A New Day

Ryder Jones stopped by the Handyman on his way to the door and picked up a custom saw blade shooter and machete. Tall with a wiry build, Ryder wore multi-pocketed cargo pants, a tucked-in long-sleeved denim shirt, hiking boots, and hard pads at his elbows and knees. He slung the shooter over the empty rucksack on his back, attached the machete to his belt, and tied a bright yellow bandana to his shaved head.   His cargo pants pockets held gauze, a small bottle of peroxide, a lighter, a mini-flashlight, and iodine tablets to purify water if necessary. 

The Colonel stood at the reinforced steel door to the laddered fire escape on the second floor of the old high school. A small man, he wore weariness with his fatigues. He handed a supply list to Ryder. "I don't know where in the world you'll find some of this crap, but don't get yourself killed looking for it. I've starred the necessities." 

Ryder skimmed over the list and buttoned it into the chest pocket of his shirt. "I'll do my best." 

The Colonel passed him a pair of cleaned science goggles and a filter mask. Ryder slipped them on, and the Colonel clapped him on the shoulder.   "Good luck out there." 

Ryder nodded, pushed open the steel door, and stepped outside into the dew-jeweled dawn of a new day.