The Story of Moore

“Well look what we’ve got here” said the mountain man to his son “a walking sack of jack”. The young boy edged closer to his father’s side and peered over the ledge “I don’t like it Pa, no-one walks the pass unguided”.

“Fools do!” snapped the older man, imagining the time he would spend in the gaudy houses of the nearest ville after ‘liberating’ the outlander of his belongings. He stared hard at the stranger nonchalently walking through the snowy pass, in particular the long-arm casually slung over his right shoulder “this is gonna be easy pickings my boy, we’ll cut over through the outcrop yonder a meet him head-on and surprise him”

The boy went to say something, but looked at his fathers determined face and decided to keep quiet.

An hour later the boy and his father crouched in cover either side of the pass, barely daring to breathe the older man peered around the boulder he was hiding behind and saw the stranger strolling toward him still oblivious to the threat.  The man signalled to the boy by moving his index finger across his throat and with almost perfect co-ordination the man and his son jumped down to the floor of the pass where the stranger was walking, or had been walking.

“Where’d he go” shouted the boy “He can’t have gone, we had him” replied the older man, spiralling and looking around in panic. “I warned you Pa, I said this wasn’t right” “just shut up and look, he can’t have gone far”.

“Just drop the gun hillbilly” came a voice from above “and boy, lose that knife”, the older man clung to the old musket in an attempt to look for the stranger but he saw nothing, suddenly there was a loud bang and the snow near his feet erupted, the old man loosened his grip of the musket almost at the same time as he loosened his bowels.

“Oh deary me” exclaimed the strange voice “made a bit of a mess there”, the old man and his son looked around trying to pinpoint where the stranger was hiding. Then, form the tree-line a tall fair haired man stood and started to walk toward them.

This was the first time the pair had been able to see the man in any detail, they saw he was wearing camouflage fatigue pants of a design they had never seen before, a green weather-proof coat and black combat boots. Over the mans shoulder was a large green rucksack of a military design with a sleeping-bag strapped to the top, but it wasn’t the clothing as much as the weaponry that the man carried that made the old man stare in wonder.

The long-arm that the man carried was of a type he had never seen before, it was compact, well-oiled and obviously well cared for, the stranger carried a pistol in a holster on his right hip and a large combat knife on his left thigh, in addition to this there was also a shotgun attached by a strap to the rucksack, in short the man was a walking sec force.

“How’d you know” said the boy, snapping the older man from his wonder “Saw you hours ago” replied the stranger “amateurs, stick to hunting marmots boy”.

The stranger walked slowly toward the pair, pointing the strange gun in their direction. The old man tensed his arm ready for any opportunity, ready to strike for the throwing knife he carried strapped to his back.

Seconds passed before there was a movement on the treeline, the strangers head span toward the noise and the old man made his move.

There was a sharp crack, the boy looked at the stranger who stood impassively looking back, both stared each other before the stranger mouthed the word “sorry”.

The boy could barely look at his father, when he summoned up the courage he saw a man on his back staring at the cloud filled sky, a hole existed where once his left eye had been, a pool of blood trickled slowly form the back of his head in the snow, lumps of grey jelly lay in small pieces across the floor.

“He should not have done that” said the stranger pointing the gun at the knife that lay in the snow “Shit, I didn’t mean for this to happen.”

The stranger gestured for the boy to move, they both stepped around the old man, neither appreciating the irony of the situation – for although the old mans body lay in what was once Canada, the blood from the bullethole had flowed across the old border in to what was the United States of America – Moore had come to Deathlands.

“Eat this” said the stranger, passing the open tin to the boy “What is it” said the boy”, sniffing the strange item with caution “Its only corned beef, come here” said the stranger and started to spoon the red food in to his mouth “look, I’m not going to hurt you, just eat”

“Who are you” said the boy, “the names Moore” said Moore

“But what are you”

“Just a man travelling”

“With all those guns, I ain’t ever seen so many guns in my life”

“This is a dangerous world”

“But you talk strange – where you from”

“England” said Moore

“I ain’t heard of that ville”

“That’s because its an island, not a ville”

“How’d you get here, why are you here”

“Now that a story” said Moore, thinking of the long sea voyage and the skirmishes with pirates, mutie sea creatures and the cruellest element of all – the weather. “and why am I here – well, to find someone”

“Who” exclaimed the boy “I might know them – if I can tell you where they are will you let me free”

“You won’t know”

“I might, lots of people travel through the pass”

“Do you rob them all?”

“Games pretty poor in these parts – gotta eat some time”

Moore looked thoughtfully at his boots, the guy I’m after is a big chap, travels around with a group of men and women, only has one eye”

The boy laughed “everyone’s heard of Ryan Cawdor”

“Where do I find him” exclaimed Moore holding the gun to the boys head.

The boy started to cry “I don’t know” he managed to utter, there are stories of him across Deathlands – but I’ve never seen him myself”

“I,ve got to find him” said Moore “I’ve come so far”

“Why” stuttered the boy “with all those guns you could buy Deathlands”

“How could you understand boy, how could you know what I know” said Moore standing and picking up the rucksack “how would you ever understand the knowledge of past generations of my family, teachings of the Totality Concept and all its workings, I barley can grasp the knowledge myself – but I must find Cawdor, before its too late.

At this Moore walked off, eyeing the distant chem storm brewing in the East.

“But I must find him before its too later”

With that Moore slung the rucksack across his shoulder and walked on down the pass, stopping just once he turned and said “go boy, return to your home and tell your mother that I am sincerely sorry, goodbye”

The boy sat in silence, wondering perhaps if he should mention that Ryan Cawdor and his friends had been in a nearby ville only four months before, he chose to stay silent – he was alive and that was all that mattered. 

Moore walked off in to the distance to continue his quest.

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