The doors squealed loudly on hinges that had not been oiled in months, adding to the cacophony of noise like a madhouse opera – the squealing was the soprano, the engines the symphony and the zombies’ moaning – the choir backing them up.
It was literally ‘music’ to JFK’s ears and he raised his hands like a conductor directing a grand orchestra to an orgasmic crescendo, jerking them left and right before finally letting his hands fall to his baby, gripping her in both hands, revving her and whooping up a storm with the rest of the gang.
It was their trademark, the howling, growling rumble like an approaching storm as they descended upon the towns both in their empire and of the other smaller biker gangs. Their legend, when there were still folks to whisper it, spoke of the chaos to befall any town unfortunate enough to hear the howling of the Wind Riders.
It could be a typical sweat-inducing Texas day with the sun staring down on you in a cloudless sky but you’d hear the old folk sitting in the shadows, sheltering on the deck of the porch say, “There’s a storm coming – just listen, you can hear it.”
And those that didn’t know any better, those poor souls who thought they ‘ran’ and ‘owned’ the town would say, “Just listen to those old fools, hollering on again. Broken records are all they are.”
Then they heard it, the call of the Wind Riders rolling in like some phantom storm, bringing in a tornado invisible to the naked eye, shaking the ground and standing the hairs on the back of your neck up.
“I told you so,” the old folk would cackle as the storm front rolled in, shaking the high street, a long line of blinding hot metal, shades and black leather. The Wind Riders were in town and you’d damn well better just let them be.
Those days were long gone. Now, the only audience they had were the stinkers and the critters taking over the ruins of man. The Wind Rider’s legacy was as good as dead, carried only by the wind and those who still rode it.
Perhaps if he lived long enough he could rebuild the gang but what would be the point, anyway.
The townsfolk holding open the doors on either side need not have feared for their lives because the fifteen bikers roared through the opening eagerly, weapons raised and ready to strike.
The zombies or stinkers as the gang referred to them as, fell in heaps, the dead blood in their veins still retaining enough liquidity to fly in all directions. Helmets over heads, visors down, gloves fitted, jackets zipped tight, the blood rained upon them like plum-tomatoes – chopped plum tomatoes. JFK was out in front, Wind and Uncle either side, the three most savage fighters of the fifteen, clearing the way whilst the rest plowed the edges of the opening.
A particularly large zombie, a fat, wobbly mass of flesh that quivered as one like those apple-bottoms you see in hip-hop videos lurched before JFK, his front wheel zipping over the flesh uselessly, reached for him between the tall handle-bars. Without even thinking, JFK sheathed the machete and reached for the sawn-off shotgun in the holster at his saddle. The zombie had obviously been a monster-eater – probably still was – and a machete seemed severely inadequate. He slapped its reaching hands away, looked into its cloudy orbs and pulled the trigger. 400 pounds or not, without a head to move the mass it was simply a mountain – one that could easily be traversed with a little Harley Davidson momentum.
With the fall of the grossly overweight zombie, JFK saw that they were almost through the crowd and accelerated through the opening. Wind and the rest followed hollering in delight.
The main-street was not too clogged with cars here and they made good time as they raced through the center of town. Most of the dead, rusting husks would be out on the highway and as much as JFK would rather not have, he realized it was the quickest route to their destination.
All around them, shambling forms appeared at the edges of the streets, attracted by the purr of their combined Harleys. It was a sound that filled JFK with great joy, the utter harmonic resonance of their monstrous engines and the crisp look of their fresh new leather that enclosed their bodies despite the temperature being in the late twenties. Before the outbreak, the gang had been in okay condition. Once the outbreak and the subsequent fall of man ensued, the Wind Riders were finally given the chance to live up to their name – at least the few remaining survivors were. The biker store in town – Biker’s Delight – had duly been treated as such and yielded the necessary equipment and clothing worthy of a tough yet decimated biker-gang.
The Harleys had been filched from other dead or dead-walking bikers and local dealers to complete the majestic, thundering army that roared through the streets of Bridlington.
