Dystopia Pt. 03

Babes

Chapter 12

Markem sat, cramped and nauseous, in the rickety carriage as it lumbered its way through the city walls of Dallas. He couldn’t wait for this abominable ride to end. The stench of unwashed bodies were bad enough by themselves, but he doubted the torn and stained fabric covering the three person bench that now supported five sets of ass had ever been cleaned. Markem grit his teeth as he was sure that never in the history of gouging, had anyone ever been charged twenty silver pieces for such meager accommodations.

Trying hard not to lose his temper and kill the man sitting next to him for his insanely loud breathing, Markem instead focused his gaze out through the windows, taking in the sights of Dallas. There were your typical shops in various stages of disrepair, and a variety of wares being hawked by stubborn, ill fed shopkeepers. Ladies huddled near a three story building that had obviously been built by the ancients, displaying as much skin as they dared in attempt to lure in a paying customer with promises of warmth…in more ways than one.

A new and unique odor entered the coach as it rumbled by a tannery a few blocks later, with many animal skulls festooning the walls and a single stretched hide as a sign indicating the shop specialty. In a place like this they were probably the only ones who weren’t starving. Markem wondered what could drive so many people this far north, and then realized that most were probably like him, outcasts on their last hope. A wretched hive of scum and villainy. He would have to be cautious.

Just as he was beginning to wonder what his last silver and two coppers would buy him, since he hadn’t eaten for two days, when the miserable thief of a driver pulled off the main road and into a post station. The mules pulling the cart came to an abrupt halt, throwing the already overcrowded passengers against each other. Having had enough of this misery Merkem kicked the carriage door open, snapping the lock frame, and tumbled out into the slushy street. The driver must not have heard the door slam open, but Markem didn’t wait around. Turning he stormed off towards the brothel they passed a few streets ago. Even if he didn’t have enough coin to rent a girl for the evening, he would still enjoy looking at them as he came up with what to do next.

Markem trudged his way down the street keeping an eye on the alleyways that he was sure sheltered many a waif, and looked for an area that wasn’t occupied and relatively warm. Just in case.

He stopped briefly in an inn, and asked the grimly looking lady behind an equally grimy counter if she knew where he could find work. The barkeep ran her fingers through her tangled and matted hair, tucking the errant strands back into the grease that seemed more a part of her scalp than her hair did, and eyed him up and down.

Subconsciously Markem straightened and adjusted his once pristine coat that was now more rag patches than blue military dress.

“That’s a cute coat you got there pretty boy. Matches your nose real nice like” the bartender said with a sneer. Markem touched his crooked nose self-consciously, ‘heh, could have been the other guy’.

“The tanners always need a hand cleaning out the barrels of piss, though I’d hate for you to get your pretty boots dirty. If you’re looking for soldier type work check with the sheriff on the north side of town. There might be work guarding caravan.”

After a quick set of directions Markem set off to find the sheriff. ‘Fuck you if you think I’m going to clean up piss and entrails. I was a captain in Lord Aldridge’s personal guard. I could kill everyone in this god forsaken backwards town without even breaking a sweat.’

It took him nearly an hour of walking to get to the north side of town where rickety wooden facade on a leaning stone building was labeled as “Sherrif”. A faded and poorly depicted badge was painted on the roof, completing the pathetic ensemble.

‘Wow. The fucking people are so stupid, I’m surprised that they don’t forget how to breathe. Wouldn’t surprise me if they beg me to be sheriff after I show them what I can do. I’ll be running this damn town in a week.’

Markem swaggered over to the front door and threw it open with a bit more force than he intended, slamming the handle into the wood paneling that constituted the inside walls of the rather unimpressive and dingy office. A series of small desks lined the walls, and a typical iron bar cage sat at the back, empty of any guests.

The only desk that was currently occupied had a small female hunched over several sheets of paper rubbing her temples as if to stave off a migraine.

Marching over to her desk, he looked down and saw the sheets were filled with numbers separated into columns with small neat notations having been added in the margins. ‘Must be a secretary’ Clearing his throat, in case she missed the door slamming open, he said “I need to speak with – “

Without olgun porno ever looking up from her papers, the lady extended a single finger telling him to wait. Markem glared daggers at the top of her brown hair, and considered briefly grabbing her by her ponytail and forcing her to look at him. She continued making small corrections and notes on the sheets before her, occasionally referencing a ledger book.

