No Man’s Land

READER DISCRETION ADVISED – Adult Language

Our first comic is going to be a medium length graphic novel called “No Man’s Land”.  On this page I will include pages from time to time, updates on where we are at with the comic and so on.  Page one is done as we speak, so the process is underway.  I will post a bit about the plot here asap.

As promised here is a plot outline.

No Man’s Land

It is the year 2055.  Crime in North America has grown so high that society begins to crumble.  The American government comes up with a drastic solution to the epidemic.  They quarantine off one of the old cities (a city stagnated by crime and poverty that hasn’t been able to take advantage of technological advancements).  Walls half a mile high surround the city on all sides.  This is where the criminal’s who refuse to reform are sent.  With no guards and no escape the prisoners make they’re own rules.  Once criminal’s are sent to this new age prison they are never released.  It is called Prison 49A, but people inside and out have dubbed it “No Man’s Land”.

Food and supplies are air-dropped in so it‘s first come first served. The population of the prison grew rapidly and there was chaos among the early inmates.  A group of political protesters were sentenced to the prison for their outbursts against the government.  When this group arrived inside they walked through the city together.  Other inmates, bloody and tattered, did not approach the protesters because they walked as one.  This marked the birth of the first gang in no man’s land, “The Protesters”.  They claimed the center of the city as theirs’ and allowed other inmate’s to come there if it was in peace.  The Protesters started the barter system as they searched the city for any items of value, clothing, weapons, medicine and other things.  All these items can be purchased by trade in the city center.  Other inmate’s started searching the old shops around the city and collect valuables for themselves to trade as well. 

No Man’s land run’s on a shaky balance as new inmate’s arrive often and most of them don’t mix.  Territory is taken up by newly formed gangs.  To pass through territory almost always comes with a price, a toll of goods, food, or blood.  Will a gang emerge that unites the inmate’s and puts an end to the fighting?  Will terror and numbers rule a lawless city?  Will young Gerrick be a part of gang that commands respect, or just another victim of No Man’s Land…

Here is the start of the story written as a book rather than a graphic novel.  Leave a comment below, let us know what you think.  Seriously…

How many times?  How many times am I gonna have to mess things up before it pans out.  I catch myself letting out a little chuckle.  This is the last time so get it through your thick skull. Yep, I’ve gone and done it this time.  No turning back now and no making this one right.  So many fights, so many nights they screamed my name.  So why did I even get into a situation like that?  Gotta focus, too many questions and for nothing.  Reality is that things are gonna be different from now on.  Gotta get ready, stay sharp.

“half an hour asshole”

I should smash that guard’s face.  What the hell, I’m gone for good anyway.  He smiles at me and I know he feels so safe, my hands cuffed behind my back.  He doesn’t watch fights.  He’d know I got over 40 knockouts with my feet and knees and about to have another one. Fuck him.  Save my energy.  We’re pulling out of town now.  No more florilume lights and no more jet bikes.  But it’s not all bad.  No more mech-patrol and no more char dealers wanting my hide.  All this place has ever taught me was how to fight anyway.  But that may just save me where I’m going.  Who knows what’s waiting for me. 

I watch the fields go by.  Used to be farms here my mom told me. Honest people making an honest living.  Everything didn’t grow in labs in those days.  So long ago and now I’m heading back to those days.  What’s left of them anyway.  Fuckin’ genius idea though, I have to hand it to the collaborators.  What else were they gonna do with the old cities?  Too expensive to start them all over again. Yea, hell of an idea those bastards had.  It’s been thirty five years since they started building the wall.  Fifteen years since they been open for business.  Must be a lot of desperate son’s of bitches behind that wall.  It’s coming into view now and I’m not really impressed to be honest.  Maybe it won’t be so bad.

I close my eyes for the last ten minutes or so.  Might not get to rest for a while.  Then I feel the transport slow to a stop and hover to the ground.  My eyes open.

“Let’s move!” yells one of the guards.

