My name is Rusty Sprocket, my family are all long past and I grew up by myself. The only things I remember about my family is that we were named after some gear looking thing that is inside old electronics that are found in our apocalyptic world. Not many things work anymore, and so of course, they’ve rusted over, and that is what gave me my name Rusty.
I’ve been living on my own for a while, and I now have my own plot of land which I’m hoping to continue to survive on in this world known as Murkland. Some people wander through the town looking dazed in nice looking, but falling apart clothing like they are trying to hold on to some past lives they think they had before the world turned to dust. I don’t remember any of that, the bomb is such a distant memory in our history.
I met one of them when I was rummaging for food in a garbage can near my lot. He stopped and asked me why I live like this, digging through trash. I think he must have lost his mind because of the zombies wandering around and he is just in denial. He seemed nice enough, but I tried to bring him to reality. “This is the world we live in Mortimer,” I told him. I don’t know how he hasn’t noticed.
The man who sat on the bench next to us understands. He’s barely skin and bones himself. We all talked for a click of time before I excused myself to continue my scrounging. I’m going to need money if I am to keep the plot of land that I have acquired. The Murkland Mercantile Company isn’t going to just let me live here for free. I need to prove my worth to the society so that I can have protection.
It won’t hurt to make a few friends, and even though he is strange looking, the Mudder man could be a potential friend. He understands what I am going through and isn’t hiding behind a false reality like Mortimer.
In fact. I hope I get to see him around again. If you get past his looks, I really enjoyed talking with him. But I couldn’t stay and chat with him, I had other things that I needed to do to survive. This past winter was harsh, and now that the flowers are beginning to bloom again with it being spring, I need to find everything I can to survive through the summer that will come shortly after. Seasons fly by here in this world.
I’ve read in books that things used to be better. I hope someday things can get that way again, but the world doesn’t wish to cooperate. We have to make do with what the world has become with the human destruction that caused this apocalypse in the past, in order to make way for a brighter future.
I will probably not see that future. But perhaps one day, I’ll have an heir that will be able to see it.
I notice someone standing outside of my plot of land and I go over to introduce myself. She laughs that our names are so similar. her name is Dusty Boots. Perhaps she and I can be friends. There is a Fire and Music festival she tells me to check out sometime, and I think I will. I love dancing, though it is hard to find music. The hot springs have a working stereo with some old music devices. I think they’re called cassettes and CDs, when the hot springs are open tomorrow I will check them out. I would love to hear some music, and then perhaps I will be able to go to the fire and music festival as well.
But cleanliness comes first. I will need to visit the hot springs tomorrow. The diseases that cause us to mutate are in the dust and dirt that blows through the Murkland desert. I have to wash that off whenever I am able to so that I do not mutate.
I will survive.
I say goodbye to Dusty, promising that I will get to know her better soon. I really need to get searching for things to help me survive. Right now, I am poor, I live on nothing but what the MMCo has provided for me.
The reason I had to say goodbye so quickly was because I’ve already wasted plenty of time as I spoke to these three new acquaintances, my neighbors, and there in a clump of rock hidden off the broken sidewalks overgrown with weeds, is a dusty gemstone sticking out. I must claim it before anyone else does. If I can claim it. I can sell it.
I need the money. I want to help this economy so that life will get better for everyone.
Of course, I am interrupted again. Some other neighbors greet me, and I blush that they are not wearing any clothes. I guess this is easier than trying to scrounge for clothes that are in good shape. They don’t linger long. It is a warmer day since winter has ended, but the night will be cold. They were just out enjoying the sunshine while they could.
Of course, others greet me before I can leave the sidewalk to hunt for treasures.
These people are also my neighbors. Their names escape me right now. But I’m sure I will see them again.
Besides, I can’t be to mad that everyone is being so friendly. It gives me high hopes for the future of Murkland. If everyone can smile and be friendly, we can work together to fix this world.
Finally free from conversations, it is time for a stroll. There is a section of Murkland that if I jog I can get there and back before the sun sets and the cool sets in… I hope. It has many wonderful garbage cans that I can rummage in to try to scrounge up food to eat, and perhaps hunt for some more treasures.
My first stop is the library. I’m not going in today. You have to purchase something in order to use the services. I don’t have any money right now so I will wait to explore the inside.
The great thing is the trash plant that is behind the library. I pick a few so that I will not starve. Now that I have my own plot of land, I am going to build up a trash plant garden so that I can feast every day. They are a staple food here in Murkland, and if I grow enough, perhaps I will be able to feed others as well. I think they would enjoy that. Food is very hard to come by after all.
But my real mission must continue. I have more treasures to find so that I can make my money to help the economy. I can not hide within a shell hoping not to be noticed so that I can survive. I want to be noticed. I want to live.
And as the sun begins to set, I set up shop. This is a well-traveled area of Murkland. I should be able to sell my findings here. It won’t bring much into my pockets. But it will be enough to get me started.
I stop back off at a bush to fertilize it on my way home. I stayed too long working on selling my treasures. The sun has set. It is getting cold. But I am twenty. I am an adult now. I must make do with what I have.
I will survive.
My night ends as I plant my precious trash seeds in my garden back home. I shiver as I dig into the soil. It is still a bit hard from the winter’s chill. The night air drops the temperature and I fight the urge to drift to sleep where I kneel. There is one more thing I must do before I sleep.
I pull the scrounged macaroni dish I found out of my collection bag and dig in. It is cold, and no quality even close to the delight that fresh food from a fire could be. But it fills my stomach so that I know that I will still wake up in the morning.
Now I retire to my tent and bundle myself in the scraps of blankets I have acquired to keep myself warm through the nights. The tent is little protection, but it is enough to keep the sands and bugs and critters off, and so that is enough for me.
I am Dusty Sprocket, and I will survive.