After the last total-earth war, much of human and animal life disappeared and much of earth was left uninhabitable. However, there was an area in the western hemisphere's west that escaped devastation and some survivors found their way to that area. What was originally a refugee camp became a city called Westra. The fledgling society suffered growing pains. Most disturbing to Westrians was the legal system that favored criminals, a situation that led to Vigilantism. Bartol, a policeman by day, was a driven, violent vigilante by night.
At midnight, Bartol stood with his back against the wall of his building and looked down the empty, twelve-lane Westrian thoroughfare. He heard footsteps, tightened his grip on his dissector, and spun around. "Jona! Jeez. You scared the hell out of me. I could have killed you. Don't ever sneak up on an armed man."
"I was testing you. I wanted to see if my partner was on his toes."
"Okay, I'm on my toes, so let's go. Vermin are waiting to be exterminated."
"Okay, partner, let's find a vehitrac. It's too bad we can't use our police vehitrac. They're faster than those public jobs."
"Unfortunately, vigilantes don't have access to police vehitracs…yet. Come on," he said and they went to a cul-de-sac where vehitracs for public use were parked. After finding a 'V' model with a bubble top, Jona released the bubble top, and dropped into the passenger seat. Bartol lowered himself behind the control panel and ordered the computer to close the bubble top. Then he ordered the computer to open the bubble. "Good. Everything works."
"Now, let's go kill some scum, Jona," he said, pressed the ignition button, and from the side of each seat, belts shot out and secured them.
"Okay, Jona. Activate your night-vision implant," he said and each man pressed a small node behind his right ear.
"We're off," Bartol said and directed the vehitrac computer to move the vehitrac to the Eastway, where they would find their prey. "Okay, Jona, I'm going to switch to remote cognicontrol," he said and inserted a small, metal nodule in his right ear, enabling him to use his thoughts to control the vehitrac.
"Keep your eyes open, Jona. We're moving into the badlands. Remember, their favorite trick is to throw the body of an unlucky tourist into the path of a vehitrac. Keep your eyes open for packs. They never work alone
"Bartol! Look! Up ahead. About 600 yards."
Bartol stopped the vehitrac, and took his ocular magnifier from a pouch on his belt and looked through it. "Boy, they are scary. One man is very muscular, has a beard, long hair, and is naked from the waist up, and he's wearing knee-high boots. Another man also has a beard and long hair but is wearing a long, baggy robe. The girl is very tall and very heavy. She is wearing black tights that accentuate her muscular legs. She is wearing a belt-like strip of material that crosses her chest in an X. A very scary pack of vermin. The big male's looking through an ocular magnifier in our direction. Now, they're bending over something on the ground. I'm sure they've got a body, and I'm sure they saw us. They'll wait for us to get close and then they'll throw the body in front of our vehitrac to disable it...they think."
"What's your plan?" Jona asked.
They don't know that we can see them hiding in the shadows. We'll move forward and stop just far enough away from them so that they can't hit us with the body. Hopefully, they'll come out into the open, and then we'll spring the bubble, go after them and slaughter them."
The three looked toward the vehitrac. "I hope there's a woman in there. I haven't had a woman to play with in a long time. Whaddaya think? D' ya think there's a woman?" the robed man said excitedly.
"First things first," the big man said. "Get the body ready. They'll be in range pretty soon. As soon as the vehitrac runs into the body, you run to the vehitrac and drag the driver out," he said to the female. We'll get the others."
"They're moving, Bartol They think we can't see them. Boy are they in for a surprise."
"Get ready. They're almost here," the big man said.
"Okay, Jona, this is where we stop and wait."
"What the hell are they doing?" the woman said.
"They ain't movin'," the robed man said. "Are we just gonna stand here and wait? C'mon, I need a woman."
"You little twerp. Is sex all you think about?"
"At least I know how to think, pig."
"Why you little…"
"What the hell's wrong with you two? We ain't here to fight with each other," the big man said. We want what's in that vehitrac," he said and looked through his ocular magnifier. The vehitrac's coming. On my signal, we move out. You be ready to pull the driver out," he told the girl. "Okay, let's go," he said, they ran toward the vehitrac, and the big man threw the body. Bartol stopped the vehitrac and the body landed well before the stopped vehitrac.
