Early the next morning there was a knock at the door which startled Donna out of bed. She thought she was still dreaming as she went to open the door. At the door was a tall man in a suit that faded from grey to a greasy black. Behind him, four muscular men stood with their arms crossed and smirks on their face. “You must be Donna. Pleased to meet you.” Donna tried to sift through the sentence for sarcasm or authenticity.
“I am, and you are?” Donna asked, making sure to keep distance from the man.
The man scoffed and the men behind him laughed, but the lack of smile lines showcased that the four men were also intimidated. They were forcing smiles. “Me? I’m Marcus. That’s all you need to know. And you, Mrs. Donna, have screwed me out of a grip. You were supposed to lose that fight and we all knew it. Desmond himself promised all the big time bettors. So why’d you do it Donna? What money did you earn by winning the fight?”
“Money? I’m the poorest fighter around. I don’t have money just laying around. Feel free to check. My pockets are empty and so is my house.” Donna moved to the side, allowing Marcus to see all of her home. The goons behind Marcus started forward, but Marcus stopped them. He shrugged and said, “I’ll see you soon.” The group of gangsters plodded through the rubble of the general store and out into the still air.
Donna rushed to grab a backpack and filled it with clothes. Without a look back, she was out the door. Running in the thickness of the grime, Donna could feel her throat and lungs being coated with the fine particles. Most of what she tasted was dust. It was a minute jog to a small shack on the outskirts of the devastated town. The shack itself seemed as if it was built from salvage from the town, complete with a sign taken from a pharmacy that now read, “Jack’s Pharma.” The rest of the word had been cut off in the shack’s construction. Donna knocked on the door and Tyson Crews opened it.
“Donna? What the hell are you doing here?”
“They’re onto us Ty. We’ve got to go.”
“Go? I’m not going anywhere.”
“You don’t understand. The gang is involved this time.”
“Look, I’m staying here, that’s all I know. Venturing into nothingness like you want is crazy. Here’s your cut and good luck.” Tyson handed Donna a wad of money kept together with a few rubber bands. Donna looked a Tyson pleadingly but only said, “Thanks.” Then she was on her way.
Desmond always told Donna that if she wanted to escape town, she should head north. There were rumors of another town a few day’s walk using the roads. Heading north would mean going back to town; heading north would increase the possibility of running into Marcus and his gang before she’d make off. She went north anyway.
Follow along from the beginning