The Devil’s Punchbowl

For your reading pleasure, check out my short story the Devil’s Punchbowl, below. It is the second story in my collection known as Tales from the Lost Highway. To read the entire series click the link below to buy the eBook at Amazon.com. Let me know what you think of the story. I love hearing from my readers. Until next time peace out!

The Devil’s Punchbowl

Lightning flashed and thunder rolled. I materialized on a lonely desert highway, along with six of my bros. Our scooters faded from their majestic dazzling colors and chrome and changed into ordinary, older worn-out looking Harley Davidson motorcycles as we touched down on the highway. My name is John Brown, but my bros call me Cave Man. Back in sixty-eight, I rode with the Road Dogs. The world went through a change and I wound up hitting an oak tree at one hundred and ten miles per hour. That sent me to Biker Heaven, along with my bro, Old School. Now we ride with a band of troubleshooters and wear the halo patch. Whenever there’s trouble in the biker world and the bros need a little help from the other side, they send us. Some people might call us angels, but don’t get confused. We’re not Hell’s Angels; we ride for the other side.

It felt good to be mortal once more and feel the wind in my face, even though it was only temporary. We rolled down the highway with Little Danny Boy, our road captain, leading the pack. Hector, Hondo, Iron Man, Thumper, and Old School formed up behind Little Danny Boy. They were riding in a staggered formation. I rode in the tail gunner spot at the rear. We rolled around a bend, one hundred fifty miles out of Harlem Springs Arizona. The moon was full on a warm summer night. Little Danny Boy pulled over to the side of the road next to a battered old oak tree. He parked his scooter, stepped over to the tree and the rest of us pulled over behind him. Old School and I sauntered up next to Little Danny Boy and I felt a cold chill run down my spine.

“You remember this place?” Little Danny Boy asked. but I shrugged, pulling a bottle of Old Number Seven from my vest pocket, and downed a shot. A cold wind caused a chill to run down my spine so I zipped up my leather jacket.

“How could I forget? This is where I died,” I said, and then Old School and I knelt to examine the tree.

“Look you can still see the scars. There’s a dent where my head smashed against the trunk,” Old School said.

“Are we going to stop at the cabin?” I asked, but Little Danny boy shook his head.

“No. They’re back in town now. It’s been thirty-two years. The world’s moved on. Things are back to normal now. The government finally got a handle on the flesh-eaters in the late eighties. The ones we’ll be fighting now will be much harder to kill than those zombie sons of bitches.”

“What about Teddy, Bear, and Chops? I thought they’d want in on this deal,” I asked.

“They’ll come if we need them. Even your pops said something about joining us if things get hairy,” Little Danny Boy said. That brought a smile to my face.

“It’ll feel good to ride with the old man again,” I said. “I only see him at church. The rest of the time he’s busy going hog wild in Biker Heaven.”

Little Danny Boy stepped over to his old Pan Head and said, “Let’s ride. There’s a storm coming, and it’s coming straight from hell. If we don’t do something, the Road Dogs won’t stand a chance.” We fired up the scooters. Little Danny Boy pulled onto the highway. We rolled on through the night toward Harlem Springs Arizona.

***

On another lonely desert highway, Joker and Cowboy had their fist in the throttle. They were heading toward town. A full moon looked down from above. A cool breeze tickled their checks and Cowboy felt a chill shoot down his spine. He heard the rumble of motorcycles coming up behind them. Glancing in his rearview mirror, Cowboy’s eyes widened. He saw the headlights of over thirty motorcycles coming up on their tail at a high rate of speed. It looked as if they had a pickup truck traveling behind the pack as a chase vehicle.

Behind the motorcycle riders, an evil multitude of demonic entities thundered forward. The leader rode a two-headed beast that looked like a cross between a rhinoceros and an elephant. He wore a golden spiked helmet and carried a flaming sword forged by the Devil himself. The evil beast snorted fire. It let out an evil hiss and they thundered down the road following their human disciples. When they passed by a ranch house that set off the road, the man of the house woke up in a cold sweat. He felt an urgent need to pray and fell to his knees at his bedside. Down the hallway, his six-year-old daughter screamed in the night in the thralls of a nightmare. Outside their German shepherd dog howled, cowering in his doghouse.