After nearly five minutes Markem was incensed. Slamming his hands down on the desk to get her attention he shouted, “Look, bitch…” but he didn’t get any further. Before he could continue his tirade, he quickly found himself staring down the barrel of a hand cannon the lady seemed to summon as if by magic. It was inches from his face, and had a barrel that a small pony could get lost in. She never even looked up from her writing.

“Ok listen, maybe we got off on the wrong foot.”

The distinctive sound of the hammer being cocked back on a double action revolver convinced Markem that perhaps she was busy, and it would be polite to wait for her to finish. Slowly, he lifted his hands off the desk and stood back.

‘I should give her some space. She seems tense. Probably on her time of the month, and me without sweets. Yeah, back here is probably best.’

Several more minutes went by without the woman looking up from her work or lowering the cocked pistol from its position, until at last she nodded to herself and in one smooth motion, swept the papers into a neat pile for later sorting, and holstered the gun back under the desk.

Looking up she finally met his gaze. Her brown eyes narrowed at him and her already pinched face formed more frown lines. She looked at him as if he was something stuck to her shoe.

“What didya want?” She said in a hoarse voice, probably from years of screaming at…well everyone.

“I need to speak to the sheriff. I’m new in town and looking for work.”

“Ain’t got no work. There’s the door.”

“I’d prefer to speak to the sheriff if you don’t mind. I’m sure I can impress him with my qualifications.”

“Oh? You can impress him can ya?” A small smile crossed her face as she looked him from sunken eyes to soiled boots. “I don’t think I want to waste the sheriff’s time with some two bit has been soldier. No matter how many ruffles his coat has.”

‘Damnit Lord Aldridge!’

“Look miss,” he started slowly conscious of the gun she had somewhere, “I really need to talk to him. Do you know where he is or when he’ll be back?”

“Oh I imagine he’ll be back soon. If you wanna wait, you can sit over there,” she said pointing to an interview chair closest to the door.

Markem walked over to it and sunk into the rough uncomfortable surface. ‘Maybe he’ll appreciate my patience,’ he thought as he adjusted his coat trying to sit on as much as possible. The chair hadn’t been sanded or made well, and felt like it was about to fall over backwards, forcing him to sit up ramrod straight.

Minutes passed as he mentally reviewed everything he’d say in the interview and thought of every possible response he could, and how he would reply to those to make himself look good. Though honestly, as soon as he told the sheriff about his years of service to a titled and landed lord as captain of his personal guard; he was as good as in. He doubted there was anyone in this backwater town that could match him in strategy or combat efficiency.

The first hour passed as Markem prepared, and the secretary scribbled notes. Then the second. The shadows grew long as he fidgeted in what was honestly a torture device turned chair. Eventually the woman stood, put on her coat, and walked over to him.

“I’m heading out for the day. If the sheriff isn’t back by now, ain’t commin back. Best try your luck again tomorra.” She ushered him quickly out of the door and into the street were the mud was beginning to harden in the cold night, before locking the heavy planked door behind her with a large padlock.

Left with no other options Markem wandered back down towards the center of town and towards the inn. He couldn’t afford a room, but maybe he could sit by the fire for a while before they kicked him out.

There were only two buildings on the street still lit and lively, the whorehouse where girls were still showing their wares under lamplight; and the inn directly across from it, in case anyone wanted company for longer than a single night.

Markem was stuck at a crossroads of vices, and for a second fantasized about his old life where he wouldn’t have to choose between them. Sighing mournfully, he wandered into the inn and tried to sneak over to the fire without the waitresses noticing him. Like a well-trained ferret, though, the waitress was on him in seconds.

“What’ll it be love?” she said with a flirtatious smile and a stoop to grab her dropped pen.

A smile crossed his face. ‘What the porno hell, couldn’t hurt to flirt right? Who knows, maybe I can charm her enough to get back to her room. Worth a shot,’ he thought to himself.

Aloud he said, “Depends. What’s on the menu?”

Rolling her eyes at the line she must have heard thousands of times, “Tea is five copper, rotgut is eight, rum is twelve, and whiskey is twenty. Food is eight silver for soup, twenty for steak. Food comes with a whiskey.”

