So this is an idea I had after watching one too many post-apocalyptic movies. I don't really know if it's original or if it's any good, but it's probably the most conventional original story I've written to date (No perspective shifts, no odd dialogue). Anyway, I've spent weeks working on it, and cannot proof-read it again. Here's hoping I didn't make too many mistakes.

Oh, and a word of warning; there are two scenes of rape in this story. I tried my best to handle them as tastefully and delicately as possible. Nevertheless, if that's not your cup of tea, I completely understand. For what it's worth, it's not my cup of tea either. I hated writing those two scenes, and only hope they actually add a little something to these characters as I had intended them to.

Now's also probably a good time to mention there is some VERY profane dialogue here. Again, you have been warned.

Lastly, please go easy on me. I know I'm not the greatest writer, just don't beat me up too bad...please :)

Sand and Tears

Desolation. Nothing but pale sand, and course rubble as far as the eye could see.

On the eastern edge of what was once the bustling metropolis of Los Angeles, nothing stood as it once had. There were no high-rises, there was no 'Hollywood' sign, and there were no people. Cars lay in ruins, and vaguely recognizable pieces of structure still smoldered however many years after the disaster that had cleansed this land.

Twenty-four hundred miles east, the tale was the same in New York. All that remained of Manhattan was a crude layout of streets and ash. In the suburbs that surrounded Manhattan, the story was the same as it was in LA; nothing but sand, and rubble.

"They say a fire rained down from the sky. That God finally had his fill of this social experiment, and decided it was time to start over.

But that's just a load of bullshit.

Truth is, everyone who knows exactly what the fuck wiped out over ninety-nine percent of the human race is dead. The funny part is, some day, somewhere; someone is going to hold that telling piece of paper in his hand. The single sheet that clearly spells out just what the fuck happened four years ago, and on that day, the cocksucker will probably use it to wipe his high-and-mighty ass."

Some four-hundred miles east of Los Angeles, the desert earth had at least been the norm. The light layer of clouds that hovered over the heat-soaked air of what was once Tucson, Arizona was a blessing for four travelers. All young women, the three that brought up the rear were dressed in clothing that clearly gave them away as former members of the Hollywood elite. Even in this hell on earth, every last strand of their hair was perfectly placed, and there was not a wrinkle to be found in their attire that wasn't intentional.

In the lead, the fourth woman was undoubtedly a lesser specimen. She wore an open khaki coat, over a cut white tank top and a pair of khaki pants, cut-off just above her knees. She was barely five and a half feet tall, and couldn't have weighed more than a hundred and ten pounds. Her legs narrow and knobby, her arms slender, and her stomach toned and tight. Her collar length hair was in disarray, her white top stained with dirt and creases, and around her neck, a faded gold chain, joined by a crudely laced bit of string. Her face bore features softer than those of the plastic women behind her, and even with the dirt on her cheeks, and lengthy scar on the left side of her face, she was a decidedly more elegant creature than those behind her.

"Can you believe my mom never called me out of school?" One of the girls in the rear spoke.

"My mom died when I was just a little girl; my dad was a drunk," Another of the girls muttered.

The fourth woman listened onto their conversation, her anger written on her face, "These fucking spoiled cunts…"

Finally, the last of the three teen queens replied, "Ugh…you're so lucky. I would have given anything to not have to deal with my mom."

The leading lady tightly shut her eyes, and told herself over and over again, "…just three more miles."

The other two girls laughed at the last comment, and one of them remarked, "Tell me about it. My mom never let me do anything I wanted."

In front, the fourth woman's eyes shattered open, and she stopped in her tracks. At the sight of her stopping, the three girls asked, "What's going on?"

She offered no immediate response; she merely stood with her back to the three ungrateful creatures. Her right hand slipped beneath her coat and when she turned to face them, she brought her best friend with her; Mr. 92FS.

