Down the Road less Traveled

Featured Item: ::K:: Fur Collar Coat (TMD)

The explosions were throwing up large heaves of dirt, debris, and chunks of concrete, as Fargus ducked behind a surviving barricade to avoid the shrapnel, moments ago. The night sky blossomed with destruction. With Death, and there wasn’t a damned thing he could do about it, but run from sheltered position to something that looked like another one, as he tried to make his way out of the zone.

Fargus was wearing black combat fatigues, a flak jacket over top of an olive gray T Shirt. He was lean and wiry of build, and his rain soaked clothing was mud streaked and bloodspattered. He had gray eyes that were as cool as a mountain lake, and shoulder length brown hair, that was pulled into a ponytail, held by a blue elastic band. He had earrings and a silver necklace, with wings, and his arms showed tattoos of a tribal and cosmic nature. He was handsome, with angular features and high cheekbones.

He had 5 days of dark stubble that was trying to grow into an actual beard now. He had a pistol on his hip, holstered, an ammo belt draped crossways over his chest, and a combat knife at his hip, opposite his sidearm. He’d been in the rebellion, but his unit had been massacred, and he’d only escaped by chance..

The zone was huge, and the fighting was not going to stop. The resistance was too well organized, and the same could be said of the Capital’s forces. What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? Fargus imagined that this was what it was. Chaos. Destruction. Terror. The colossal forces on display here were going to kill everything around them, and no one was going to survive.  

But while there was life, there was hope, so Fargus told himself. At least that’s what Grandma had said. And he ran in a ragged, stooped lope to take shelter behind a concrete barricade. There were cracks here and there, and chunks of material had been blasted off, but it stood.

He dove in behind the sheltering wall, but came face to face with one of the Capital guards. The man was taking a piss, and had his pants down. Fargus’ eyes were as big around and surprised as the soldier’s. But the man froze for a moment, and just stared at Fargus, and Fargus stared back. Their eyes were locked on one another’s faces.

And then the fool reached for his gun. Fargus shouted “NO!” but the guy did it anyway, letting his pants fall to the ground in the process, as he grabbed his gun.

A single shot rang out, and the pantsless man fell to the ground, a bullet hole now leaking brain matter and blood from his ruined skull. The smoke swirled up from Fargus’ pistol, and he sighed and snarled, “Stupid, stupid, stupid.. “

He sighed, as he found himself looking over the figure, then looking furtively around, to see if he was in any danger from other nearby soldiers.

It was all clear. But the shot might attract a squad’s attention. He hesitated, though, and sighed, and stopped a moment to pull the man’s pants up at least around his waist, so he wasn’t left so undignified.

That’s when he heard the armored vehicle’s tracks on the nearby road, and spotlights started to project from its location. A bullhorn started blaring, “REBEL SOLDIERS! THIS IS THE CAPITAL AUTHORITY SPEAKING! IF YOU LAY DOWN YOUR ARMS, YOU WILL BE TREATED FAIRLY, AND GIVEN AMNESTY! BUT IF YOU PERSIST IN FIGHTING, YOU WILL BE FIRED UPON!”

A bomb went off near the location of the armored vehicle, a tank, Fargus believed, as he crawled up to a partially collapsed wall, peeking over it to see. The explosion did little to the tank, but rapid fire guns and RPGS started to flare out from all sides of the tank, as it slowly rotated its turret and the withering fire sent up shrill and horrible cries of more deaths. And then the firing ceased, and a squad of soldiers in the Capital Militia uniform came striding from behind shelter.. They took up positions on either side of the tank, and began a systematic sweep; they were heading towards Fargus’ position.

Fargus ducked down behind the wall and crawled his way down the narrow passage, going in a nearly straight line direction away from the advancing soldiers. Bombs and bullets pelted around him, even as he sought to stay out firing range. It didn’t matter. This was a version of hell. But he had to keep going.

The bull horn voice continued its onslaught of propaganda about amnesty, redemption, safety and a fresh start as part of the glorious Capital Republic. He wished the cries and bombs would die down, so many he could hear himself think, or hear his own laugh at the ridiculous claims. He scrambled over rubble, trying to stay ahead of the sweep, but they were moving fast, and it seemed another 2 tanks and lines of troops had joined the one that was behind him, on either flank.

So, there wasn’t much chance of sneaking around the ends.

He saw that there was a road ahead, and there was a bicycle laying on its side in the middle of the road. It was a Schwinn,  painted blue and black. He glanced back, and he had partial cover, at least for a few minutes. But looking ahead, how could that road not be pockmarked? It looked pristine, in fact, at least it didn’t look cratered or littered with broken vehicles. He pushed himself up and made a run for the bike, and as he did, there was a fog developing around him. The fog was rising all around the edge of the road, but he could still hear the sounds of the armored vehicles, rounds and bombs being fired, and the stamp of the troops coming his way. He forced himself to grab the bike, and mount it, and then start to pedal as hard as he could on this strange road that was so fogged. Maybe, just maybe, the fog would hide him?

He pedalled as fast as he could, and the sounds gradually became softer and fainter. And then, he could barely hear them. He slowed down, and it was a good thing he did, because, after glancing behind himself again, and seeing what looked like a brightening sky, like the sun was finally coming up, he turned back around and saw he was about to hit a man that was in the middle of the road!

“GAAAHHH!!!” he shouted, as he swerved and hit the breaks on the bike, and nearly flew over top of the handle bars. It didn’t quite matter, because he did tip over and fall into a large fern-stand, that was about the size of a volkswagon bug. He flopped around on the springy fern like it was one of those bouncy castles, with the inflatable floors. He coughed and gasped and groaned as he tried to untangle and right himself.

