We finished eating and drinking. I settled back in the chair, feeling fuller then I had in ages. Jasmine started to tidy up. She poured the rest of the water from the black kettle into the sink and placed the dishes and cups in. As she washed, dried and put away, an idea came to me.
‘Thanks that was great,’ I said.
She nodded her head at me then carried on.
‘I just remembered some traps I left in the woods. I should go and get them before we leave. Why don’t you pack you things and meet me back at the church?’
‘So you are going to let me come with you?’ she cried, turning from the cupboard and pressing her hands to the top of a chair.
I dropped my eyes to her breasts, which were now sadly covered by that t-shirt, but I made sure she noticed the look though. She looked down too, her brain taking a few moments to wonder what I was staring at. She glanced up at me, a small frown on her face. Nothing else needed to be said though.
I got up, picked my hiking bag up from the floor and left the kitchen.
‘My cat is coming too!’ she shouted.
‘Whatever,’ I called back, rolling my eyes.
At the front door, I risked a look back but I couldn’t see her, though there was a lot of rattling and movement happening in the kitchen. Opening the door, I stepped out and closed it again. I heard voices and sounds of laughter coming from the trees, perhaps the rumble of an engine. Then I was gone.
I hadn’t lied to her about the traps. Though I hadn’t caught anything. All six were empty. I secured all the wire nooses and put them back in hiking bag. My jeans were wet from the dew and the damp soil. Wiping my hands, I got my bearings and realized the fastest direction out of here would take me passed the church.
Sighing, I headed that way but kept to the trees. Hopefully, she was still packing or chasing her cat, but even if she was there I could easily move further into the trees. An image of Jasmine’s breasts straining against the frill of that blue dress popped into my head. My feet stopped and my hand reached across the middle of my jeans.
Shaking the thought away and telling myself later, I carried on walking. There were too many cons for her coming with, including my uncontrollable urges to get between her legs. Where witches good in bed? I growled and set everything aside as I navigated the woods. The sounds of motorbikes filled my ears. I was coming close to the back of the church and the graveyard now.
A startled cry came from that direction, making me stop and turn my head. I heard the sound of laughter and voices. Frowning and unable to stop myself, I went to the tree line. I couldn’t see anything other then the side of the church and the beginning of the graveyard. I’d have to get closer…
Sticking to the church wall, I crept over and peered around the corner. My heart sank and all thoughts of leaving Jasmine behind slipped away. She was standing in the middle of the biker gang. The four heavy set guys and two thin girls were grouped around her. They motorbikes formed an out wall, making it seem that they too were ganging up on her.
They all worn black leather jackets with a fading biker gang name on that I couldn’t make out. The girls were both wearing denim bare thread short shorts and tank tops. The men had either leather pants or torn jeans with scruffy t-shirts or vest tops.
As I watched, one the girls, who had long wild brown hair, ripped something out of Jasmine’s hands. It was a plastic animal carrier cage, out of which came a loud meow. The girl looked inside and passed it to one of the guys.
‘Can your cat fly, witch?’ the girl taunted.
‘No,’ Jasmine cried, ‘leave him alone!’
The group laughed then the man holding the cat carrier swept his arm around and flung it away like a Frisbee. The cat let out a long howl whilst at the same time Jasmine screamed and tried to dash after the carrier. Another guy, who seemed to be the leader, wrapped an arm around her throat. She chocked and clawed at him, but he didn’t let go as the group roared with laughter.
The cage landed with a loud thunk, just avoiding a headstone. I looked over and saw that it was close by. Listening and watching, I waited for a sign of life and when the cat mewed softly, an idea came into my head. I licked my dry lips and slipped my fingers down to my right boot. I eased out my sheathed hunting knife and began thinking of a plan of attack.
‘You know for a witch you’ve got a fine body,’ the man holding Jasmine spoke out.
My eyes shot back up and watched as the leader brought his other hand up and began massaging Jasmine’s right breast. She turned her head up and away to look at the tree tops. Her face twisted into an unpleasant, pained look. The leader dropped his head to her exposed neck and licked it with a long, wet tongue.
The other men chuckled, but the two girls didn’t look happy. Jasmine had her head turned too far away now, but my guess was that she wasn’t enjoying the attention at all.
The leader whispered something in her ear then turned back to the rest of his gang, ‘the witch is up for a little fun, I think!’
Laughter rose and they made to move off.
Unsheathing my knife, I held the handle in my right arm and rested the blade against my bare lower arm. Slipping the leather holder back in my boot, I darted out and snatched up the cat carrier. A small yowl rose out of it. Hiding the knife as best I could, I walked towards the group.
