A Biker FantasybyBandit1©
I was standing on Mount Lemmon looking out over the desert at the lights of Tucson that night.
The night that turned my whole damn life into one wild ride.
I was bored. Tired of my job, tired of my now ex-girlfriend. Tired of life in general.
The only thing that was going right for me was my Hawg. A 1956 Harley-Davidson Panhead.
It's not often that a person can look back on a moment and say, "there, that is where I made the choice that turned my life upside-down".
In my case, it was when I decided to go sit on a big boulder and watch the storm coming across the city from the south.
I had an ideal perch from which to watch the light show as the thunderstorm flowed up the valley from Nogales. I fished around in my pocket for my pipe and my tobacco pouch. I filled my pipe and lit it. At peace with the world for once, I settled cross-legged on the more or less flat top of the boulder and cleared my mind. I had tried this type of meditation before, and it usually helped to relax me. I puffed the pipe evenly and slowly, letting the tension flow out with the smoke. Finally I was relaxed as I was going to get. I stayed there for hours, not moving except to refill my pipe and relight it. When I climbed down off the boulder a few hours before dawn, I felt as if I had been asleep for days.
I stopped before going back to the bike and pissed off the edge of the cliff. When I got back to my bike though, I noticed something was more than a little odd. I could have sworn that the road that I had driven up on had been paved. But all I saw was gravel road, heavily rutted and badly in need of repair. I shrugged it off. I had been over worse roads before.
I kicked the Harley to life easily. Letting her warm up for a bit before I dropped her in gear and started out. Being a rigid frame bike, my Harley damn near bounced my kidneys loose by the time I got down the mountain. The sun was just coming up by the time I got to the main road, or where the main road should have been anyway.
I KNEW that Camino Seco was paved. But all I found was another rutted dirt road, maybe a little wider than the one I had just come off of. And where the hell were the buildings that were part of Tucson's urban sprawl? I could see nothing but cactus, mesquite, and Palo Verde everywhere I looked.
I headed west towards town. I rode for a good hour without seeing a single person. Hell, for that matter, I hadn't seen a frigging house or any other sign of civilization. I kept heading generally southwest towards where I knew downtown Tucson was supposed to be. I had a few bad moments crossing rickety bridges across dry washes. But no major trouble. I was getting seriously worried though.
I was thirsty, and no water in sight. I stopped when I saw the next good-sized barrel cactus. The Bowie knife from my boot made short work of chopping the top of the cactus open. I dipped out the watery pulp inside and gulped it down, nasty tasting stuff. But it stayed down and gave me the moisture I needed. I made myself drink as much as I could hold. Then replaced the top of the cactus and got back on the bike.
I unscrewed the gas cap and checked the fuel. 3/4 full, enough to get me to Nogales if I had to.
I was puzzled, someone had to be maintaining these roads, such as they were. But who? And where the hell were they?
I kept going, hoping for some sign that someone was here. When I reached A Mountain, I knew I was screwed. No big white A picked out in white rocks. And where I was sitting should have been right downtown in Tucson.
Crap and other comments.
I reached into the saddlebags behind the seat of the bike and pulled out my pistol and gun belt. I had a sinking feeling that I would need the firepower of my .44 mag before much longer. I stopped and considered my options. Going back up the mountain had its appeal, but I was just stubborn enough to try to make it down to Nogales.
In the Tucson that I knew, it was a simple drive of maybe an hour to the border. Now? I wasn't sure. I found a road heading generally south and took it.
I was somewhere around where I expected Tubac to be, and still nothing and no one. This was not good.
I could see the storm clouds gathering ahead of me. Good old reliable monsoons. At least that hadn’t changed.
I found a spot on a little hill and dug my tarp out of my duffle bag. I rigged it between a couple of Palo Verde trees and a couple of poles that I cut with my Bowie knife. I sank the poles a good 3 feet into the ground, then lashed the tarp to them and guyed cords out to big rocks to help keep them upright.
Safe enough from the rain, I rigged a plastic drop cloth to act as a rain catcher. If we got enough rain, I could fill my canteens and my water bag. I didn't bother with a fire, I didn't have anything to cook, and nothing to cook in if I did. I munched one of the granola bars that I always kept in my saddlebags. I sat backwards on my bike, my head cushioned by my duffle bag, and my feet crossed on the rear fender. I watched the storm roll in and over me, lightning flashing and the rain coming down like a cow pissing on a flat rock.
