Journey of Destitute by Rahne Kallon
Geo dropped to his knees, panting with exhaustion as his feet gave out. His body ached from the twenty-mile trek since he'd journeyed towards Denver. He hated the thought of walking such a long distance, but with scarce fuel and few working vehicles around, the cougar made do. He had to.
It wasn't like he could track the nearest stranger and ask them for help; with valuable resources limited in their entirety, most everyone who wasn't part of an established community had adopted an 'every man for himself' mentality. In some ways it worked. In most ways it didn't. It made denizens greedy. Selfish. It even drove many insane, because they were so desperate. They were called Hoarders. So he made sure to keep to himself whenever he could, though even he himself was down to his last supplies. At least he still had a means to defend himself with his knife, his rifle and his pistol. Though ammunition, of course, was also scarce.
It was said that Denver was a safe haven, one of the few major cities still intact. Though many people believed that to be just a rumour, and didn't think it was worth the long journey there. Geo thought otherwise. What else could you do when you've wandered from city to city, trying to survive? He had to go to Denver, to see if the rumours were true. It gave him more hope than anything else at this point. It was that hope that pushed him this far.
Even as his muscles throbbed, he had to go on. He looked up to see a road sign a couple feet away. Twenty miles until he reached Denver. He sighed heavily. "Twenty...miles..." he panted. "Come on...get up," he said to himself, grunting as he struggled to his feet.
He didn't have much time to waste; it was getting dark, which was the worst possible time to be making a trek like this, as that's when the hoarders were most likely to attack.
He glanced over his shoulder and could still see the horizon of the city he just left, surprised that he'd made it this far already. "Gotta keep moving..." he said, taking a deep breath as he marched forward toward his destination.
Suddenly, he heard rapid footsteps approaching; someone running, moving fast. He quickly took hold of his assault rifle, turning on its flashlight to illuminate his sights. His breathing rapid and nervous, he wavered slightly with his rifle. Still having a long way to go, the last thing he wanted to do was use any ammo, but it was always the surest way to put down a hoarder, and much less risky than using his knife
The footsteps came closer and a shriek turned his attention back behind him to see some sort of canine with obvious intent. Geo's body shook and he nearly fumbled with his rifle. Before he could put him down, a bullet whizzed by and dropped the assailant in a pile of gravel.
Geo quickly turned back around, aiming his rifle at the truck full of camo-clad individuals.
"Calm down, calm down. We're friendly," one of them, a gray fox, spoke as he stood up in the vehicle.
Geo sighed heavily, lowering his rifle.
"Are you alright?" the vulpine asked.
"Yeah..." Geo said, still exhausted. "Yeah, I'm okay. What are you guys doing here?"
"We're from Denver. We were doing a routine search and rescue for survivors around the area."
Geo looked at him, shocked. "You're... from Denver?" He quickly padded up to the truck.
"We are. A good chunk of the city's still intact. We've taken up refuge in the Doubletree Hotel."
"So the rumours were true..."
The fox nodded. "You'll be safe there. Come on." He offered a paw.
"Thank you," Geo said, smiling for the first time in days as the vulpine pulled him into the vehicle.