Junta: A group of officers who rule a country after seizing power
Do you know how this country came to be? I was asked by a man by the other side of the fire. We were warming ourselves up out of the rain that was raging on from out the cave. We were lucky that it was raining or we would have been snuffed out. I had met the man sometime in my travels when I was running from the officials of the Court Guards. They caught me red-handed in the middle of a job. Well, not really caught since I’m still here, but you get the gist of it. I had no care for the history of this country, but I figured having conversation by a roasting flame in a cave wouldn’t be so bad. I indulged in his tale. This country is ruled by three factions, as you know, he began. The Saints, The Angel’s Archers, and The Court Guards. The Saints rule the land’s political affairs, while The Angel’s Archers rule the land’s international affairs, and The Court Guards make sure that the land from within is civil. They say that the three original rulers of those factions came about one day to overthrow the previous king and set up this system. How about it? Interesting stuff huh? I simply laughed and told him I had no interest in such trivialities. I shrugged and said that all I wanted to do was live. I had no care for this country’s happenings. I barely had enough to care for my own. This country could go to hell for all I cared. The flame was beginning to wane, and so I stoked it with the remaining bundle of wood I gathered. It was going to be a long night, and sometime in that night, I begrudgingly dreamt of the tale that man told me.
Ignominious: Deserving or bringing disgrace or shame
The guards turned back to switch duties, and that was the time I needed to creep up and sneak into their settlement. They broke down old train cars and fashioned them as their homes. It sounded like a good idea up until the point when the train cars stopped extending. Their bases were small because of that, but they ruled the tunnels. I didn’t have a good map of the tunnels, but I knew that no one else did as well. The tunnels belonged to the Sewer Rats, and if people knew where they were then they wouldn’t have victims to scavenge. I’m still surprised how they even managed to stay down here, or the fact that they still try to impose their ideals on opposing factions. They garnered the name of Sewer Rats, and yet they still think themselves as the same as the rest of us. Even the Flesh Eaters are much better than them. They are a poor excuse for a faction, a poor excuse for the rest of us. Most of them were asleep or lounging about when I crept up over them. I made sure to stay in the train cars as I moved across. All I needed was to make my way through the tunnel and find a neutral settlement. I had no business in fighting the Sewer Rats. I didn’t know how long the cars were, but I began listening to their banter as it echoed in the tunnel. They were talking about raiding a nearby settlement for resources, and hopefully finding another train car that they said should be around here. I didn’t know if that meant that I’d have to go even further to avoid them, but I kept that information in mind. I noticed two lights at the end of the train car and another guard standing guard looking into the tunnel. I had found my exit. I posted up on the train car’s last door and listened. There were too many right now to make any move, and so I waited. Except, I waited too long. I dozed off before I knew it if only for a few minutes, but still. Some guards were moving into the train car to switch shifts. If I had known, I would have readjusted. Now, it’s time to fight. Where I come from, fighting is a last resort. I hope they don’t live long enough to hear about this.
Iconoclast: Someone who attacks cherished ideas or institutions
I roamed through the tunnel with a few shells left to my name. Those damn Hounds from above took more from me than I thought. Luckily for me they didn’t expect a scavenger to blast through them. Damn bodies had nothing on them either. If I run into a group of Flesh Eaters than I might be in for some trouble. Hopefully that’s not the case, they don’t usually set up shop in the tunnels. I dared to turn on my flash light but the thought of something lurking down here spotting it is too much of a hazard. Tunnels are no good, but they’re much safer than being on the wastelands. I must have been walking for hours before I finally saw some light ahead. I ducked as I started creeping up into it and was about to turn on my lights and call out to the guards at the front until I heard some gun shots ring into the tunnel and a man running my way. I looked around and planted myself square on the tracks. The man didn’t make it far as the guards shot him down a few meters in front of me. I kept my head down as they came to get the body. I couldn’t tell which faction they were from the dark, but they seemed pretty annoyed at the runaway. Damn Brigands, always coming from above the tunnels to try and convert us to their gods or whatever. There are no gods in this world and I wouldn’t want to be under a god either, we are free men in this tunnel. Hey, let’s stick this guy to a post and show it to all the Brigands who come to us, that’ll scare them, huh? Once they had finished dragging the body, I slowly got up. I still didn’t know whether these guys were to be trusted or not. I ran through the factions in my head. Must have been the Sewer Rats. They took their name from the Junk Rats above, and that isn’t a good sign. They believe in a society run by freemen, or so they say. They’re just a bunch of bandits who don’t want to be under the Civils. Not that I would be either. No surprise that they don’t want to be under the Brigands then. This really was going to be a long day.
Hinterland: A remote and undeveloped area
I traveled through the wastelands with my head held high and my lights held low. I knew that a flash of this thing would rile up a pack of those detested Junk Rats. I was in no business of hunting those things, that was the job of the Skinners. I was just trying to move my way from one side of the city to the other without a hitch. No need for pointless bloodshed, or at least that’s what my people say. I couldn’t tell whether it was the middle of the day or the dark of the night from the clouds hanging above. All I needed to know was that the next set of tunnels were opposite of the city. The tunnels would lead me to the next settlement up north where hopefully I meet with some neutrals. They always tell you to go north in these scenarios huh? Wonder why. I reached the tunnel without a hitch, but there was one problem. I checked my map to make sure that I was actually at the right tunnels. It appears that I was, but the only problem was that my map didn’t tell me that a set of Hounds were feeding on a corpse at the entrance. Damn things, there must have been ten at least, all feeding on the last unsuspecting group of scavengers who weren’t warned. I guess this is why my people always used to call the tunnel openings hinterland. No one knows what will happen when you find one. I brandished Old Glory, the shotgun my grandfather passed down through my family. It was an old beast that has seen many wars and in some strange twist of coincidence now belongs in my hands, too bad the only ones who can see it in action are those mutants. I brought the sights to my face, and then checked my remaining shells. It’s going to be a long day.
