Trader Redux: Book Summary
Just after meeting up with Trader and Abe, the four old friends decide to head into Seattle, despite the fact that Ryan wants to start the trip home as soon as possible. Along the way they spot a lone man with a hunting dog.
A short time later they come across two young boys dressed in furs. They ask the boys if they have a home near by, and get the general location. It isnt long before Trader notices the body language and senses an ambush. Sure enough the father of the two boys tries to come up from behind. All three pay for the attack with their lives.
Using the directions they got from the two boys, it isnt long before they find the home and go in. It is one of the cleanest, neatest places any of them have laid eyes upon. They fill up on food and discuss what they have been doing over the past couple of years. Its obvious to Ryan and J.B. that if the conversation doesnt revolve around trader, he really isnt all that interested. Things tend to be quite tense before they finally head off to sleep.
Back at the ranch, during the time that J.B. and Ryan have been gone, the only major event to have occurred was Jak getting a splinter in his finger and nearly losing it to infection, if Mildred wouldnt have spotted it when she did. As it is Jak was forced to endure a very painful procedure to remove it, but he survive, and went through it without anesthetic.
In the morning J.B. finds a beautiful horse drawn hearse. They spot a coffin in it and simply dump the corpse out so they can use it. The body must have been the wife of the man they killed the day before. Trader insists that they set fire to the home, despite Ryans objections. Even though Ryan and J.B. want to begin the journey home to New Mexico, they do what Trader wants and head into Seattle.
On the way they pass two other vehicles, both drivers asking them wheres the funeral. Trader swears hell shoot the next person who asks them the same question. They do come across an old woman driving her vehicle, but she doesnt ask the question. Instead she warns them about the night mutants.
They leave Abe with the hearse and horses and tell him that if they are not back by dawn of the third day, to come after them. They go into the ruins and begin to explore. They stop in the closed ruins of a home that hadnt been entered since the sky dark. Inside they find the family that committed suicide just after the war, read the note that was left behind. The night passes peacefully.
During the next day they pass a nuke crater and head deeper into the ruins. They hear a cry somewhere and Trader wants to investigate, but they dont. By nightfall they are forced to take refuge in the empty caverns of a ruined underground mall. They have no choice in the matter as it is far too dangerous to stay out in the open. During Ryans watch, he hears a strange odd music that causes him to dose off.
Despite the groups wish for Doc to stay behind, he is determined to go off on his own and be alone for a while, be it a few days, or weeks. He takes the mule Judas with him. He does think of leaving permanently while he rides Judas. He makes camp, unaware that a huge mutie cougar is near by.
Ryan wakes up just in time from the sleep induced music to see a mutie bending down, ready to bite his throat. He lets out a shrill warning, waking the others and a battle begins. One of the muties is wounded and the others are so caught up in their blood lust, one attacks its wounded brother, feasting off its hot blood. Its not far from dawn and they decide to leave, head back to meet up with Abe. About half way back to Abe, they are attacked by a street gang.
Abe is quite disappointed at the way things have gone. He expected the meeting of the old companions would be a grand adventure, and that they would hit the road together. But even he can see the gulf that has developed between Trader and his old war chief, Ryan.
The three old companions are taking refuge in a ruined house, and they are surrounded by at least twenty gangers, all bent on wiping them out. Six attackers are dead. They are forced to make a tough decision. Despite the danger, they plan to make a run for it, and hopefully they will all make it. They plan to meet at an old water tower. They head out, firing as they go. The three get separated from each other. Ryan is the first one to make it to the hill and water tower. J.B. is close on his heels.
Quite some time later Trader finally manages to make it to the hill. Ryan and J.B. are forced to help him as he was wounded twice during his escape. They hope that it wont be to long before Abe comes after them.
Abe is having a hell of a time trying to get the horses harnessed. Its a job that needs at least two people, and is nearly impossible for Abe to do it. But hours later, he finally manages to get the horses harnessed and heads into the ruins to find the others.
