TJ squirmed on the back of the bike trying to lock his pudgy fingers around Sunday’s lithe frame. Fear overpowered his natural inclinations for tact and subtlety.
The engine of the Harley Continental coughed and spluttered. It roared like a rambunctious kitten. It was no huge feat for the bikers to catch up to them after finding their dead friend. Their bikes’ engine noises sounded like a giant bowling ball rolling down main street. TJ imagined that, to them, everyone looked like pins.
He looked back and saw only a cloud of smoke and dust. He half-expected a haunted pirate ship to emerge from it, with jet black sails. Crewed by stop motion skeletons. But as it cleared, only a parade of shiny chrome and black leather remained. A tide of ill-fitting pants and boots, with lots of buckles on them, moving gradually closer.
“Can we outrun them?” TJ yelped.
“No,” Sunday said, without even looking back.
“Then what are we gonna do?”
“This,” Sunday said, almost whispering. She stopped the bike with a sudden, anguished screeching of the Continental’s tires.
“What the fuck are you doing?? They’ll kill us!” TJ squealed.
“They might,” Sunday said. She propped the bike up with the kickstand and dismounted with the grace of a duchess.
TJ dismounted, almost falling. This brought back horrible memories of riding in a bike seat with his Mom when he was a kid.
“We’ve gotta hide,” he said breathlessly, clinging to one of his sweaty moobs. The sword in his other hand was shaking in its cheap faux lacquer sheath.
“Where?” Sunday said as she took up a batting stance, squeezing the grip of the bat in both hands. She took a few practice swings at that mean old air.
TJ looked around a full three sixty and realised they were on the edge of town. They were on an open street with no cover. “Looks like we’ll have to reason with them” Sunday said. A wry smirk peeled across her face as she walked past TJ with the bat across her shoulder.
The bikers didn’t speed up or slow down; they kept their solid, droning pace. They knew there was nowhere for them to run. And the building sounds of the engines filled the entire town with a primal dread.
They were on Sunday and TJ, like vultures, two at first, circling; the rest hung back a little to see what they’d do. The bikers were armed with pipes and chains and anything they could get their hands on. They dragged the chains behind their bikes and scraped the ground with their pipes, which, in a different situation, TJ would have found pretty cool. It kind of reminded him of the opening scene of ‘Akira’. But that was beside the point because they were probably trying to kill him.
Sunday breathed out slowly, closing her eyes and digging her feet into the cold, dry tarmac. She squeezed and released her grip on the bat as they circled, laughing and whooping.
One of them tore in front of her. His tires screeched in pain as they turned to face her, head on, but she didn’t move. He charged, screaming for her, but she remained still. He raised his pipe over his head as he angled his bike to give him a good swing. With an instant, ferocious finesse, she stepped forward into the arch of his strike and sunk her bat straight across his chest. He bounced off his bike. The bike came to a stop, scraping along the concrete.
Sunday breathed in calmly, closing her eyes again. She squeezed and released the handle of the bat as it hummed in her hands, sending shivers of pain all through her arms and down her back.
“You fucking bitch!” the biker’s friend screeched, pulling down the bandana covering his mouth. “I’m gonna fuck you up!”
Sunday wasn’t paying attention. She picked up the other biker’s discarded pipe, without looking at him, as he circled back to strafe her.
She looked it over as he closed the distance. Tears and snot streamed from his eyes, rage pounding on the accelerator.
She idly tossed the pipe away, and the biker was too angry to notice it fall directly into his path of destruction. By the time he wiped the snot out of his face, it was too late. He ran over the mangled pipe and it got caught up in the front tire. The front wheel twisted, forcing the bike to one side and down onto the concrete. It squealed to a stop and Sunday walked towards the downed biker.
He was pinned under the bike: both of his legs, broken for sure, coughing up blood, screaming, “You bitch, you fucking bitch!”
She was slower for some reason; she dragged the bat now, with one hand, and squeezed her arm with the other. She brought the bat up and split his head effortless. It made a mundane, wet imploding noise, like a watermelon dropped on concrete. His mouth went slack and his eyes rolled back in his head. She pulled the spiked monstrosity out of his skull with a soggy, sucking noise.
Then silence, a slow deafening silence. Then a thunderous clap, breaking the silence apart, like Thor’s hammer on the clouds. A man, on an enormous, bucket-seat Harley, sat as if on a throne, watching. Surrounded by his cronies and with a fine-looking biker chick on the back of his bike, clinging to him, he slowly clapped with his huge, gloved hands.
