NOTE: This story is last entry of new series "The Invaders." Although each story is meant to stand alone, the installments will form a larger narrative.
Before reading this installment consider checking out
“A tour guide, a foreigner, an orphan boy, and a killer robot got for a walk. This might as well be the setup for some joke,” said Ray.
Brendon nodded. “I’m too tired to think of a punch line. But you’re the best tour guide in this country.”
“And you’re the worst tourist,” said Ray. He would have smiled if he weren’t so exhausted.
None of them had slept the previous night. They’d been walking down the road (across the war-torn landscape) all day, and the border was still an hour away. Only adrenaline, recklessness and luck kept them going. Luck that Brendon could reprogram the robot to be their protector. Luck they’d found water. And luck not running into anyone or anything else along the way. No rebel groups. Nor stray pods of killer machines.
For the last few hours, Ray had been considering how to convince Brendon to take the orphan across the border with him. Brendon had seen the boy’s family die in the bunker. This wasn’t a country where an young person had an easy future. The boy’s best hope was to leave with the tourist.
In the distance, Ray thought he saw the outline of a person. A silhouette came into focus. Walking towards them was a young woman.
She was about Brendon’s age, wore a dress, and carried a heavy pack. Seeing Ray, Brendon, the boy and the machine, she laughed. “Don’t you know those things are dangerous?”
“So I’ve heard,” said Brendon.
She walked alongside them. “Where ya headin’?” she asked.
“The border” Brendon replied.
“Was just there A lot of people are trying to get across. But with your big metal friend, you might make it. Mind if I join you guys?”
Ray saw an opening. “Sure,” he said. “But promise me you’ll get this boy across.”
“Sure,” she agreed. “I’ll pretend the foreigner’s my husband, and the boy our son.”
They walked the last hour to the border in silence. When they approached with the robot, the crowd quickly cleared a path for them. But Ray stopped short.
“You coming with us?” Brendon asked.
Ray shook his head.
Before Brendon could say thank you, the machine punched a hole in the border fence. The trio rushed through, but the machine didn’t follow. It blocked the breach, and powered down.
I’m a producer, writer and storyteller with expertise in digital, print, film, TV & stage productions