Thunder cracked and lightning pierced the night when the leader of the evil host blew his horn. On the ground, the Hell-Raisers, the motorcycle gang in pursuit of Cowboy and Joker, pulled up next to them. Their leader, known as Hell Boy, lowered a double-barreled sawed-off shotgun. He let go with both barrels blowing Cowboy out of the saddle. Cowboy’s bike swerved sideways, high-sided, and tumbled down the road. Joker locked up his brakes and went down near the centerline. When he stopped sliding, coming to rest on his back, Hell Boy parked his custom chopper on the side of the road. He swaggered over to where Joker lay.

“Please. Mercy,” Joker pleaded and raised a bloody hand.

Hell Boy laughed and said, “Sorry. I’m fresh out.” The rest of the pack parked their motorcycles on the edge of the road. Grim Reaper, their road captain stepped up to Hell Boy.

“You want me to do it?” Grim Reaper asked, shaking a one-gallon gas can.

“No. This one’s mine,” Hell Boy said.

“Please no. Shoot me, man,” Joker said trying to stand on his busted leg.

Hell Boy laughed, kicked him back to the pavement, poured gasoline over Joker’s body, and smiled. “I’ll see ya in hell,” he said pulling a Zippo from his pants pocket. Making flame, he set off the gasoline and while Joker screamed in agony. Hell Boy whistled a tune and ambled over to Cowboy’s body. After pouring gasoline over Cowboy’s remains, he lit him up and turned to his club brothers. “That’s two. We’ll hit their clubhouse in Tortilla Flats and head east.”

“We’ll need a little help with those old boys,” Grim Reaper said.

“Our bros from up north are going to meet us across the border at Parker. When we hit those trailer trash white boys in Harlem Springs, we’ll be over a hundred strong. Let’s ride.”

The Hell-Raisers roared down the highway. The moon reflected off the black and white patches on their backs. It revealed the Hell-Raiser patch along with their top and bottom rocker. The main patch depicted the evil skeletal demon riding a chrome horse. The stench of burning flesh wafted on the wind. Behind them, unseen to the human eye, the leader of the demonic crew let out a war cry. He urged on his fiends from hell and collected two more souls.

The Hell-Raisers hit the Road Dog clubhouse in Tortilla Flats hard and fast. They rolled up on the Thunder Dome and gunned down the two prospects guarding the bikes in the parking lot. When the bros inside the clubhouse heard gunfire, they rushed outside into a wall of lead. The survivors of the initial onslaught retreated into the clubhouse. They returned fire after busting out a few windows at the front of the building.

Hell Boy motioned to Grim Reaper and said, “Send half the boys to the rear to make sure they don’t come out the back. Send Spike to get a crowbar to bar the front doors. Get the gas cans.” Dodging bullets coming from the clubhouse, Grim Reaper ran forward carrying the crowbar. Spike followed along behind carrying two five-gallon gas cans. Grim Reaper barred the front door. Spike poured gasoline all over the front boardwalk and the front of the building. The tempo of the gunfire increased. Ignoring the gunfire, Hell Boy stepped up to the boardwalk with a cocky grin on his face. He pulled his Zippo from his pocket and lighted a cigarette. Then he tossed the burning lighter onto the boardwalk. The Thunder Dome burst into flames. Hell Boy laughed. Ignoring the blood-curdling screams of the bikers trapped inside the burning clubhouse. He turned to his motorcycle and climbed in the saddle. “We’ll leave five guys here. I’ll call some of our chapters from up north and have them send some guys down. Have the guys we leave here find another bar to establish our presence. Check out that place on the other side of town we saw coming in here. Within a month, we’ll own this town,” Hell Boy said to his Road Captain. While Grim Reaper picked out the five guys to stay behind, the rest fired up their motorcycles. They headed for the Arizona border. Behind them, hovering above the ground, the leader of the demonic swarm opened up a ceramic urn. Moonlight flashed off the jewels and diamonds embedded in the urn and he collected the souls.

