In the Desert Blooms New Life
"There was something
in his eyes that said he was broken ........ something that said he was not
going to make it another step under the scorching desert sun where he had been
wandering aimlessly without water for too long. Max Rockatansky, once a devoted
family man, once a loyal cop, once a reluctant hero, was about to become food
for the vultures.
He'd lost track of how many days had passed since he'd been ambushed by more marauders than he could handle. He had lost his bike, his equipment and supplies and had barely escaped with his life, a few weapons and a single canteen into the desert.
Now he was hopelessly lost, and it was time to stop being the ultimate survivor. -- After all, -- he thought. -- Why bother? Why have I gone on fighting to live all these years after the apocalypse, after my Jesse and Sprog were killed? To help a ragtag lot of oil hoarders escape that psycho and his gang? To help those pain in the ass kids find their tomorrow-morrow land? Not good enough. Didn't find one real reason to *want* to live either time. Circumstance just blew me into their paths, and my goddamned nice guy instincts kicked in to help them. And look where it got me? Dying in this fucking sun, alone, as usual. --
When his boot hit the sand for the last time, he crumbled in defeat, too weak to go on. His last conscious thought was not of death but, "Guess I shoulda gotten laid in Bartertown when I had the chance."
Hours passed before he woke in cool shade. He was in another one of those underground bunkers, he sensed immediately, but this time there wasn't any gangly man and his snot-nosed kid. This time there was a woman, or maybe more of a girl, and she was staring at him warily from a few feet away.
Not a thought entered his mind to say g'day or ask where he was. He didn't care. Only one thing was on his mind. He was tied. "I won't hurt ya," he rasped through his dry swollen throat. "You can untie me."
The woman/girl didn't answer, but she pushed over a small bowl of water to him.
The water was desperately needed, but he continued to stare at her in what he hoped was an unthreatening way. She was obviously terrified, -- Smart kid, -- he thought, but thankfully for him she still had compassion for fellow man, especially a man she had made defenseless.
He was so defenseless he couldn't even reach his one weapon he was sure she wouldn't have found on him. He couldn't even stand. His arms were pulled tight behind him, and his legs were trussed up behind him in a painful bowing of his back. Just like an animal about to be slaughtered.
-- Oh shit! -- he suddenly thought, -- Cannibal? -- But when his gaze fell on shelves filled with canned and dried food, he breathed an inner sigh of relief that if he was meant to be food too, it probably wasn't going to happen right away. Max no longer felt like dying, especially not in that way.
"Well," she finally spoke a word. "If ya ain't gonna drink, I'll take it back."
"No!" he tried to shout, but it came out in more of a hoarse cry, and his face fell into the bowl to slurp up the life-saving water like an animal.
A few minutes passed while he lapped up every drop he could get on his tongue, and then his head fell back, exhausted once more. "I mean it kid. I won't hurt ya," he tried again.
"Yeah right," she snorted. "That's why my folks are still alive and not buried out back. 'Cuz they trusted a stranger like you."
"Then why ya bring me here?" he asked, being careful to keep eye contact with her.
"Dunno," she grunted quietly and looked at the floor, becoming uncomfortable at those blue eyes daring her to trust them.
"How long ya been alone?" he asked next. Max had a pretty good idea of the reason why he was there now. Loneliness was a strong motivation for people to take chances.
"None of yer business," she snapped and left the room.
Even trussed up and helpless, Max was able to sleep eventually. His instincts told him he was safe, and he'd learned a long time ago to trust his gut when it came to safety. Night fell, although he couldn't tell in the underground room, and the girl came back with more water for him.
"I'm Max," he said, after he drank it all down. "What's yer name?"
"Lizzy," she answered while she checked the binds. She could see where he had been struggling to free himself from the raw redness around his wrists, and it made her wince in sympathy.
"How long ya gonna keep me tied, Lizzy? I'm gonna have to take a piss soon."