“That was cute. I really dug that,” he said as he leaned forward, across his custom handlebars. There was a cobra design on the front of his bike, and his breaks and clutch were ornate snake heads with a brass finish. “Oh, you’re finished. Allow me to introduce myself.” He stroked his Fu Manchu moustache. A large Latin man, with tattoos covering most, if not all his arms, he was adorned with Mayan tribal art and Japanese rip offs. He wore a loosely cut denim waistcoat, the back of which was emblazoned with their insignia: an angel in a straitjacket with the words ‘Los Angeles Locos’ written below it. The ensemble was completed by a pair dark red, leather pants and aggressive-looking combat boots. “My name is Mojang. It’s a pleasure to meet you!” Before he finished, the bikes had fired up again. And before she knew it, Sunday was surrounded by ten maybe twelve bikers. Clouds of smoke encircled her, a maelstrom of twisted metal. Her hair swept across her face. She raised her bat with a bitter defiance, ready to swing at the next one that came close. She hoped to take them one at a time, like balls in a batting cage.
Before she could take a swing, a chain wrapped itself around her bat and it was wrenched from her hand, wrenched away with a high-pitched banshee laugh. Sunday turned, just in time to see a leather boot heel coming towards her face at high speed.
“That’s for Lamb Chop, bitch!” the woman said as she got off the back of the bike. The rider watched with a vicious grin on his face as the angry young biker woman approached. Sunday rose again, spitting blood.
Sunday stuck her tongue out as she wiped blood away from her mouth. The biker chick snorted. She wore high leather boots, all black leathers, a pinch of PVC and a ridiculously tight corset, holding in a much larger frame than Sunday’s. She had black, dyed hair with flecks of red in it, shaved in odd places. Piercings all around her head culminated in an obnoxious bull ring in her nose.
She closed the gap, between the bike and Sunday, with a bounding leap, her angry excitement fuelled by the wailing crowd. They whooped and hollered like wild animals. “What, bitch? You think you can take me-?” Before she could finish speaking, Sunday had football tackled her to the ground. Sunday pummelled her with balled up fists, like an angry gorilla, and thought nothing of biting the septum ring out of her nose and spitting it at her face. Before Sunday could finish her, a large arm snaked around Sunday’s neck and began choking the life out of her, lifting her a clear foot off the ground before dropping her, in a bundle, on the floor.
The large biker picked up Sunday’s flaccid body like a rag doll. The angry female biker stood and coughed blood.
“Damn, Del, she fucked you up.”
“Hold her, Roan!” She approached Sunday’s lifeless body, pulling a small knife from her thigh high boot. Del ripped Sunday’s shirt, with both hands, as she dangled unconscious in the brutish biker’s arms. The torn fabric revealed her pale, porcelain skin and petite, anaemic breasts. Del took a moment to pick a spot to plunge the knife into. “Bitch!”
“WAIT!” A booming voice cut over the sounds of engines, like ritual drums, building to a climax. “Hey, tubby! Yeah, you! You can stop hiding now; we’re not buying it,” Mojang bellowed as he leant prone over the handle bars of his enormous Harley.
TJ shook. The spittle in his mouth became sticky and it was hard for him to breathe. He had spent the last couple of minutes cowering behind the tiny Continental, trying to make himself invisible. Sadly, at his size, it was wishful thinking. He’d spent a lot of his life just doing exactly that, pretending to be invisible, but now there was nowhere to hide. There were eyes and teeth and fists and pipes and chains everywhere he rested his eyes. Spinning and spinning endlessly. He got dizzy trying to focus on a single point.
“We found him around the fat boy’s house, sir.” Malcolm chortled like a high school bully. They kept the black, bagged figure in a metal noose as it jostled violently, like a wild dog. “It had those weird implements on its wrists, sir. Almost took Jones’s face clean off before we got it restrained. We thought you’d want to take a look. This is the first time we’ve seen one use, err, weapons, sir.” Malcolm was short and stocky, with a distinct, northern British accent. But he wore the same thing as every other merc so as to be unidentifiable.
“Did you have your emitters active at the time?” Evergreen said, still inspecting the garish cheese grater. He noticed the words ‘eviscergrator’ etched into the side in Comic Sans.