As I step off the transport I feel the cool air on my face.  No weather-control out here, but it feels easier to breath.  I turn to the right and see the wall.  Now that I’m up close it has a bit more of an effect.  It goes as far as I can see in either direction and it goes up for a half a mile or so.  When you’re one man standing at the door of this monster it looks kinda mean.  Let’s see it’s insides.  I can tell the guards have done this before, it’s very mechanical.  Two stay behind me, guns pointed at my back. One on either side of me walking me to the door.  One beside the door and one in a small booth next to the wall.  They stop me a foot in front of the door.

“Open door one!”

The door in front of me swings open with a groan.  Looks fuckin’ heavy. I can’t really see inside but one of the guards motions me in so I go.  The last free thing I hear is the prick guard’s voice.

“So long fucker…”

I don’t turn around, don’t acknowledge him at all.  Fuck him.  I got more important things to worry about. 

“Close door one!”

When the door slams behind me it barely echoes and I can tell I’m in a small space.  It’s airtight, pitch black.  I want to yell out ‘open door two’ just in case they get the funny idea to leave me in here. But I know they won’t.  it could be a couple weeks before they bring another one here and by that time I’d be dead and stinking. I don’t think these guys want to smell me ever again.  And so door two opens and there is light.

As soon as I step out into the afternoon air door two starts to close, I guess there’s a camera in there or something.  I’m standing on a bit of a hill.  There’s a path heading down and tall grass on either side of me.  And there it is.  I don’t remember if I’ve ever seen a city like this, most of the old movies I’ve seen only date back ten or fifteen years.  It’s like people forgot about places like this.  Pretty fitting for them to stick people they want to forget about in here.  Some of the buildings look in ok shape from up here.  May as well take a closer look.  I half expect to see some kind of mutated mutherfuckers like zombies or something.  Starving and rotting and looking to eat me.  I’m ready to kick some fucking heads off if there’s anything living in here.  Then I think maybe I’m the only one and this is all my playground.  It sure looks dead.

I walk down the trail and it looks about a mile or so to the edge of town.  About halfway there is a little shack on the side of the trail and I think nothing of it.  But as I walk past it I can hear the breathing.  Sounds like a man, sounds tired and scared.  I know he’s heard me but he doesn’t know I’ve heard him so I just keep walking.  As soon as my back is to him he strikes.  Two quick steps and then he leaps, stupid fucker.  I turn and catch him out of the air twisting my body and using him momentum to slam him on his back. My left hand immediately squeezes his throat as I cock my right to smash his face.  He’s terrified.  He’s no threat so I hold him there and look him over.  He’s a little guy, maybe a buck-fifty if he was healthy and right now he ain’t.  I take my hand off his throat and he calms down a bit.

“Why did you attack me?”

“I’m I’m…I’m fuckin’ starving man, I’m gonna die here we’re both gonna die here and if you die first I’m gonna fuckin’ eat you.”

“Really? Maybe I should just snap your neck right now and put you out of your misery.”

His eyes are wild, “no no no, I’m sorry, I’m eating grass…they tried to kill me and I’m fuckin’ stuck in these hills.”

I can see that he’s genuinely scared, but then he’s probably lived most of his life in that state.  I get off and pull him to his feet.

“How long you been here?” I ask.

“four days man, four days.”

“and you haven’t eaten anything but grass?”

“Nothing.”

“fuck,” I say with a grin, “you must be starving, let’s go find some lunch.”

He laughs weakly like a man who’s given up and is just laughing to keep from crying or screaming.  Poor bastard.  I start down the trail again and he follows a few paces behind.  I finally get to the edge of the town, there’s a fence ahead that separates the hills from the city.  The buildings here are small and lined up row by row, it looks like a residential area.  Pretty run-down.  As I approach the fence he hisses at me. I stop and turn to see him crouching and waving for me to come back to him.  I kneel down beside him and he points to one of the nearby buildings.

“that’s the Jesters” he whispers, “that’s where they stay.”

“The Jesters?”

“Yea man, the fuckin’ Jesters, they’re a gang.”

“Never heard of them…”

“Well here they are…and they won’t let us cross into the city.”