The three children immediately cowered together in fear, and one of them managed to speak, "What the hell is this? You promised you'd-"

A warning shot into the sky above them silenced her. She lowered the gun back to the three girls, and commented, "The three of you make me want to puke. I've led some ungrateful fuckin' cunts through this desert, but you three pieces of shit take the cake."

Still feeling a fair bit arrogant, another of the girls barked, "You bitch! We're paying you to take us-"

Frustrated to the point of completely losing control, the leading lady's face turned down in anger, and she fired another warning shot, interrupting this latest outburst. Again she squared the gun on her three followers and commented, "Now that I've got your attention, let me fill you in on a little secret; I've got no problem killing all three of you, and leaving you here for the night-walking sickos to plow before the vultures fuck up those pretty faces."

Absolute horror washed over the three girls and the last of them spoke, her tone wavering in terror, "But we're paying you…"

The leading lady laughed ever so slightly with just a hint of lunacy in her tone. She locked the gun on the forehead of the latest girl to speak and addressed her, "News flash sister; I kill the three of you, I take whatever the fuck I want from you, and I don't have to listen to you prissy little sluts talk about how rough you had it back in the real world." Her disgust with them couldn't have been any more obvious as she continued, "Whores like you are the reason you're on the run right now. The reason women dropped to the bottom of the fuckin' food chain." The three girls were shaken to tears and she smiled as she finished her thought, "I gotta say, wasting the three of you; right now it's sounding like a pretty fuckin' satisfying plan to me. You'd probably be smart to do me a favor and keep those fuckin' mouths shut, got it?"

The three girls shared a collective sigh of relief as Mr. 92FS found his way home, and the fourth woman pivoted in place, continuing their journey. The three girls allowed her a bit more of a lead before they began to follow her, and the most respectful of the group asked, "What's your name?"

"No names princess," the leading lady coldly replied.

Further into the sand they walked, until finally they came to a small town that looked like something from an old western. Buildings that were clearly pieced together by untrained hands, the occasional horse, though there was not a single human being in sight. The leading lady again came to a stop, and the respectful girl asked, "Is this it?" Their eyes wandered about and another of the girls asked, "Are we here?"

The leading lady remained stiff and motionless; her eyes focused on some indeterminate point as she listened to the wind wrap around the crude buildings that surrounded them. Her eyes lightly closed as she strained her hearing. The light churning of sand behind her brought her left hand to the belt that merely rested on her hips, and draw her second best friend; Mr. 1911. She didn't turn as she raised her gun behind her, its age and experience evident on its weathered frame and slide.

She had locked the weapon on a young man holding a shotgun, and another man spoke from the building at her left, "Hold your fire." The leading lady's eyes opened, and she turned to take in the man who spoke to her. She hadn't altered her aim in the slightest, her arm locked in place as he again addressed her, his tone firm, but light, "This might be a new record for you, Holly."

The man passed through the spring-loaded double doors of his establishment, and as he came into view, all three of the girls in Holly's party blushed. He was perhaps six feet tall, just barely unshaven, and chiseled. His jaw and cheekbones were sharp and rigid, and his musculature clearly apparent. Eyeing the young man who had finally lowered his shotgun, Holly slipped Mr. 1911 back into his holster, and looked back to Kenny, "For a while there, they just might have become more valuable to me."

Kenny smiled as he approached the girls. He briefly looked them over, and while two of them fluttered their eyes at him, he was completely unconcerned with them. He turned back to Holly, squinting as the sun beat on his eyes, and smiled as he slipped a cigarette into his lips, "We're supposed to be helping these young ladies, Holly; you know that."

She hastily ripped the cigarette from his lips, and his expression flattened as she barked at him, "Just get my fuckin' pay." She slipped the cigarette into her lips, and stormed off towards the building Kenny came from.

As she passed through the doors, Kenny turned back to the girls and sighed. He slid his fingers into his lips and whistled, bringing several men and women to emerge from the buildings, "Alright ladies, let's get you cleaned up."

