Between working on the editor's edits for TRANSPORT (Book Two) HUNT FOR THE FALLEN, and capping off TRANSPORT (Book Three) UNCIVIL WAR, and working on a few short stories for different things, I am also working on a JOE CROSS: URBAN SALVAGE ENGINEER short story. I plan on submitting this short--when done and edited--to a dystopian-world themed anthology project.
The story line takes place in my post-post apocalyptic TRANSPORT World. Joe is a new character who does not appear in the current book series.
A little bit about Joe.
He's the "best salvager in the Midwest." He can find anything, needed or unneeded. He goes out into the wasteland and pokes around for items to sell and trade, sometimes acquiring things he shouldn't, oft times running into trouble because of it.
He also has an old stuffed toy bear always buckled in the front passenger seat of his LTV (Light Tactical Vehicle). Don't mess with Albert.
Below is a small snippet from the story RUNNING WITH THE DEVIL, unedited.
A stick-thin guy in an oil-stained mechanics jumpsuit leaned into the passenger seat. He peered about the dashboard, rifled through the open glove box that several persons had already gone through, then looked at the belted stuffed bear in the seat. With grease-stained fingers he started to unbuckle the bear.
“That’s one thing you’re not going to want to take,” Joe said with enough threat in his tone greasy Stick Man hesitated. “That bear isn’t for taking or touching.”
Stick Man flipped him off and went to finish unbuckling the bear. A loud-talking crowd coming towards them broke him from his activities.
Joe looked to the oncoming group. People swarmed around a central line of others like bees to a hive while the center line marched forward in his direction. The center wedge parting the flocking bystanders, he saw half a dozen brawny men, toting machine guns, and a strange lithe form between them.
“I’m impartial to skin color,” Joe said to the Reganshire men on either side of him, “But that girl looks like she fell into a flour bin.”
A young woman in a white shirt and tight, black, form-hugging dress slacks approached them with her retinue of guards and onlookers. The places where her flesh was exposed revealed limbs and face so ashen, she looked almost translucent. She wore gauze bandages about both her forearms which were dappled with blotches of blood and some form of yellowish ichor soaking up through the wrappings.
“Someone important?” Joe said out the side of his mouth to his guard on the right.
“Rebecca Regan. Her dad and her run this town.” The guard said as he and his partner glanced at each other, and each took a step back as the woman approached.
Sweet Mary, she could stand to use a bit of sun, Joe thought.
“What do we have here?” Rebecca Regan said stopping before Joe and his vehicle. Her eyes roamed over Emery, and then fell on him.
The pale woman gazed him up and down with gray eyes and a sneer on her crimson-lined cracked lips. Her gums were dark red, teeth yellowing. Her blond-white hair waved behind her in a phantom breeze, a long strand on occasion giving up the fight and tumbling away from her head.
Joe threw up a little in his mouth, and coughed as he swallowed the sour bile back down.
“We caught him in the southern quadrant in our new grazing land,” a man from one of the black pickup trucks said. “Cut into our fence and pilfered himself a sheep.”
“Thief?” Rebecca said, a bare brow rising, her eyes still upon Joe.
“No, I was…” Joe began to say.
“Spy then?” she hissed, leaning into his face.
Jesus, you need a breath mint, sister. "Not at all," Joe quickly replied, eyes darting to the morbid-piked heads lining the town's fence line.
TRANSPORT, a post-post zombie apocalyptic series, military heavy, adventure rife, set in a near-future dystopian Grand Rapids, Michigan, is available wherever fine books are sold.
(Ask for it by name if bookseller does not carry it.)
Joe Cross copyright 2014 Peter Welmerink
Joe Cross illustration by Tim Holtrop