“How many of them?” I ask.

“Six or maybe seven.”

“That’s it? Small gang.”

I look back towards the building and the surroundings.  Looks dead to me.  Suddenly there is movement in the window of the jester building. The little shit is obviously not lying.  He wouldn’t stay in the hills and starve if there wasn’t a good reason.  From the fence to the side of the street that the Jesters are on is a short distance. I check the roofs’ for lookouts, none. 

“Ok.” I tell him, “you wait here, I’m gonna cross the street and get beside their building, when I signal you you throw one of these stones through that big window, once I jump them you better come running and back me up, you hear me?”

“I…I don’t know man.”

“You wanna fuckin’ eat don’t you?’

“Ok man…ok, I’ll do it.”

“Ok, wait here.”

I crawl through the tall grass along the fence-line until I think I’m far enough.  I look back at my new friend before I cross the street, he looks like he’s gonna shit.  Once I get across the street I start towards their building which looks like an old shop of some kind.  I’m trying to be quiet and concentrate but I can’t help notice how old and weird everything is. The pavement and sidewalks are so bumpy and cracked up.  From the side of their building I can hear voices inside.  Angry hungry men barking at each other.  They sound tired and mean.  I look across the road and nod my head.  The first stone barely makes it across the road.  Fuck sakes, I shake my head.  He throws another and he gives it all he’s got.  As soon as the window smashes it’s instant commotion. 

“What the fuck!?!” one of them yells.

Hurried footsteps come out of the building and onto the sidewalk a few feet away from me.  Sounds like two or three guys.  My new friend is already coming across the street like a bat out of hell.  Surprising, but I guess it’s life or death now.  This helps as they’re focused on him when I come around the corner behind them.  Act fast is all I can think.  I kick the closest guy hard in the middle of his back and he goes down face first onto the pavement.  The second guy sees this and turns towards me and I catch him with a right hand mid-turn.  I barely feel it on my hand so I know he’s out for the count, that landed perfectly.  The third guy swings a couple wild punches at me and I duck underneath grabbing both of his legs and pinching them together in my arms.  I lift him up fast and twist my body towards the window as I let go.  He goes flying through the glass as I turn towards the first guy.  He’s underneath my new friend who is whaling away for all he’s worth.

“ok man,” I command, “watch out for the rest of ‘em.”

He gets up and nods.  I motion into the building with my head.  He follows me inside.  The light is on, that’s weird.  They still pump power into the city? I guess power is so cheap these days that it doesn’t matter, still it surprises me.  Weird lights too.  There’s a few tables and a few chairs and a counter at the back of the room. I motion for him to be quiet.  There’s only one person breathing in here, behind the counter.  I’m glad for the boy’s home now.  I’m glad for hunting with the father there, I’m glad for the not-eating-unless-we-get-something camping trips.  When I get close I notice the counter isn’t attached to the ground.  I crouch down and slam my shoulder into it and it goes crashing down.  As it lands there’s a scream and I know I got him.  I jump up on the counter see a man face down.  The edge of the counter is sitting on the middle of his back and he’s pinned good. 

“My back!” he yells, “it’s broken!”

“your alive,” I reply, “for now.”

“What the fuck do you want?”

“I’m new in town,” I say calmly, “thought I’d have a look around. Where’s the rest of your gang? Where are all the clowns?”

“It’s jesters.” he moans.

“that’s right…the Jesters.  Where?”

“There’s only Steve, he went to scout for food.”

“No others?”

“No, we lost a man a few days ago…he went past 21st street and he never came back…you’re killing my fuckin’ back man..”

“Well it’s probably not broken then.” I say as I step off the counter, “can you get out?”

“No.”

“Good. So tell me about the food situation, we’re friends now I’d say. Or should I jump back on?”

“ok ok…Mechs fly over the city, they drop food, here and there, we haven’t noticed a pattern, sometimes the packages come open overhead and get scattered, we scavenge what we can without going too far in the city.”

“Why don’t you go too far?” I ask.

