August grunted and stood immobile, staring at the offending motorcycle. As a younger man August often let his anger and frustration sweep over him and flow through him. The anger gave him a feeling of awesome power, but it was destructive power.
Over the years August mastered the art of keeping his temper by not moving. The length of time he stood corresponded to the depth of his anger. This time he stood motionless for a number of minutes, taking deep breaths and looking at the stalled motorcycle. He scanned the highway. Abandoned cars sat along the roadside, many of them rusting to useless heaps. Some had broken windows and showed signs of animal visitation, if not habitation. He saw two that were in reasonable condition.
August spent a half hour trying to restart the motorcycle, to no avail. "I can break you permanently, you know," he muttered, his hand straying to the Sig Sauer at his hip. He tried once more to get his big fingers near the throttle wire, and gave up, throwing his hands into the air.
Again he stood immobile, his palm on his pistol. The desire to shoot the offending motorcycle passed and he sighed. With no maintenance crews, the occasional landslides made the roads almost impassable to regular vehicles. The bridges would be issues in the coming years as well.
The Shadow was a good machine and he didn't want to lose it. August spent a few hours moving it to a more protected area and creating a waterproof lean-to over it.
He trotted toward the other vehicles to see if any were functional. After this many years, the chances were slim, as most of the batteries were dead, even if somehow the gasoline was usable. It took another two hours to check the cars within range, but none worked.
"I should have brought a horse," August mumbled. "And my bow," he added to himself.
Another fifty miles by road to Hemanth's community. That would be three days at an easy pace, and two if he pushed himself. He'd once made a bit over sixty miles in a single day, but that memory still made his legs ache. August considered the situation. Everyone was safe. The scavenging team would spend an uneventful night in Pueblo and then head back to Selah Ranch, where life was more boring than exciting. August decided he didn't need to rush.
He looked at the trees and brush growing to the edge of the abandoned freeway. For the first time in hours, a smile spread across August's features. If there was anything nice about the near demise of the human race, it was that nature had a chance to restore itself. After not quite a decade, the small animals had returned, bringing the larger animals as well. For nature, this was a respite from the onslaught of humanity.
The trees spread through the cities and over the landscape. The water in many of the streams was cleaner, the fish more plentiful, and the air sweeter. Except for the city ruins, the world was returning to a land similar to August's early years in Michigan.
He closed his eyes and stood in the waning sunshine. A soft breeze blew down from the mountains, carrying a hint of the chill of the coming winter. His hair fluttered. August breathed in and smelled the sweet tang of falling leaves, the thousand subtle scents of small animals intermixed with the slight aroma of flowing water. He relaxed and could hear the distant stream, the slight splash of something falling into the water.
A few days in the wild would be nice. There were plenty of streams to fish along the way and he had his gun and knife. August rolled his shoulders and relaxed, breaking into a ground-eating walk.
This would be a welcome adventure.