On the second floor of Kenny's building, the door to a small living space opened and Holly slipped through. She raised her right foot behind her, flicking it to slam the door closed behind her. Her jacket fell to the uneven and cracked wooden floor, and piece-by-piece, her wardrobe created a breadcrumb trail to the washroom. She cupped her hand and dipped it into a half-full pot of water in the sink. While she brought her hand to her mouth, she didn't drink this water, but rather used it to wet, and rinse her mouth. After spitting into the sink, she dipped her hand in the pot again, and wiped her hand across the stained and cracked mirror. She looked into the mirror, examining her face from side to side, and finally stepped into the shower. There was no curtain in place, just a freestanding tub. Her eyes closed as her hands reached to the single knob, and gave it a gentle twist.

The water pelted her, cold at first, but as the pipes groaned within the walls, the hot water came. She pressed her hands against the crudely tiled wall, and let her body adjust to the heat. In the next room over, the door cracked open, instantly bringing her to cover up. Kenny closed the door behind him, dropped a few trinkets on the dresser, and rounded the corner to the washroom. At the sight of him, Holly slowly lowered her hands, bringing him to merely observe her bruised, but elegant body. He promptly removed his clothes, and joined her in the shower. He stood behind her, her arms folded in front of her belly as his hands dug into her back.

Her eyes closed, and her head fell forward in relief as he worked out the knots that covered her spine. After a few moments of tending to her scarred back, Kenny tried his luck further. She felt the stubble of his jaw and the vague touch of his lips on her shoulder blade. At first, she was willing to accept the gesture, but before she'd gotten the chance to fully enjoy what he'd done, she turned in place, barking loud as ever, "Don't fucking kiss me!"

He took a step back and raised his hands in submission, "Okay, okay; I'm sorry."

She looked down as she faced him and commented, "Just fucking do it, and get the fuck out, alright?!"

Kenny frowned ever so slightly, knowing that while he'd fully enjoy what they were to do, it wasn't real.

Nearly thirty minutes later, Holly sat on the edge of her bed. She once again donned her khaki cut-offs and white top, and her damp hair seemed a bit more in order. She slipped her necklace around her, and as she'd done a hundred times before, ran her fingers over the bit of string that held it together. For a moment, it almost appeared as though she may have been welling up slightly. She dropped it back to her chest before that ever could have happened, as Kenny emerged from the washroom. She found him with her large brown eyes, and in that moment, he screamed inside at the pain he felt for her. He knew bits and pieces of her story, of how the amazing creature before him came to be so fucked up, he only wished there was something he could have done to make her better again. Alas, he knew exactly how this had to play out in order to keep seeing her. He placed his towel on the doorknob and spoke, "Your pay is on the dresser."

After having showered, after Kenny's excellent massage and hollow comfort, her mood had calmed drastically, "Thanks."

He headed to the door, and as his hand wrapped the doorknob, he asked without turning to her, "Can I get you anything?"

"I could use something to eat," Holly replied. "But don't send one of the girls I just brought over."

He looked over his shoulder back to her, and asked with just the subtlest of smiles on his lips, "Troublesome, were they?"

Holly allowed herself to fall back onto the bed, her arms spread out as she collapsed onto its reasonably soft surface. Knowing full well the smile on his lips, she quietly replied, "Fuck you."

Kenny's smile grew slightly wider and he stepped from her room.

Roughly an hour later, night had fallen on the desert. Holly remained in her room, now illuminated by several dozen candles. Long gone were the days of wax candles, these were the oldest of old fashion; tallow. They brought the smell in the room to become that of a meat locker, but along with the foul odor, they also brought light and warmth. Besides, after a few days the smell almost became appealing, though it also brought the starvation in her belly to a boil.

Mr. 1911 lay on the bed, his slide locked open, while scattered around him, numerous pieces of Mr. 92FS' anatomy lay spread out across the mattress. Holly carefully wiped down all of Mr. 92FS' components before fitting them back together. She delicately slid the barrel into the slide, and finally the slide assembly onto the oiled frame rails. She locked the slide back before flipping the takedown lever in place, and inserted a loaded magazine into the grip. A knock on the door brought her to click the slide lock, chambering a round as she asked, "Who is it?"