“That was rather careless of you, my friend,” A voice said from beside the fern. He glanced over the fronds, as he wiggled his way to the edge, and came face to face with a man dressed in white and brown, with an odd crystal top hat, a cane and a long white coat with brown leather lapels. He had long silvery shimmering hair that hid part of his young and handsome face. He wore gloves and carried a silver-handled cane, and had a smirk on his lips.

Fargus blinked and stared a moment. This certainly wasn’t a Capital soldier. “Wh..what? I.. I’m sorry, I nearly ran you down, “ he said, uncertainly.

“Yes, I noticed. And that would have been most unfortunate for the both of us, if you had. You’d have been cast back off the “Road” and into that terrible war zone you just escaped from. And neither of us want THAT, now do we? Hmmm?”

The young man’s lips quirked into a smirk, and he reached out his cane, and Fargus took hold of it, and was helped out of the fern. He stood on unsteady legs for a moment, and then looked around. The young man looked expectantly at him, and arched a brow, before adjusting his white gloves on each hand.

“What.. we’re not in the Capital Republic anymore, are we? How can that be? “ Fargus was looking around at the scenery, the unfamiliar plants, the small animals, hearing birds chirping and singing, the sounds of crickets, and not one sound or sign of the battles, the war he’d left behind. It was a warm, sunny day, and even the fog seemed to have evaporated. Strange floating balloon like things were floating in the air, refracting the sunlight into gold and silver brilliance.

“No, we’re not. You’re on the Road Less Traveled,” the young man said, and he smiled, a genuine smile now. “You’re quite lucky, my friend. The road doesn’t usually take strangers on, unless it sees something in them. But now that you’re on the road, I’m afraid you’ll have to follow it to the end, like I am. At least until our ways part. “

“Who… who.. What.. are you?” Fargus said, as he listened to what the man said, but didn’t understand a word of it.

“Well, my name is Drasnie, but you can call me Dras. “ he passed the cane from his right hand to his left, and smiled, holding it out for a handshake. He continued when Fargus took his hand and shook it faintly. “I’ve been traveling the road for many moons, at least I think I have. I’d say it was actually years. It keeps leading me to stranger places, and “interesting” situations. Interesting, that is, in the way the Chinese proverb says it.. You know.. “May you live in interesting times.”

Fargus shook his head and blinked, like maybe he’d been hit on the head or was suffering from some kind of hallucination. But it was all clear, and indeed this handsome man was before him, with what looked like leather soled walking shoes, and his stylishly odd attire. “I’m .. pleased to meet you? “ he said, making it a question, as his brain tried to process this and catch up.

“I’m sure you are pleased to meet me, after what it looks like you have been going through,” Dras said, looking Fargus up and down, “But you’re being rather rude.. I introduced myself sooo…….”

“Oh.. sorry.. My name is Fargus.. Matthew Fargus. But everyone calls me Fargus, for some reason. I’m .. well.. I guess I’m a refugee now .. on this road. “ He tightened his handshake, and the younger looking man’s hand returned the warm grip in kind. They let go and Fargus swallowed, as the scents of honey suckle and sage, instead of blood, smoke and the smell of decay, filled his nostrils. He started to shake as his rapidly beating heart continued its rapid pulse, and he nearly fainted.

Dras took hold of Fargus’ shoulder, “Please to meet you Matt, “ he said with a smile, “Now let’s get you sat down on this rock.. “ and the slim young man directed Fargus to a boulder at the road’s side. He slumped onto it, even as Dras made a face, and nodded. “First thing we need to do, is find a place to get you a bath and a change of clothes. Refugee Apocalyptic might be the rage where you’re from, but I assure you, we won’t get sat down at most restaurants with you looking like that.”

Fargus looked back at the man with an expression of clear dumbfoundedness. “Don’t take this the wrong way, Dras, but.. You are such an odd little man. I just came from a fuckin’ war zone, and you’re worried about getting seated in a fine dining place?” The soldier laughed, and grabbed his stomach as the absurdity of this whole situation hit him. He laughs and rolled back and forth on the bolder, until he couldn’t hardly make a sound, tears streaming from his eyes, streaking the grime caked on his face.

Dras lifted an eyebrow, and shook his head, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet, cowboy.” He said in a soft amused voice. After a few minutes, he clapped Fargus on the shoulder, and nodded. “Now get off your ass, and let’s start walking, just in case the other road decides to catch up to you again and take you back. That’s been known to happen. So.. onward. “

The two figures, the grim, dirt streaked soldier, and the stylish and handsome young traveler, walked side by side towards the rising sun in the east, seeking where the Road Less Traveled was going to take them.

And a bath, an outfitters, and a restaurant. In that order.

Many adventures would await the pair, and the road would take them to places that would both fascinate, and haunt them, thrill and delight, terrify and torment them. But it was all part of life, no matter how you looked at it. We all have our paths to travel. Sometimes it’s alone. Sometimes it’s in the company of people that you least expect.

Story by: Dehrynn Shepherd

Body:
Hair- (r)M Hair, No.41’16 (Store)

Outfit:
Coat- ::K:: Fur Collar Coat Corduroy-Ivory (TMD)
Pants- ::GB::color denim pants (Store)
Hat- 8f8 – Mystery Hats – 03 – SERENE (Store)
Gloves- [VALE KOER] LOUIS GLOVES (Store)
Cane- .random.Matter. – Mustang (Store)

Makeup:
Eyeshadow- Zibska ~ Sayuri (Store)

Decor:
Road- HPMD* Dirt Road (Store)
Snow & Lanterns- {anc} snow & forest lanterns (Store)

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