Parasite Eve 2

Dryfield

Prologue

Day One: Area 272

-Dryfield, Mojave Desert 1:46 P.M.-

The sound of a wine bottle being set back into place made an echo. The dark, old liquid swished as Jack Cactus, or "J.C." as his poker buddies called him, smiled with pride. Another one hundred dollars for his savings was now stashed behind his most prized bottle of wine.

Jack made his way around the racks and passed by the folding table. He exited the door and shut it behind him, entering the sewer-way. Once there, he shut off the lights and climbed the ladder upstairs.

Instead of the slimy, wet air of the wine cellar, sand and dryness flushed his face. Dust particles caught in his mustache and glasses. Upon walking back into the general store, the old man removed his glasses to clean them off with a nearby napkin.

Gary Douglas looked down at his dog, Flint, polishing a M950 machine gun from his private collection. The afternoon was oddly quiet, though he never expected much business anyway. There weren't a lot of uses for weapons and armor in the middle of the desert.

He glanced out to the side of his trailer. Old cars, crate, and other junk lay in piles. Maybe today he would go to the garage to work on one of his many unfinished projects.

Flint looked to his owner with puppy eyes and it seemed as if the animal had read his master's mind. A walk, even a short one, sounded nice.

Music blared from the car radio as the young woman sped down the empty highway with only cacti to wave to.

The maroon-haired girl pulled her cell phone from her pocket when it rang. "Oh, hey," she said happily. "Yeah, I'm almost to Arizona- give or take a few hours."

A reply on the other end was muffled by static and finally, a disconnection. Caylee glared at her phone, screen cracked from the heat staring back at her. The woman wasn't worried about her driving- like anything living would be out here anyway –so she tried redialing with one hand, making sure she was entering the numbers right as the car went over potholes in the already-worn road.

NO SIGNAL appeared and she threw it into the seat beside her. Suddenly the car began to sputter and smoke, and she lost her grip on the wheel, crashing in a ditch. Caylee climbed from the vehicle after grabbing her phone and purse and looked it over. It was going to need gas and repairs. Definitely.

"Shit, I don't have THAT much cash on me," she complained, twirling around hoping to find some sign of civilization. Her prayers were answered when she saw a large, rusty and swinging sign across the street: "Dryfield? Where the Hell am I?"

A multitude of sounds erupted from the pinball machine, the name Einhander lighting up as Gene achieved yet another new high score.

"Wahoo, beat that!" he exclaimed.

Roy glanced over from his position behind the bar and sighed. "I guess you're talkin' to yourself, there, considerin' you're the only one whose name is in that danged machine."

Gene pouted at the adult man's grouchiness, until he saw the bell above the door ring. Looking downward, he saw a beautiful woman come inside. She had maroon colored hair and wore a spaghetti strap black top with tight jeans and boots.

"Well, hey," said Roy, removing the shades that covered his eyes. "Can I get ya anything?"

Caylee sat down on one of the stools, Gene still drooling over her across the room, and she sighed. "Unless you gotta fix-err-upper."

"Sure, do, but maybe something to cool you down?"

"Sure, why not?" Caylee said, and Roy handed her a cold drink, on the house.

Gene waltzed over and sat down next to the young woman. "So, what brings you to the middle of nowhere?"

"I was on my way to Cali to meet my boyfriend…" she began, already knowing what the shaggy brunette's true testosterone-driven intentions were. "Then my phone lost it's signal and I crashed in a ditch and I was like Holy Hell, you know?" The girl paused and took a sip of the beverage before her, dry, chapped lips finally obtaining some moisture. "Then my car started smoking and I'm stuck here!"

"I wouldn't worry much about it," Roy said, removing the baseball cap that covered gray, scraggly hair to wipe away sweat. "Douglas could get that fixed up in no-time. Two days tops by the sound of it."

"I don't have much money," the girl said, giving a sad look to Gene.

"Uh, uh…" he stammered. "Well, you could always try betting some people around here to some rounds of booze, poker, whatever… We're a gambling bunch."

"Like a casino without all the pizzazz," Caylee commented, looking around the small saloon. A pool table sat in the center, a restroom to her left… This would sure be interesting. She yawned, realizing she was tired. She also felt kinda icky. A shower would be nice. "Hmm… where am I going to stay?"

Roy titled his head, jerking it to Caylee's right. "Down that way you'll find the Motel. Lohla, a youngin' bout your height with dark brown hair, pretty eyes… She runs the place. She's probably there now, or if you want you can hang here. She usually comes by to sing. Not that we have much of a stage… Sometimes gotta use the pool table."

"How barbaric," came a voice from the small, back hallway. "How can you sit there and tell this newcomer I sing on tables like some drunken fool?"

"Oh… h-hey Lohla. Just tryin' to livin' up the place…"

"Yeah, sure, Roy," Lohla spat, walking over to Caylee. She extended her hand and shook it with Caylee's.

"Nice to meet you, Lohla," Caylee replied. The girl in front of her was wearing a nice blue tube top with cut-off denim shorts. I guess wearing practically nothing would be quite fitting for a hot climate such as this.