Click the link to catch up with ASAS: Consequence–Prologue.
Ryan was shoved into a room upstairs by the lackey he’d just spoken to through the door. It was a study of some kind; whoever had owned this property prior to the spread of NBP had been financially comfortable to say the least.
Sharkey sat in a chair behind a desk. He looked anything but officious despite that being the look he was clearly going for. Apocalypse or not, the man was still a drug-pusher and was unable to act like anything else.
The lackey announced to Sharkey that Ryan wished to speak with him and then quickly left. Ryan and Sharkey eyed each other momentarily.
“I’ve said all I need t’say to you lot,” Sharkey muttered.
“You haven’t heard everything you need to hear.”
“Is that right, kidder?”
“Let’s imagine you’re a former gangster,” Ryan backhandedly teased, making air quotes to accompany his use of the word ‘gangster’. “That’d make you a businessman looking for opportunities to get ahead, right?”
“I already am ahead! I know when I’m in t’presence of a bullshitter,” Sharkey retorted, returning the use of air quotes when saying ‘bullshitter’, “so sweettalk ain’t gonna get you nowhere!”
“Nah, you aren’t ahead. I know you think you are, but you aren’t.”
Sharkey sniggered with amused irritation. “I don’t know whether I admire your balls or if I should cut ‘em off and feed ‘em to you! Outta simple curiosity, tell me how I’m not ahead.”
“How long do you think you can keep this up before the military get tired of you and hunt you down?”
“The military haven’t been seen this entire time.”
Ryan laughed mockingly with a shake of his head. “You really think they aren’t aware of you? You’re lording it around a reasonably big town and you think they don’t know it?”
“Get to your point before I jam one in your eye, you cocky prick!”
“I was in a safe zone when all this started. I escaped. They found me within a month. Fortunately, I was rescued. Then they found us again and destroyed an entire fully-functioning rebel safe zone. Those of us you’ve got trapped in that room are the only ones who got away. The military are more on the ball than you know.”
“Or maybe you’re just not as smart as you like to think you are and leave trails.”
“Perhaps you’re right. In which case, think of it this way: if a handful of us leave a trail then what do you suppose an entire town of you are doing?”
“So, the military might be aware of us; how does that make things any different for you?”
“Jay wasn’t completely honest earlier. We have more to offer than you realise.”
“Four of those guys are military trained. Five of them are medical scientists. Then there’s your ace in the hole: me! I’ve survived out there on my own and have probably killed more lurchers than your crew put together—”
“Lurchers. I heard them referred to as that early on and I’ve stuck with it.”
Sharkey nodded thoughtfully. “Ah. Carry on.”
“My point being that I know how to handle the fuckers! Last but not least, there’s my girl.”
“What about her?”
“This is where the medical scientists are crucial: she’s immune to New Black Plague. The boffins have been working on a vaccine using her blood.”
Sharkey reclined in his seat with the beginnings of a smile on his pale face. “The plot thickens!”
“Believe me when I say we’re much better to you as allies than enemies.”
A laugh escaped Sharkey’s thin lips. “Very sure o’ yourself, aren’t you mate?”
“Not really. I just know I’m not afraid to pull the trigger, nor am I afraid of triggers being pulled against me.”
Although he tried to hide it, a look of admiration passed across Sharkey. He liked Ryan’s fortitude, especially when he’d spent the last few months surrounded by yes men who challenged him on nothing. Despite the fact he felt he already knew the answer, he was compelled to ask Ryan the question anyway. “Why’d you escape the safe zone? Food, water, and shelter given to you every day—some might think you were mad for giving that up.”
“Live under the say-so of the military? Fuck that for a laugh! Not when I could live in whatever way I wanted out here. A few blood thirsty monsters and rebels weren’t gonna put me off.”
“Exactly why I didn’t even bother wi’ t’safe zones from t’start!”.
“You’ve been outside the whole time?”
“I had an empire t’run. Couldn’t very well run it wi’ t’military all over me. Had to change me line o’ business like, though that were hardly a big trade to stay on top.”
“And what is your line of business?”
“Survival and control; the more I control the easier survival is.”
“Tough to argue with that.”
“Alright, I’ve got things t’be getting’ on with. I’ll have a good think about what you’ve told me and get back to you.”
“Fair enough,” Ryan mumbled with an uncertain grimace. With nothing left to say, he made his way towards the door only to turn his head when Sharkey spoke again.
“By the way, what’s your name, kidder?”
“Ryan. Ryan Lloyd.”
Sharkey simply nodded in reply and gestured towards the door.
TO BE CONTINUED
Read ASAS: Consequence–Chapter Two now!