"What th'...?" the big man grunted. "That's it. Whoever they are, they're dead meat. Let's get 'em" he growled and the three rushed toward the vehitrac.
"Get ready, Jona. I'm going to pop the hatch. You get out fast and get the guy in the robe. I'll follow and get the big guy. Ready?"
"What about the girl? She's moving toward your side of the vehitrac, and she looks tough."
"We'll get the two guys first and then the girl. They're getting close. Get ready. On three, Bartol popped the bubble top and Jona jumped out. The sight of Jona jumping out stopped the two men and girl in their tracks for a second. In that second, Jona fired his dissector and hit the robed man, who fell to the ground in hundreds of bloody pieces. The big man moved back into the shadows. Bartol jumped out and saw the big man in the shadows. As he was about to yell to Jona, the girl rushed up on his side, reached up, and grabbed Bartol around the neck. Bartol tried to pull her hands away from his throat, but he couldn't break her grip, and she pulled back, forcing Bartol against the edge of the opening of the vehitrac. Bartol stopped fighting and let her pull him out of the vehitrac. He flew out of the vehitrac and landed on the her. For a moment, she was dazed, and in that moment, Bartol jumped up and reached into the vehitrac to get his weapon. He almost had his hand on his dissector when the girl pulled him from the vehitrac and threw him to the ground. She moved quickly toward the dazed Bartol but didn't see Jona come up behind her. He hit her on the side of her head with the butt of his dissector, and she stumbled and fell to the ground. As she fell, Bartol regained his senses, and hit her in the face with the butt of his weapon. "I'll come back to kill you later," he said.
"Bartol, I'm going after the big man. You kill the girl."
Jona moved slowly toward the shadows. The big man charged from the shadows screaming Jona fired, but the razors from the dissector missed the man, who somersaulted toward him knocked him to the ground, and grabbed him around the neck. "You're too slow, tourist. Now, I'm gonna rip your head off and then I'm gonna pull your heart out."
After knocking the girl out, Bartol ran quickly toward Jona and the big man, hit the man on the head with the butt of his dissector. The big man loosened his grip on Jona, and Jona rolled away as Bartol fired his dissector and the big man fell to the ground in a pile of hundreds of bloody body pieces.
"BARTOL, THE GIRL!" Jona yelled seeing the girl stumbling toward them.
The men rushed toward her and Jona hit her at the knees with his body. As she fell forward, Bartol hit her in the face with his fist and knocked her out.
"Now, Bartol, now. Kill her, and let's get th' hell out of here."
Bartol stared at the girl. As she started to move, Bartol stepped on her throat. The girl uttered an animal-like growl and tried to move Bartol's foot from her throat, but he dug his boot into her neck, and she gasped as blood oozed from her mouth.
"Look at her, Jona, she bleeds."
"C'mon, Bartol, kill her and let's get out of here."
Jona looked around nervously. "There could be more of them. C'mon."
Bartol looked at Jona, smiled, and looked back at the girl. "Sure Jona, sure. We'll get out of here, but first I have to exterminate this vermin. Hey, vermin, you're going to die," Bartol laughed, brought his boot down hard on her face, and blood poured from her mouth and nose. Then, he bent down to within a few inches of her face. "Hey, bitch, wake up. Wake up! It's time to die," Bartol chuckled. The girl opened her eyes slowly and moaned.
"Good. Your awake. See this?" Bartol said as he put the muzzle of the dissector in her face. "This is the last thing you're going to see, scum," he said, and stepped back from the semi-conscious girl. "Are you watching?" he said, pointed the dissector at the girl, and fired. She was sliced into hundreds of bloody body parts that fell into a pile in front of Bartol and Jona. Bartol stared at the unrecognizable pieces of bloody body parts and laughed out loud.
Jona grabbed Bartol's arm and pulled him away from the remains of the girl, and both climbed into the vehitrac.
"What do you say we get the hell out of here, Bartol."
"Yeah. Boy that was fun. We'll have to do it again tomorrow night," he said and directed the computer to speed away.
BIO: Saul Greenblatt
While teaching at a community college, Mr. Greenblatt wrote stories and stage plays, one of which won a Smith College playwriting competition. Since retiring in 2000, he has been writing short stories, novellas, and novels. Some of his short stories have been published on line, and others in print anthologies.