Chapter 31:

Happy Body, Sad Past


Over the next month, I decided to ready my body for the future breakout. I asked Carter and Genny to work out. I would spend one month working out and getting our bodies to peak condition, and the other month attempting to look for any weaknesses of the camp. This week was workout time. Genny would spend some time, but he hated physical activity so she did her own scouting. I was usually alone with the big man, working intensely to get my failing body back in shape. I usually worked out shirtless, so Carter saw my scared and bandaged body. One day, we finished the first half of our pull-ups, using a metal bar we stuck in the wall. I hop down after a reached fifty. Bookmark here

"Good job, son!" Carter yelled, hopping up to do his own fifty. Bookmark here

I smirk and lean back, watching him go. "Thanks, dude. So, how old are ya?"Bookmark here

He grunts and looks at me. "Fifty-five. How about you?"Bookmark here

"Twenty-nine. So, you've known Genny for long?"Bookmark here

"Yeah. A little bit before the bombs dropped. I took care of her." 
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"Really? What happened to her..."Bookmark here

He soon reached thirty. "Not my story to tell. You work alone, Dopeman?"Bookmark here

"I used to. Then I got myself tangled in a war."Bookmark here

"The war is still going on?" He asked, reaching forty. Bookmark here

"Not the same one. You know of Miller Corps?"Bookmark here

"Yeah. Back then they were just a merc group just like everybody else. So NRF and Miller Corps are the only groups left?" Bookmark here

"In the west coast, yeah."Bookmark here

Carter steps down, moving back. "Goodness. It's been so long."Bookmark here

I get back on the pole to work. "That's why we're getting out. All of us." Bookmark here

A week goes by, and I already feel great. I'm starting to feel happy again.Bookmark here

Carter and I were in the field lifting weights while watching Genny scream at the other prisoners in Spanish while playing cards. This was one of the first times where I actually started to build muscle mass. "So," Carter says suddenly. "You look like you've been through a lot." Bookmark here

I laugh. "That's what war does. You were in the Intro Wars, you know a thing or two, don't you?"Bookmark here

"Yeah, but I don't think I wanted to push myself that bad."Bookmark here

"Sometimes you had to, yeah? Push yourself beyond your limits. It's the only way of getting things done."Bookmark here

"No, no son. Think of it like this: You're driving a car. If the car is breaking down, you're gonna stop and make sure the car is ok before you continue, right?"Bookmark here

I nod, extending my arms for another rep. Bookmark here

"If you keep pushing the car, the car eventually is going to stop working. You understand?"Bookmark here

"...Yeah. I get it. It's so hard to not push. I think I'm gonna let my friends down."Bookmark here

"If your friends are strong enough to survive in a war this long, I think they can handle themselves."Bookmark here

I put the weights back, and flex a bit. "You're pretty dope, old man."Bookmark here

He laughs and hugs me. "That's my boy!"Bookmark here

"Relax! Relax! You're still sweaty!"Bookmark here

Another two weeks go by, I'm feeling like my old self again. This was the best thing to ever happen to me. Bookmark here

In the last week of January, we focused on striking and combat training. I was hitting a restored punching bag while Carter held it. I wanted to know a bit more about the man. "So how did you end up here?"Bookmark here

He hummed. "Surprised it took you this long to ask that question."Bookmark here

"Well, I didn't want to ask personal questions like that. I didn't want to remind you of anything."Bookmark here

"Listen, Dopeman. You told me all these stories about you and your life, I think it's fair for you to know." He keeps his hold as I soften my strikes so he can concentrate. "We were in Phoenix when the bombs dropped. We found this large bunker with a small community. it turned out to belong to this militia leader. We all opened the bunker, armed. That was Gen's first time holding a gun. We called ourselves Riley's Naturals or just RN. We must've looked threatening, cause some other group shot at us. We defended our people. The next thing we know, we had all kinds of groups attack us. It was a bloody mess. Which sucks for me because I tried to be a pacifist."Bookmark here

"Hard to do so in this world."Bookmark here

"I know..." Carter sighed as I got done. We sat against a wall, looking through the cell bars. "I didn't want to be this strong. But anyways, We fought for about a year straight, then some big guys with advanced gear start to mop up the other groups. We all couldn't prepare fast enough. Next thing you know, Half my friends are gone. Some dread-haired guy preaches to me about freedom and joining his cause when I'm captured. The prick had his guys beat me half to death so of course, I said no. And what he tried to do to Genny..."Bookmark here

I lean a bit forward. "You're not a fan of Godhand, huh?"Bookmark here

"I'll crush his head in when I get the chance."Bookmark here

"Great!" I clap happily. "Let's get you closer to that goal, yeah?"Bookmark here

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