Doc awakens to find himself staring at a huge mutant cougar. He is somehow able to get his Le Mat and fires at the cougar as it leaps. He wounds it horribly but it is still in fighting form. He is able to draw his saber and stabs the huge cat in the heart, finally killing it. The unexpected attack over, he slips into shock and begins to weep.
Trader, J.B. and Ryan are forced to fight off the gangers, killing a large number, including their dogs. They are just about out of ammo when Abe shows up and gives them a chance to escape. A short time later, a trio of men slip out of a tree and attempt to release the horses. J.B. blows one right out of the air, and Ryan kills another one who managed to land on the back of the lead horse. He is forced to head out and take the surviving attacker on hand to hand. After a brief fight, he kills the man, but not before he is able to cut through the harness. Ryan finds himself on the back of a run away horse.
Jak and Dean are repairing a fence. Dean really wants to see his throwing knives and they talk about men breaking under torture and how he had to kill a man when he was only eight years old. Finally Jak shows Dean the knives, impressing Ryans young son.
Ryan is able to force the panicked horse towards a small pond. He jumps as they hit the pool, finding that the horse was veered into the pool and stopped about twenty yards away from him. The four companions make camp for the night.
Four days later, they lose the hearse due to a wheel shattering. While camping, Trader brings up the rumor hes heard about a band of Samurai being spotted in various parts of the Deathlands, raping and pillaging as they go.
A while later they stop at a farm fortress to sell the four blacks. There is little haggling as the people can see the quality of the animals and they trade for a supply of food and ammo. Turns out Trader has had a history with the owner of the farm, or the grandfather of the owner. The man was named Bart Springham, and years before Trader had stolen the mans weapon, a silver inlaid Winchester. Shot two of his boys with it, as well as Bart Springham. They got off very luck this time.
Two days later while stopped in a canyon, a quake hits. Trader and Ryan find themselves in the river, and they lose the pack horses. The ride in the rapids nearly kills both, but they survive and crawl to the shore.
After the dawn of the next day, Doc has recovered from the mutie cougar attack. He decides to forgo riding Judas since it is such a nice day. The mule at first likes the freedom, but soon takes it as a personal affront and tries to bite Doc. Hes about to give the mule a sound beating when a womans voice warns him not to lay a finger on the animal, or shed kick the hell out of him. She comes out of hiding and introduces herself as Susan Smith, or Sukie. Then she promptly faints from a wound she suffered.
After getting free of the river, Ryan and Trader head towards the area they were swept away from. They use an old hiking trail, knowing its going to take them several hours to get back. On the way, Ryan becomes very sick, slowing them down. Its not too long before he recovers. After that they spot a ruined building with smoke coming from on of its chimneys.
Both Abe and J.B. head down the river trying to find what happened to Ryan and Trader. Abe tries to climb through a small opening when he is attacked by a Skunk. J.B. Swears hell shoot him if he gets too close and forces the little man to hit the river and do his best to get cleaned up. Forces him at gun point to do it.
Sukie was suffering from a knife wound she received from her last guide. The little bugger tried to gut her, so she slit his throat. Doc and she talk for a while, getting to know each other. He learns her history and that shes forty three.
As Ryan and Trader approach the building they discover that it is actually the remains of a old hotel, called 'Hightower". They learn from a boy that the baron of the ville is named Baron Torrance. Its a short time later that they meet the head of the sec men, a man named Andy Arkadin. Ryan and Trader claim to be brothers, Danny and Willard king. They meet the huge baron, and his horrible daughters. The baron is well over three hundred pounds and is in his seventies. His eldest daughter is also immensely fat, and in her fifties, the other, is only slightly smaller, but just as disgusting, and that she is about twenty years younger.
