The Dying Town
As the sun began to set over the dusty plains, a lone rider made his way towards the small town of Redwood. His name was Jack and he was a bounty hunter, feared by many for his ruthless tactics and sharpshooting skills. But as he rode into town, he couldn’t help but feel a sense of unease. The streets were barren and the buildings were run-down, a stark contrast to the bustling town he had visited just a few months ago.
As he dismounted his horse and made his way towards the saloon, he couldn’t help but notice the despair in the eyes of the few people he passed by. They were tired, hungry, and hopeless. Jack knew all too well what it was like to feel that way. He had grown up poor and had to fight tooth and nail to survive. But there was something different about this town, something that made his skin crawl.
As he pushed open the doors to the saloon, he was met with a deafening silence. The few patrons who were there stopped what they were doing and turned to look at him. Jack could feel their eyes on him, sizing him up, and he knew he had to tread carefully.
He made his way to the bar and ordered a whiskey, trying to ignore the stares he was getting. But as he took a sip, he heard a voice behind him.
“You ain’t from around here, are ya?”
Jack turned to see a grizzled old man sitting at a table, staring at him with tired eyes. He shook his head and took another sip of his drink.
“Nope. Just passing through.”
The old man chuckled, a bitter sound that seemed to echo through the empty saloon.
“Ain’t nobody just passin’ through these parts anymore. This town’s been dead for a long time now.”
Jack raised an eyebrow, intrigued. “What happened?”
The old man took a sip of his own whiskey before speaking again. “It started with the drought. Crops started failing, animals started dying. People started leaving. And then the raiders came.”
Jack felt a chill run down his spine. He had dealt with raiders before. They were ruthless, violent, and showed no mercy.
“What happened to them?”
The old man shrugged. “They took what they wanted and left. But they left us with nothing. No food, no water, no hope. We’re all just waiting to die now.”
Jack finished his drink in silence, the weight of the old man’s words heavy on his shoulders. As he stepped back out into the street, he couldn’t help but feel a sense of despair. This town was a symbol of everything that was wrong with the world. There was no law, no justice, and no hope. It was every man for himself, and in the end, they were all just waiting to die.
As he mounted his horse and rode out of town, he knew that he had to keep moving. He couldn’t let himself get trapped in a place like that. But as he looked back at the dying town one last time, he couldn’t help but wonder what it really meant to be human. Was it the ability to think and feel? Or was it the ability to survive, no matter the cost?
As he rode off into the sunset, he couldn’t shake the feeling that maybe, just maybe, being human meant nothing at all.
And so, the town of Redwood continued to wither and die, a testament to the harsh reality of the world they lived in. In the end, there was no salvation, no redemption, no hope. There was only the bleakness of a world that had forgotten what it meant to be human.