I have a saying. “When you get woken up by motorcycle noise, it’s either going to be a hella good day or a waking nightmare.” Today was definitely the latter. You see, the first thing I heard this morning was the roar of the full might of the Muddy Marauders. The problem? I didn’t organize an attack. Or feast. Or any reason for them to be organizing. So where are they going? Up runs Glutin. I already don’t like this guy and he hasn’t even said anything. Where is General Tzo anyway??
Glutin comes in spouting something off about a water truck raid. WATER TRUCK??? I had no idea this was the inaugural trip for Ray’s water truck. I know my boys aren’t the most gentle handed types so I knew shit was about to hit the fan and rode out with them hoping to minimize the damage. At this point, I don’t think I could stop them even if I wanted to. They’ve gotten greedy on the riches from the last hit.
I let Glutin ride point. My honor guard ride with me. 4 guys whose loyalty I don’t have to buy with water. We go way back. My 4 horsemen. Or, bikermen. Tic, Tac, Toe and Louie. I can feel the gang slipping out from underneath me and only hope to be able to secure the water truck and thus my standing in the gang with few casualties. The “few casualties” isn’t normally a goal I value that highly. Oh, how things change.
We come in hot and fast, Glutin’s preferred method for taking things. I’ve got to teach him subtlety. My priority is gain control of the water truck. Passenger seat secured. I grab the wheel and look over and it’s RAY!?! What is she doing making a water raid? Shit. Plan B. Protecting her is priority one. I try to talk her into minimizing the damage. The cart is already rolling, we are the horses in front of it.
She’s not having any of it. Doesn’t she see I’m trying to do the best I can?? I’m sorry it’s not good enough. Not near good enough. We can hear water splashing on the ground, and the truck starts pulling like a tire’s gone flat. As the truck slows to a stop, Glutin comes up along the driver door and says it’s time up for Ray. He opens the door and visibly throws her on the ground. I try to regain control and tell my boys to let her go. That we have what we came for. But they are no longer my boys as Glutin levels his flare gun at me. I try to quick draw and catch the sumabitch in the stomach. He gets me in the face with the flare gun. So much for surviving on my good lucks.
I’m thrown to the ground unceremoniously as the gang takes the truck and rides off. I have just enough presence of mind to fall on my back as unconsciousness claims me.
[Indeterminable amount of time later.]
I wake up. Dust has settled over me and into my congealing wounds but at least my wounds haven’t gotten worse. I know I’m in rough shape. I look over. Ray’s not any better. We both need medical attention and the quicker the better. I look around at the post carnage report written in the blood of innocents and bullet casings. What have I done?
Up comes a rider. For a fleeting second, I think it could be one of my horseman. So much for loyalty. But no, it’s a rider in silks and what was once a yellow cape. The triggers a feeling. Carcosa. Shadow. Whipcracker in yellow!! He starts talking about the situation he found us in. I don’t want to talk about it. Help. We need help. He says he has help.
On the way there, Ray tries to sell me. As if I’m for sale! My services, yes. Always. But me, not so much. As they are talking though, I lean in close to the guy in yellow and whisper “Carcosa”. He stares off into the distance at something I can’t see. So I open my mind. I see him conversing with a guy in a crown made of light. Wait, did I see shadow? No, surely not. A being like that wouldn’t be in shadow. As the vision fades we walk into the caravan.
His “help” turned out to be an invisible doctor who doesn’t even know when to amputate. The assistant is good about causing a lot of pain though, a skill even dear old dad would be proud of. After taking what looks like a needle and thread to my leg which hurts like the burns on my face, she rubs a paste on my leg and offers me things to swallow. No devil woman, I don’t need any more of your witchcraft!
Seeing as how I’m as good as I’m going to get, I wander off before I can be press ganged into taking those things. Feels bad man. I lost my gang. I lost my bike. Ray and I, are less injured, but still injured. No water truck. I have no home to go back to.
I need to get the gang back. I need to find the Marked Ones. I need to get my basin back. I need to find General Tzo. I need to get a new bike. So much to do. And all the while, I feel like Carcosa draws ever nearer.