Monday, December 19, 2011

Hell to Pay Chapter 0 "The Ballad of Mercy Tyler"

Point a shotgun at someone and it changes their perspective. 
Mercy Tyler had the draw on a group of redneck teenagers who picked the wrong day to dick with a long-haired man on a Harley.  The boy behind the wheel was either too stupid or scared and didn’t know what to do.  Shotgun scattershot would break a window and maybe cut the kids, but that left Mercy with two tons of pissed-off old Ford truck running him down.  If it got too hot, the lump of concealed .44 in Mercy’s jacket had murderous intentions, but he couldn’t afford distractions with twelve pounds of meth in the saddlebags.  Mercy’s best hope was to play the boy.  It was too close to civilization to leave the kids out for crow food. 
The driver gripped the steering wheel and gave a nervous nod.  If Mercy let them go out here in southwestern Kansas, some toothless kin would come rooting for revenge or the cops would come, but standing here did nothing.  He sheathed the shotgun into its concealed back holster, throttled on, and left the group of teenagers parked in the road.
Miles away, the kids were done but now clouds threatened.    All day storms developed then fell apart, but now they gathered like a rushing mob.  Aggressive cloud tops blasted into the atmosphere and beckoned wind.  This wasn’t going to be a rain to idly ride in, but one of those Kansas storms with a death toll.
Mercy needed shelter.  There were people loyal to the Berserkers Biker Gang living thirty miles to the south, but Mercy hadn’t seen them since he took power.  Not everyone was happy with management changes, especially when they went down quick and violent.  He’d already pointed a shotgun at someone today and decided to run for home.  He turned east on “Shadow Road”, a gypsy trade route of asphalt away from the arterial highways through Kansas to avoid freight trucks, cops, and locals.  Hopefully.     
The main storm cannibalized clouds around it, drawing in moisture and building furiously.  It blocked his movement north but should track east. 
Thunder echoed over the motor’s roar and ten miles down the road, a crosswind developed and blew Mercy over centerline. He slowed down and scanned the horizon.  The storm wasn’t moving east, but southwest.
            Damn storm’s chasin’ me.
Storms don’t go southwest; east, northeast, maybe southeast, but not toward Mercy.  He hoped to outrun the dark clouds that rotated nearby, and opened up the Harley as dust rose from cut wheat.  Mercy leaned down and tried to go faster, but the wind hampered him.  Clouds covered the sun and nickel-sized raindrops fell.  Lightning flashed as another bolt smote western Kansas dirt.
            The thunder’s growl pealed across the prairie and toned down to the sound of another throaty motorcycle engine.  The lightning illuminated someone on a motorcycle riding in the storm. 
Mercy hit the throttle, soon the bike’s vibrations signaled full out.  Another lightning strike illuminated the lone rider, a large bald man on a black bike followed behind him.
            “What the fuck?” Mercy yelled through bug splattered lips. 
He reached into his jacket and produced his .44, pointed the gun behind him and waited.  The next lightning bolt showed his pursuer less than 100 feet behind, still cloaked in rain.  Mercy fired.  The recoil almost took him off the bike.  
            He pulled over and let the storm catch him.  The rain swirled as if showing its emptiness.  Thunder growled overhead and the wind screamed, but Mercy was out here alone.     He raised his jacket above his head as the wind driven rain started to hurt.
            A farmhouse or structure would provide shelter until the storm blew over, but on the western plains there was nothing but cows and open farmland. 
The rain slowed as a large hailstone shattered on the pavement in front of him.  For once in his life, Mercy wished he had a helmet, but held his jacket up higher to buffer any strike while waiting to get beat to hell.  Hail clobbered the pavement with machine gun intensity.  He looked down at the clean patch of asphalt surrounded by piling ice.  It didn’t register until he peered out of his jacket. 
Green and black clouds boiled overhead.  Hail pulverized anything it came in contact with, except for him.  Cows bellowed and fences and vegetation were destroyed as softball sized chunks of hail kicked up divots of dirt.  The ground turned white apart from a small circle that enveloped him and his bike.  Then it stopped and Mercy was surrounded by silence.
Lightning flashed.  The thunder sounded like an incoming round and the force of it blew Mercy off his bike and into the ditch.  He was roughly aware of hitting cold water.  His ears rang in protest and he fought to stay conscious.  Bubbles of vision cleared as Mercy looked up.
His bike’s front tire melted into the pavement and his chrome forks looked like charred slag leading up to the blown apart gas tank. 
“Oh, shit.” 
A chuckle snagged his attention.  The lone rider sat on his black motorcycle looking down on him in the rain. 
“Take the fucking meth,” Mercy bellowed and stumbled in the ditch. 
The giant said nothing and stared at him.  For a moment it looked like the rain boiled off him.
“What do you want?”
The giant’s hand moved off the bike and he pointed.  His red mirrored sunglasses reflected Mercy’s horrified expression.  Mercy grabbed for his .44 and found it missing, as the wind around him screamed.  He lost his balance and fell, thinking to feel the ground’s cold wet impact, but found himself flying.
The wind accelerated, taking him higher and faster down the road.  Dirt and debris assaulted him as the wind roared.  He spun head over ass and then the wind abruptly ceased.  Mercy opened his eyes.  From the cold heights, he watched the tops of grain silos far off in the distance. 
Gravity took over and as Mercy plummeted, his last thought . . .
 What the fuck did I do to deserve this?
*          *          *
            On a lone dirt road, miles from where it last touched the Earth, Mercy’s shattered body lay near the small impact crater.  A giant of a man, dressed in black with a goatee the color of fire approached.  He rolled the corpse over and found a patch roughly stitched to the leather jacket.  It said Berserkers Biker Gang with an old symbol of power at the bottom.  The symbol of leadership had flecks of old and new blood on it.  The giant ripped the patch from Mercy’s jacket and let the corpse fall back to the ground.  Not everyone would be happy with management changes, especially when they went down quick and violent, but now things had been forced in motion, and someone needed to act.


  1. Of course the logical choice for the Lone Man rider would be Chris Hemsworth (rather cliche perhaps?) and Billy Bob Thornton for Mercy Tyler, that is with a few extra pounds added on and lifts to make him a little taller.

  2. Very nice, Brian! I hope you've been having a wonderful holiday season so far!


  3. I like it A LOT! Johanna K. P.

  4. This needs to be chapter 1 of the next novel, not chapter 0 of the last. Victoria

  5. Vic- It can't unless the next one is a prequel. This event leads up to Big Don being who Big Don is. Wow was that ever vague.