This is a short story based upon the events of a recent Dystopia Rising game. Dystopia Rising is a Live Action Roleplaying game run by the company Eschaton Media. They are amazing and you should check them out. They also have a tabletop game for the world too. Anyway, the world is owned and run by them. The characters in here are my own and the character of a good friend of mine. It took me awhile to write, but I finally have it down. Please enjoy.
The Iron sat quietly at the steps of the double tap. It was supposed to be cold. It was always cold after X-mas. This year, however, Jeanie had left her coat and scarf down at the lakefront cabin where she was staying.
Jeanie’s gaze wandered over to her hands. She stared at them for a moment before slowly pulling the worn gloves off.
Her hands were worn with age. For a young woman, it was clear that she had worked with her hands her whole life. Scars from old burns, time working at forges. Her palms were covered in thick callouses. The Iron flipped her hands over. The knuckles were thick and calloused. On her left hand was a scar from where she had once been branded.
“Fucking confederates,” she muttered, balling her left hand into a fist.
Her gaze wandered up to the trees, past the CBGB (or whatever they were calling it now), over to the path and then the trees beyond it. Her gaze stopped. She swallowed a moment and shook her head before quickly looking down, back to her hands.
“No!” She reached down and grabbed a handful of dirt from the ground at her feet, just below the concrete step. She frantically began to rub it into her hands, scrubbing away at… something…
And then she stopped. Brushed her hands off. Stood up.
Without a second thought, she quickly made her way down towards the path. Her steps faltered just outside CBGB, but only for a moment. Then she just hurried along. She didn’t stop to say hi to everyone crafting right outside the Kennel. She didn’t stop to talk to the Merican’s in the radio tower field. Nor did she wave to Antigone, Stew, and… not Antigone (Jeanie could never remember the girl’s name). She just hurried along.
She made her way down to the field at GDI. She walked past the building that used to be her home, back when Doc Thomas was around. Back when she had been given the Thomas family name. The building had not felt like home in awhile.
She hurried her way over to the Sainthood church. On the left side of the building, the brush had been cleared away. There were still remnants of the burial mound. The ground had been frozen, so you could still see what had happened.
Jeanie screamed, slammed her fist into the wall. She sighed. Shook her head and turned to sit, leaning against the side of the building.
“I miss you.” The Iron pat the ground where Caleb was buried underneath her. “I wish you weren’t gone. Yossarian said you’re not really gone. Just in some train station or something listening to us talk about you. It was a good story but I don’t like the part about the train station.”
Jeanie shook her head and sat in silence for a little bit.
She looked over at her old home.
She glanced over at the scarecrow.
Her gaze wandered to the ground she sat on.
“I never did tell you the story of my name.”
Jeanie looked up at the sky.
“Jeanie Thomas. That’s my name. Well, now it is. But, you knew the number part. The Thomas part is easy. Doc Thomas adopted me. I’m his daughter now. So I get a family name.
“Is that the March part? Did you get adopted by a family named March?”
“That’s not the important part. The important part is the story behind Jeanie.
“I told you about the Iron Works. About Big Sis.” Jeanie paused and chuckled. “You were there when I asked the slavers from the Aysea if they knew of her. Too bad we couldn’t remember Emily’s number. Too bad we couldn’t find her together. I know you wanted to do that.
“Back at the Iron Works, before she was sold, Big Sis used to tell me this story. It was interesting and her stories helped me stay out of trouble. This was my favorite. That’s why I remember it.
“There is this big dessert. Out around Vegasia. Oddfellow told me about it out there. Its alot of sand everywhere. And its really really hot. I don’t know what Lone Star was like, but maybe it was hot like Lone Star. I know that Iron Works got really hot during the summer by the forges of the assembly lines. Anyway, Vegasia is run by a group of people called the Rat Pack. At least, that is what I was told in the story.
“There is a guy that lives there named Aladdin. And not the King’s Court Aladdin who hangs out with Doctor House all the time. I asked him. He said he doesn’t know anything about the story so it can’t be him. Then again he thought I was named after a song of the court.
“Anyway, his name is Aladdin and he doesn’t get along with the Rat Pack very well. He would keep getting in trouble from them and it made him unhappy. So he would go out to the dessert and not deal with them and then come back at night.
“One day, he went out into the dessert and it is super hot and dry out there. He gets very thirsty and he forgot to bring his water. I think he brought water. I mean I know fish fuck in it and all but it helped me when I was working at a forge in the hot summer. Maybe it helped him. Anyway, he finds a bottle of hooch. And he’s thirsty so he opens it and goes to drink from it. But inside is no hooch. Inside is a guy named Genie.
“I don’t really know how he fits inside the bottle of hooch. Maybe he’s a remnant and that’s his thing. Or maybe he’s a free radical and he evolved to fit in the bottle! That would be really cool. But anyway, he lives in the bottle. The problem is that he has to help whoever owns the bottle and he can only go wherever his bottle is. Almost like he was a slave…”
She took a deep breath before continuing. “But he and Aladdin were friends and they helped each other out. Genie liked helping people out. He even helped Aladdin not be hated by the Rat Pack anymore. Aladdin was so happy that he found a way to make it so that Genie could do what he wanted and go where he wanted and not worry about the bottle anymore.
“He made Genie free.”
Jeanie stopped talking. She had tears sliding down her cheeks.
“I wanted to be like the genie in the story. I wanted to be free but I had to stay in the Iron Works. I got to Hayven and I met you. And you… you helped me.
“You helped me not be afraid of slavers and the Iron Works coming for me. You helped me calm down after the Confederacy took us and chained us up and branded us. You always made everything better.”
Jeanie shook her head. “I wanted to be like genie but I’m not. I’m not as good as genie. You are. You are the best person I ever knew. You helped everyone. I wish I could be as good as you, but I’m not. I’m not that good at all.”
Jeanie looked down at the ground underneath her. She didn’t stop the tears from sliding down her cheeks.
“I wish I could be like you.”