The plastic drop cloth held a good 3 or 4 gallons when the rain stopped. I filled the canteens and the water bag first. Then I drank my fill of the clean, cold water.
I left the tarp up and leaned back on the bike again. I had slept on the back of the Harley many times, so this was nothing new.
When I woke up, I sat up and stretched. I had slept a lot better than I had expected. I went to take the tarp down. I took a step towards the trees and stopped. "What the fuck?" I said aloud. I had lived in Tucson for 14 goddamn years. I know Palo Verde trees when I see them. And I had tied the tarp to a couple of Palo Verde trees. Now it was tied to a couple of small oaks. I turned and looked out at the surrounding area. Grasslands dotted with small groves of trees.
I took the tarp down and stowed it. then drank the last of the water from the plastic sheet. I got everything packed and got on the bike. She started easily and idled smoothly, or at least, as smoothly as any Harley does. I idled for a few minutes, then shut the bike down. I checked the oil and the tire pressure. Both good. I adjusted the chain slightly and then restarted the bike.
The road I had been traveling on was gone. No trace at all. But the grass was short, and the ground firm enough for traction, so I continued on south. There were mountains in the distance in a couple of directions, but they weren't the same mountains that could be seen from Tucson.
I kept going south because I was already pointed in that direction, and it was as good as any other direction at the moment.
I kept the speed low, no more than 30 miles per hour at any time, both to conserve fuel, and to avoid any sudden surprises like unseen drop-offs or big bike eating rocks.
After an hour or so, I finally saw someone.
Several some-ones actually. I had stopped up on top of a hill and shut off the bike to get a look at the surrounding land, hoping to see a town or even a herd of animals. The grass was too uniformly short to be ungrazed, and I had seen piles of dung that looked like the cow chips that I remembered from my West Nebraska boyhood.
I saw something moving out a mile or so away. I dug in my duffle bag and got out my old battered binoculars. I looked through the side that had the uncracked lens. There were several guys on horses chasing a woman or girl who was on foot. She had a good lead on them, but it was shrinking fast.
I fired up the Harley and headed in that direction. The men on horseback either didn't hear me, or just ignored me as I approached. The girl looked up when she heard the big V Twin of the Hawg, then tripped and fell.
I was close enough to see that the horsemen had lances and swords. They wore leather armor with small brass studs all over the leather. I didn't know why they were chasing the girl, but I have always been a sucker for the underdog.
I drove my bike through the group of horsemen, revving the engine and scaring the shit out of the horses. By the time the riders got their mounts under control, I had the Bike stopped next to the girl on the ground. I spared her a quick glance. He bare feet were bloody and her dress was torn and ragged. She herself looked filthy. I couldn't tell much else since she had her face hidden in her arms as she lay face down.
I drew my .44 pointed it straight up. "All right, that's far enough!" I yelled at the horsemen. Most of them drew up and stopped. One of them, maybe a little braver, or stupider, than the others, kept coming. He dropped his lance point even with my chest and spurred his horse. I took a two handed grip on the .44 and fired.
I remembered reading something about fighting cavalry, kill the horse, and the rider is easy meat.
So the horse took the first 240-grain hollow-point right in the forehead. Momentum carried it a few feet further, but it was already dead and dropping. The rider broke his neck when he landed with an audible SNAP! The rest of the men milled their horses around. Then one of then shouted something at me in a language I had never heard. "Sprechen se Deutch?" I tried. Nothing. "Parles vous Francais?" Again nada. ""Que Pasa?" Again nothing. I thought hard, "Hoka Hey," Again just puzzled expressions.
One of the men rode forward slowly. When he was still a few yards away, I held up my left hand palm out. I kept the gun trained on him. He understood the gesture and stopped his horse as if he had run into a wall. He gestured at his fallen companion and said something in a pleading tone. I raised the muzzle of the pistol and waved my hand to tell him to go ahead.
The man dismounted and walked over to the dead man. He knelt by the corpse and checked for a pulse. I knew there wouldn't be one, the dead dude's head was damn near torn off.