“Very interesting. It attacked then, not for food, but out of instinct. You were right to bring it to me; it should make an interesting test subject.” He smiled as he passed the cheese grater back to Malcolm who looked down at it, not quite knowing what to do with it. It was too cheese gratery to be a weapon and too weapony to be a cheese grater.
“What should I do with this, sir?” he said as he held up one half of the deadly cheese grater set.
“Err, but I’m a vegan, sir,” Malcolm said, turning away.
“I didn’t mean to use,” Evergreen sighed. “Sedate the subject, have our field surgeons graft those things to its wrists. Set them into the bone, if you have to. Inject it with the new batch and then let it go.”
“Where should we let it go, sir?”
“Where you found it, of course, outside ‘the fatboy’s’ house.”
“Hey, fatboy! Yeah, I’m talking to you! Come over here!” Mojang motioned to TJ, leaning over the bars of his Harley. The ebb and flow of the bikes surrounding him seemed to soften as he spoke. Maybe everything just got quiet and slow in TJ’s mind.
TJ gingerly edged towards the biker on his throne-like Harley. As he watched, a smile peeked at the corners of the man’s wicked mouth. The biker twisted the corners of his Fu Manchu moustache, like a 1920s villain about to tie TJ to a railroad track. “Come on, kid, I won’t bite. I just wanna talk!” His smile was so wicked it could cut glass and TJ couldn’t bear looking right at it.
When TJ was within spitting distance, Mojang stretched out a long, thick arm around TJ, bringing him close to whisper in his ear. “Is that fine piece of feisty female yours, mi amigo?”
“What?” TJ whispered back.
“Is that fine piece of green pussy yours or not?”
“’Hur’ is not an answer, my friend. Yes, or no? Is that piece of Key lime pie yours or not?”
“She is.” TJ stuttered over the words as he fought back terrified tears.
“Ok then, let her go,” Mojang yelled as leaned back.
The large biker dropped Sunday in a pile on the ground. The angry biker chick, Del, resheathed her pig sticker. She sneered up at Mojang, to which he replied with an arrogant smirk.
“Go to her my friend!” Mojang yelled at TJ, smiling, as if enjoying this sophomoric, post-apocalyptic, romantic gesture. The bikers backed off. The large one, Roan, locked eyes with Mojang as if they were wolves fighting over a carcass.
TJ picked Sunday up as if he was some hero from a daytime movie. He checked her pulse; she was still breathing, but she was out like a light. “If she is your girl, like you said, then you have to protect her, am I right? That is what men do, is it not?” Mojang said, laughing, biting his lip in anticipation.
“Sunday,” TJ whimpered. His voice rattled like a couple of tin cans, and he almost recoiled, hearing it. It shook loose a torrent of stored emotions, which turned into bitter tears. He wailed like a little girl, in front of the pack of bikers, whom he imagined were laughing, jeering and drawing straws on who would kill him with an atomic wedgie or a lethal swirly. But he couldn’t hear a thing; everything was still.
His heart beat fast and hard and burned in his chest. He forced out all the air from his lungs. He cried angry, shame-filled tears of self-loathing and bitterness: an outpouring of grief from a deep-seated well of misery. “I’ve had enough, mommy, I wanna go home.”
“Oh, this is fucking pathetic,” Mojang sighed, leaning back in his bucket seat and crushing the fake tit of the girl on the back of his bike. “Would somebody kill him, please?”
The large biker, Roan, loomed over TJ. From behind, he put an enormous hand, with hairy blond knuckles, on TJ’s shoulder. TJ quietly mewed like an injured kitten. The man was a little over six-foot-tall, which meant he was a giant standing over TJ.
The hellcat biker, Del, licked her heavily lipsticked chops. She drew her knife again as she minced towards the couple.
“Looks like a double date,” she said, smiling like a hyena about to pounce. “This is what you get for fucking with Los Angeles Locos.”
“Come on, kid, die with some dignity. Stand up and die like a man,” the huge blond biker said as he squeezed TJ’s chunky shoulder.
A cold feeling gripped Roan’s gut. He could feel a deathly stillness coming from TJ, as if an electric shock or a low level vibration was being transferred from the fat otaku into his enormous arm.
Roan stepped back. He was built like a porta-potty: tall and rectangular, with a long head of blond hair, a long beard and shades. He looked like a pro-wrestler version of the Dude in ‘The Big Lebowski’. He was wearing a ripped pair of jeans and a worn leather jacket, with an old-looking plaid shirt underneath. But the sword in his gut, that was new.