Heterodox: Characterized by departure from accepted standards
They told me to bury the hatchet. But I didn’t believe in humanitarian methods of doing things. Why bury the hatchet, when the hatchet could be used for much more. And so I didn’t. I brought the results of my hatchet up to my front door, and displayed it for everyone to see. They at first thought I was crazy, that I was eccentric. They didn’t realize just what exactly I was displaying, they didn’t realize the validity of it, couldn’t. And so I continued. I used the hatchet I refused to bury, and continued to decorate my front door with things of my turmoil. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed doing it with all my volition and displayed the scalped heads of war to all who pass by. I could not see any other way to do so, to express my love for the hatchet that has brought me so much content in so short of a time. To those that still partake in burying such a wonderful tool, I implore them to try the opposite. To not bury the hatchet, but to continuously ensnare the hatchet between the tendons until nothing is left.
Hauteur: Overbearing pride with a superior manner towards inferiors
I prodded along on the fields with a fanciful gaze towards all those that lifted their heads in jest of my steps. It was no wonder that they all turned to meet me, for how could one not see how foolish it is to ignore me. No one as bright as I could be, no one with as much ubiquitous content as me could ever befall all those that worked their hands in the dirt. It is with great stride that I walk among the mere mortals, the ones that I use to make my own worth much more elevated. I spit at the feet of those that even dare to come up to me, begging for a moments respite, but I know better. Just coming up to my presence is enough of respite for the likes of them. Foolish mannerisms, foolish attempts, but they are clever. If they are engaged to communication with me, then they by nature do not have to work, and I who is much too benevolent than to ignore my worshippers, have no choice but to engage. But I make these bouts short, for I am in no need for their ramblings, and they should not be over zealous to the majesty before them. Oh what witless fools if they think they can find a crack in the spotless diamond in front of them.
Gibe: An aggressive remark directed at a person like a missile
I watched as the three men at the table all took out their guns and placed them on the table near their glasses. The dealer, the man beside me, dealt out our hands, and I peeked at it nervously. I took a swig of the glass in front of me, and then placed a few chips to the middle. The men all around me also opted to play. Time stood still as the cards finally unfolded. I had a chance, I thought. Two pairs, seven and eight. I played in, a hundred. The men all around me looked at their cards again, one taking a swig of his glass. One of them folded, and my heart calmed, and then, another matched. The fourth card flipped. Six. No problem. I had a seven and eight, on the board, seven, eight, six, king. Another player folded, just one more to go. I raised two hundred, and he plays five. I match with another three. The turn moves on, the final card being an ace. I have two pairs, and I smile, but the man grips on his glass, and takes another swig. Raises another hundred. I match. You think you can beat us in a game on our turf you red face? The man said to me. We unfold our hands. He has an ace and a king. Serves you right for trying to swindle our money, look at you now all pale. He says. He grabs his gun and points to the door behind him. Now get out.
Garrulous: Full of trivial conversation
A man once asked me what time of day it was. I answered by looking at my watch. The man then asked which way was north. I answered by pointing ahead. The man then asked where he was. I answered by looking at a street sign. The man was named Jack. I asked Jack why he was here in the city, unknowing to anything around him. He answered that he was here on business. I asked him what kind. He answered that his business involved unscrupulous work. I asked him to test me. That was the end of our conversation.
Gaffe: A socially awkward or tactless act
I was walking on a street one day, when I noticed that someone had dropped their wallet. In any circumstance, I would have went up to pick up that wallet, and give it back to them. In any circumstance, that would have been the socially accepted method of being the opposite of a poor citizen. In any circumstance, if one were not a thief, that would have been what one would have done. It seems like pointless drivel to even continue on with what has happened, to say why I did pick up the wallet. In fact, that is pointless drivel. But I am saying, with all of what I have, that I did not pick up the wallet. I was walking on the street one day, when I noticed that someone had dropped their wallet. Except, the wallet that had dropped, was open. And so when I walked by, I noticed that the man who dropped the wallet was not same person as the woman’s picture of the license that was splayed open for me. In fact, they could not have been related at all, since the man who walked by was of a different color than the picture. And yes, that is a poor excuse to judge character, but the woman was near death, and the man, just been born. The differences to me were much too glaring for me to say mere familial relations, and perhaps it still could have been, but I doubted the idea. Instead, I called on the man, told him that he had dropped the wallet, in which he responded with eyes the size of moons and shook his head, a sliver of sweat forming on his head.
Florid: Elaborately or excessively ornamented
Every day without fail, each person of the town places one thing from their home onto the doll. The doll was large, large enough to be able to hold everything that the town didn’t want. The town had built the doll such that they wouldn’t have to throw their garbage away in uncouth manner. All sorts of garbage was placed on the doll, and no matter what kind of garbage was on it, the doll would accept. The doll soon lost its form, and it was no longer able to be called a doll. It was indistinguishable from a corpse of a beast. But the town’s people continued to put their garbage on the doll, unable to break from tradition. Eventually, one day the doll was overfilled, and it’s parts began tearing. Little cracks began forming, and the garbage seeped into the material of the doll. The doll was soon filled with garbage and its form was not biologically indistinguishable from a corpse of a beast. The doll then toppled from the weight of all the garbage, and crashed in the middle of the town. The filth that the doll bore seeped into the ground and formed a large crater in the town. The town’s people, unable to stop tradition, decided to continue putting their garbage on the doll, but as more weight was added, the hole got deeper. The town’s people became ebullient over this revelation. They now had more room to put their garbage.