The sign outside the city was warped and twisted with splits in the metal. Rust had started to set in around the edges. The white lettering on the green background was peeling. The reflector buttons had cracked and fallen away. Portland.
The city looked nothing like it once did. The buildings were either burnt or decaying. It had been one of the early bombings, back at the beginning of the drought . Skyscrapers were falling in upon themselves. Some of the buildings were smoldering and belching smoke into the indifferent grey expanse. The sky behind the city-scape was ashen mottled flesh, the sun setting in the distance shot blood through the clouds. The War had been to the city and left it to an open grave. It was a corpse, bleeding its heart out to the cold sun. A sacrifice among many.
Slowly, the group made their way beyond the mounds of rubble and into an operating section of town. “How long have we walked?” Sun Hee asked as she rubbed her arms briskly, trying to bring circulation back into them. Her feet ached and her legs were finally numb.
They hadn’t eaten much since they had left Jenton and her stomach no longer rumbled, just burned continuously in a plea to be filled. Snow had quenched it only for so long, but now a meal would be good. She patted at her pocket, the one over her heart where, in the inside pocket, she kept her small wallet that held the group’s entire cash hoard, $416.23. She looked at Benj and then at Deck and Yeller. Nat and Zola had dropped behind the group and were discussing what it had been like when the art museum that they had just passed was open. Now the building was in complete ruins. Art had been ripped from the walls. What was worth-while had been sold, everything else had been destroyed.
“How many miles, or how many days, Sun Hee?” Yeller defined sarcastically. He too was grouchy and in pain. He wanted to sit in a warm house with a fire and a tall cup of coffee.
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