Disclaimer- I do not own Fallout.
Okay then, I started this story… oh about three years ago, and shamefully never finished it. However, I had never given up on it and in-fact I will finish it, with of course some major revises. Seriously looking back on what this was if anyone remembers I have to sincerely thank any of the readers who reviewed and even gave praise. It was bad, not the worst, but honestly I cringe when I look back on it. Now I'm still nowhere near perfect; however, I hope that my revising makes this story more palpable than it was.
For those of you just starting the journey that is 'Cold' I welcome you, and for those of you who remember this story from way back when welcome back, I hope you enjoy the ride.
All right then onto the story.
Cold, too damn cold, and I'm sitting here just waiting for some poor soul to wander past me just for food. You'd figure with all the damn ruins of buildings around there'd be a break in the wind, but no it's still too damn cold. I slowly fiddled with the knife which, would provide my sustenance soon, fate permitting.
The stench of the garbage which hid my form and scent from my possible prey wasn't even providing a bit of warmth. I hope whoever they are that they have a jacket, or at least something warm, winter is so unforgiving.
I won't be beaten though, not by the cold, not now, not when prey is so close I can feel it, the footsteps growing louder and nearer as they crunched in the loose rubble. I waited in my spot where I had been for days; waiting for this opportunity and then it came into sight, right in front of me.
He was big and he had a gun, but that wouldn't help him, not when I was this close, just waiting for him to relax, for just one second. He turned, his rifle aimed away from me and I pounced, shedding my camouflage off as I closed the distance. He turned his gun too late as I tackled him to the ground, a look of shocked confusion on his face.
My metal claw easily went through his clothing, into his chest through the solar plexus, and once it was in I twisted, so as to kill him quickly to prevent struggle; as he faded his hands wrapped around my throat trying feebly to strangle me eventually becoming limp and falling down to his sides. I looked into his eyes seeing no light and no reflection of myself since I was so close, always nothing…every time.
I wrenched my knife, my metal claw from his body and began to relieve him of his duster; quickly I put it on relishing in the warmth it brought.
His name had been stenciled on the lapel "Harrison" the name of the regulator who had been hunting me for weeks. Well now it was the hunter who turned out to be the prey. I closed his eyes not wanting them to see what came next as I stripped him of his shirt and pants.
The first incision was made as I took the meat of his muscular arms carefully skinning him and taking only the prime cuts, then the other arm and the legs and then the liver carefully avoiding the bowls lest I contaminate the rest.
I filled up my bag with my grisly prize, my food, and then I put his shirt and pants back on his body, but not the duster, that I would keep, too cold to let something this valuable go to waste on a dead man. I checked the small bag opening it to find a familiar sight, the fingers of his bounties.
I plucked one from the bag and ripped off a small morsel of flesh savoring the taste of the uncooked meat. As I swallowed I dumped the rest into my bag and slung the new bag I got onto my shoulders. It would be useful in the long run to have more carrying space.
I then took his ammo and rifle as well as his hat pulling it onto my head, its warm embrace welcomed with tremendous gratitude. I gave his body a left handed salute before I dragged it over to my former hiding place.
As I began to leave I started to hear the calls of his companions, but they were too late. All they would find was his carcass, and by that time I would be long gone in a warm place where there would be enough peace to cook my meal properly.
I quickly scrambled up the nearby pile of rubble, over the other side, and then quietly snuck away down the street to the building I marked. I went through the door and into the old apartment complex where I had been hiding for the past week, playing cat and mouse with those regulators.
Not anymore though with their leader dead they should run back to their base tails between their legs. We would finally be left alone again if only for a short while before next they sent some poor bastard after me.
It wasn't a choice, more a necessity that I became a hunter of other people, they were abundant, and most of them were even more unclean than I am. I whistled and my friend came scampering up to me tail wagging, he had stayed where I told him to in this safe place. It was too dangerous for me to take him along; if anything were to happen to him I wouldn't be able to take it. Luckily mans best friend had gained extra life thanks to the mutations which took place daily.
He would live as long as I would, maybe longer, and for that I was thankful, I always did find dogs more trustworthy than people, you knew where you stood with a dog. I pat him on the head and gave him a piece of meat, which he took gladly and quickly up quickly.
I stroked his back as he ate, food was scarce since the people I hunted were so well armed, maybe now that I had a rifle it would be easier. Still until then we had to ration what we have, make it last at least a week before I hunted once again. Regulators were easy but they only came looking for me once every few months, so most of the time it was raiders, or some stray brotherhood of steel scout. Power armor protected them very well, makes them near invulnerable, and leads to their own undoing.
The knights are too confident and don't think anyone would have the gall to ambush them. But I do every couple of weeks or so, always go for the slight gap between the helmet and the suit; you can cut open their throats easy. It just took stealth and patience, both of which I had plenty of and the dog helps distract them as well. They usually won't shoot at a dog if it doesn't show outward signs of mutation, or mange. Usually they try to capture ones that seem to be of good stock, so they can train them for their own ends.
I stopped petting Jack and gathered up the material I had gotten earlier for the cooking fire, carefully putting it in the small pit I had made from an old cooking pot. I pulled out a microfusion cell I had found and carefully set it off with my knife. The resulting laser show ignited the material which grew in heat rapidly as I added more to the fire.
When it reached its peak I threw a nice chunk of thigh onto a pan and put it over the fire to let it cook. While I watched and tended to the meat I absentmindedly pet Jack, who is now lying down by my side to keep warm by sharing body heat.
"All around the mulberry bush the monkey chased the weasel," I sang without thinking.
Within about ten minutes the meat was nearing the point of perfection, my mouth watered in anticipation. After another few minutes I took it off the pan using my knife and took a tender bite so as to test the taste. After many years of this lifestyle I still wasn't sure what human tasted like more molerat, or bramin.
I couldn't decide but who cares its better than either seeing as it doesn't seem to crawl around in your stomach. I cut the chunk in half and gave one half to Jack while I devoured the other savoring each bite knowing that it would be another day or so before next I ate. After all I needed to ration if I didn't want to starve and if I ate too much I would become too accustomed to being full which, would lead to my preying on innocents.
"That is if there are any left," I whispered to Jack. He looked up at me and tilted his head, having finished his meal, giving me that same questioning look he always did. After ten years since I found him as a puppy in a dumpster while hiding from some mercs he still looked innocent as ever.
I never put him in any sort of danger if I could help it, stimpacks were rare and I had to use them on myself all too often after botched hunts. I pat his head and he finally laid back down his head in my lap as I ate the rest of my share of meat. After I was done I put out the fire knowing that if it kept going it would attract unwanted attention. I rested against the wall to my back, rifle nearby ready incase of trouble and closed my eyes.
I listened to the steady breathing of Jack as I drifted off into a dreamless slumber along with my companion. After ten years of hunting I no longer saw the faces and knew that I wasn't doing anything wrong.
"Pop goes the weasel," I whispered to the darkness as I drifted off.