Copyright © 2018
All Rights Reserved
Tylor Kranyak
Author of Legacy of Krazatan
     The Capital Wastelands were cold this time of year, though that was like saying a mole rat was ill-tempered whenever it wasn’t asleep. The winds of nuclear winter were harsh, thought it was something he had become accustom to over the years. In all honesty, it wasn’t much different from the chilling temperature of his home vault since its power supply had chugged its last breath. At the very least, things tended to warm up whenever the thick clouds parted just enough to allow the sun to peek through, and although it was an extremely rare occasion Gary could at least thank the wanderer for giving him the chance to witness such a sight.
     Despite opening his eyes to a new, exciting, if albeit dangerous, world, Gary could never forgive that man, not after what he had done to his brothers. The day the door to Vault 108 had opened was a very dark one indeed. The door had never been open before, so everyone was understandably worried. There had been three of them, a man, a mangy dog and a bald, green-skinned giant. No one knew who they were or why they had come, so his brothers responded the only way they knew how to in situations they didn’t understand. They attacked.
     Only a few of Gary’s brothers had been able to find weapons, a few rusted knives and an old pistol left behind by their father which, surprisingly, still worked despite years of disuse. They all put up a brave fight, but nothing could have prepared them for the firepower the newcomers had at their disposal. The giant toted a huge weapon which even he, with his inhumanly large muscles, had to carry with both hands. The weapon sprayed beams of red light that cut through his brothers with the greatest of ease, while the dog ran around and finished off any survivors. All the while, the man who led them watched in silence as his companions decimated Gary’s family.
     Gary had survived the onslaught by hiding in a washroom stall while the intruders took everything in the vault that wasn’t welded to the floor. When he was sure they were gone, he left the safety of his hiding spot to survey the damage. As he continued to wander aimlessly in search of even a single survivor other than himself, he came across the vault door that had been left wide open by the intruders. Curiosity got the better of him as he stepped out into the great unknown.
     That had been three years ago. Though Gary still searched for the wanderer that killed his brothers, his days were consumed with the simple occupation of keeping himself alive. He spent most of his time listening to the device on his wrist. He didn’t know what it was, but it had been one of the affects left behind by his father, and since no one else had wanted to claim it he decided to take it for himself. It had served no purpose back home, other than lighting his path through the dark vault halls with its incandescent green screen, but once he had stepped outside of that giant blast-resistant door the wrist unit had caught reception from somewhere and started making noises. A voice that referred to himself as three dogs often spoke from the device. Gary had tried to talk back to him on several occasions, but for some reason the voice always ignored him and continued on with his monologue.
     The voice often spoke about war, brotherhoods and things called mutants, nothing of which Gary understood or cared about. He did like the music that played between the voice’s speeches, though. The only thing that piqued his interest, besides the music of course, was the rare occasions when Mr. Three Dogs talked about a wasteland warrior who went out of his way to help others in need. Gary always hoped he would run into this warrior during his travels. If the man was so helpful to others then there was a chance he could help Gary find the wanderer and avenge his brothers. Though, even if Gary was fortunate enough to come across the warrior he doubted the man would have time to help him between his tight schedule of purifying lakes and activating giant robots. So, Gary would focus on fending for himself, like he always had.
     After walking for what seemed like ages, Gary came across a derelict truck. It was turned on its side with its contents spilled all over the road. Thinking there might be some valuable supplies in those boxes, Gary started toward the closest one, then stopped when he heard rustling by the far side of the dead vehicle.
     “Gary?” he asked nervously, hoping it wasn’t another one of those violent people with strange hair and blunt instruments he had run into a few days prior.
     “Who’s there?” A head poked out around the side of the truck. Scowling, the man moved into full view and said, “Beat it. I found this truck, so everything in it is mine!” The man was shaggy looking in ragged clothes and boots that had been used for so long that the toes were worn wide open. He sported a huge, wild beard that looked like it hadn’t seen the edge of a razor since the day of the man’s birth.
     Gary didn’t understand what the problem was, there was more than enough supplies for the two of them to share. “Gary,” he explained, trying to reason with the man.
     His scowl only deepened. “I said get out of here, and that’s not my name.”
     It was Gary’s turn to frown. What was the man talking about? He was just trying to explain that there was more than enough boxes to go around. With a little more urgency, he explained, “Gary, Gary!”
     “I’m not going to tell you again, get out of here, freak!”
     The man pulled out a knife, and the sight of it launched Gary into a panic. Gary, just like his brothers always had, reacted in the only way he knew how to when faced with danger. He pulled out his own knife and charged.
     The man, surprised by Gary’s sudden reaction, swung his knife wildly to try to ward him away. Gary ignored it as he leapt at the man, burying his own knife deep into his chest. Falling to the ground with the man under him, Gary yelled, “Gary!” as he repeatedly stabbed the poor soul. Why hadn’t the man listened to him? Why hadn’t he understood him? Gary had tried to be diplomatic, but the man turned out to be just as savage as everyone else in this place. Why couldn’t they just understand him?
     Gary stopped stabbing once his arm got tired, and by then the man’s chest was no more than meaty, bloody strips. He would have to find a river or something to wash the blood off his hands, but for now he occupied himself with searching through his new boxes. As he searched, he wondered for the thousandth time since leaving Vault 108 why no one in the Capital Wastelands could understand him.