Her face scrunched up at that thought. "Dunno," she shrugged and sat back down. "Gotta be careful. Got a nice place here. 'Course, it would be nicer if someone hadn't blown up Bartertown where my folks and I traded."
Max's eyes widened. -- Great, -- he thought. -- If she finds out who I am, she'll probably slit my throat. --"So," he asked in an effort to appear casual, although he was beginning to wonder if Aunty Entity would come sauntering in at any moment now. "How far are ya from where Bartertown was?"
"Two days ride."
"Ride?" His interest perked up even more. "Ya got a vehicle?"
"Yeah, my dad was a whiz at making our own fuel. Didn't need to trade for it at Bartertown. Maybe it's good it got blown anyways. Dad said it was getting too dangerous. Didn't even wanna bring me anymore 'cuz most of the few women they had as whores were sick. Said me and Mom were attracting too much interest 'cuz we stayed clean here with our spring water."
-- Spring water? Lucky bastards finding that in the Wasteland. -- But it was another thought that really gripped him, an urgent need starting in the pit of his stomach at the mention of women and whores.
"How old are ya?" And boy oh boy did Max try to sound casual again.
"46." -- Still a kid, but definitely a woman, -- he thought, as his eyes glanced down at noticing for the first time the swell of full breasts under her loose shirt.
Yes, he was feeling it now, alright. It had been much too long since he'd lain with a woman, years actually. Max had just never had a desire to tempt fate with a diseased whore. The man had simply never felt like having his dick rot and fall off once the hospitals and clinics had been stripped clean of any and all antibiotics.
This girl was most likely clean, though, living a sheltered life like this. Plus, as an added bonus, she was very pretty and just barely old enough for him to not feel like a letch. Not that it should have mattered, he knew. If she were willing, age was no longer an issue after the apocalypse. Hell, for most men, 'willing' wasn't even an issue either. It still was for Max, however. She'd be willing or he'd go without. He wasn't about to sink to that level too.
"Lizzy," he said in his gentlest tone. "I really need to .... you know. Take one of my guns. You can hold it on me. Shoot me if I make a wrong move."
"Yeah," was all she said, as she loosened the bindings on his hands and jumped back with a pistol of her own that she kept trained firmly on him.
Max tried not to smile as he undid the binds and stood, stretching his cramped body. He also tried not to look too closely at her, although he wanted to smile in amusement at such a slip of a girl ... woman, he reminded himself, that held a gun on him that for all he knew didn't work anymore and was just an idle threat. Hell, his own guns were idle threats too. He was out of ammo from his last firefight.
Glancing up, he could even see in her big brown eyes that she didn't want to shoot him. That if he tried, he could probably take the gun right out of her hand before she knew what hit her and then do whatever he wanted. She wasn't a killer. She was cautious, of course, but she was too lonely to want to pull that trigger.
Lizzy was lucky that out of all the men she could have stumbled upon in her daily walk through the Wasteland that she had stumbled upon Max Rockatansky, a man who was certainly a killer, but a man who only killed in defense of himself or other helpless people.
The gun was waved at him when he finished stretching, motioning him out of the room, and he easily found the stairway to the surface, where he took a long look around at her home. Completely isolated, desert all around, with rock outcroppings where he could see camouflage netting hiding her vehicle.
"Anywhere specific ya want me to go?" he turned and asked her. Max didn't particularly want to annoy the girl by taking a leak in her front yard.
"Over there," she pointed to another bunch of rocks.
"Thanks," he nodded and walked over, turned his back, did his business and walked back.
"Look. Just to show ya can trust me, I'll hand over the knife ya didn't find when ya took my stuff."
This time it was Lizzy's eyes that widened, having been sure she had searched him well when he was unconscious. She watched in fascination, as he dug deep into a hidden slit in his leather jacket, pulled out a very thin knife and handed it to her, handle first.
"God I'm stupid," she sighed and lowered the gun.
"Nahhhh," he smiled. "Ya just got better instincts than your folks. Come on, show me around the rest of yer place, if ya don't mind sharing."
