(From the personal journals of Teekhup, Vulture Scavver)

A Tale of Jemaine:

Day one: I find piles of shredded rad rats under the Hideout. I use them to fertilise my crops

Day Two: It’s black outside, and I am startled awake by a loud noise. I have fallen asleep in the treatment room, again. I hear it, a booming crash, and the whole building shakes. I sit upright and try to listen. There is a deep low growl, a high-pitched screeching and then silence. I remain awake for a few minutes, waiting for my heart to slow. I eventually drift back to sleep. The next morning I’m not sure if I dreamt it.

Day three: After a breakfast of Old Possum and some razorgrain soup I go to tend the crops growing under the Hideout. There are animal entrails and parts everywhere. I shudder, but count myself lucky that the mole-rats didn’t get my crops again. Their blood will enrich the soil and I will boil their bones for soup.

Day four: I return to the Hideout after a trip to the mine to stock up on lead. My friends use bullets for fun as well as survival, and they often run low. I have enough supplies now to make thousands of rounds. I hear a distant boom, and the ground shakes almost imperceptibly. I shake my head and head to the workshop.

Day five: I venture up the mountain to look for fungi. I see some very large footprints heading into a cave. I head inside. It’s dark, and quiet, and it smells vaguely of meat. I don’t find anything interesting, although I do stock up on glowing fungi. It will make excellent RadAway.

Day six: I have had a nasty encounter with a particularly large horde of scorched humanoids. I think my arm is broken, and blood trickles down from a laceration on my scalp. It stings my eyes. I’ll never make it back to the Hideout, but the cave is closer. Perhaps I can rest and recuperate in there for a while. I crest the hill, but at the cave mouth there are more scorched. I hear a loud roar, and I realise that they are fighting what looks like some kind of giant lizard, but definitely more pointy. The scuffle moves into the cave. I run in and begin to fight the scorched who are attacking the lizard. More scorched arrive from outside. For a moment the beast and I fight back to back, then everything goes black.

Still day six: I wake up. There are piles of dead all around me, their green crystalline growths reflecting the dim light from my pip boy. I remember that I am inside the cave. I can hear crackling, and I realise that it is the laboured breathing of something huge. I see the lizard beast in the corner of the cave. It is oozing what I can only presume is blood from several wounds on its body. I don’t know if it is sleeping, or unconscious. I remember that we fought together, and I am grateful that I am still alive. I try to staunch the bleeding using some spare bedding from my backpack. I clean and dress the wounds. The beast wakes. I freeze. It watches me intently. All the tiny hairs on my body stand on end, and I almost panic and run. It is huge and terrifying, even in its weakened state. One of the claws on its forearm is missing. It stares at me for a while, and then slips back into unconsciousness. I check my pack and leave two fresh rabbit carcasses for it to eat, just in case it survives. I leave the cave, and trudge home. I tend my own wounds, eat and drink, and according to my pip-boy I sleep for more than a day.

Day eight: I eat some leftover sweet tato stew from the fridge in the kitchen. I will need to restock. I do a thorough check, and I seem to have all my fingers and toes. I bet I look like hell. Curiosity gets the best of me, and I return to the cave. I go inside, and it appears as if the beast hasn’t moved, although the rabbits are gone. I check on the wounds and carefully change the dressings. The beast doesn’t stir, his breathing peaceful. I leave half a mongrel carcass and go back to the Hideout.

Day nine: I discover my brahmin dead under the Hideout. There are wolf tracks. I butcher and roast as much as I can salvage. Later I go back to the cave. It is empty.

Day ten: I am in the clinic reading about how to safely amputate limbs. I don’t want to make that mistake again. I hear a boom from outside, and a wet ripping sound. The ground shakes. I look over the fence. The beast is at the Hideout. He has what looks like the remains of a black wolf in one clawed paw. He takes a bite and looks at me. He seems to nod, and then he begins patrolling the perimeter of my camp. I guess I have a new roommate.

Words: Teekhup

Picture: Unknown