***

We rolled into Harlem Springs at six in the morning and stopped in at the diner. Being mortal again required food and rest. After breakfast, we holed up in a motel and rolled out to the High Noon Saloon about six PM that evening. Pulling up next to the boardwalk, we parked the bikes in the gravel parking lot and stepped up on the boardwalk. The two prospects guarding the motorcycles out front gave us the once over. The Road Dogs ran an open clubhouse. Anyone could come and drink at the bar, as long as they behaved. If they caused trouble, the bros would toss them out on their ears. It was mostly club members that evening and the party was in full swing. The large speakers behind the bar blasted a ZZ Top tune and two young ladies danced on of the bar topless. They looked like hang around’s, not old ladies. A woolly bear of a man danced with another, big-breasted blonde on the dance floor. Several people sat at tables throughout the room and bikers lined the bar.

We stood in the center of the bar room, taking in the scene. All eyes turned to us acknowledging our presence. Then the bar’s patrons went about their business.

“There’s a lot of new faces here,” Little Danny Boy said.

“What do you expect? It’s been over thirty years. Like, you said, the world’s moved on,” I said noticing a familiar face sitting at the bar. His hair had gone gray. His beard had turned white and his face looked more weather-beaten. I would recognize Sonny anywhere. “There’s Sonny,” I said, a smile crossing my face. I headed over to the bar while Little Danny Boy and the rest of our crew found a table. Elbowing my way between Sonny and a young Road Dog with curly blond hair, I pulled a copper coin out of my vest pocket. Engraved on one side of the coin, was our club patch and the words Road Dogs. On the other side of the coin was my name: Cave Man. I slapped the coin down on the bar.

“I’m calling the coin,” I said. It was a tradition. When someone called the coin, the club member unable to produce his coin bought a round of beers. All eyes at the bar turned to me and Sonny’s eyes widened.

“What chapter are you from brother? I’ve seen your face somewhere, but I don’t remember,” the young curly blond-headed biker said.

“I’m from this chapter. The name’s Cave Man,” I said and turned the coin over showing my name engraved on the back. Sonny’s eyes widened and his jaw dropped.

“I knew Cave Man. You look a lot like him, or like he did before he died back in sixty-eight. Where’d you get that coin?” Sonny asked.

“You gave it to me, Sonny. At the ceremony when you patched me in,” I said.

“I’ll be right back,” the young blond-headed biker said and disappeared into a back room.

“Who’s the young blood?” I asked.

“That our president. We call him Chico.”

“Why aren’t you still president?” I asked.

Sonny pulled a pack of smokes from his vest pocket and lit one up. “I ran my course. It was time for the young folks to take over.”

Chico came back carrying a leather-bound book and his face looked ashen. “He’s in the book,” Chico whispered to Sonny. “I knew I’d seen his face somewhere. So are those dudes sitting over at that table with that halo patch on the back of their vests. It’s below the bottom rocker. They’re all in the book of the dead,” Chico said and handed the book to Sonny. The book of the dead was a leather-bound photo album with pictures of all our fallen brothers. You had to be dead, to be in the book.

“If you’re Cave Man prove it. Show me the tat we gave you the day you patched in,” Sonny said, so I pulled up my shirt and showed him my tattoos.

“Anybody can get a tat. Tell me the last thing you said to me the day you died. Tell me how you went out.”

I sighed. “The very last thing I said to you was that after we died for you guys to have a party for Old School and me. Then I said goodbye to that young girl Cynthia, I climbed on the bike, looked at Old School, and said, “Let’s ride.”

“Old School. Is he here too?” Sonny asked.

“He’s right there at that table,” I said.

“Who’s Old School?” Chico asked.

“He was before your time. He’s in the book. Little Danny Boy was president before me. He died in Vietnam. How’d you guys go out?” Sonny said.

“Me and Old School both got bit by zombies. We plowed into that old oak tree down the road from the dirt road leading back to the cabin. We hit the tree at over one hundred miles an hour,” I said.

“Is he telling you the truth?” Chico asked.

“I know it sounds crazy, but yeah he is. He’s Cave Man. It happed as he said.”

“What’s with the halo patch?” Chico asked.