Markem was surprised that the prices were so reasonable, back home it wasn’t unheard of to have meals cost all the way up to several gold. Then again, this wasn’t the Carlton restaurant, and he very much doubted their silverware was actually silver.

“Just the tea for now thanks, but swing by in a bit and maybe to can talk me into more,” Markem said with a sly smile, completely oblivious to the sudden flexing of the waitress’s stomach as it revolted against her.

Instead, she grit her teeth in a semblance of a smile.

“Sure thing love, be right out,” then she fled to the next table to get refill orders.

Markem watched her go and enjoyed the view of a woman who wasn’t starving. A little bit of a attitude, but he’d make do. A sudden bray of laughter captured his attention over in one of the booths where several men were slapping the table and crying tears. Listening in, he tried to catch a bit of the joke. Heaven knows he could use a pick-me-up about now.

His attention focused like an arrow when he heard the word “sheriff”

‘He’s here!’ Probably had been here the whole time, getting drunk instead of doing his job. Markem couldn’t wait until he took that job from him and got to enjoy the same perks.

Quickly he rose from the tiny table and walked over to the booth just to hear the punchline, “so I told him to wait and the sheriff would be back soon!”

‘No.’ he whispered to himself. Sure enough sitting there surrounded by people laughing and slapping each other’s backs, was the secretary. Obviously she had relayed the story of making him wait under false pretenses, knowing that the sheriff wasn’t coming back. Markem’s razor thin control snapped like a dry twig in a hurricane.

“You fucking cunt! You had me wait for two hours and you knew the sheriff wasn’t coming back?!”

Dozens of eyes turned towards Markem at his outburst. His clenched fists quivering by his side were so far the only thing holding him back from throttling that bitch to death. Looking up she met his gaze and smiled sweetly.

“Oh? Stop by for a drink, while waiting for tomorra? Didn’t expect to see you here. Tell ya what, since I may have misled you, let me buy you a rotgut and we’ll call it square eh?” Markem ignored the snickers that came from many of the observers.

“No! Shut up. Shut the fuck up. Fuck you!” Turning to the two men sitting on the bench with her, “Which one of you is the sheriff? I demand to speak to you!”

Silence descended on the group, as everyone stared at him. Finally it was broken by the woman, “I’m Sheriff Harrington. What can I do for you?”

Markem’s mind went blank as he stared at the short brunette who had in the course of a single afternoon turned him into the laughingstock of Dallas, as was evident by the roars of the people surrounding him.

Black tinted the edges of his vision and he faintly heard one of his knuckles crack under the strain of his grip. Before he even knew what was happening he had launched himself across the table and had his hands around her throat squeezing for all he was worth, before his world went black.

Chapter 13

Markem woke up slowly with quite honestly the worst headache he’d ever had; including the time Lord Aldridge had the midsummer feast and he woke in the same stall as his horse. Groaning loudly, he rolled over on his side and promptly vomited all the bile he had, but since he hadn’t eaten in days there wasn’t much there.

He opened his eyes to try and catch a glimpse of his surroundings, but only the right one would open. Coughing sent lances of pain through his chest as he felt several ribs grind together in a way that he was positive wasn’t healthy.

“Well lookie here. Aurora has finally woken up from ‘er little nap. Sleep well, princess?” Sheriff Harrington stood nearby with a giant shit eating grin, peering down her nose at him through the bars.

‘Wait…bars?’ Sure enough, he’d woken up inside the lovely little iron cage in the back of the sheriff’s office. ‘Oh no, not again’

“You gave us quite a scare. I was sure that ol Lafou had done caved in your skull with that chair. By the way, you owe the inn 75 silver for the chair. Now, let’s get to the part where you tried to kill the sheriff of this here town. I heard you wanted to talk, so…let’s talk.”

Markem groaned and laid his head back down on the floor as gently as possible. How was he going to get Porno izle out of this one? He insulted the sheriff of the town (twice) before trying to strangle her to death. Honestly he was surprised he made it out of the bar alive.

