What is that smell? My sinuses filled with the sour stench as I stirred, and there was a stampede raging on top of my head. I tried opening my eyes but only blurry, blobby shapes danced in front of me. I rolled over in the dirt, trying to orient myself, and my hand flopped into something wet and chunky. I pulled my hand towards my face, and yanked it away quickly as the same sour smell bombarded me. Puke. I pushed up from the ground, finding another puddle with my other hand; where did all this vomit come from? I reached out, still having crossed vision, and found a wall to some building. Was this where the Waltzers were taking me? I leaned against the wall, as everything went black again.


“She’s over here!” The shouting woke me up again, and when I opened my eyes I could almost see again. The pounding in my head continued with force causing the world to wobble ever so slightly. I was pretty sure the Librarian was standing in front of me, though. “You don’t look so good, Sarah. Let me clean these wounds for you.”


Sarah? Who is Sarah? “I’m not,” I began to stutter, and then, “OW!” The scream expelled from within the depths of me at decibels I didn’t know I could achieve, and that’s when I became painfully aware of the rusty blood smell amongst all the bile, and how it all clung to my skin. My clothes were stiff from the fluids, and as I moved pieces molted off of me.


“Sorry, I slipped,” she backed away as concern hung in her eyes. Slipped was an understatement, it felt like she tried to fist the opening on my skull! I stared at her hazy self in disbelief that she could adequately patch me up as the earth began to wobble more. I had to stay awake.


I finally nodded to her, so she could continue treating me, “I have a concussion,” I managed to slowly get out. My vision slowly came back, and I could see the vastness ahead of us. A lot of it abandoned after the collapse and only the Trailviners and Waltzers passed through here usually. I was propped against the weathered wall, underneath a sill, and I wondered what was in the building. The Librarian attempted to meticulously tend to my wounds, but it definitely hurt less before she started touching them. Maybe I should have just let them fester. She helped to clean the vomit and blood off of me best she could, too.


I was still dizzy, and tired, and in pain, but I could see now. This wasn’t worth five tokens. We were supposed to get the necklace back, and it would be fine, and I could leave. But I got scammed, with the rest of them, and now I was stuck with them all just to seek out some revenge. I had other vengeances to attend to, damnit, this was the second time I’ve almost died because of Walter Crawley and his Waltzers!


And it’s all ridiculous! I was made to be a soldier! My parents were crazy to think we could live in the same kind of the world as the past. A past they barely knew. I left to find a useful place in the world, and I found the army. I did my job well, and then one mistake, one, got me to the here and now. Of course he would recognize me, that stupid peon, I was decorated. Why were those particular Waltzers out this far, though? I had left Milwaukee in a hurry, they couldn’t have gotten ahead of me like that.


“What’s she going on about?” Miles asked, clearly annoyed. Miles could be seen as intimidating, and he was usually very stoic. I looked up and realized that The Librarian had helped me hobble up to the rest of the group. Was I babbling aloud?


“I only understood every third word, so I’m not sure. Something about revenge on the Waltzers. She’s concussed.”


“Obviously, or drunk.”


“I could use a drink,” I laughed, but the throbbing headache, quickly silenced that. Time to be serious, “Have you seen my stuff?” I needed that back. They were the only things I had, and while not of any sentimental value, those particular items were mine, and I took care of my things. It made it important. Especially the pistol. I stole that pistol after getting out of the Waltzers base. It was the first thing I ever stole to survive. Out here if you aren’t packing, you aren’t alive. So maybe that had some sentimental value in a sick way. And I had just bought that rifle, damnit!


“We haven’t found too much of anything,” Alice said, disappointed. She was a quirky, girl, and supposedly had great social skills, which I suspect is the only reason the Librarian lets her hang around. Though, I haven’t seen her succeed in these skills. She reminded me of one of my sisters. At least I thought she did, I could barely remember my sisters. I had left them so long ago.


I shifted my weight on the Librarian’s shoulder and all of a sudden the world spun. I tried to catch myself, but my vision blurred and I couldn’t see what I was reaching for. And once again everything was black.