The man went and looked at the shattered skull of the dead horse, then walked back to his mount.
The man then did something that surprised me. He took off his sword belt and hung it on his saddlebow. He divested himself of a surprising array of cutlery, daggers, knives, etc. even something suspiciously like a shuriken throwing star. If I had known he had those damn things, He would never have gotten that close.
He turned and yelled something at the others, and they jabbed their lances point first into the ground and dismounted.
The closer man held his hands out to show that they were empty and started slowly forward. I holstered the .44 and put the kickstand down on the bike. I stepped off and moved away from the Harley. Making sure that I kept myself and the bike between the men and the girl. She was still lying down, shaking and sobbing.
The rider stopped an arms length from me. He looked me up and down, taking in my red and white beard, my long blonde and white ponytail. I had on my leathers and a black T-shirt with a picture of a wizard shooting lightning from his fingertips over a group of skeletal bikers. I had bought that shirt at a truck stop in New Mexico. I had several more in my duffle bag.
Up close, the man reeked of old sweat and stale piss. Doubtless I didn't smell much better after a desert ride in my heavy leathers.
The rider was clean-shaven, about 30 with short dark hair and a nasty scar on his face. ""In Nomine, Padre, et Fili, Et Espiritu Sanctu." I said. The man shrugged and smiled, showing several broken teeth.
The girl picked this time to sit up and make herself visible again.
I saw the look in the riders face as he saw the girl and his expression changed. I stepped back warily and tossed a glance over my shoulder. The girl was peeking over the seat of the Harley, her long brown hair blowing in the breeze.
I turned my attention back to the rider. He pointed at her and shouted. I stood there until he ran down and then shook my head no. The man grew even angrier and stomped his foot, looking for all the world like a kid having a tantrum.
I suppose I shouldn't have laughed at him, but I just couldn't help it.
The rider spat on the ground at my feet, then spun and stomped back to his horse. "Hey buddy!" I yelled at him as he swung into the saddle. He turned and glared at me, so I gave him a one-finger salute and suggested that his father was into bestiality.
He may not have understood the language, but he caught the insulting tone. The rider got back to his buddies and waited for them to mount up.
I drew the .44 and reloaded the spent chamber. 5 of them, 6 shots for me. I liked the odds.
As soon as the brave one raised his sword, I shot him. At 50 yards, I shot for the horse, and missed high. The bullet meant for the horse hit the rider at the base of the throat and damn near beheaded him. I corrected my aim and brought down the other horses as fast as I could sight and pull the trigger.
I flipped open the cylinder and dumped the empty brass as I reached for a speed loader. Only one of the horsemen had regained his feet by the time I was reloaded. I started walking swiftly towards them, holding my fire until I was closer.
Only 3 were still able to stand when I got within 30 feet of them, and at that range, I didn't miss. The down and injured riders I finished off with their own lances. I didn't want to waste any ammo that I didn't have to.
I scavenged the knives, swords etc. from the corpses. I searched for money, but only found small metal bars about a finger long and wide in their belt pouches, so I took them along.
One horse was still standing, and that only because his reins were still clutched in the dead hand of his rider. I pulled the reins loose and led the horse back to the bike. The girl stood up and I got a better look at her. About 5'3", slender and small busted, she looked to be in her early to mid teens. I handed her the reins of the horse. At first she shied away from taking them, but I took her hand and closed her fingers around the leather. She took a step and winced. I cursed myself for not remembering her feet.
I picked her up and sat her sideways on my bike. I tied the reins to the sissy bar and fished my first aid kit out of the duffle bag.
I dug out a box of ammo for the .44 and reloaded the speed loader and the cylinder before I did anything else. I put the empty brass in the box for possible later reloading. When I ran out of ammo for the magnum, I was screwed.
I then used water from the water bag to wash the girls feet before treating them. She trembled at my touch, but did not try to pull away. The soles of her feet were lacerated, but none of the wounds were deep. I slathered them with antibiotic ointment and wrapped them snugly in gauze bandages. I had a pair of socks in the duffle bag, and I got them out and worked them on over her feet.
I went back to the dead men and cut the leather inner shirt off one of them. I brought it back to her and sliced and sewed the shirt into a serviceable pair of moccasins to protect her bandages.
