As many of you know I travel a lot and prefer driving over flying. It’s a Wicca thing. But this also means a lot of late nights behind the wheel, meals at “greasy spoons,” and naps snagged at rest stops. I refuse to pay for a roach motel when I only need a couple hours of rest to get back on the road.
On a recent occasion I pulled in for dinner at an all night diner. It was one of those chrome affairs and was actually in very good condition. I grabbed a booth in the back and ordered a weird collection of pancakes, sausage, grits and toast. What can I say, I like comfy food when I am on the road.
The food was awesome and I wish to Gaia I could remember the name of the place because I would totally give them a shout out as a place to stop.
I had just started eating when a group of biker-looking guys came in and took seats in a booth near the door. Generally I don’t pay much attention to bikers. In my experience bikers are good people. I’ve worked Daytona Bike Week and I’ve owned bikes for years. Here’s a tip: Looking a little scary and actually being mean are two totally different things.
Anyway… these guys are throwing off bad vibes like an old AM antenna, so I keep one ear on them while I eat and catch up on work I’ve missed while driving. They’re more foulmouthed than usual but the waitress takes it in stride so I ignore them, finish my meal and go to pay. While I am standing at the register one of these morons reaches out and slaps my ass.
“Hey baby, where you heading?” He asked, to a chorus of raucous laughter.
I finished paying, gave the waitress a nice tip for dealing with these guys and turned around. The guy who had slapped me looked like an extra from Spinal Tap, complete with more eyeliner than I’ve ever worn in my life. How these guys hadn’t been pulverized by real bikers is still a curiosity.
“I beg your pardon?” I asked.
“I asked where you were headed, babe. I’ve got plenty of room.”
I rolled my eyes. I hate that crap.
“First of all, I wouldn’t go anywhere with you if you were the last person on earth. You smell like roadkill and, really? The 80’s want their clothes back. Second, I’m not a hitchhiker, and third you are going to have a real hard time driving anywhere with a broken nose.”
The man bristled, along with his friends and started to stand up. I shrugged and slammed the palm of my hand into his nose as hard as I could. Not surprisingly the delicate bone of his nose snapped like an old twig and he fell back into the guy next to him. I kicked the guy on the opposite side of the booth in the crotch, keeping all four in the booth. While they fought to stand I offered the waitress an apologetic smile and left. I don’t like four on one odds.
A few minutes later I was back on the highway.
A few hours passed and I didn’t see anyone in the mirror except a few eighteen wheelers. If my biker friends had followed they were moving much slower than I was or they’d gone the other way. My meal was catching up to me and my eyelids were starting to sag so I pulled off the highway into an out of the way little rest area. It struck me as odd that while this rest area had a restroom and a small lot there was no truck parking and none of the lights were working. I put that aside; the darkness would make it easier to sleep. I grabbed my blanket from the back seat and curled up for a nap.
I woke up about an hour later by the Mustang’s clock. The car was covered with a light layer of snow and I wondered if it was that hush noise that snow makes that woke me up. I snuggled in my blanket and listened and I could hear voices talking loudly, close enough I could hear them but too far away for me to hear what they were saying.
Curiosity, I admit, is one of my biggest failings and has gotten me into more trouble than you will ever get me to admit. I climbed out of the car and looked around. Four bikes were in the back of a four-door duly pickup. The truck looked like hell; dents, scratches and even cuts covered the black monstrosity, which had a push-bar and more lights than an airport runway. What was more concerning however was that it was parked next to a purple Pontiac. One look and I knew it was a girl’s car but there was no sign of anyone in either vehicle.
Call it woman’s intuition, magik, whatever, I knew the girl from that car was in trouble. I got my bow and quiver of arrows from the trunk and headed towards where all the noise was coming from. As I got closer I could see the glow of a fire and hear a woman’s voice, a girl really, even younger than me, begging to be let go. To the amusement of several men.
I crept closer and knocked one of my trademark pink arrows. Ahead was a clearing, not visible from the rest area but easily accessible. Old car seats, tires and other items had been used to make furniture around a central altar of some kind beyond which burned several tires and a pile of wood. As I got closer I could detect the scent of sulfur mixed in with the harsh smell of burning rubber and I knew immediately what these monkeys were up to. I whispered a prayer to Hecate and moved even closer. I was none too surprised to see my friends from the diner. They’d moved on to easier pray and had a teenage brunette with them. They’d torn off most of her clothing and were passing her around, stealing kisses and gropes.
I didn’t bother with warnings. My first shot caught Broken Nose behind the knee. If he ever walks again it will be a miracle. The second punched through his seat-companion’s shoulder, pinning him to a bench that looked like it was from an old Chevy.
I didn’t have a chance to reload a third time. The other two had pushed the girl aside and were coming for me yelling a variety of threats. I learned a long time ago to focus only on the fight. If you listen to the threats they can shake your concentration and your nerve.
I backed off and dropped my bow into a bush where it would be safe. Yeah, I know it sounds weird but that thing means a lot to me. I pulled out one arrow and drew my knife. Its a nice one. A leaf-bladed throwing knife I received as a gift. It even has my name engraved on the blade.
I stepped forward again and waited for one of the two would-be Satanists to make a move. The one to my right, a burly guy with a braided beard and the stench of about two weeks on him tried to rush me. I side-stepped him and stuck out one leg. He tripped and fell headlong into the brush, but not before I’d rammed my arrow into his right asscheek. He howled in pain and tried to pull the arrow out, only causing himself more pain. I use tri-barbed hunting tips. They make a hell of a mess when you pull them out unless you are extremely careful.
That left me with just one and the evident leader of the little band judging by his age, air of confidence, dual knives and chicken skull necklace. He said something witty like “you gonna die, bitch!” before slashing at me with one of the knives. He was faster than he looked and the blade cut through my sweater and sliced the skin over my ribs. I was glad I hadn’t worn my grandfather’s jacket,
I ignored the pain and choked back the panic that came with it. The cut hurt which meant it wasn’t serious. I could worry later.
I dodged his next few attempts and moved towards the bozo still trying to pull the arrow out of his ass. I relieved him of the problem and yanked it out for him. The poor boy passed out and I did feel a moment of remorse. It hadn’t been a bad ass.
Arrow held in front of me like a sword I used it to block the knife-fighter’s attack and stepped into his guard. This is not something I recommend you do unless you are crazy or know exactly what you are doing because it puts you within easy reach of your opponent… after their initial gasp of surprise.
I sliced my knife across his left wrist and kneed him in the groin. I then spun and rammed my right elbow into his temple, following up with a punch that left three inches of arrow sticking just under his sternum. He groaned and fell to his knees where my own left knee caught him in the chin, knocking him out.
Through all of this their victim had done nothing but pull her jacket over her boobs. I shook my head in annoyance, grabbed her by the hand and ran towards my car, stopping only to grab my bow on the way by. I pushed her into the car, tossed my weapons in the back seat and raced out to the safety of the highway.
We called the police from the next exit. By the time a trooper got there he found only the remains of a fire, the girl’s car and a single pink arrow rammed into a tree. I have no doubt I will see my Satanic friends again.
Word to the wise? If you’re ever traveling the highways and come across a darkened, empty rest area? Move on.
As always, I am a purveyor of fiction. Did what you’ve just read really happen? Was it a fever dream? Or something I simply made up to entertain. You decide.