The sun rose. Fran woke to the dim glare coming in through curtains that would never rot. There was something to be said for the way cheap motels had used polyester for almost everything. Ten years after the End, and this one was still running.
She wasn’t here to rate hotels, though. She headed into the fortified town, barely missing an angry guard dog. Something was wrong; she could smell it. She was a stranger, sure, and everyone here hated strangers, but the Rangers were legitimate and she was legitimately here on Ranger business.
“…Gates…” she heard someone say. The town was walled, and not badly-done, either. Any town that had wanted to survive was walled. “…Trade the Ranger…”
Shit! That was it. It wasn’t distrust, it was betrayal. Fran started running. Somewhere on the gate, someone was shouting “Franciszka! Give us Franciszka the Denier!”
She skidded up to the weak spot she’d seen in their walls before anyone managed to catch up to her and clambered over. Rangers helped the townspeople, sure. But they could only do that alive.
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