Fuel | A flash fiction story
The woman licked her dust-covered lips and spat blood. The repurposed exploration buggy she had been driving a second ago was now resting upside-down on top of her leg. It was her first time seeing bone poking out of someone’s leg — the fact that it was her own bone made things considerably worse.
A small, hunched man raced to her, hands and feet on the scorching desert sand, like an enraged chimpanzee. “Shit told ya he would get ya,” he said, his face an inch away from hers, each word sending blobs of saliva to her eyes and her mouth. “Shit said he would and he did. Shit got ya!”
A large, muscular man came from behind the small one and slapped him out of the way. Shit scurried away and hid behind the buggy, a hand rubbing his face. The other bandits were approaching now, getting off their belters. The chase was over.
The large man pushed the buggy with both hands, the muscles on his back a hilly landscape. Shit jumped away as the buggy rolled back onto its wheels. The giant crouched in front of the woman and analyzed her leg. After a second, he talked. “Fuel.”
“I’ll never tell you!” The cuts inside her mouth stabbed her after each word her tongue drowning in blood.
“Shit can kill the girl, Jax,” the hunched man yelled from behind the buggy. “Shit kills her! The girl don’t talk and the dead don’t either, so she dead. ’Cause Shit kills her.”
Another one of the bandits — Maya — delivered the second slap of the day to the man’s face. “Shut the fuck up, Shit! I swear, I’m gonna cut your fucking tongue.”
“Fuel,” Jax said again and the woman shook her head, her hands on her leg.
“Look, girl,” Maya said, “we can fix your leg, but you have to tell us where Atlanta keeps the fuel. Is a paycheck worth your life? Are you a person or a pawn? A cog?”
The woman closed her eyes and tried to push the pain away to make a decision. Without opening her eyes she said, “North. After the lake near the forest. Five miles out of the road.”
Jax’s enormous hand brushed her face. “Good girl.” He got up. “Maya, fix her. Shit, you can have the next one.”