"Cynthia," The young lady on the opposite side of the door replied.

"Come in," Holly morosely replied.

Cynthia entered the room, another plastic girl, dressed in not much more than rags, though not seeming to mind in the least. A wide grin was strewn across her face, and she was beaming with excitement at the sight of Holly. She placed the tray of food on the dresser, just beside the payment Holly still hadn't looked over, and ran to her with open arms. Holly cringed as the young girl crashed into her, regardless of the fact that she still clutched Mr. 92FS in her right hand.

Not taking well to the display of emotion, Holly remarked, "Yeah, it's nice to see you too; now let me go."

The girl pulled away from her, her excitement still very apparent as she replied, "I'm sorry Mrs. Holly, I'm just-"

"Really happy to see me, right?" Holly interrupted. "What a fuckin' joke."

"I am happy to see you ma'am. If it weren't for you, I never would have seen my sisters again."

"And if it weren't for you, Kenny wouldn't have had to dig a fuckin' slug out of my back." Holly struggled to force her ever-present lack of patience down a bit as she replied, "So what'd you bring me?"

The girl perked up once again and stepped back to the dresser to pick up the tray of food. She placed it atop Holly's thighs, and began pointing things out to her, "A never-opened can of diet Pepsi, the cleanest glass with all the ice we had, and a-"

The young girl lifted the cover off of the main course, and Holly's smile loosened significantly. She placed Mr. 92FS on the nightstand beside her bed and finished for her young admirer, "Hot dog." The child smiled and nodded, and Holly did her best to kindly send her on her way, "Thanks, kid."

"It's Cynthia," The young girl replied, taking no offense.

"Yeah, right," Holly replied as she proceeded to devour her meal.

Cynthia stepped backwards to the door and spoke once more before leaving, "If you need anything, please let us know. I'd be happy to take care of anything…" something about the way she rolled that word off her tongue, "…you might need."

"Sure, thanks," Holly replied as she took the last bite of the hot dog. The door to her room closed and finally she allowed herself to catch her breath. She smiled and cracked the can of soda open, "I spend three days pointing a gun at these kids. They curse me every step of the way, but after they spend some time here, they can't thank me enough. Anything's better than the life most of these girls lead before they come here."

After allowing her beverage to take on all the cold it would from the ice, she poured the flat liquid down her throat as though it were the finest of wines. Even though the carbonation was long gone, the taste reminded her of a time when things weren't so fucked. When women had the same rights and privileges as the men they gave themselves to. But here and now, with the scale tipped in favor of men, women were no longer in the same class. They were the rarest, most precious commodities of all, and in the next small town over; the very sight of a woman was enough to drive everyone mad.

She picked Mr. 92FS from the nightstand, and engaged the safety before placing it back in its holster, cocked and locked. Placing her belt and holsters back on the bed, she retrieved Mr. 1911 from the mattress, and checked its magazine. Eight shots tucked away, she slipped the magazine into the grip and picked a single bullet from the bed. She carefully slid the round into Mr. 1911's open breach and clicked the slide lock. She left the weapon cocked and placed her holsters on the floor at the foot of the bed.

Knowing that tomorrow would be an early morning, Holly laid back onto her pillow and let out a relieved sigh. Finally, after hours or angst-ridden consciousness, a smile graced her lips. Still tightly holding Mr. 1911 in her left hand, she slipped the gun beneath her pillow, just behind her head so that it was pointed directly at the door. As she lay there, she reflected on the world as it currently stood, "For every dick like Kenny; guys that are just happy to see a nice pair of tits and a tight little ass, there were the others. Most of the men left in this shithole world trade us like slaves. They kill the ones that don't cooperate, and use the others as whores in the interim of their sale. Then there were the fucks that just thought they were better than us." Though the subject of her thoughts was anything but cheery, she smiled slightly, "I can't wait to fuck with those assholes tomorrow."