It was another hot day in the marketplace. Booths and stands filled the town's plaza but the crowds were small this afternoon. Sonja sold the last of her berries and vegetables to a hungry fellow and decided to close up show since business was slow. She and her teenage son, Miller, began taking down their booth. The scorching rays of the sun hit them when they dismantled the tent. It had been such a relief to be in the shade!
A pale, naked man with a long penis approached them as they loaded their stuff onto their wagon. Like him, Sonja and Miller were also nude. She was a thick, muscular woman with shoulder length dark blonde hair and her skin complexion was tanned and brown. She wasn't fat or chubby, she just had curves and muscles in all the right places. And she was tall, standing 5'10" in height. She had large breasts, big nipples, and a big, curvaceous butt. Her thighs and calves were huge and muscular.
Her son was also tall and tanned but strangely he was scrawny.
After sliding a crate onto the wagon Sonja looked at the man and asked, "How can I help you?"
"Are you Sonja?" he asked hesitantly.
A beat passed before he replied, "I was told you're a guide. That you'll take people places for a price."
Sonja nodded, approaching him slowly. "That's correct. Where do you want to go?"
"I've heard rumors, legends of a modern city in these parts. . .that's my destination."
"It's not a rumor. Yet it's not a city anymore. It's the ruins of a city. Nobody lives there except scavengers. It's not a safe place."
The man looked disappointed. "I see."
She introduced Miller to the man before asking, "Why do you want to go there?" Miller kept loading the wagon. She learned that the gentleman's name was Kraig.
Again, the hesitation appeared in the man's eyes. "Well, my grandfather was one of the great scientists before the big war. . .he and his colleagues did a lot of groundbreaking research, made so many advances. My parents told me that his data and research are archived in underground vaults in the city. It reportedly hasn't been touched since they were sealed years ago. And now I wish to obtain this information. I think we can learn a lot from his research. Learn about preventing future wars, disasters, epidemics, catastrophes. Protecting the environment and planet."
Sonja nodded. "When did your grandfather pass away?"
"Oh, years ago. . .so can you take me there?"
"Well, it's going to be a long journey."
"I understand. How much do you charge?"
After they settled on rates, Sonja said, "We'll leave early tomorrow morning."
Sonja was busy feeding the animals on her farm when Kraig arrived. Miller was getting some water from a well, offering him a cup.
"Thank you, son," Kraig replied, taking a long drink. "Ahh, nice and cold. You two have a beautiful place here." He surveyed the spacious, lush green land. There was a barn, a stockade, a kennel, and a primitive stone house with a thatched roof.
"Thank you," she replied. "My husband was a farmer, too. After he passed, I decided to keep farming instead of selling the land. I could've made a fortune from it but I wanted to respect his memory and all his hard work. Plus, I love animals. Miller's learned to be quite a farmer, too." She smiled at her son.
Kraig nodded. "That's great."
Sonja put on open-toed sandals that laced up her muscular calves and then donned a tan colored poncho. The sides were open so one could see she was naked underneath. The wagon was all loaded up with supplies for their trip and they climbed aboard, with Kraig sitting in the seat behind them. She sat in the driver's seat that was covered with a white sheepskin's fur. The fur was soft and warm under her bare ass.
She grabbed the reins, whipped the horses once, and they were off.
* * *
The wagon cruised down a single dirt road in the forest. It was a bumpy ride. They hadn't passed another soul for miles. The silence was eerie. Soon, the landscape changed to rolling yellow hills. They no longer had the luxury of the trees for shade. Sonja pulled her wide-brimmed straw hat further down on her head. Miller handed her her water bottle and she took a long drink. Ahhh, that felt good! Then he took a swig.
For the next few hours the monotonous scenery didn't change. The horses pulled the wagon at a quick speed.
Sonja looked over her shoulder at Kraig. "Where are you from?"
She nodded. "Are you married?"
He nodded. "I have two girls around Miller's age. They cried when Daddy left but I told them I'd be back. . .wow, we're literally in the middle of no where, aren't we?"
"You could say that. I've had a wagon wheel break down on me a couple of times out here. Believe me, it ain't no fun fixing it in the middle of a heat wave! And on top of that no one to help you."
"Ahh, Ma, you don't need anyone to help you," Miller interjected. "You can repair anything."