“I’ll let Little Danny Boy tell you about that,” I said and motioned for him and the bros from the other side to come over. They bellied up to the bar and a few nervous hellos came from the Road Dogs lining the bar. It’s not every day that a band of bikers comes back from the dead and swagger into a bar. “Meet Chico. He’s the new president. He wants to know about the halo patch,” I said. Chico and Little Danny Boy shook his hand.

“He doesn’t feel like no ghost,” Chico said and let out a nervous laugh.

“The Halos are a group of troubleshooters. We’re an auxiliary branch of the Road Dogs,” Little Danny Boy said.

“Why ain’t we heard of them?” Chico asked.

“Because you have to be dead to sign up. We started the group in a church meeting in Biker Heaven,” Little Danny Boy said. You could have heard a pin drop or a fly fart.

“Are you guys like angels?” Chico asked.

“Sort of, but not quite. They gave us certain powers that we can use while we’re here to help us complete our mission,” Little Danny Boy said.

“Why are you here? Why’d you come back?” Sonny asked.

“Because there’s a storm coming and they’re called the Hell-Raisers. They already wiped out the chapter in Tortilla Flats. They burned their clubhouse to the ground and they’re coming here next. This is the mother chapter. If this chapter falls, the Road Dogs fall.” Chico franticly pulled something out of his pocket and put it up to his ear. It reminded me of Captain Kirk’s communicator on Star Trek.

“What’s that?” I asked.

“It’s called a cell phone. It’s a telephone, but there are no wires,” Sonny said. Chico held a brief conversation over the phone. His eyes widened, he cut the connection and put the phone in his pocket.

“He’s telling the truth. They hit the clubhouse in Tortilla Flats last night. They set the building on fire and burned everyone alive that was inside,” Chico said.

“Why would the powers that be in Biker Heaven, if there is such a place, care about a biker war going on here on Earth?” Sonny asked.

“Because there’s more to it than a couple of bike clubs going to war. It’s a war over souls and they have help. Someone unleashed the Devil’s imps, but we’ll deal with them. You know, Harlem Springs used to be a nice place to live for the citizens as well as for us,” Little Danny Boy said.

“It still is. We keep the drug dealers and scum out. Oh there are a few people who sell weed, but they don’t cause trouble,” Chico said.

“If the Hell-Raisers take over, that will change. They’ll bring in crystal meth, heroin, you name it. This town will be in a world of shit.”

“What are we supposed to do? How much time do we have?” Chico asked.

“We’ll get into that, but first I called the coin. Produce your coins brothers,” I said. Everyone lining the bar produced their coin, so I had to buy the next round. “Make mine a Jack and Coke,” I said to the prospect working the bar and put my coin back in my pocket.

“How much time do we have?” Chico asked. Little Danny Boy shrugged, the prospect passed out the drinks and I took a drink from my Jack and Coke.

“A day or two at the most. We need to be ready.”

A couple of the bros started a pool game, the prospect turned down the music and we put our heads together to talk.

“We’ve got enough arms and ammunition to hold off a small army,” Sonny said.

“That won’t work,” I said and shook my head. “They’d burn this place to the ground with you inside. That’s what they did in California. We need to lure them away. We need to trap them in an ambush somewhere.”

“Yeah, but where?” Chico asked.

A memory flashed through my brain, penetrating the Jack Daniels fog. That’s another thing I’ll have to get used to, I thought: hangovers. “What about that place east of here where we used to party at, back in the day? We called it, the Devil’s Punch Bowl,” I said.

“It’s still there. The dirt road going in is a little rough, but it’s still there. The lake’s dried up though,” Sonny said.

Little Danny Boy grinned. “That’s perfect. This will all go down at the Devil’s Punch Bowl. This is what we’ll do,” Little Danny Boy said while I sat back drinking my Jack and Coke and listened.

***

The Hell-Raisers gathered in Parker Arizona. For two days, they partied and planned their attack. Their brothers rode in from the north and northeast. Others came up from Mexico converging on the small desert town on the bank of the Colorado River. It seemed as if a dark cloud hung over the city. The animals howled at night. The ministers in the local churches called special prayer meetings.

