Mournseeker is a story that I started based on a random idea I had for a line of dialogue. I don’t remember when I had the idea for the dialogue, but I started the story last July and didn’t write past about 3.5k due to unsurety about the worldbuilding (which is super cool but doesn’t line up with any of my other universes and thus I’d have to design from scratch). It’s sort of a western dystopian story, the MC is a gunslinger, what I know of the world is super cool, reading over it again I really enjoyed the writing voice I used, and it’s just generally a cool idea (and the first of a planned trilogy).
Anyway, compounds are a cool thing in this world, so I intended to have a scene in which Gen and Reyce (the two MCs) enter Warden Compound, but then there was a mishap and… well, just read and find out.
Concrete walls loomed up above Gen, a welcome sight after the bleak journey now behind them. Her wounds stung as dust blew into them and she looked forward to a chance to rest and recuperate in someplace at least marginally safe. She glanced over at Reyce, who gave her a weary smile, still heavily favoring his right leg.
Gen took a deep breath and stepped up to the barred gate, one hand on a pistol, and addressed the guard. “Hello. I’m Gen Hartley, this is Reyce-”
The guard cut her off. “ID?”
Gen dug around in her jacket pocket and finally pulled out her battered ID card, showing it to the guard. He looked it over and passed it back.
“And his?” The guard jutted his chin toward Reyce.
“I don’t have mine,” Reyce said.
Gen’s shoulders seemed to weigh down even more. Of course not. He probably lost it somewhere like an idiot.
“I can’t even consider letting you in without an ID.”
Tabitha merowed from Gen’s bag. “Please,” Gen said. “We’ve been traveling for nearly a month. We need to get into the compound. Just let us stay for a day-”
“No. Not without proper ID. You must know that Warden is a highly restricted area. If we were to allow in anyone, with or without proper ID, we’d be blown up within days. It’s simply impossible. Besides, that cat of yours could be carrying disease.” He gestured to Tabitha, peeking out of Gen’s bag. The cat growled.
Gen sighed, feeling heavier by the minute. “Well what do you expect us to do then?”
“I can let you in,” the guard said, “but your friend and cat will have to stay out here.”
“Out here. In the dust, with raiders everywhere, severely wounded. You want me to just leave him?”
“Or you could all stay out here. I’m afraid I can’t let you inside.”
Gen shook her head and turned around, stumbling a few steps away from the gate. “Wow,” she whispered.
“It’s okay,” Reyce said, limping to stand next to her. “We’ll just stay out here. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time.”
“But this is Warden. We need the security.”
“Yes, it’s Warden, the most heavily-guarded compound in the nation. Did you really think they’d just let us walk in? You’re smarter than that, Gen. Besides, I’ve never known you to back down from a challenge.”
“We’ve been traveling for a month, Reyce. Our supplies are almost gone, I’m almost out of ammo, and we’re both severely injured.” She took a seat on the rocky ground. “Maybe sleeping outside isn’t new, but I know it’s not safe for tonight. We need a compound.”
“We don’t have one.”
“I can see that!” Gen snapped. She took a deep breath. “I’m sorry. I’m just frustrated and tired and…” She looked over at him. “How did you even manage to lose your ID?”
“I think I lost it in a fight, or I might have lost it on a bet. It doesn’t matter. What matters is finding someplace to sleep tonight. Surely there’s an abandoned car nearby.”
Gen shook her head. “Not near Warden. They’d take them all in and repair them. The biggest, most advanced compound in the nation. They don’t let anything go to waste.” She pulled out her water bottle and shook it; it was empty. She set it beside her and rested her arms on her knees. “We can’t keep doing this, Reyce.”
“We have to. I’m not going to let you die, and you can’t let yourself die. If you give up then you’ve already lost. You hate losing.”
“Yeah, well maybe this is a fight we can’t win.” Gen looked over at him. “Maybe I need to just give up and let the dumb Mournseeker kill me so it’ll be done with us.”
“If it kills you it’ll just choose a new target. We can’t afford to lose you.”
“Who’s we? We’re miles from home; everyone there is living without me already. No one anywhere else we’ve been has cared. You’re the only one who would know if I died. And maybe Charlotte, but she really doesn’t count.”
“You’re Gen Hartley, the best hunter west side of the Rush. You’re a fighter, a hunter, a survivor. You don’t give up, and you hate losing.”
“Not this time.” Gen stood, stuffing her water bottle back in her bag next to Tabitha, and walked off across the wasteland.