sat down on the bed next to guard, who was in his early fifties. "How's the leg?"

"Well, it's not worse." The guard looked down and winced. The left leg of his pants had been ripped off at the knee and wrapped up with pieces of cut-out sheet. Pieces of broken iron were tied to it to make a brace. "But it's not getting much better, either."

Rick looked away, glad he had changed the bandage earlier. "If I could get to the infirmary, I would."

"That's not your fault."

Rick quickly zipped up the jacket he had managed to find the day before. Most of the men had left the prison without looking through personal affects, so it had been easy to find clothes for himself. "Ready to go?"

"Yeah. Let's get outside, and I'll point out the way to town." the guard eyed Rick warily, but still allowed himself to be helped outside.

The End

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