The Hell-Raisers kept a low profile. They didn’t want to draw attention from the local law enforcement. Even so, the police had their hands full with the local criminal element. By the time they rolled out on a Wednesday evening, they were over one hundred strong. They took Interstate 10, east to Apache Junction, and headed east on Highway 60. From highway sixty, they headed south on Highway 177. They crossed one of the more desolate sections of Arizona heading toward Harlem Springs. The night wore on. A full moon rose into the sky. When the Hell Raisers rolled into the parking lot of the High Noon Saloon they ran right into a deadly crossfire.

The Hell-Raisers pulled into the parking lot. The Road Dogs opened up, on them from behind concealed positions. One group of Road Dogs fired from a clump of trees by the road. Another group opened up on them from behind several parked cars and trucks in the parking lot thaty they used for cover. The bulk of the Road dogs fired at them from the clubhouse itself. Muzzle flashes lit up the night. The initial onslaught cut down a third of the Hell-Raisers. The attack put the rest of the outlaw bikers in a state of disarray.

“Regroup! Back to the highway!” Hell Boy yelled trying to rally his forces.

With their enemy in a state of confusion, Chico gave the order to abandon the clubhouse. The group of Road Dogs firing from the tree line ran to their motorcycles. The ones firing at the Hell-Raisers from behind the parked vehicles did the same. The Road Dogs firing from the clubhouse fired a few more rounds. They wanted to give their brothers a chance to get away before they made their escape. On the highway, three hundred yards up the road from where Hell Boy struggled to regroup. The Road Dogs formed up with Chico and Little Danny Boy at the head of the pack.

“We need someone to stall them for a few minutes while we get away, and I don’t mean those old boys on scooters. I mean their help,” Little Danny Boy said.

Chico gave him a confused look, and said, “What help?”

“Never mind. I’ll handle it,” I said.

“We’ll meet you at the Punch Bowl,” Little Danny Boy said.

“I’ll stay with Cave Man,” Old School said. Chico and Little Danny Boy nodded and the Road Dogs roared down the highway. We sat parked in the middle of the highway facing west. I watched the Hell-Raisers form up. Above them, clouds covered the sky and the demonic forces gathered.

“It’s like old times, huh?” Old School said.

“Yeah, we died together the last time, so we might as well fight this evil vermin together too. Road Dogs to the end,” I said. I took a bottle of Jack from my vest pocket and took a pull. I handed the bottle to Old School; he took a drink and handed the bottle back to me.

“That’s right. Road Dogs in life, Road Dogs in death,” Old School said.

The Hell-Raisers roared down the road toward us. Above them, hovering over the ground, the leader of the demonic crew blew his horn and followed. Breathing in the smell of brimstone, I held up my hand and blue lightning fired from my fingertips. In the sky above the road, the blue light flashed engulfing the imps from hell. The impact sent them flying in all directions. Their leader pointed his sword sending a bolt of fire onto the road. Sparks flew into the air. Old School brought his hand over his shoulder as if tossing a softball. He sent a ball of fire down the road at the approaching riders. Tires squealed, ten bikes went down and metal scraped against the asphalt.

“That should hold them for a little while,” I said to Old School feeling breathless from the loss of energy.

“Yeah-Let’s get out of here. That one took a lot out of me,” Old School said. We whirled around. Our bikes changed into radiant steeds of light and chrome. We headed east flying above the highway.

“These motor scooters sure are cool,” I said to Old School. He nodded and a big grin crossed his face.

We came in low flying over the Devil’s Punch Bowl and touched ground facing north. When we landed on the dry lakebed, our scooters changed, their radiance fading. They turned back into older worn-out Harley Davidson motorcycles. I saw something shimmer in the air next to me. Three more motorcycles, plus their riders appeared out of thin air. Once they solidified, I recognized Chops, Teddy Bear, and my father, John Brown senior. He looked more alive and vibrant than he ever did in life.

My pops gave me a cocky grin and said, “You didn’t think I was going to let you have all the fun did you?”

I let out a barrel laugh, handed him the bottle of Jack, and said, “No Pops, I didn’t figure you would.” Little Danny Boy and the rest of the halo crew nodded at the new arrivals. A line of Road Dogs sat on their motorcycle behind us. They watched the dirt road leading into the small valley. The rest of the bros wearing the halo patch pulled their scooters up next to us. Chico stepped up to where I sat talking to my pops.