He staggered back a little in sheer disbelief, uttering a little, stilted cough. The crowd, agasp, couldn’t believe what they were seeing.
“You little prick!” the hellcat said as she strode towards TJ, knife held high like an angry Indian squaw.
TJ’s mind went completely blank, his eyes a cool, steel grey. He could hear his blood rushing in and out of his heart as it beat steadily. She moved as if she was underwater, cutting through the waves, like the figurehead on a ship. He didn’t look at her, but he felt the waves from her movements as he looked down at the cold ground.
In the space of a heartbeat, he withdrew his sword from Roan’s chest, stepping to one side to let a jet of hot blood hit Del in the face.
“What the fugh!” she said as she gargled the warm blood.
She wiped it from her eyes but was blinded by a bright flash. As she raised her hand to her face, her fingers fell off, one by one, as if she were suffering from an advanced form of leprosy. The blade in her hand fell to the ground.
She looked at her hand and opened her mouth to scream, but no sound came out. Her vocal cords had been cut. Her head peeled off with a sweaty, sticky sound, like someone removing a suction cup from a piece of cut glass. Then her arms; then her legs. Beautiful, perfect, neat cuts: little to no blood. Freezer packed pieces of clean flesh.
The bikers rubbed their eyes, like kids on Christmas morning, and didn’t say a thing. It was as if they were reading a comic book and had skipped right to the end and couldn’t believe it was real life.
“What the fuck??” Mojang blurted out. A spike of steely fear hit a nerve in his voice. As far as he was concerned, he may as well have just seen aliens abduct someone right before his eyes. “What next, fatboy? Gonna pull a rabbit out of your ass?”
TJ stood, breathing ragged, tears still wet. His face was frozen in a horrible, childish tantrum mask. His sweaty pit stains grew as he waited for them to come.
As if operated by strings, some eccentric muscle memory sent TJ into a sudden Captain Kirk-style forward roll, made all the more strange by his girth. His body was operating on pure electricity and every Kung Fu movie he had ever watched, over and over. He swept up the hellcat’s little boot knife as he rolled and launched the blade forward, like a ballista, right into the crowd, right at Mojang.
Mojang froze and pulled a stupid face. But his reactions weren’t so numb and he had enough sense to throw up a heavily tattooed hand in front of his face. Just in time for the knife to burrow all the way through it. The point just pricked the soft flesh of his eye, like the yolk of a fried egg.
“What are you waiting for?” Mojang cawed to his men. Their feet hovered over the gas pedals of their bikes as Mojang pulled the knife from his hand and threw it away. He couldn’t feel it yet. Adrenaline was rushing to all the right places. He had to fight not to bite off his own tongue, but he didn’t feel any pain yet, just a numb feeling, like being poked in the eye. He squinted and kept his other eye shut as a light trickle of blood and some black jelly fell on his cheek.
An eager young biker tore off from the pack. Before he could get up to speed and double back on the pair, TJ whipped his head off with a sudden strike. The bike stalled to a halt, parting the crowd of gawking onlookers as his body rag-dolled to one side.
TJ sheathed his crappy mall katana, his face still wet with vicious tears. He took Sunday’s arm and hooked it around his neck, lifting her, using his sword as a cane. He hobbled towards the gap in the crowd and the overturned bike. Silent onlookers kept their breath to a low whisper, trying not to exist.
“He’s a fucking freak!” they gasped. They reeled backwards as he approached the downed bike with the headless biker. “Madre dios! Santé muerte!”
He hauled the bike up, with great strain, and propped it up with the stand, then sat his roomy behind down and draped Sunday across it.
He started it wearily.
“How hard can it be?” he muttered to himself as he jolted forward. “Kinda like a dirt bike.” The bike chugged along, carrying his meaty frame and his slight companion. They rode off into the sunset, or back in the direction of TJ’s house.
“Boss, should we go after them?”
“How many did they get? Five? Six?” Mojang screeched through his teeth as he held his pierced hand and squeezed his eye closed. “That’s a big lead. If we send any more after them, we might get them, or we might lose a few more and we’ve handed them the win”
“We can’t let them just get away; we’ve got our dicks flapping in the breeze here!”
“Nah, this is a small town. We’ll see them again, but if even one of them lived we’d be fucked. There aren’t that many hunters in the town to make up a lead like that. Doesn’t matter how many cucarachas we round up.” He sighed angrily as he watched that waddling fat fuck trundle off into the sunset. “We’ve gotta play the game, homie.”