I have no idea what year it is. It’s been decades since the earth was enveloped in nuclear fire, that much I can tell you for sure. A lifetime ago I was known as Kent Wayne, goofy muscly guy and writer, but now I have been forced into a life of necessity. I’m a post-apocalyptic barbarian warrior. On my steel dune buggy I ride.
Countless miles pass beneath my atomically powered wheels. This vehicle was initially designed to provide a fast-moving platform on which to explore Mars. I’ve stripped it down to the bare essentials; completely junked the atmospheric protection suite, added a nitrous boost, as well as a few jerry-rigged machine guns. No armor—the buggy’s strength is in its superior maneuverability.
Desolate ranges stretch before me. As I navigate their crumbly surface, I reach over to a worn satchel, withdrawing a strip of mantis jerky (after the Great Fire, praying mantises got bigger, eventually reaching the size of a full-grown labrador retriever). The bitter, earthy taste of insect floods my mouth. Up ahead, a cloud of dust crawls toward the horizon.
Uh-oh—a fleet of vehicles.
I park the buggy and leave the engine running. As the fleet approaches, its dust cloud expands and hazes over the sun. I reflexively check the crossed longswords I keep sheathed on my back, making sure I can draw them quickly, and flex my robotic right hand a couple of times. It’s skeletal-looking fibers creak and mutter as my fingers move, but they still work, praise Akanax.
The vehicles stop as well. I see the banner they’re flying and my jaw tightens. Red Sand Marauders.
Their leader steps out of a retooled Corvette, waving his hand in front of his face, grinning and coughing under his spiked leather helmet. “Ho traveler! That’s a fine buggy you have there!”
“Not for sale,” I deadpan.
“Didn’t ask if it was,” he replies. His grin grows wider. “Think we’ll just take it from you and have nonconsensual intercourse with your face and your butt.”
This causes me to emit a single harsh bark of laughter. “It’s been eons since I’ve considered myself anything but a walking dead man. Do your worst. You might manage to kill me, but I guarantee you I’ll take scores of you down.”
A flicker of uncertainty passes across his leather-surrounded eyes. “A trade, then. Perhaps we can tempt you with some of our wares for a bit of that nuclear spark you’ve got in your Mars buggy.”
“Doubtful,” I say. “But let me see what you’ve got.”
He makes a quick gesture with his right hand, and one of their freight trucks open up. I see a chained, voluptuous figure inside. I’m not sure what horrors she’s endured, but it seems they’ve put her through quite the rough patch. At first I look indifferently at her, but then memories of my past crash into me like waves: the battles we’ve shared, laughs above wind-blown beaches, the epic lovemaking that launched me to internet fame and turned me into a He-God, the moments of quiet peace as we read comics or watched episodes of Justice League Unlimited…
Soccer Mom Prime.
I lock eyes with her, and it’s clear that she has no memory of what we shared. Only befuddled confusion dances in her eyes.
I try to keep the rage out of my voice as I address the Marauder leader: “Let her go.”
He cocks his head, puzzled. “We will. But first give us some of that fire you’ve got in your buggy.”
I get back in the driver’s seat. He watches me, still puzzled. “You want fire?” I ask. “YOU’VE GOT IT!” I gun the throttle and activate my gatlings. A storm of metal spits toward the Marauders. I’ve mowed down dozens before they take cover behind their vehicles and start firing back. They’re still hundreds left, Crom dammit. I’m done for, unless…
I whiz by the freight truck, take out my eReader, and open it to Echo. Magic flash.
A blaze of energy leaps from the eReader and arcs into Soccer Mom Prime’s eyes. Eldritch light pours from her mouth and palms as her memories and power come flooding back. She stands up, a figure made of living lightning, and breaks her chains with an easy flex of her arms.
“I know everything!” she screams. “I AM everything!!! RUAHHHHHH!!!”
The hottie energy-being takes flight from her prison, hovering over the field of battle. Alarmed cries erupt from the Marauders as she hangs in the air, lightning bolts streaking down from the sky and crackling across her body. The air turns rank with ozone.
She raises her arms and a giant T-rex head made of pure fire appears before her. It begins chowing down on the Marauders, enveloping them in flames and crunching their bones. Screams litter the gray-sand desert, along with flaming, flailing bodies.
I cut the engine to my buggy, step out, and raise the dust-goggles off my face, watching in awe.
When she’s finished, all the raiders have been burnt to a crisp. She levitates down to me, once again flesh and blood. She grasps my face with both hands, plants a hard kiss on my lips, then snaps her fingers. The remains of the raiders’ vehicles form into robot-velociraptors. Grinning, we both hop on our new dino-steeds, then ride off into the blood-red sunset. Akanax be praised! The adventures of Barbarian Man Child and Soccer Mom Prime continue!
What if you’re in a post-apocalyptic wasteland and the only way to reunite with your soul mate is through the power of Echo? Just sayin’. Get Echo Vol. 1 on Kindle here: Vol. 1 on Kindle. Vol. 2 on Kindle here: Vol.2 on Kindle Vol. 3 on Kindle here: Vol. 3 on Kindle #kindle #kindleunlimited