“If I wouldn’t have seen that with mine own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed it. What kind of scoots are those anyway? I’ve never seen a motorcycle that can fly,” Chico said.

“They’re spirit bikes. You get them when you cross over,” I said and grinned.

“Yeah, whatever. I’ve got some bros hiding in that big clump of rocks to our left, and another group up on that embankment to our right. When these sons of bitches cross the lake bed, we’ll get them in a crossfire,” Chico said.

“You guys will have to deal with the ones on the ground. We’ll take care of their demonic friends,” Little Danny Boy said.

“Yeah, don’t worry about what you see in the sky above you, it’ll be like the fourth of July,” I said.

“I still can’t believe this angel and demon shit,” Chico said.

“Don’t worry about that. Worry about those assholes when they come across the lake bed. We’ll take care of the rest,” I said.

“Yeah right,” Chico said and headed back to join the bros lining up behind us. I took the bottle of Old Number Seven from my pops. It was a bottle from the clubhouse, not the good stuff we get in Biker Heaven. I tossed back a shot, and handed it to Old School. He took a shot and handed the bottle back to me. I handed it to Little Danny Boy, who killed the rest of the bottle and tossed it to the ground. I saw lights coming down the dirt road approaching the lakebed. Above the ground, I saw what looked like a dark cloud covering the valley.

“It’s a good thing you only have to die once,” I said to Little Danny Boy.

“Yeah, but when those lightning bolts hit, it almost makes you feel like you’re gonna die.”

“You know what they said before we left. If we take too many hits and lose our energy, we’ll vanish from this plane of existence and wind up back home,” I said.

“I know, but we can’t let these evil SOBs win. Let’s do this thing,” Little Danny Boy said giving us a nod. I looked up, watching the Hell-Raisers coming across the lakebed. Above them, I saw the evil imps from hell. Gunning the throttle on my Pan Head, I let out the clutch and we took flight. Light radiated from the scooter. Fire belched from its tailpipe. It changed and we gained altitude advancing on the demonic horde. Old School and Iron Man rode to my left. Little Danny Boy and Thumper rode to my right, and my pops, along with Chops and Teddy Bear brought up the rear.

We slammed into the dark cloud from hell at full speed causing explosions of lustrous light. Below us, the Road Dogs opened up on the Hell-Raisers. Muzzle flashes blossomed, lightning bolts, and balls of blue light filled the sky. We collided with the demonic host with such force that the impact sent us spinning across the valley. Cranking my throttle, I spun around and hovered over the valley. I slashed with my blade and fired my 357 at the evil vermin when they flew by. Lightning bolts shot out the barrel of my 357 every time I fired it, and blue fire shot from the blade of my knife. An evil two-headed demon came at me, I sliced my blade through his skull and he exploded into a cloud of dust. Old School took a lightning bolt in the chest that sent him spinning across the valley.

My pops slammed into an evil creature trying to crawl on my back. He knocked him to the ground where the vile creature exploded.

“I sent that one back to hell where he belongs,” Pops said and laughed.

We fought the fiends of hell above the ground. Our brothers dealt with the Hell-Raisers on the lakebed. Teddy Bear took a ball of red light to the chest. He dissipated, fading from this plane of existence. Thumper caught a lightning bolt in the center of his forehead. He exploded into nothingness. Iron Man went down in flames. He disintegrated when three evil demons stabbed him with their swords. Then the battle turned, both on the ground and above it. In the dry lakebed, the Road Dogs were sshooting the shit out of the Hell-Raisers. They cut them down like rabid dogs.

In the air, above them, the imps from hell flew in disarray. They fled over the hillside to the north heading back to the pits of hell, from whence they came. Noticing their leader on his two-headed beast, I gunned the throttle and caught up with him. Diving through the air, I slammed into him. I grabbed the ceramic urn he was carrying and drove my blade through the top of his golden helmet. He disappeared in a blinding flash of light. My old Pan Head, now my spirit bike, came to me, I climbed into the saddle and we floated back down to the ground.

