Just looking at the landscape, you wouldn’t think such a terrible thing had happened. It looks so beautiful and peaceful. Without cars and the sounds of a big city, the world has become so much quieter, filled with the sounds of mother nature instead.
I figure the best way to find food is to go fishing. It’s funny, I’ve never been fond of seafood but it’s what I’ve been living off of for a while now because canned food gets more scarce with each passing day. I’ve always loved fishing, though. While other children dreamed of being astronauts and doctors, I dreamed of being a fisherman, spending my days on a boat under the sun while catching all manner of fish. It seemed like a dream life, but now it just feels like a dream.
I sat there for a couple hours without a single bite. Was I getting rusty? No, it had only been eight days since I last got to fish. Skills don’t disappear that quickly. I can see fish in the water, though there aren’t as many as I’ve seen in other places. That worries me.
I felt a tug on the line and relief flooded me as I reeled it in, but unfortunately, I had hooked onto a fallen log, not a fish.
Frustrated, I tossed it off to the side, not wanting to further pollute the water. I was just about to cast the line into the water again when a voice screamed at me from behind.
“Hello there! Haven’t seen you before!”
I nearly jumped out of my skin, whirling around to find a strange man standing behind me. I hadn’t even heard him approaching! I scowled at him, “Don’t sneak up on people!”
He only laughed in response. “Sorry, did I scare ya?”
“No,” I scoffed, stomping my foot in anger, but I don’t think he believed me when he laughed again. “Can I help you with something?”
“Hmm,” he tilted his head as he observed me for a moment before stepping closer, getting uncomfortably close to my face. “You’re new here, ain’t cha?”
I huffed, not backing down as I straightened my back. “Yeah, so what?”
He hummed, rubbing his chin. “Have ya met the mayor yet?”
“There’s a mayor here?”
“Yup! He’s supposedly the first person to settle in Murkland but there’s a rumor he killed the first settler.”
“Sounds like someone I should avoid,” I muttered. Then again… if anyone has information about the people coming through Murkland, it’d be the mayor. “Where can I find this… mayor?”
The man squinted at me, leaning forward until there were mere inches between our foreheads. “Why would ya wanna find him?”
“I have questions that he might be able to answer.”
“I wouldn’t go around askin’ questions, missy,” he responded quickly, his voice deep and his face blank beneath the tattoos. “That’s dangerous, especially for an outsider. Ya better be careful.”
“Are you threatening me?” I questioned angrily, shoving him away from me. My fists clenched at my sides and I tried to resist the urge to punch him.
“Nah, I’m not threatening you, missy, just trying to protect ya.”
“Protect me? From what?” I scoffed. “I’m more than capable of protecting myself.”
He glanced at the scar on the right side of my face, mostly hidden by my bangs. “I’m sure ya can, but the Murklanders are loyal to their own and they don’t take kindly to outsiders. If ya go around asking questions, you’ll end up in a… messy situation. I’ve seen it happen too many times.”
My anger started to subside and I felt bad for blowing up at him. I thought I had my anger issues under control but they’ve slowly been getting harder to control since all this started. Then again, they’ve saved me on more than a couple occasions. I cleared my throat, shifting my weight from one foot to the other.
“I… I’m sorry for snapping at you. I’m a little on edge…”
He smiled, waving me off. “We all are, don’t cha worry about it. Just be careful out here.”
“I will, thank you. I’m Makoto, by the way. Makoto Sears.”
“Name’s Gash. Pleasure to meet cha, missy!” he responded with a toothy grin. “Welcome to Murkland.”