Recluse Protection

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Chapter 3

“Would you fucking break already?!” I shout as I use my weight and throw myself down to break this bolt from its rusted prison. Sweat beads on my forehead, the scalding sun beats down on the metal building; talk about a hot box. I drop the wrench on the rolling tool cart for a can of brake cleaner; every mechanic’s friend. The rusted bolt is not willing to give up just yet, let’s see if it’ll change its mind after I give it a liberal spray. It’d be smart of me to not accept old machines that need a little tune up. The post hole digger for the tractor isn’t as quick release as it used to be. With the auger being on the shorter end, I need to change it out.

That just means I get to argue with the damn hunk of junk. Opening my cold water, I take a long drink; this is slowly becoming a project I’m regretting I took. My phone rings, making me grab for it and flip it open, staring at the number for a moment. “Yes?”

“Hellion, I’m coming out with Patriot. We should be there in twenty.” Shovelhead’s voice drifts over the receiver.

“Cool, I’m in the machine shed, you know where that is, right?” I glare at the bolt and lean against my tool bench; I’m going to win. The one on the other side is going to be just as difficult; of that I’m sure.

“Yeah, we’ll be there in a few minutes.” With that he hangs up, shoving my phone back in my pocket. I stare at the auger for a few moments. I push from the tool bench and stroll to the other side; the other bolt will need the same attention. Better to be safe than to be sorry. If this doesn’t work, I’m just going to melt the fucker. My hands grip the wrench and I yank down, the rusted bolt’s hold lessons as it emits an awful hesitant creak.

I tighten my hold and throw my body weight into it, jerking down, it’s hold gives way with a horrid creak. What’s so aggravating about this is I have so much more work to do before it’s operational. The blade has had years of work, grueling work, the dull blades have bent and jagged edges. As I round the other side it doesn’t take long to decide; I’m just going to take the L and melt it. I grab my acetylene torch as I turn it on, I’m met with a stark realization; I never refilled the gas. Fine. The drawer to my toolbox sticks before it opens and reveals its contents to me, my punch set and hammer. This auger will be dropped today.

I dig around for a moment to line up the starting punch and swing the hammer three times; a small hole is started. Now I can just drill this fucker out; I win. I trade my tools for my drill; this won’t be a quick fix. As I line the bit up, I press my shoulder into the drill; slowly but surely. New drills are another thing to look into; this sucker was ancient when I first got them; I snort at the thought as most of the bolt rests on the floor. These threads haven’t seen the light of days in over a decade, I’m sure; removing the pen light, I’m given a glimpse of them.

“Gears would be proud of ya.” My thumb clicks the pen light off, I turn to glance at Shovel and Patriot as they stroll in from the blinding sun.

“I’m only this way because he was a good teacher.” The pair glances around the shop; none of it changed since their last visit, maybe some clutter. Shovel is an average sized man, with an average build. Bald head and vibrant green eyes, the man has a flat spot on his skull, hence the name. His ex wife Caroline smacked him with a shovel. Patriot is a tall man packed with muscles, chestnut hair, hazel eyes and a large beard. The man always walks around in his American Flag cowboy boots.

“It’s been awhile, Hellion, how have ya been?” His deep southern drawl makes me give him a smile; the man is the epitome of a patriot.

“I’m still kicking, what about y’all anything exciting to report?” The pair glances between each other, hesitant to offer a shrug.

“Nope, nothing your pretty little head needs to worry about.” Shovel says, his monotone voice drags on; a familiar tick I’ve grown used to. That only makes me wonder, I wipe my hands on the rag removing the newly accumulated grime. Well, I attempt to remove it.

“So what brings y’all here?” They nod their heads towards the open doors, making me follow them. Briefly blinded by the harsh rays of the sun as we step outside, I’m greeted with their truck; trailer in tow. Another truck behind them, I’ll take a guess they’ve been tasked to drop off Gears stuff.

“We’re delivering Gears stuff. I gotta say this made a big ruckus back at HQ.” I rip my eyes from the trailer to stare at Shovel, eyebrow raised.

“Why did it make a ruckus?” Patriot answers for Shovel staring at the trailer loaded with; Gear’s bike, gun cases, and military equipment he still had.

“None of the members knew where we were taking his things, or him and his sister. They wanted to be here for the spreading of his ashes.” I nod slowly, I haven’t even figured out where to spread his ashes, it still hasn’t sunk in he’s gone. Last night I called his phone just to hear his voicemail; I prayed he would answer; this was a nightmare.