I examined her further and found other minor wounds and treated them. I managed to get her to swallow a couple of aspirin and a couple of vitamin pills. She made a face at the taste, but otherwise cooperated.
Her dress was an unholy mess, so I dug out one of my T-shirts. This one had a beautiful dragon on the front. I cut away the top of her dress and sewed the skirt to the T-shirt. She had made a halfhearted objection when I had cut away her blouse, but she had relaxed when I pulled the shirt over her head and started sewing.
It was getting late and I was thinking about shelter. The girl picked up one of the knives and made her way over to one of the dead horses. She was still limping, but had little trouble cutting out a couple of nice chunks of meat and bringing them back to me in one of the dead men's saddlebags.
I helped her up onto the horse and gestured for her to lead the way. I started the bike and followed slowly.
The girl led me to a ring of standing stones a few miles away. The first thing I thought was 'Stonehenge" But there were only superficial resemblances. I had seen the real Stonehenge during my time in the Army, and this place had a much different feel.
I dug a small hole and built a small fire in it, propping the chucks of horsemeat over the fire on green sticks. While the meat cooked, I went to the altar stone and examined it. On a sudden impulse, I put a few of the metal bars on the altar, and I added a few coins from my own pocket.
The girl watched me as I stood there. I made a small cut on my finger and let a couple of drops fall on the stone.
The girl gasped, but when I looked at her, her face gave nothing away. I went over and cut a piece of the meat and put it on the altar, sprinkling it with some salt from a packet that I had kept from a fast food joint.
When I went back and sat down, the girl scooted over and sat next to me. I gave her a couple of packets of salt and pepper, then got out a couple for me. The girl looked at me confused, then followed suit when I opened mine and sprinkled it over the chunks of meat.
The meat was finally done enough, and the girl and I dug in.
I wiped the grease from her chin with my bandanna. She gave me a shy smile and went back to eating. She finished her portion and the last half of mine. I washed up and then made her stay still while I cleaned her face and hands.
Clean, she was actually very pretty, and looked about 14. Boy was I off by a few decades... I spread out my bedroll, then went out of the stone ring to a small grove a few yards off to leak and take a dump. When I got back, the girl was in my bedding, and her clothing was neatly laid out beside it. I sighed, not that I wasn't flattered, but I was just too damn tired.
I sat down and took off my boots, then I took off the jacket and shirt, I figured that my old clothes badly needed a good airing. I shed my jeans and boxers, then slid into the blankets with my gun and Bowie next to my head. I turned onto my side and felt the girl snuggle up to my back and put an arm around me. I was asleep in moments. Just before I went under, the thought occurred to me that I might wake up in yet another place and time, but since I couldn't do a thing about it...
In the morning, the girl and the stone rings were still there. The Harley was still parked a few feet away, and the ashes in the fire pit steamed gently from the dew.
There was a thick fog everywhere but inside the ring. Sounds were strangely muffled and the hairs on the back of my neck were standing on end. I slipped out of the blankets and pulled fresh pants, socks and a shirt out of the duffle bag. I dressed quickly and stomped into my boots. I sheathed the knife and slung my gun belt around my waist and buckled it. I checked the loads in the cylinder and re-holstered the gun. When I looked around, the girl was dressed and lacing on her makeshift moccasins. I felt a sting on my shoulder and rubbed it. I could feet two small punctures near my neck.
"What the fuck?" I said. I looked back at the girl. "What the hell are you? A goddamn vampire?"
She looked up at me. "Not quite." "So you do speak my language." I said.
"Not until last night." She said calmly. "I needed to connect with you to join minds long enough to learn to communicate with you."
"So you bit me on the frigging neck?"
"Well, you did not accept the other form of connection offered." She said with a sly smile.
Great, I pass up a piece of ass, trying to be a gentleman, and what do I get? Fangs in my neck.
I parked my butt on the seat of the bike. "So just what are you?"
"I am one of the Free Folk."
"Free Folk, right." I said. "And just why were the jokers on horseback chasing you?"
The girl looked down at her feet. "One of the men thought I was a simple village girl and decided that he wanted me. When I objected, he tried to rape me. I killed him."