The first stop on the way would be a gas station. The plan was to fill up their tanks, fill up their gas cans neatly fitted into their newly acquired saddlebags, pilfer anything else of use and head along the highway to Arkansas. Once there, if all went well they could drive on through with no interruptions and head for the Jack Daniels distillery in Tennessee – a request filed by most of the gang. They could stock up on some hardcore liquor there, get supplies and head to the Black Mountains just a couple hours from there.
The plan was simple. Carrying it out, JFK knew, would be infinitely more challenging.
As JFK had suspected; the highway both in and out of Bridlington - though less severely so coming in - was crammed thickly with cars and the going was slow. They crawled through the mass of dead machines, engines blurting, attracting a following both to the rear and from up ahead in the sea of metal. It did not bother the group too much though as the zombies were unable to mass, and so were easy to take care of.
They found a gas station after an hour of weaving in and out of the not always abandoned cars and lined their bikes up, ready to fill, a steady stream of ghouls lumbering at them from all directions.
“Let’s make this quick, people. These fuckers are persistent.” JFK leaped off his bike and summoned two of the others to follow him, heading for the main building whilst Wind arranged the filling of the bikes and tanks.
Leanne the lesbian and Dog followed him into the foreboding interior of the gas station. It was dark and too damn quiet for his liking and JFK began to get that feeling you get when you are watching a horror movie and you know something is coming. Walking up to the cash registers, he peered over the counter top expecting to see an ugly, blood covered face staring up at him but there was no one.
“Stay together. None of that splitting up bullshit you get in the movies – you hear me?” JFK whispered over his shoulder, and the other two nodded. Leanne the lesbian flexed her dagger-like nails and savagely chewed at her gum like it was her enemy and she was seeking to destroy it, a scowl on her manly face. Dog, his face rarely ever showing emotion, looked as though water would freeze should it be placed upon his flesh, he was that cool.
Waiting by the single closed door to the back of the store, presumably the stores and office, JFK motioned for the other two to check the aisles and they did – clear. The silence within the building suggested something was wrong though, silence always seemed to do that, JFK thought as he pushed the door to the back open.
When he saw what waited in the blood soaked corridor ahead, he understood why.
Because the monsters/killers loved scaring the shit out of their prey – that was why silence was always worrying!
The three scarlet forms in the hallway turned to him with a hiss, mouths gaping hungrily, and began to totter towards him, their hands slapping at the walls. JFK felt his balls shrink into him at the sudden sight as he quickly retreated backwards, his foot jarring against a conveniently placed box.
On his ass, staring up at the approaching figures, his machete still in its sheath, he realized how stupidly confident he had been.
A pair of hands grabbed him, pulling him away from the descending zombies and he felt himself shoved aside.
“I’ll take care of these fucks, JFK. You just sit tight.” It was Leanne the lesbian, and her words were punctuated with the snip snap of her favored weapon – a pair of garden shears, the blades as long as his arm and as sharp as his wit – at least according to him.
The bloated, purple mottled figures, all men in stained, torn uniforms reached the doorway and JFK could not help but think how much they resembled prunes.
“You’ve got a spot of pruning to take care of there, Leanne,” he said, the words leaving his mouth like kids from school at the end of the day.
“Did you just say that?” Dog said, from the doorway leading outside, a look of disgust etched into his normally stone-wall features.
JFK stood, pulling out his machete and raised a hand imploringly, “Oh come on, Simon. At least I try!”
The pruning began in earnest and within seconds, all three zombies had thudded to the ground, headless. “That’s why these babies beat a machete any day,” Leanne said, holding up her shears proudly, the edges a dark red with thick congealed blood.
She turned and disappeared into the corridor.
“Wait up, don’t go in there alone, man,” JFK called out but she ignored him and opened a door somewhere in the darkness of the narrow space.
No one moved. Dog and JFK waited, that moment of silence descending once more as they awaited the result of her foolhardy action.
Two things happened then, simultaneously. The gas station door flew open and Smoke appeared in the doorway, a grim look upon his face, and in the corridor they heard raised voices.
To be continued...
Alright folks. Sorry for ending it on a cliffhanger. I ran out of time.
Going to be a bit busy this week, so the next installment might take a little longer.
Stay tuned though. I'll see you in a week!
Stay safe! :)