The Road Dogs gathered around five figures sitting on their knees in the middle of the lakebed. Hell Boy and four other Hell-Raisers looked beat up and bloody. They stared into the hard face of Chico, president of the Road Dogs. Several more Road Dogs gathered around them with guns to their heads.

“I ought to kill you all, but we’re not gonna,” Chico said.

“What are we gonna do with them?” Sonny asked.

“Cut off their patches, and then let’s brand them,” Chico said. “We own you bitches.” He glanced at a prospect and said, “Build a fire.” A half-hour later, with the sky turning purple in the east, the remaining Hell-Raisers rode away. The back of their vests were bare and the letters, RD was branded on their biceps. They left in shame. A loud cheer rose from the lakebed. Several Road Dogs shouted curses urging the remnants of the Hell-Raisers on.

“We’re not done yet. There’s one more thing we need to do,” I said to Chico.

“What’s that?”

“We need to set the captives free,” I said, climbing off my scooter and I opened the ceramic urn. The gemstones embedded around its mouth reflected beams of light into the air. We stood back in awe, watching soul after soul, ascend heading to their heavenly reward.

“If I wouldn’t have seen that, I wouldn’t believe it,” Chico said. We watched what looked like blue streaks of light shoot up into the sky.

“I guess we’re done here,” I said to Little Danny Boy.

He shrugged and said, “No, we’ll give it another day or two and then head home.”

We climbed back onto our scooters and headed to the highway. Those of us with the halo patch took up the rear following the Road Dogs back to Harlem Springs. We partied hard at the clubhouse for the next three days, but all good things come to an end and we needed to get back. Gathering out by the road on a Saturday evening, we did some backslapping. The entire Harlem Springs chapter was there to see us off.

“I’m gonna miss you, bro,” Sonny said, hugging me. He passed me a bottle of Jack, so I took a pull.

“We’ll see each other again,” I said.

“Thanks for your help,” Chico said.

I put my arm around the young man’s shoulder and said, “You’re gonna make a good president. You’ll take the Road Dogs to new heights. In fact, from what I hear, the folk upstairs think you’ll be the best one yet. Keep the faith. Road Dogs forever, bro.”

“Let’s mount up!” Little Danny Boy yelled. Those of us with the halo patch on our back formed up on the road and my pops pulled up next to me on his old Knuckle Head.

“It’ll feel good to ride next to you for a while. It’s been a long time,” my pops said.

“I know. I talked Little Danny Boy into letting us do about a hundred miles or so before we head home.”

“Yeah, Biker Heaven can wait. I want to feel the wind in my face, but when we get back home, I’ll buy the first round,” Pops said. Little Danny Boy fired up his scooter. We did the same. I took a bottle of Old Number Seven from my vest, took a pull from the bottle, and handed it to my pops. He took a swallow, handed it back and I tucked it back into my vest pocket. Little Danny Boy pulled away, the pack followed, but for a moment my pops and I sat there. He looked at me, a big grin crossed his face and he said, “I’ll beat you to the top of the hill.” With that, he smoked his tires and peeled out burning rubber down the highway. I laughed, gunned the throttle, and spun my tires taking off after him.

****

https://www.amazon.com/Tales-Lost-Highway-David-Donaghe-ebook/dp/B00BMQ7JGO/ref=sr_1_7?keywords=David+Donaghe&qid=1637607074&qsid=143-9042707-0272623&sr=8-7&sres=B085PRF6X7%2CB086HZNM67%2CB005XJ0U30%2CB08NW88H1P%2CB00BO6CNJK%2CB08PC9WYP4%2CB00BMQ7JGO%2CB086B7HBB3%2CB086BF5D3C%2CB087CGK5NJ%2CB08686JWS6%2CB0065PGQCU%2CB008CV389O%2CB006K6QTQM%2CB00DTKE9TQ%2CB007Y509UU

About David Donaghe (Author of Thunder Road)

Hi. I work and live in the high desert of Southern California with my wife and family. I have three passions in life:reading, writing and riding my motorcycle. I have a short story collection, Monroe's Paranormal Investigations on sale now at Amazon.com and on the Barns and Noble webpage. My novel, The Tale spinner is coming out soon, published by Otherworld Publications.
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