“That’s understandable, Bear still hasn’t told anyone about this place or me?” They shake their heads in silence; Shovel looks away as the tips of his ears redden. I walk to the trailer looking over Gears bike. The classic black paint job along with the gears painted on the gas tank; he’s always taken care of his ride. I’ll have to figure out a place to put this up; to respect it like he did.

“No, he’s kept you and this place a secret. It’s safer for everyone.” Patriot answers, his eyes shift sideways; I feel like there is something they haven’t told me. I just shake my head and stare at the trailer again; his most valuable memorabilia stares back.

“How about we help you unload this stuff?”

“Yeah, let’s get this over with.” Shovel walks to the back of the trailer and drops the gate. I hoist myself up into the trailer and head straight for the bike. One thing I did was attach Gear’s keys to mine. I start it up; the engine roars to life before it idles down to a melodious purr. I can’t help but think back to when he first showed me how to ride. He taught me the ins and outs of his bike, it’s strange riding his bike. Oh, how the times change; taking a deep breath, I roll backwards and walk it down the ramp.

The thick black tires and matte rims add to the appeal of the bike; the metal trailer gate rattles as the weight is removed. I blip the throttle and move towards the side building along the mechanic’s shed. Patriot heads over and pulls open one door. As I angle the bike around the door, I maneuver it into the shed; this is where my Camaro sits. I never finished cleaning up the blood. That’s something to focus on for another day; I park Gear’s bike with care and shut her off. A moment passes as I admire the raw beauty; with a shake of my head, I kick a leg over the bike, let’s get shit done.

Patriot and Shovel left not too long ago. The urns rest on the coffee table, I sit and stare in silence, my chest burns with emotions. I know Gears is ready to be laid to rest peacefully with his sister. He’s been waiting years for this to happen; I can’t let him down now. My hands push from my knees as I stand and head for my stash of alcohol; grabbing the small bottles of Fireball. They only deserve the best of burial ceremonies. It’s probably not going to be proper, but it’s the best I’ll offer.

The land offers few trails that can be accessed by vehicle, instead I turn to old reliable; Majesty a large sturdy quarter horse mare. I tack her up and secure the urns in two saddle bags, one on either side; I secure my thigh holster before I can holster my P320-M17. One last glance over Gears and his sister Reba, I double check I have the Fireball, ready to get this show on the road. Accustomed to ground mounting, I slip my foot into the stirrup and give a count before I push off with one foot and pull myself up the rest of the way.

The peaceful setting of the land relaxes me, even as I make my way to the spot. Majesty makes her way through the trails, climbing with ease. Her gait is soothing and calming sway that centers a person. I prefer to ride bareback, but I also knew this was going to be quite an adventure. After a lot of thought, I came to the perfect spot to spread their ashes. On the land there is a slight mountain, with a view of everything, of the water, the main portions, the woods. Just of everything, Gears was a man close to nature, Reba from what I heard about her loved to look out at the water. She was an absolute water baby from what Gears told me.

I’ve chosen to honor them from the best vantage point; we make our way to the highest point, the cliff overlooking everything. A soothing breeze will transport them to where they want to be. Gears and Reba deserve to find their peace together. We round the last bend to my destination and I look around in silence. I halt Majesty and swing my leg over the saddle to dismount; at least Majesty ground ties.

Peace of nature surrounds me, a somber feeling settles in my chest; today is a rough day. I remove the urns from the saddle bags and the Fireball; every good service should give you a shot of this. Majesty and I stand, offering a moment of silence to both; it’s only right I let the wind carry them to their dreams. One knee hits the dirt, I stare at the urns and speak a few words to both. This is my final goodbye; two lone tears slip down my cheek as I grieve their loss. I open the urns; the wind carries them across the land, they can rest peacefully now. I toss back two shots and stand, raising the bottle to the sky before I pour one for each of them.

Gears and Reba lived great lives while they could, both gone too soon. “It’s time to head back girl, it’ll be too dark to travel soon.” I mount up again, ready for the long ride back home, they’ll be taken care of now. I know that things will fall into place easier. Silence washes over me as my hips rock to Majesty’s gentle gait; cool fresh air infiltrates my lungs, revitalizing.

The long ride inches to an end at a snail’s pace; the setting sun grants the sky a beautiful backdrop. Deep reds and oranges shift to darkening midnight blues and dark plums; the silver moon will be the guide I follow. It’s gorgeous out here, away from the city, away from society. Ever since Bear saved me all those years ago; I was barely sixteen when he found me. I’m just about to turn twenty-four; it’s strange to think how long has passed. From abused girl sold who was sold for drugs; to a recluse who creates new identities for men and women in their own hell.

It’s a welcomed upgrade I have to say; one I’m thankful to have received.

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