I.V: Cargo

Even in the poor light, the contents of Uno's bag were clear. Four very simple items, all of which were central to his survival. But right now, only one was important.

Laid out on the dusty ground, a torch, a small plastic bag with something solid inside, and two pieces of paper drew the attention of both Uno, their owner, and the man who had taken them out of the bag.

As he passed his hands over them, he asked what they were. First the torch. That was obvious, but a captor could never be too careful. Second was the bag. The man picked it up, causing a loud crackling and rustling from the old and deteriorating plastic.

'What's in here?' he asked warily. It honestly could have been anything, but Uno knew that they were both safe.

'Just a loaf of bread I stole a while back. Food was becoming scarce where I was hanging around. Part of the reason I moved. I stole this from one of the gang camps a week or so ago.'

'You stole from a gang? That's gutsy.' The guy seemed impressed, but also quite surprised, and not in a good way. Putting a cigarette in his mouth, the silhouette was suddenly lit up for a brief moment by the cigarette being ignited. Blowing out a puff of smoke, he then asked, 'But weren't you concerned that they would find you and kill you?'

'It was either steal a loaf of bread from them and likely die of starvation, or steal and likely die of them catching me. I run the same risk either way. I was slightly more likely to survive with the second option, though.' Uno was blunt, but honest. He had accepted a while back that every day was a small percentage of death, and he prepared himself accordingly.

Inhaling through his cigarette, the shadow continued. 'And I see all the other items you have are just paper. So, no weapons? Nothing to defend yourself should you come under attack?'

'I have the best weapon. The only weapon I need.'

'And what's that?' The stranger's tone became slightly suspicious, as if realising that he might now be in some mild danger.

'The first piece of paper, the one to my left and your right, is a photograph of me and my mother. I'm only a baby there. It's one of the few pictures I could find after it happened. The Blast, I mean.' Uno watched his captor pick the photo up and examine it. A small crease of confusion appeared on his face.

'But...'

Uno knew what he was thinking. It was a frequent occurrence with strangers. His skin tone was not the same as his own. 'She's white? Yeah, I was adopted. My real mother was too young to take care of me. I never saw her again...'

'Oh, I'm sorry.' A small moment of sympathy, it seemed, before the man cleared his throat and moved on, putting the photo down, and looking to the last piece of paper. 'What's this one, then? Is this your weapon?'

Uno smiled. He could not tell whether or not he was being made fun of, but either way, it didn't matter, for this was his weapon. He confirmed this to the man, and the lack of change in his tone or expression confirmed that there had been no sarcasm in his previous question.

Turning it over, the man stubbed his cigarette out on the floor, exhaling the last breath of smoke, before laying his eyes on the paper. An old picture of the city was displayed on one side. It had been a postcard, or at least Uno had assumed so. The picture seemed artificial and too photographic to be of amateur origin.

And on the other side, pencilled out in great detail, was Uno's weapon.

'Is that a map?'

The End

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