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A Rotting Eden
300 years after the Apocalypse came and went, the survivors join wandering gangs called Tribes in a bid for survival in a world without nations. This is the story of one man's struggle in one of the last remaining cities on Earth.
Sticky Fingers
Mick's common thievery had become more than just a bad habit. It had become a dangerous nuisance.

       At first, Aramis didn't care. Things get stolen from time to time; it's been happening for millions of years. Antarctic penguins stole stones from each other to build nests, cavemen stole meat and tools from rivals... as far as Aramis was concerned, Mick was engaging in an evolutionary normality. He was channeling his thieving ancestors and paying great homage to all of humankind in the process. At least, that's how Mick explained it.

&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp "Look what I found," Mick said with a smirk, pulling a bottle of whiskey from the inside pocket of his jacket. Very few places nowadays could get a hold of actual whiskey. What was most commonly traded among citizens was moonshine; unrefined swill that was cheap and easy to make. Whiskey, on the other hand, was something of a treasure, and none too easy to come by. Whiskey, vodka, rum, tequila---these were things that usually stayed in bars and bars alone. And if you have a bottle of whiskey in your personal possession, you were either very rich, or a thief. And Mickey Shift was not rich.

&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp "You'll get your hands cut off someday," Aramis muttered around an unlit cigarette, his hands shielding the lit match from a stiff breeze. It had to be early spring. The days still had a bit of a chill to them, but the days were definitely getting longer and Aramis was sure they were past the dangers of frost. He and his fellow Hell's Harvesters will be working overtime to pump out as much food as possible in the warmer weather. He wouldn't have too much idle time anymore. Idle hands, after all, are tools of the devil, and Aramis had enough of an awful little imp to prod him towards mischief. That imp was Mick.

&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp "Who's gonna know?" Mick shrugged, taking a swig of the bottle's contents. He grimaced, winced, shook his head, then swallowed. "There was, like... ten other people around, all making noise. Nobody saw me. Besides, in a few minutes there isn't gonna be any proof." Mick offered the bottle to Aramis, but the man simply shook his head. Suppose Mick was wrong. Suppose someone did see him. At least one of them had to be sober enough to run when someone came at them with a baseball bat. Aramis might as well be that one. Luckily for the both of them, there was little consequence for Mick's thievery today than the bar owner coming out several minutes later, asking if anyone saw who stole his whiskey. Met with indifferent shrugs, he stormed back into his establishment, ranting about the lack of courtesy nowadays. Aramis shook his head. "Seriously though," the man said finally, turning to a bleary-eyed Mickey Shift. "Cut it out. You only need to get caught once for someone to beat the ever-living s**t out of you or worse. Got it?" Mick waved him off. "You don't tell me what I can and can't do," he frowned. "You're not my mother."

&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp Aramis rolled his eyes, stuffing his hands into his pockets. The breeze had strengthened into a full wind now. The skies overhead were dulling into a coal gray. Rain was on the way. Good. They needed some. Aramis didn't tell Mick that they needed to leave, not exactly. Instead, he simply looked up, nodded at the man, and began to walk off. Mick would follow, as he always did. His shadow, the devil on his shoulder. They'd wait out the storm under some far more hospitable roof a good distance away from this bar. Even with the graying skies, with the tipsy friend, Aramis was feeling pretty satisfied with his life thus far. Things seemed to be looking up. Spring was coming. He had a stable food source. Good company. He should've known better than to count his lucky stars. Things can change so very, very quickly.

Bleeding Apocalypse
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