Fiction by Allison Stein
Deserted wasteland wastes souls, leaves men deserted, broken and lonely by the rattlesnake tracks. You find out in the middle of the book that this was once all forests and skyscrapers and statues with cameras that kept people in and feelings out, but it’s all gone now, left turn, dirt and dunes. Somewhere at the beginning there’s a man inexplicably dressed in all black, a trench coat and a long tattered scarf that flows out behind him. Sometimes, in Japanese cartoons, he has a sword, but in this story he has guns. Two of them. He wields them akimbo, but he always hits, even when he turns his guns to the side. In the real world, this would decrease his legitimacy, but this is a story, a post-apocalyptic desert planet story, and our hero is dark and mysterious and he never plays by the rules. Every step he takes is loaded with self-loathing, every twitch of his fingers is a traumatic event of his past, and every time he pulls the brim of his hat down low, all the pretty girls know he is resisting the urge to cry. Go on then, gunslinger. We have a story to write.