Over diner the two women go for Ryan and Trader. Both end up sucking the men, and they find themselves surrounded by the sec men, forced to strip and are subjected to a search by the two women. After that they are taken to their room and are forced to have sex with the women. They both learn that they are forced into a shotgun wedding and that the rehearsal will be at noon the next day.
As they continue to travel towards the ruined building, Abe is attacked by a mutant Cottonmouth snake. He is able to fall away which gives J.B. the chance he needs to fire on it twice, killing the huge snake. It nearly takes Abe over the edge with it.
Doc and Sukie have become very intimate with each other in a short time. That night together, they make love three times in a row.
Dean was supposed to burn old straw and manure, but got lazy. Because of it, he nearly burns down the barn and is chewed out by Jak big time. He spends the day away from the others and is the first to spot a horse drawn prairie schooner approaching the ranch. When they finally reach the ranch, it is two people named Ronny and Raelene Warren. They are both quite sick and weak. They claim to have a special prize with them that they found in White Sands. Jak lets both stay in the Ranch.
Ryan and Trader are forced to go through the wedding rehearsal at noon of the next day. Even though they cant see them, Both J.B. and Abe are watching it from hiding, and are quite surprised to see their long time friends as the bride grooms. They being to formulate plans to help them escape.
Right after the rehearsal they being to make plans to escape. They need a distraction and it comes in the form of the two sisters. They decide to come by for another round of raunchy sex with their soon to be husbands. Its just what they needed. They start a fight with the girls and Ryan kills the younger woman, while Trader is left to deal with the older, monstrous of the two sisters. Ryan is able to soak the surviving sister in lamp oil and he sets her ablaze. She falls off the balcony to the river, far, far, below. During the fight several sec men come in and Trader kills two of them. They grab the weapons and kill the third guard. As they are getting ready to head out of the burning room, they run into Andy. After learning where their weapons are, Ryan is willing to let the head sec man go. Trader has other thoughts and shoots him in the neck, killing him. They go to find their weapons.
They spot the Baron, who demands to know what is happening and what happened to his little girls. Trader shoots him and they go to get their weapons. Upon exiting the building, they find Abe and J.B. waiting for them in a rebuilt Volvo. The journey resumes.
Doc and Sukie have been together now for three days. Originally, Doc had played with thoughts of Suicide, but now because of his chance meeting with the woman, the thoughts are now gone. He finds that he is beginning to fall in love with the woman. They hope to meet up with the others back at the ranch by the evening.
After four more days on the road they are getting closer to home and their loved ones. During the time they encountered several groups and were shot at only once, but had no major incidences. They find themselves near the ruined city of Phoenix. They skirt it, heading towards a ville known as Scottsdale. The ville is deserted, and they decide to make camp near a old bridge. Ryan and Trader head into the ville to explore, but quickly bore of it. Trader opts to go back to the camp, while Ryan stays behind to inspect a bookstore. Here is attacked by a pair of Stickies. One nearly takes him out as it got near total surprise on him, but he gets the upper hand and takes it out. He then kills the Stickies crippled brother.
Mildred tries to figure out what is ailing the two newcomers. It is late in the night when she finally figures out what it is. They are both dying of Rad poisoning. Jak lets the others know that he knows what the Warrens had in the back of the wagon. A damaged Cruise missile. Its leaking radiation and they are forced to evacuate the farm, as everything is contaminated.
While heading to the ranch, Judas tries to take a chunk out of Sukies hide. She gives Doc permission to beat the hell out of him. But because of the mournful look the mule adopts, Sukie asks him to stay his hand. It is now that Doc learns the same Rumor that Trader heard about Oriental bandits roaming the Deathlands. They finally arrive at the ranch to find it empty, and no sign of the others. Only a few minutes later Ryan and the others show up and the two parties meet.
They spot that their lapel rad counters are deep in the red, and while Sukie is exploring, she finds something that scares the hell out of her.
End of Trader Redux
A total of nineteen days passed in this novel
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