Smiling hesitantly, she turned her back on him to descend the ladder, and Max suddenly had to control himself not to reach out and grab her ass. -- Oh yeah, -- he thought. -- If she's willing, finally be able to give my hand a rest. --
Twenty minutes later he'd seen almost everything there was, except for her bunk room and the room they were in now. The whole place was quite large, and they were standing in the upper level where he was struggling not to be surprised at what was moving around in the furthest corner.
Pigs! There was a pen full of pigs of various sizes. - Well, now I know where she gets her fuel from, - he chuckled to himself at remembering how they did it at Bartertown and understanding what she had meant when she had said her Dad was a whiz.
Above him he heard a strange noise, and he looked over to see her working a pulley and winch system that was pulling back the roof of just that room to let in fresh air. "My parents did it all," she explained. "They expanded the bunker and made this top level so we could have air and sunlight for the pigs and the vegetable garden. I only keep it open when I'm up top to keep a look out."
-- Smart kid, -- he thought again followed by, -- Garden?! -- And he looked over into another corner and saw what he had thought were just plants but was actually a large garden of ripe vegetables.
Instantly he rushed over and reached for a large tomato, pausing only a second to see her nod at him with a smile. That tomato turned out to be the best piece of damned food he'd eaten in years. And Max was so happy chomping on it while grinning in delight, that juice was running down his face in his haste to eat it all.
"Let me," she said in a shy whisper that was almost a question.
-- Huh? -- he thought in confusion until he saw her hand reach up and wipe the corner of his mouth.
That grin of delight quickly turned into a grin of something else. With a knowing look, he offered her a bite of the tomato where he hadn't yet touched, and she gave him the same look back. Very deliberately, she turned his hand around and placed her lips around a piece that had touched his own lips, sucked it into her mouth, and then bit it off with a light nibble. Her eyes never left his.
"Lizzy," he groaned deep in his throat. "I can't make no promises. Ya do got a great place here, but I've been on the road so long, not sure if I can stop."
Her eyes turned sad at his honesty, but she nodded gratefully. "I understand. You're looking for something? Family?"
"No," and his own eyes turned sad. "No family." But Max looked even closer at her face, saw a faint resemblance in the dark frizzy hair that his Jessie had had, and he wondered if he could stop moving aimlessly and settle down in what seemed to be a nice safe place. Max had actually been willing to stop moving once when he had come across those wild kids in their little desert paradise, but fate had changed all that and put him on the road alone again, and that had pretty much made him think that he would never be allowed to find peace until he died.
"No promises," he repeated. "But I won't leave ya alone. Come with me where ever I go."
At his words, relief flooded her that she wouldn't be used and abandoned. She trusted him, and Lizzy wouldn't have cared how ugly or old he may have been instead, she had just wanted a healthy companion to fill the long lonely days and nights. And now, under the intense gaze of his beautiful blue eyes, she was swaying in a swirl of unfamiliar emotions. This man was certainly not ugly or old, she sighed inwardly, and for the first time since her parents were killed, she found a measure of true happiness again.
So did Max.
He reached out and brushed a stray strand of hair from her face, and from the way she was looking at him, in a heart-felt way he hadn't seen from a woman since his wife, he suddenly knew he wouldn't be leaving ..... ever. He did want to stay right there. Keep her safe. Make her happy. Fill her with his child. It would bring him the peace that he had earned. It would bring him the love that he had lost.
His arms opened, she stepped eagerly into them, and they laughed together when he rumbled softly by her ear, "So, what ya got for a bed 'round here?"
~*~ FINIS ~*~
TITLE: "In the Desert
Blooms New Life"
CHALLENGE: Use "There was something in his eyes that said he was broken..." for the opening line.
FANDOM: Mad Max
RATING: PG -13 (I think) for language
DISCLAIMER: The usual - I don't own them, not trying to make any profit, etc, etc.
FEEDBACK: Absolutely! And constructive criticism is much appreciated on or off-list.