It’s been a long time since I wrote. Instead of recording my past few days, tonight, I’ll explain what’s happened.
I awoke recently with an empty mentats box on my lap. I was sitting alone in front of a fire in the middle of the Wastes, the pack brahmin that Scratch had acquired dead next to me. My hair was longer, and I spent two days wandering the wastes, trying to remember anything from what I assumed was only a few days of fugue. All I had was my pip-boy and a backpack and, in it, four dolls and my book. On the second night I saw a light to the south, and followed it until around midnight when I reached the small town. The gatekeeper recognized me and it took an hour to convince him to let me enter. I asked about Alla and Scratch, but he just narrowed his eyes at me and said I shouldn’t be staying long.
The people on the streets avoided me, each with a hostile glint in their eye. The carts and stalls on the street were either closed or busted up, sometimes both. I would have no problem leaving this village immediately once I was back on my feet.
As I entered a bustling inn, the main room fell silent. Fifty people staring death at me, and with no Alla by my side I shrunk in their gaze. I made my way to the bar and asked the innkeeper for aid. A genial little woman seconds before, her answers to my questions were curt but clear. The date was 09-17-3193. No, there was no work available in town. Eventually I lost my temper and asked what her problem was.
“Our problem? What’s our problem!?” Her answer was hardly sufficiently explanatory.
“Yes! What is your problem with me? Is this just an entire town of hateful little bastards or have I personally done something to offend you? Is it my clothes? I don’t even know where I got these,” I said, distracted by the outfit that I had never seen before. I was dressed as a woman, in a skirt and tank top. The only things I wore that were familiar were my boots, pip-boy, and pack.
As I looked around in confusion, a large man came at me and picked me up.
“We don’t need any more trouble here, so why don’t you just get out?” He asked calmly as he walked toward the door, carrying me.
I was in a daze as he threw me onto the street outside the inn. I sat for several minutes, blinking, trying to put everything together. I’d lost a year. I’d lost Alla and Scratch. I didn’t have my clothes, or any money, or my caravan. All I had were four stupid dolls, and I wasn’t about to give those up yet. As I tossed these concepts around in my head, trying to get them to stick, a skinny man approached me.
“How long have you been out?” He asked, offering me a hand. When I stared at him blankly, he grabbed my arm and pulled me up. “Time. How much time have you lost? I heard you ask the date.”
As he was brushing the dust off me, I counted. “Four hundred and seven days. I’ve lost more than a year.”
“Let’s get you out of the middle of the street. Come with me.”
I followed him through an alleyway to a rundown shack and he kept me talking. “Do you know why they are mad at you?”
“No, I’ve only just arrived.”
“Do you know where you are?”
“No, and frankly, I don’t care if everyone here is going to be so damn hostile. All I care about is getting my caravan back.”
We arrived at the shack and he bowed me inside. “Here, we can talk without the glaring townsfolk. I am Benetor.”
He gestured that I sit on a ruined couch by the door.
“You have been here before.”
Before I could protest, he continued.
“You were here a week ago, high on something. You rode a Brahmin down the main road and caused quite a bit of damage.”
I blinked at him, incomprehension clear on my face.
“Do you have any shards?” He asked, suddenly.
I checked my pockets and shook my head. “I have nothing but my dolls.”
He sighed and looked up at the ceiling. “I’ll give you a few shards for them, to get you started.”
A passionate wave of anxiety washed over me. “No! They’re all I have left!”
Slowly, he smiled, tucking his thumbs into the suspenders that were holding up his dirty dress pants and meeting my gaze firmly.
“How do you expect to survive with no money?”
“I can get money. I’m resourceful.”
“I have a proposition for you…” He said quietly, looking quite sinister.
I raised my eyebrows and smirked at him. “I don’t think I want anything to do with your proposition, Beneto.”
He whispered, “But what choice do you have?” and joined me on the sofa, too close for comfort. “My offer will keep you alive. Rejecting it would be… unwise.”
As he wrapped his arm around me, I snaked my arm around his back, hugging his waist. “You know, choice is a funny thing. There are never just two.”
And with that, I slipped the knife he’d been carrying in a sheath on his belt into my hand and then plunged it into his side. As I stood up, I removed it and then plunged it into his shoulder, severing a tendon. Another stab into his chest and he was sputtering while lunging at me. My fourth and final strike was his throat, severing his esophagus and an artery in one swipe.
And that is how Beneto died… Jackass.
I looted his ramshackle shack, and my current stock is as follows:
One pack containing four dolls wrapped in one blanket, six boxes of mentats, five fixers, seven pairs of different sized women’s underwear, a box labeled “scopolamine”, three more blankets, five jet, twenty stimpacks, four psycho, a box of one hundred syringes, four mutfruit, three bottles of pure water, one canteen full of irradiated water, a skirt, a tank top, and my book.
A purse with fifty shards.
A dirty outfit consisting of a fedora, slacks, suspenders, and a white business shirt, which I am wearing.
Since then I have left that town and found another, where the folks didn’t recognize me but gave me some pointers where to look for Alla and Scratch. A journeyman I met in the town said he had seen a pair fitting their description heading west, so west it is.
I hope that I find them soon. I can’t handle the Waste too long without my Alla.