Recluse Protection

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Chapter 1

“Rubble, what the hell are you on about?” I blink my eyes and struggle to remove the crust from my eyes, turning to stare at the small red numbers on the alarm clock. The thin sheet falls to my waist as I sit up; I wrangle my thought process into gear as I strain to listen to Rubble.

“Shit’s going down. Hellion, I need an evac and yesterday. Get your ass down to the marina now.” Before he can disconnect, I hear cursing from none other than Bear; what the hell is happening? I stand with a lot of effort, trying to keep steady as I wrench my nightshirt over my head. Skinny jeans slide up my legs, the ripped fabric stained with years of labor. Years spent making this place self-sustaining. A black cami follows the jeans and gets tucked in before my belt cinches it all.

I haul on my boots and tighten the laces in a quick military cinch, quickly securing the laces. Time isn’t something I have to waste at the moment, I pull the weapon from under my pillow. Force of routine habit has me chamber checking the P320-M17, ensuring it’s prepared for action. The weapon fits securely in the small of my back, my hand reaches for my leather jacket that hangs from my closet door. On the move down the stairs, I head for the front door. I don’t know what kind of shit is hitting the fan that calls for an evac from me.

The darkness of night still envelopes the earth. The normally dark blue and purple hues lighten with the approaching day. In a few hours the new day will no doubt have taken over the sky, erasing whatever storm went down at the marina. The sleek black 1996 Camaro Z28 SS sits waiting to be driven like it was stolen. While this baby isn’t my daily driver, I use her when in a time crunch. I start her and wait a few moments before peeling out of the drive, gravel spits as we hit the main road. One hand on the wheel and the other on the shifter I maneuver the silent streets no doubt creating a disturbance.

The area I live in isn’t known for its safety at night, most of the men and women that travel the streets after darkness lays its claims. Are the ones that don’t do legal business; but hell, everyone has to make a living. I might not approve of their decisions, but then again it ain’t my life that’s getting effected. The closer I get to the marina, the more my adrenaline pumps. Pulling into a back alley, I lock my car as I step out and pull out my weapon. My thumb flips the safety with ease, the familiar click resonates in the darkness.

Crouched, with my weapon drawn across my body pointed to the dirt. Listening to the sounds of the street, I feel my muscles bunch in anticipation. Rats scuttle under the few streetlights that still work straight for the sewer. The eerie streets carry the sounds of anything and everything that has the guts to move. I mentally curse myself as I head closer to the water; voices drift over the street. I adjust my grip and crouch behind one of the many stacks of shit.

“Bear, don’t fucking do it.” Rubble’s strained voice makes me peak from my cover, surveying the area. Rubble leans heavily against a brick wall, Bear stands in front of him with his weapon drawn. I glance around the other side before I move closer, suddenly anxious.

“Rubble, we don’t have any fucking option. Your ass is down, Gears is buried. I’m the only one operating on all cylinders.” Bear ejects the mag and performs a round check.

“No, Hellion is on-”

“Behind you, what the hell did y’all walk into?” I cut off Rubble and slide into the alley, still making sure no one has their sights locked on me. Bear turns around, slamming his mag back into place to raise his weapon to level his sights on my skull.

“What the hell are you doing here?” I snort with a grimace, it’s not like I wanted to be here.

“Calm the fuck down Bear, I called her. We need to get out of here, you have more shit to think about than just the club.” Rubble snarls waving an arm around, my eyes zero in on the blood that’s glazed his hand.

“Where did you get nailed, Rubble?” I’m forced to slide past Bear, I lift Rubble’s shirt seeing the gash on his side.

“He got sloppy and got caught by a six-inch blade. Can you get him out safely? I’ll pull these fuckers away.” I narrow my eyes at him.

“Why don’t you come with, they don’t know I’m here. Let’s take the upper hand and bail. I know it ain’t your gig but y’all lost Gears; what about him? Are you going to leave him behind?” Bear sighs and looks back out into the space; where the hell is Gears?

“Rubble call in Kado, have him collect Gears. Hellion take Rubble out of here, that’s an order.” Raising an eyebrow, I support Rubble and adjust my hold on my weapon.

“And what’s your plan, Bear? You better not be trying to catch some lead.” Bear shakes his head and steps away.

“I ain’t trying to die Hellion, now get him out of here. Rubble call Kado now, give him Gear’s location.” Shaking my head, I make Rubble keep up with me.

“Watch your six then.” I call out and push Rubble to follow me; the man is packed with muscle and difficult to shove around. Bear takes off out of the alley, not having any other option as we make our way to my car.

“What are you just going to let him go?” I hold back a snarl, I can’t refuse Bear’s orders. I owe the man too much to just ignore the man’s orders.

“What choice do I have? I have to follow his orders, now hurry and call Kado. I don’t feel right leaving Gears out here.” Gears was like a brother to me; we shared a bond. He became my go to man to talk to. It’s hell losing family, even if we don’t share blood; in my eyes, that strengthens us.