She smiled, looking back at Kraig. "He thinks I'm quite the handywoman."
"You are, Ma!" Miller added.
Eventually, they passed by other farms and villages. More hours passed. As sunset approached they set up camp off the dirt road, near a river. At night, they sat around a campfire and ate. An owl hooted and later the lonely howl of a wolf shattered the silence.
"How did your husband die?" Kraig asked curiously.
Sonja stared ahead at the flickering orange flames. The wood crackled. "He was chopping wood near the barn one day, minding his own business, when suddenly he was circled by a group of young hoodlums. . .they demanded money, valuables. When he said he didn't have anything they beat him to death with their clubs." She continued staring at the flames. "Miller and I were in town at the time, selling things at the marketplace. . .we found him lying in his own blood when we returned." She didn't look at her son or Kraig.
"Did they capture the perpetrators?" Kraig asked.
"Some of them," she replied. "They hung those bastards. . .but the rest of them haven't been seen since. . .if I catch 'em I'm gonna put a bullet between their eyes." A moment of silence passed. "So tell us about your scientist grandfather and his research. He's legendary, isn't he?"
He told them his grandfather's name but they hadn't heard of him.
"But that doesn't mean anything," Sonja said. "There are some things I don't know. Go on."
"Well, he and his colleagues did a whole bunch of research on nuclear and atomic power. They did tests, too, and warned people and governments about the dangers of this kind of power. But their words fell on deaf ears. No one cared. All the governments were concerned about were winning wars and making money. No one cared about the people and the environment. So my grandfather and his associates had their wealth of scientific knowledge stored in these underground vaults, hoping that future generations would find it."
Sonja nodded. "Look what happened when people didn't listen to them."
"Their knowledge could've prevented the big war," Kraig said. "But the governments didn't listen. Greed, politics, and the thirst for power dominated. . .now we're starting all over again."
After bathing in the river the next morning, they continued their journey. It was already hot and Sonja's wet dark blonde hair dried quickly. The dirt road took them past more yellow hills and through a lush, green forest. Not a soul in sight. By late morning on the second day of their trek they rode up to the top of a hill.
On the other side were the ruins of the city. Burnt, dilapidated skyscrapers and buildings still stood. Houses had been destroyed. The place had been bombed and the smell of smoke was still in the air. After taking one final look, Sonja whipped the horses and they pulled the wagon down the yellow hill. The city was a ghost town, its deserted streets full of rubble, debris, trash, and derelict cars and buses. The creepy silence was pierced by the sound of horseshoes click-clacking through the streets.
Sonja carefully maneuvered the wagon past burnt out cars, motorcycles, trucks, and fallen buildings. She thought she saw someone hiding behind a vehicle but it was just a garbage bag blowing in the wind. Kraig sat in the back seat, looking at a battered map. He saw the name of the street they were on and consulted the map again.
"We're getting close to the university," he said. "When you reach Broadway make a right turn."
"Okay," Sonja replied, steering them carefully past an upside down bus. She saw a sign on the ruined sidewalk that read: BART. Stairs led down from there. She wondered what BART was. Moments later, they were on Broadway. "Be on the lookout for scavengers and gangs of bandits."
They saw the university's clock tower minutes later. The time remained frozen at 1:10. Sonja parked the wagon near a streetlamp and tied the horses to it. With her straw hat, poncho, and sandals on, she strapped on a backpack. In her hands was a rifle. Miller also carried a backpack and a rifle.
Kraig looked at the weapons. "Wow, you mean business!"
"No, those scavengers and gangs mean business. I'm very thorough with my jobs. You paid me top dollar so you're gonna receive top dollar treatment."
"Why thank you," he said, looking at the map. He led them through the quiet campus.
An overturned newspaper stand lied near the library entrance. Displayed inside was a yellowed, curled copy that read: OAKLAND TRIBUNE, March 25th, 20-
Sonja tried to make out the year but it had faded. She surveyed the landscape. "So this is Oakland."
"It was," Miller corrected her. "I'd better go back and watch the wagon."
"No, it's best that we stick together, son," his mother replied. "That can be replaced. Your life can't."