“we ain’t the only animals in the jungle, the deeper you go the darker they get, you know…”

“I see, well good luck with your back.” I say as I turn towards the door, “let’s go.”

We walk for a few blocks down the middle of the street so nothing can jump out at us. Old houses, still it must’ve been nice to live in a building of your own, and on the ground too.  They sure had a lot of room in the old days from the looks of things.  I look at the ragged little man at my side.  Looks like he’s been starving for a lot more than four days.

“So what’s you story?” I ask.

“Well, where should I start?…my name is Bill, which is appropriate since I work for the tax branch.”

“A fuckin’ tax man? I thought it was all mech?”

“Nope, still a few of us left” he explained, “anyways, I flipped out and killed my wife and now I’m fucking starving.”

“fuck. Are you serious?”

“Naw,” replied bill, “that’s just something I tell people to make them like me.”

“I guess she had it coming for marrying a taxman.”

“Fuck you,” Bill scowled, “what did we do? Take your cred? Turn your digits back?”

“Not me man…I’m a fighter, was, a fighter.”

“A fighter,” bill comments with a little whistle, “you live mobile?”

“Yea.”

“That’s great, you might be one of the only guys who doesn’t hate me…we’re you any good?”

“I got by.”

Just then we heard a bustling off in one of the yards. I put my hand out in front of him.  There’s a man on all fours digging through the bottom of some bushes.  Gotta stay quiet, he’s making enough noise to let me get close.  He lets me get right up behind him and I can see what he’s reaching for.  A package of something, food of some kind.  His feet are inches from mine and he doesn’t have any shoes on.  It’s a dirty thing to do I think as I stomp on his ankle as hard as I can.  He let’s out a scream and rolls over clutching his foot.  As soon as his eyes meet mine I stomp him in the chin slamming his mouth shut and forcing his head into the dirt.  Sleep Steve, we’ll take it from here.  I grab the bag he was carrying and go back to the street.

“That scream was pretty loud, we better keep moving.”

As we walk I pull some bread out of the bag and hand bill a few slices. There’s a bunch of stuff in there.  Some sandwich meat, a few loaves of bread, some kind of energy bars, wheat cakes.  Bill is practically choking on the bread as we walk.  As we cross another street I look up at the sign, 22nd street.  Don’t have to worry about the Jesters following us anymore.  But what now?

I wonder if there’s any animals? I haven’t ever seen dogs or cats since the home.  Too expensive for common people.  Maybe there’ll be some here.  Fuck, I feel like a kid seeing things for the first time.  I feel pretty safe knowing I got enough food for a few days. And I got Bill, I can throw him to the wolves if I have to. Ha. Fuckin’ Bill the taxman.  I wonder what people outside would think seeing Bill slam some guys head on the pavement.  They’d die of shock.  If he lives it’ll be because of me, but I can’t let myself die because of him.  Sorry Bill, but you better come in handy. Still, I’m kinda glad I’m not alone for now.

“Look,” Bill whispers, “look up there.”

My eyes turn to where he’s looking as we keep walking.  Instinctively our pace picks up.  On top of the roof of a taller house a shirtless man stands in plain view, just watching.  It sure doesn’t look like he’s worried, that means he’s not alone.  Fuck.  We walk faster and as I look back I see him jump to a tree and drop down to the ground before disappearing out of sight.  A lookout.

We don’t run.  I curse myself but I can’t run from a man.  Bill doesn’t dare take off by himself though he now carries a deathly look on his face.  When we reach the end of the block I stop.  It looks clear.  Just then out of the alley comes the shirtless guy, and his eight shirtless buddies.  I don’t pride myself on being a fast thinker but I come up with something.  Now if it works I’ll be seriously fuckin’ surprised.  I hand Bill the bag of food.

“If it gets bad you run.” I say quickly, “ go into the city and wait for me. Now stay put for a sec.”

He now looks puzzled as well as scared to death but he listens.  I turn and go running towards the men.  They’re looking at me like I’m crazy.  I try not to look like I want to fight but it’s the only face I really remember how to make. 

“Stop right there!” one of them yells.