“Fucking hell.” Rubble curses as he pulls out his phone and dials Kado’s number; this is just blowing up in their faces. I silently shake my head and peer around the corner as a shadow ducks in an alley. Making a run for the docks. “Kado, shit went down, blew up, Gears went down. We need you on clean up, he’s in warehouse eight, back left corner behind the stack of pallets.” I force Rubble to cross the street. Holding my breath as I roll the dice of life and death. I’d rather catch a bullet to the front than the back. At least I’d know who to haunt after my ass is buried.

A moment of silence sounds as my heart stutters; the deafening silence is broken by rats that scurry over bags of trash. “Hurry the fuck up, call me when it’s done.” Rubble hangs up and cuts off whatever statement Kado could’ve made.

“How far out is he?”

“Ten at the max. Can you stitch me here?” Rolling my eyes, typical of Rubble he hates needles and being side lined.

“No, the damn thing is at least an inch deep. So suck it the fuck up, I’m pulling your ass out of here. I’ll fix ya up, after you rest some I’ll give you the keys to the extra SUV y’all left.” Then he’ll leave and I’ll be left to my own peace. The 118 acre lot being my own little hideout from the world, the land provides for me and the few farm animals I have. Old machinery helps me keep the land at its prime, even if the damn things continually break.

“Hellion, just fix me up and I’ll be out of your hair.”

“Rubble stop bitching for once.” I don’t put my weapon away as I pull out my keys. “I just detailed this, dammit. Try to keep your blood to yourself.” Unlocking the door, I pull it open and shove him in. Rubble pulls his feet into the car and I slam the door. I hate cleaning blood from the carpet. I learned my lesson awhile ago and reupholstered my seats in a classic black leather. I don’t always get to remove all the blood right away, so the black helps disguise it, only a little.

Getting in the driver’s seat, he starts in on me. “Keep the blood to myself? How the fuck do you expect that to happen?” I flare at him and flick the safety on and slide my gun next to my seat, turning on my baby.

“Rubble, I ain’t in the mood to fuck around. I have a gun way too close to my hands not to use it.” Pulling out of the back alley, I pray that whoever they were fighting doesn’t chase after me. I’d rather not have to fix my car. I glance in the rearview mirror and up shift, skipping second straight to third.

“Hellion, low long before you hand the keys over?” I don’t glance at him, hyper aware; who knows who might follow me.

“Depends on how stubborn you plan on being. The quicker we get this over with, you resting and a bite in ya, the easier it’ll be. Don’t make this difficult.” I warn him and spare him a side glance. I’m not afraid to handcuff him to the bed, I know how tricky he can be.

“Or, we could just not do all of that and-” Inhaling deeply, I throw him a look as I slowly raise one eyebrow, he shouldn’t finish that statement. “Or I’ll just shut up.” Rolling my eyes, I continue to drive mainly in silence, the engine’s purr being the only sound at this hour. With the sun sluggishly inches its way up into the sky, the dark night fades with time. The moon and stars will disappear within an hour’s time.

Dirt stirs behind me as I pull into the driveway, I glance at Rubble and notice his paling skin. I don’t doubt that he’s lost a good bit of blood by now. Reaching over I open the garage door for the barn, it rolls up with a lot of protest. I need to get that thing oiled. Driving in I press the button again, the door emits its horrid groans. I click the key into the off position before I step out; the passenger door opens. “You know the drill hop up on the table.” This time I place my gun back into the small of my back and remove my jacket, I’ll need to clean the damn thing.

I prep what I need to suture him with. I don’t know a lot of medical mumbo jumbo but I have stitched up enough people, myself included; I have this shit down to a ‘T’. Walking over to him with everything, I watch as he pulls the shirt he has on over his head. The wound looks more painful in the light. “The place is coming along; did you ever finish the fencing you needed?” I nod, focused on threading the needle.

“Yeah, I got that finished up last month. It’s sturdy; now I just have to treat the land and wait for the next rotation.” I clean around the wound before I get to work; he makes random conversation.

“How many babes came from this year’s fertile season?” I’ve never heard it referred to as a fertile season, but whatever.

“One milk calf, three for slaughter, eleven piglets I lost one during birth, twenty-five chicks, I had a good selection this year.” What I know I won’t eat right away, I sell it to a farmer’s market or freeze it. That’s what happens with most anything I have left over. I have to make some kind of profit. Whatever I make goes towards fixing machines or anything else that seems to pop up.

“Wow, that’s decent pickings, are you going to be trading out anything?” I nod, finishing up the stitch, using a white gauze pad for a cover.

“Yeah, I don’t want anything breeding too close. I’m all done, why don’t you go up to the house and catch some Z’s I gotta go feed.” He jumps down from the table collecting his shit; after dumping everything that I used, I head out to take care of the farm animals.

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