As they walked across the campus she sensed they were being watched from the darkened windows of the buildings. On more than one occasion she could've sworn she saw someone or something sprinting through the hallway of the humanities building. But when she turned to look again there was nobody there. My eyes are playing tricks with me! she thought. They went through the empty hallways of the life sciences building. She peeked into several classrooms, noticing that textbooks, notepads, and pencils were still on some of the desks. On the chalkboard of one room were the words: FINAL EXAM, THURSDAY, MAY 16.
As they walked through a dark corridor they heard shuffling noises, then quick footsteps. With her eyes adjusted to the darkness, she carefully scanned the corridor but didn't see anyone. Her rifle was drawn. Seconds later, they heard whispers and then more shuffling and footsteps. They subsided as the trio exited the building and resumed their journey. In the school cafeteria they saw trays with rotten food resting on tables. Sonja bent down and examined the food, holding her breath.
"Looks like it's a few weeks old," she commented. "Someone's been here recently."
They reached the other end of the campus, seeing college sweatshirts, pennants, and other paraphernalia scattered across the overgrown lawn. Miller picked up a sweatshirt, hanging it over his thin chest.
"Whadda you think, Ma?" he asked, smiling.
She frowned. "Ugly colors."
He stuffed the sweatshirt into his backpack along with some other clothes. She quickly rummaged through a pile on the grass, putting a flashlight, batteries, two cans of meat, sunscreen, and a first aid kit into her backpack. Kraig checked his map once more, pointing across the street at another BART sign.
"That's the entrance to the underground vaults!" he said enthusiastically.
They walked across the rubble and debris strewn street, seeing a human skeleton sitting in the driver's seat of a car. They descended the dusty stairs into the subway station. Sonja saw a sign that said: UNIVERSITY AVENUE. She peeked into the station agent's cobwebbed infested booth, looking at another skeleton sitting inside.
Kraig led them past the ticket machines, jumping over the turnstiles. Mother and son followed him down another flight of stairs into a lower subterranean level. On both sides of the platform were defunct subway trains with the BART logo on them.
Sonja nodded. That's what BART is.
"A long time ago humans traveled from place to place inside these things," Kraig said. "From what I read they were a very efficient and reliable means of transportation. And safe for the environment, unlike cars."
Miller nodded at the train. "How'd you like to trade the wagon for one of these, Ma?"
"Wow, they're long and big," she replied, looking through a dusty window.
Kraig walked to one end of the platform and stared into the dark subway tunnel. A cool draft blew his hair back. "The scientists wanted to store their knowledge in a secret place so they chose this location. No one would've guessed." Before he could descend the steel ladder leading to the tracks they suddenly heard footsteps again.
They turned around and saw a group of disheveled looking men approaching them fast.
"Scavengers!" Sonja whispered. "Let's go!"
They quickly climbed down the ladder. Sonja was the last to go. Before she turned to run she saw the scarred, disfigured faces of the men. Kraig and Miller saw them, too. The scavengers chased after them. Miller and Kraig led the way with their flashlights on while Sonja covered the rear. A scavenger was inches behind her, trying to reach out and grab her. She ran faster and eluded his fingertips. Then the man lunged at her and missed, landing on the tracks with a thud. When another scavenger got too close she turned around and fired a round from her rifle, blowing his head off. The loud blast echoed throughout the tunnel. Yet another man jumped her, ripping apart her poncho. They landed on the tracks. He threw her poncho and straw hat aside, grabbing her shoulder length dark blonde hair and trying to rip it off. She screamed in pain, striking his face with the butt of the rifle. When he tried to grab her hair again she smashed his face in until it was a bloody pulp. She got up and shot several other scavengers before running after Kraig and Miller. More deafening echoes. Looking over her shoulder, she saw that the remaining scavengers were still in hot pursuit. The dark tunnel seemed endless.
"Wonder how far the next station is?" Kraig asked.
When the scavengers tried to overtake the trio Sonja and Miller spun around and shot and killed the rest of them.
Miller grinned. "Nice shootin', Ma."
"You're not bad yourself," his mother replied approvingly.
Later, they arrived at the next station. Sonja read the sign: 19th STREET. They climbed a ladder up to the platform, catching their breath.
"We gotta return to the University station," Kraig said, his hands on his hips.
Sonja nodded, wiping the sweat off her face with a towel. She reloaded her rifle and said, "I'm ready."
