The Only Hope For Me Is You
“Raymond…I need you to run okay? Run to the desert and don't stop until Battery City is just a blur in the horizon.” My mother said, gently caressing my cheek.
“Mom…come with me. We can get out together…you don't have to stay here.” I begged, my voice trembling. She smiled fondly at me, I could see tears well up in her eyes.
“No sweetie, I must stay…this is not the life I want for you. I want you to use that creative mind of yours, I want you to be free of BL/ind’s corruption. We don't have much time, go now…and don't look back. I love you my son, you are the best thing that ever came into my life.” She kissed my forehead and gently pushed me away.
“Mom…I can't leave you!” I shouted, I heard a van pull up in front of our house. The Dracs had found us, my mother had refused to take the issued pills that destroyed emotions. That was treason against BL/ind and treason resulted in death.
“Raymond…you will go now!” She shouted and shoved me harder. “Go out the back and stay off the streets. Keep running.” I could see the sorrow in her eyes, my heart begged me to stay with her but my mind is what got my feet running. Just as I made it out the back door I heard the front one being kicked in. The Dracs were going to kill my mother. I heard the familiar sound of a laser gun going off. She didn't even scream, maybe she didn't have time or she was trying to be courageous, I guess I'll never know. It took everything in me not to turn around and try to help my mother, however I didn't stop, I obeyed my mother’s last wish and kept running. I used the back alleys and kept off the streets. Battery City wasn't that large but it was like a maze. Alleys lead to different alleys and streets lead to dead ends.
Sex bots catcalled and told me that they could give me anything I wanted, for a price of course. The city's homeless were wrapped in grey blankets, holding out tin cups, they were begging me for spare change. I didn't stop through, I kept going.
I knew I would never make it out if I stayed on my feet, I needed to find a vehicle. I could use the abandoned 8th street tunnel on the east side of the city and then it would be a straight shot into the desert. After I few minutes of searching I found a white motorcycle sitting by a curb, I ran up to it and immediately began to hotwire the motorcycle. It only took a few seconds before the engine purred to life. I silently thanked my high school mechanics teacher for illegally showing the class how to hotwire anything and everything. I saw that it still had half a tank full of gas, that should be enough to get out of the city.
I made it to the abandoned tunnel with ease and drove into the vast desert. I didn't stop until the city was a blur in the horizon just like my mother had told me, the sun was beginning to set and the motorcycle suddenly stopped. I was out of gas. I got off and began to walk, I was alone. My mother was dead, my father was as good a dead. I had no supplies and the clothes I wore on my back was a standard BL/ind outfit, white pants, a black button-down shirt and some black dress shoes. I was not ready to live out in the desert, I had no idea on how to survive in the wilderness. I was going to die out in the desert.
My eyes snapped open, my shirt clung to my back with sweat. It had been two weeks since I left Battery City, I had survived by some thrown out cans of Power Pup and a half gallon of warm water. I had found a small cave about three days after leaving the city, it helped shield me against the unforgiving sun. I had holes in both my pants and shirts, my shoes were beginning to get worn down. The nights in the desert were especially cruel, I had no idea how to start a fire without a lighter and the nights were starting to plunge in temperature. I missed my mother and I wondered what they had done to my father. Had they killed him? Or were they torturing him about my location? BL/ind was cruel, they knew no mercy when it came to the rebels.
I hadn't seen any of the rebels so far, in school they told us they were vicious and they needed to be exterminated. I was afraid that they'd be right, what if I was destined to be alone? If both BL/ind and the rebels wanted me dead? I would die a traitor and an outsider.
The sun was beginning to rise and I knew I had to search for some more supplies. I was praying that I would find some clothes, or some more sustainable food. I knew I would need more water, I couldn't live on the, now, less than half gallon of water that was left back at the cave. I sighed to myself and left the cave, the sun shone brightly and it took a few seconds for my eyes to adjust. I had gone in every direction except for west, I began in that direction hoping that I would have better luck.
I walked for hours, I had searched through several abandoned cars and so far had found a backpack, one water bottle, and two cans of Power Pup. The sun burned on my skin, my thick, curly hair stuck to my skin. I was about to turn back when I saw a small run-down diner. I smiled, this was the first building I had seen intact since I was out here. The paint was chipping off and some of the windows were broken but I could see the red vinyl seats and the dusty counters. I entered the building quietly, the floorboards creaked under my weight, I looked around and saw old posters and the bare walls that were spray-painted with many bright colors.
I went behind the counter and was happy to see that it was fully stocked. Cans of beans, peaches, and chili were sitting in front of me. Five gallons of water sat next to the canned foods. I couldn't believe my eyes! Maybe I wouldn't have to die in the desert, maybe I could live after all. I opened up my backpack and grabbed a can; suddenly I felt something push up against the back of my skull. I froze.
“Give me a reason not to shoot a laser right between your pretty little eyes.” A low voice growled. I heard a accent in his voice, Jersey maybe? I dropped the can, it fell with a loud clank between my feet. I held my hands up, I could feel my whole body begin to shake.
“Please…don't. I-I didn't know anyone was here…I swear!” I spoke, my voice cracking at the end.
They pressed the gun harder against my head, causing me to seethe in pain, “You're dressed in BL/ind attire, that alone will get ya’ killed out here…and you're stealing from my group. Another reason for me to shoot you.”
“Please…don't. L-look I will leave. Please don't kill me.” I was begging for my life. I heard the man behind me cluck his tongue. I closed my eyes expecting a laser to end my life, instead I felt the gun lower.
“Stand up.” He ordered, I did as he said, still with my hands held up. I turned to face him and saw tall, lean man with bright blonde hair that was longer on the top than it was on the sides. He was dressed in a bright red leather jacket and a yellow striped shirt, his eyes were hidden by a pair of dark sunglasses. His black pants were tight and he wore black boots. He was definitely a rebel.
He still had his red gun pointed at my chest, “Who are you?” He asked.
I swallowed dryly before answering, “My name’s Raymond Toro.”
A small smirk tugged at the corner of his lips, “You really are from Battery City aren't you? With a name like that.”
I scowled, I thought my name was a good one, “What makes you think you can insult me? I'm a person just the same as you.”
His smile faded, “Look pal, I can say whatever I want. You should be dead by now, now tell me why you're here and not in your precious Battery City.”
“Battery City is far from precious. My mom died getting me out of the city…and they are probably torturing my father as we speak! I left because they are not a home, they get rid of people’s individual spirits. So before you think I am some spoiled kid from the city think again! I've been barely surviving for two weeks!”
He looked surprised at my outburst, but still didn't lower his gun.
“Alright, alright…I believe you.” He put his gun in its holster, I let out a sigh of relief, “I want to help you.”
I couldn't help but smile, “Thank you.”
The man smirked, “Don't thank me yet, you haven't met Poison yet. He may still shoot you in the head.”
Poison? Who the hell is that? I suddenly really wished I had just stayed at the cave.