Back to Who dares wins
The old spring mattress in my conex house is getting stiffer by the day, and it's not like there's anything much better here. Waking up from the bed was hard enough, and it's getting colder by the day, this place is getting worse by the day. Running out of food again I'd have to go out soon again, and I wasn't sure how far or how long I could carry my ruck in the state I was in. Every day I had to make sure my room was locked up tight before I even came close to moving out. Other scavengers were surely about and I wasn't about to give up my hard-earned paydirt.
After I locked and barred my room I stepped out to loot from anywhere I could find. I walked out to the PX with my loaded pistol at the ready, I was sure to find confrontation somewhere in there. Hopefully something was left over after years of being abandoned, at least in the storage closet. I peered around the corner of the door before rushing in behind the counter, crouched down low. I was sure to find a cache somewhere, either some food or some bartering material. Walking along behind the counter I searched the shelves for smokes, chew, electronics, anything someone would trade for. After an extensive search I hit the jackpot, between the counter and the register I found a small stash of magazines. I quickly pulled a bag from behind the counter and stashed my prize away.
I peered around the corner again and snuck silently along between the aisles of the small shop, keeping an eye out and an ear ready to detect anything else in the store. I held the pistol with both hands when I heard something, maybe an animal, maybe a person, but I wasn't taking any risks either way. Nothing was going to put me out before my time, and nothing was getting my loot.
I heard the noise again and quickly turned the corner toward the sound, putting the source of the noise in my sights. The noise in question was the squeaking of a massive rat, it must have been the size of my fist! I listened for anything else before pulling the hammer of my revolver, ready to put one into the rodent's head, maybe I could cook this thing into a proper meal. Not hearing anything else, I put a bullet to its small, tapered head and quickly picked it up by the tail. I put the kill into a bag and then with the magazine. I readied my pistol again and stepped out into the main part of the store again, striding quickly to the the stairs and around the corner.
I heard a voice behind myself and gasped in shock, turning around slowly; this was exactly what I didn't want to happen. A man had his pistol pointed right for my heart and he seemed anything but soft, this was going to take some negotiation. I lowered my pistol and set my bag on the floor. The voice croaked again, this time in audible words "what're you doing here in my store? What've you got there in that bag?"
"I was just looking for something to eat, I didn't know anybody else was here, I swear."
"Got anything to trade for it?"
"All I've got here on me is a little bit of cash, a freshly killed rat, and some magazines I found."
"That doesn't sound like anything good, find something and bring me the cash, but remember, I got my eyes on you."
I walked the store, pulling some canned food from the storage closet and a few boxes of (likely expired) crackers, hoping I had enough cash to pay for what I'd pulled off of the shelves or some way to outmaneuver the definitely hostile squatter.
I took a deep breath and prepared myself for confrontation, no way I was giving up my loot or my money just to eat for a day. While walking back along the aisle I slowly and quietly cocked back the hammer of my pistol, taking another deep breath before springing into action. I pulled my pistol up a couple feet and shot for the knee and stepped back into cover. I bagged the ill-gotten groceries with my fresh kill and my loot and bounded up the steps. I burst through the door and into my room, quickly out of sight and out of range. I quickly got myself into my room and locked the door behind me. Falling back onto my uncomfortable spring bed reflected on the past half hour and thought to myself "Survival never changes, life is rough when every day is a fight for your life".