They headed back. Sonja's eyes scanned the tunnel in both directions. No scavengers yet. A cool draft blew her hair back. It felt great. They cautiously approached University station. She took the lead, tip-toeing in her sandals, breathing quietly. The silence seemed palpable and was getting unbearable. Just show yourselves, for God's sake! she thought. More seconds ticked by. . .she listened carefully. . .somewhere in the distance water was dripping slowly. She took another step forward. But just as she did a young man with a severely scarred, disfigured face jumped out of no where and landed on her, causing her to drop her weapon. The clothed mutant wrestled with her naked body. Both tried to be the powerful one and tried to break out of the embrace. The mutant's scarred hands grabbed her face, trying to claw out her eyes with his long, sharp fingernails. When he was unsuccessful he reached for her neck and tried to strangle her. Sonja's breathing became hoarse, her face turning red. But with one hard kick to his abdomen with her knee he released her.
The mutant pummeled her with a series of punches, sending her reeling backwards. Then she lunged at him and they wrestled again. She bear-hugged him from behind, trying to break his ribs. Seconds later, she heard bones crack and his resistance stopped. His body dropped onto the tracks.
Before she could breathe a sigh of relief a gang of mutant scavengers leaped off the station platform. Miller shot down a few of them while Kraig knifed one across the neck. Sonja tried to retrieve her rifle but a scavenger jumped on her and they wrestled on the tracks. The man tried to rip off her backpack but she wouldn't let him. Her strong body thrashed wildly, knocking him off. She sat on top of him, her huge, muscular thighs sandwiching his head. Her sweat dropped onto his face as she looked at him with no mercy. With one swift stroke her thighs broke his neck. Another scavenger grabbed her dark blonde hair and tried to yank it off. She screamed. Before he could try again she grabbed his balls and squeezed with all her strength. The man's piercing screams echoed through the tunnel. She knocked him unconscious with vicious punches to his face.
Sonja snatched her rifle, assisting Miller in blowing away the rest of the hideous men.
She sighed. "Unfortunately, there will be more of them." She looked at Kraig. "It seems like they're guarding your grandfather's information. But why?"
Kraig looked puzzled. "I don't know. . .how could they possibly know who he was?" He shook his head. "That doesn't make sense. . .I don't know."
"Where exactly is the information stored?" Miller asked.
"We passed by a panel in the tunnel. Supposedly, it's in there."
Suddenly, they heard footsteps. Sonja turned and saw more scavengers on the subway platform. "Let's go!" she said, running into the tunnel.
"So who were those guys down there?" Kraig asked.
"They were humans like you and I once," Sonja replied. "But after the war they became scarred and retreated underground, living in the tunnels. They come to the surface to find food, loot, and abduct people."
They were back on the surface, walking through the desolate university. The warmth of the sun on their nude bodies felt good after a respite below ground.
"Products of the big war. How did you learn about this?"
"From books. They're like. . ." She searched for the word, finally turning to Miller. "What's that expression again?"
"Zombies," Miller said.
When they reached the clock tower the wagon and horses were gone. Sonja frowned angrily. "Damn mutants."
"Now what?" Kraig asked.
"Ma, how many bullets do you have left?" Miller asked.
"Few more boxes," she replied. "You?"
"One box. I saw a gun store when we rode in."
"Do you remember how to get there?"
He nodded and led the way.
The gun store's window was shattered. The place had been thoroughly ransacked: shelves and furniture had been knocked down. Debris lay everywhere. After some searching, Sonja found a couple of more boxes of bullets.
"How we doing on food, son?" she asked, stuffing the boxes into her backpack.
Suddenly, they heard the loud rumble of vehicles outside and hid behind a wall. She carefully peeked outside the window and saw a few dune buggies cruise past the store. Scavengers were in the buggies. One man, sitting in the lead buggy's passenger seat was wearing a gas mask.
Once they were gone, Sonja whispered, "Looks like it's us versus their army."
Minutes later, they hid behind the wall again when they heard horses approaching. They saw a group of giant white apes riding the horses, dressed in battle vests and armed with guns and swords.
"Who are they?" Kraig asked.
She glared at them. "They've come to our farm, demanding valuables and my land. I didn't give them anything. When they came again I ran them off my farm. They've taken valuables from our neighbors in exchange for protection."