I take a few more steps towards them and pretend I’m breathing hard. Try to look scared, I tell myself.

“you guys gotta get outta here.” I say quickly.

“The fuck you talkin’ about?”

I point towards the hills, “they’re coming, like thirty of them I swear. They just ran over the Jesters and they’re coming this way.”

They look at each other, are they buying it?  I could tell they knew of the Jesters.  They look back at me.

“what are you guys waiting for?…fuck this, we’re outta here and I suggest you do the same.”

I turn and run back towards Bill, no looking back now.  Either they bought it or not, I’d find out soon enough.  I run right by Bill so he turns and runs after me. Once we get halfway up the next block I stop and turn around.

Bill looks at me, “what did you say?”

“Just told them you were a taxman and you had an implant that allows you to communicate to the branch,” I explain, “told them you’d sink their whole families if they didn’t let us go by.”

“Fuck you.”

“Fuck, what’s this?”

Bill looked back to see what I saw.  One of the shirtless guys was running towards us.

“let’s go.” said Bill.

“Just wait.”

The man stopped a few feet from us.  He was a little taller than me, maybe six-five.  A black guy, in good shape.  He doesn’t look like a guy who throws kicks I thought.  Take him down to avoid that reach and play it safe.

“Hey man,” he said, “can I tag along with you?”

“What about your buddies?” I ask.

“I don’t know those mutherfuckers man, they say their gonna stay and fight and I say good luck.”

“So you’d rather run?”

“Hey, I told you man, I don’t know those guys…I got in a fight with one of ‘em when I first got here, fucked him up so they kept me around.”

“Ok man.  You can come with us.”

“my name is Jonah.”

“This is Bill,” I say as Bill nods, “and I’m Jerrick.”

“Oh shit!”

“What?”

“Jerrick muthafuckin’ Cross…that’s you ain’t it?”

“Yea.”

“Fuck man,” Jonah was getting excited now, “we’re gonna be all right. You know who we got here?”

“No.” Bill answered.

“This is Jerrick ‘The Boss’ Cross.”

“Ok.” Bill was still puzzled.

“This is the boss man,” jonah exclaimed, “World IFL unlimited champion since fuckin’ forever…what the fuck you doin’ in here man?”

“Got in a fight, wrong place wrong time.”

“Horrible man, fuckin’ horrible…must be a lot of bettors praying for another sure thing.”

I just smile.  Fuck the bettors, even though they fed me for most of my life.  I was a dog to them, a horse. The only animal left to bet on legally.  It was the high society thing to do and we made just enough to stay alive.  It was an ok trade-off for unrestricted travel and no implants or shots.  Still we were just meat.  I had to end a lot of guys careers just to keep mine going.  Who knows if it’s worth it. Forget that, think about what’s going on right now.

“So you fight?”

“yea man, I box…25 fights, only lost twice man.”

“Nice.”

“Yea you know…I was restricted, nothing big just local you know.”

“That’s how we all start.”

“So Bill, what do you do man?”

“I uh…”

“He’s a blue grade worker.” I say quickly.

“No shit?” said Jonah, “you helping’ people and shit? Giving shots and stuff…that’s good man.”

“Yea.”

I look up and notice that it’s starting to get dark, “Any place to crash around here Jonah?”

“There’s a big store up on the next block, we can block the doors from the inside so we’ll hear if anyone comes in.”

“sounds good. Let’s go.”

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2 thoughts on “No Man’s Land

  1. Hey. I love what you have going on here. I hope you enjoy my site as well. I am not just shamelessly plugging, I wanted you to know that (without giving too many details publicly) you should keep an eye on my blog, over the next few month I will be making some drastic changes in support of “artist owned” and self-publishing. I, myself, am a writer, and I think it is important for artists (of all skill set) to be able to get their work to the public without being manhandled by publishers. You have a very interesting comic going on here, I wish the best for you.
    -James

    1. Thanks man, we are trying to make efforts in the same area. Right now we are putting together a group of indy publishers to co-promote each others stuff. Keep me informed, very interested.

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