[WP] A bounty hunter is after you, for crimes you committed in a past life. What do you do?

The sun had almost set and the heavy cloak of night began to settle over the lonely wasteland.

A man stood on the balcony of a derelict hotel, a rifle slung over one shoulder. He stared hard into the shimmering horizon, then turned and strode into the building, closed the door, and boarded it up from inside.

He gently set down his rifle and gazed across the room at the unconscious woman on the bed. He’d found her by the old train station down the road, in bad shape but alive. He knew he should have just kept walking, but as he crouched to check her pockets she'd groaned and stirred. She lifted her head just high enough to look him dead in the eye and murmured a single word before her skull hit the dirt again.


Some restless thing inside him went still at the sound of her voice and he froze. The name was sure enough stamped on the dog tags he wore beneath his leather duster, but she couldn't have known that.

The sun was sinking fast and he knew he had to keep moving, but there were four other bodies in black armor nearby and an empty gun in her hand. Whoever this mystery woman was, she hadn’t gone down without a fight. He respected that.

Besides, something about her tugged at his memory like a vague sense of deja vu. He might have shrugged it off, except that he didn’t have memories -- not from before he woke up six months ago on a doctor’s table with a bullet hole in his skull, anyway. The clothes on his back and the name engraved over his heart were all he had of his old life.

Had she been his once, too?

It had been two whole days now, penned up in this dive.

He knew every day he lingered risked bringing death on them both. Whoever he’d been in his past life had been naughty. There was bounty money on his head and plenty of freaks in the wasteland with big guns and nothing better to do.

He'd patched her wounds as best as he could with whiskey and cloth, but he was no surgeon. Reason told him to leave her -- she was dead weight and probably dead meat soon enough anyway -- but he wasn’t sure he’d ever been a reasonable man.

He ran a hand over the bristles on his jaw and looked around the dingy apartment, but found his gaze inevitably drawn back to the woman.

She lay completely still, her chest barely rising and falling with fragile life. Her hair was matted with blood and her cheeks smeared with dirt, but she was the loveliest thing he had ever seen.

Trapped in violent dreams, the young woman groaned and without thinking he crossed the room in three strides and placed his hand on her forehead gently. She sighed.

He wondered if her lips were as soft as they looked.

As the woman settled back into a deep sleep, the man took his post by the window and poured himself a drink.

It was going to be another long night.

/r/WritingPrompts Thread