Wasteland (short fiction)

She wasn’t useful anymore, so they dumped her in the wastelands with a handful of supplies.

The pilot pointed to the East. “Ten days walk, if you’re steady enough. Five days of food. There’s a watering hole three days walk, if you’re steady enough.”

He boarded his hovercraft and blasted across the desert, leaving her behind.

The trial was cruel, but so was the world. If she could make it back to the city on her own, she’d be allowed to reenter. She’d be a citizen for another three years. And then, they’d dump her back out here again.

Not many made the journey.

She’d done it three times. She would do it again.

They shorted her on supplies, took her farther out each time. They even tried to give her wrong directions, as if she didn’t know the city was South, not East. They tried to kill her without having to get their hands dirty, and one of these days, they would succeed. But not today.

She threw her bag over her shoulder and started walking.

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  1. Keith Carpenter
    Posted May 19, 2015 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    So short. But memorable. Makes me wonder what she will do when she returns. I doubt she is really useless. Maybe more of a pain in the butt to whoever is in charge.

    As much as I have enjoyed when you revisited characters from your books. I have enjoyed the new characters/worlds more. Do you write these hoping to expand in the future?

    • A. Lee Martinez
      Posted May 20, 2015 at 12:02 am | Permalink

      Thanks. I like the standalone stories a lot as well.

      I write these to write them. If they happen to develop into something else, I’m perfectly happy to explore them further.

  2. Natediggadoggity
    Posted May 27, 2015 at 1:17 am | Permalink

    It brings up so many fun questions, and I think I’ve finally matured to the point where I don’t need the author to answer them all for me. I decided that she comes from a place that’s ruled by an eldritch abomination, who needs new thoughts and memories to draw from, and people who’ve been there for more than 3 years have become stagnant for it. The city’s gates are always open to new people, but upon entering you are informed of the decision you’ll have to make. Those who decide not to make the journey must join the abomination’s army for a few years on a mission to attack another city. Not as many die in the army, as die before coming back from the wasteland trip, the first time anyway.

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