“No feeling so talkative? That’s alright by me, I honestly don’t care much.” Harrington crossed her arms and glared down at him. “Honestly I am pretty impressed though. I did some checking around last night during your little nap, and…you just got here. I’ve been sheriff of this town for over a decade and I’ve never seen someone go from carriage to hangman’s noose so quickly.”

‘Oh good, they’ve already decided to kill me. Well that was quick. Didn’t even bother to call the Lord for a fair trial huh? Sounds about right. Though you did attack her in the middle of a crowded room while she was surrounded by her friends. It’s not like there isn’t enough evidence against you. Way to go dumbass.”

“I just wanted a job. I came here looking for good honest work. That was it. I didn’t want any trouble. I just wanted to work and eat.” He told her honestly, meeting her gaze with his one good, albeit watery, eye. “You’re right, I insulted you, and you gave me a concussion, broken nose, and what feels like several broken ribs. Seems to me like we’re square.”

Harrington laughed. A deep belly laugh that rocked her back on her heels with her head thrown to the sky. “I suppose in a sense you’re right. I mean you did try to kill me, but you didn’t get very far. Lafue is very protective.”

A man Markem hadn’t noticed, nodded from one of the desks in the background. No wonder his head felt like an overripe melon about to burst. ‘That guy is six and half feet if he’s an inch. Even sitting down he’s a monster.’

“Tell ya what asshole, do you mind if I call you asshole? Tell ya what I’m gonna do. You said you’re looking for work, and it just so happens that this town’s post is about to deliver a shipment of supplies to a town north of here. Shouldn’t be more than a two day trip by caravan. Post is looking for some extra guards cuz a couple got killed by bandits last time. You guard the caravan north, and then you stay there. Never ever come back. If ya do, I’ll put a bullet in your ugly mug myself. Deal?”

Markem looked up at her wide eyed in disbelief. He was sure it was going to be a hanging. But here? An opportunity to catch a ride to another town, free of charge? It’s not like he could stay here regardless. He was now a laughingstock.

“Deal,” he said with more conviction than he felt. ‘There’s gotta be a catch, this is way too easy. It’s not like I have a choice, but hey I’ll take it.’

“Great! When you get to Ardmore, ask for Regina tell her I sent ya. She’ll make sure you get work up there.” Harrington nodded in finality. “Caravan leaves day after next. That gives ya plenty o time to enjoy the fine, luxury accommodations of the Dallas Sheriff’s Department. “

Groaning to himself, Markem laid his broken egg of a head back down on the floor and closed his eye. ‘Just enough time to start to heal up from this headache. For now, I think I’ll take a nap. A nap sounds lovely.’

*****

Markem sat in the back of the last wagon, watching the city of Dallas recede behind him while the asinine driver tried to hit every single pothole. His ribs were killing him, and every pothole jolt sent new and wonderful levels of pain straight to his core. He tried to walk in the beginning, but he just didn’t have the strength and it didn’t help the pain much.

‘Maybe if I lie down? Dissipate the force over my whole body instead of just my spine bouncing up and down?’ Markem laid down gingerly on the carriage “tailgate”, and heaved a sigh of relief. His muscles relaxing for a moment, and easing his pain down several notches. Then he hit another pothole, letting out a screech not too dissimilar to a scalded coyote.

Turns out that spreading his spine flat against the surface of the wagon served to stabilize it and reinforce the jolt along the entirety of his body. Instead of allowing his muscles to try and compensate for the blow, it was transferred to his bones directly. His broken and tender bones.

‘Well, so much for that idea. Good news is I’m wide awake now. Probably will be forever.’ Markem though bitterly. ‘It’s that damn sheriff’s fault. I tried to be nice in the beginning! If she had just told me who she was right from the start, I wouldn’t be in this mess. Noooooo, she had to be a bitch, and make me wait, then humiliate me in the tavern!’

He played the events over and over in his mind, each time the events adjusted a little more in his favor. Markem knew very well what he was doing with these mental gymnastics, but right now he was way too pissed. Every time he would start to calm down, they’d hit another pothole and his rage would start all over.

Mile after mile, hour after hour he quietly seethed at the unjust nature of it all. It wasn’t his fault really. Nothing was. No one gave him a chance. They just didn’t listen, or even try to understand. If they would have just listened to him, none of this would have happened. No. it was all their fault. Stupid arrogant, self-entitled, good for nothing assholes.