Fire paved my way. Part two

The heat was so intense that Augustus felt like another second, and his skin would melt. Not a single cell free of pain and utter fatigue was left in his body. His cheek felt the earth torn with tires and tried to get a good look at the bonfire in front with his only eye — the second was covered by a wet pink veil.

With each plunge into soundless darkness, Augustus hoped that he would not wake up. All that awaited him in reality was either a slow and painful or a quick and terrible death. He did not think that he should avenge the murdered loved ones, as he understood that he did not have enough strength. The fury beating in his chest did not die out, but it burned much less than the blazing fuel spilt around him. Augustus somehow crawled away from the flame and succumbed to the darkness once again.

The triumphant cries of the killers brought back his consciousness. Raiders gathered around the fire feasted and shared the loot. They weren’t even bothered by the smell — they lit the fire to get rid of the bodies. Augustus laughed bitterly, quietly thanking someone omnipotent. If the bastards remembered about him, they would probably have thrown him into the fire alive. Maybe before his death, he would have to see one of his own.

— Now the Lunatics will definitely take us in! To the Lunatics! — one of the raiders shouted drunkenly, throwing up his hand with a rumpled can.

— To the Lunatics! To the Lunatics! TO THE LUNATICS!...

Raiders chanted crazy slogans and laughed, with pauses only for food. Augustus closed his eyes, trying to concentrate on the pain in his legs. He managed to crawl behind a pile of rusty tanks and lurk there.

The shrieks, tearing the Wasteland to pieces, switched something in his head. Augustus no longer wanted to just die. In a pile of garbage, he managed to find a sharp steel chip. He was unlikely to kill even two, but he would definitely take one with him. At least a sentry. Come close in the shadows and...

The next moment, when the earth shuddered from the approaching cars, Augustus groaned in despair. The dying bonfire and the rushing raiders were lit by white lights.

Reinforcements? Why?! Wasn't there enough?!

Gripping the chip in his hands painfully, Augustus threw up his head, ready to rush even an entire army.

And then shots rang out.

The unknown forces did not let the raiders come to their senses. Some of them jumped out of the cars with guns, others deployed machine guns and crossbows — and simply their appearance led the murderers into a frantic panic. Raiders tried to defend themselves but were helpless. The arrivals dealt with the bandits, and Augustus did not take his eyes off the dance of shadows in white and gold reflections. He laughed, and he did not care what happened to him.

When the sounds of the struggle died down, the unknown began to circle the camp. One of them — short and thin, walking lightly as if there were not potholes under his feet, but a stone path — noticed Augustus and knelt beside him.

— Don't be afraid, — he said softly, holding out his hand and drawing it to his shoulder. — My name is Martin. It's going to be alright...

Augustus closed his eyes — and the next moment he jerked from a nearby booming shot.

Martin finally decided to test the shotgun. Having fired a couple more times, the leader stepped back from the gun, stretched his shoulders and sat down to the fire.

— Augustus, — he called suddenly, and from the uncertainty in his voice, the knight went cold. What happened in the two days when he was gone?

To be concluded…

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5 November 2019