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The Story:

Several miles are behind me as the landfill is finally in sight. The cliff’s edge looks like a nice place to rest before I climb down and cross the old highway to the piles, so I sit and let my feet dangle. I take a few swigs from an old canister in my backpack and stare at the empty road.

No one had any idea that oil would run out so quickly. It started with a price hike that stretched everyone’s budgets, but it only took months to become a commodity that no one but the super rich could afford. Society spiraled far beyond depression. We still have a government, but out here, we are the authority. Everything is stolen, including what little gasoline remains. Every action is one of self preservation. We just try to survive.

After a few more sips, I stuff the canister into my bag and climb down the cliff. It’s an easy climb for me, one that I could do blindfolded. I reach the ground and cross the road without even checking for traffic. There’s no point.

The landfills are the best places to find items to barter for food and medicine. Hours of searching stink after stink usually turn up something worthwhile.

As I reach a chainlink fence imprisoning the forgotten treasures, three men with guns appear from behind rusted dumpsters. One of them grins and winks at me. One with a beard walks up to me.

“Well, well… A pretty little trash rat.”

They all laugh, but I remain silent. Anything I say could make things worse.

“See these piles? All this here? This is our trash. We’re the yard dogs… And we chase off little rats.”

One of them barks at me.

“Yeah… Woof, little rat. However, such a pretty rat. Maybe you can stay and… feed the dogs.”

He looks at the other two, and they all laugh. As he turns back to face me, I throw a punch with a brass knuckle I slip from a side pouch on my bag. It lands on his left temple, and he’s gone. Grabbing his gun, I fire at the other two, hitting one in the leg.

I run back toward the cliff, but I hear a dirt bike coming after me. There must be a lot more of them. I don’t think I can make it…


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