‘Hey! I think you forgot something!’ I yelled and jiggled the cat carrier lightly.
Another yowl came from the box as they all looked at me. Frowns and puzzlement appeared on their faces. I approached the circle and went to stand in the middle of it. A large hiking bag with lots of things tied to it lay on the grass close to Jasmine’s and the leader’s feet. I lowered the cat carrier to my side and kept the knife tugged away in my other hand.
‘Who the fuck are you?’ the leader snarled.
I shrugged, ‘just a traveler.’
‘This is non of your business, leave.’
‘It’s cool. I only wanted a piece of the action,’ I drawled and grinned in Jasmine’s direction.
She mumbled something that sounded like my name but I couldn’t have been sure.
‘You know this loser?’ the leader asked, he moved his arm so Jasmine’s head would move towards me.
‘No,’ she sighed.
The leader looked me up and down then said, ‘whatever, but you’ll have to wait your turn.’
‘I did see her first though,’ I challenged and slowly moved close to him and her.
‘Fuck off,’ the leader growled, ‘this is my turf and the witch belongs to me.’
‘I don’t belong to anyone!’ Jasmine shouted.
She brought her elbow up and hit him in the chin. The leader cried out and Jasmine turned enough away from him to give me a clear shot.
I jumped forward and stuck the hunting knife deep into his stomach. I yanked it out and pressed the cat carrier into Jasmine’s hands as he buckled over. I sprinted for the first motorbike I saw, tucking the knife away into the back of my jeans and scrambling on, hoping that Jasmine was behind me. I heard the cries and shouts from the rest of the biker gang and knew any moment one for them would be grabbing me off.
I started the engine and felt a lot of power flowing through me. Then Jasmine was hitting me on the shoulder with the car carrier and I was tearing away. One of the men got in the way, but I pulled the bike to the right. We almost skidded out of control, but then I directed it forward again.
‘They’re coming!’ Jasmine yelled into my ear.
We bounced over a headstone and the massive monster machine threaten to throw us off. I wrestled to get it back under control whilst the sound of other motorbikes filled the air. I drove into the tree line, feeling branches whipping me. I thought I heard Jasmine cry out then shout something. I ducked my head then deciding keeping it down was the best idea.
Somehow I guided us through the trees and we came out on a road. I gunned it. The motorbike roared beneath me and as everything started to flash by I had a hard time seeing. Tears fuzzed my vision and I was aware of two things jabbing into me on either side. I wanted to risk I glance over my shoulder to see if they were catching up, but it was too dangerous to take my eyes off the worn out road.
A cross way appeared before us and with a quick thought, I steered the bike to the right. The road here was worse and we bumped along for a few moments. I risked a look across then and saw three motorbikes zooming after us. I yanked the bike to the right, angling my body with it and off roading into a clump of trees.
I popped back on the road again and shot down it. I nudged Jasmine who was hanging on to my hiking bag for dear life.
‘What are they doing?’ I yelled.
‘Turning around!’ she screamed, ‘why are we going back?’
Ignoring her, I spotted a turn off coming up and took it. The motorbike, still acting like a wild bull under me tried to launch us off again, but I kept a tight grip and drove it on. My mind raced with all kinds of thoughts and I couldn’t stop it enough to think clearly. The road ahead split to the left and the right. Guessing the right led to the village, I took the left and we passed a burnt out car I recalled seeing on my way in.
I knew how to try and lose this guys.
A few more minutes down the road, which flashed by on the motorbike, I spotted the remains of a bridge. I aimed towards it, remembering that though it was full of holes it still had seemed strong enough. I ploughed on, then at the last moment veered off to the side and down to the river. Above me, I heard the roar of engines and the rattling of the bridge.
I glanced up and saw that they had been unable to turn off in time. I wrestled the motorbike around and we almost ended up sideways. Fighting for control, I got the beast directed backwards up the sloping river embankment and drove back onto the road. I half wanted to stop and see what had happened, but it would have wasted time, especially if they or one of them hadn’t fallen for it.
I drove us on for awhile then spotted another church bell tower poking out of the trees. I looked behind us and saw the road was empty. Maybe it had worked after all? I looked back and saw the line of a road coming up on the right. I turned on to it and drove towards the church.
Avoiding the twisted iron that had once formed a gate and fence, I brought the motorbike to the back of the church and cut the engine. We were sheltered by a lot of tall trees and nature.
‘You still alive back there?’ I spoke softly.
‘Just,’ came a small reply.
I felt Jasmine getting off the motorbike and falling to the ground. I hopped off and knelt beside her. Her face was wet and she was shaking, but she didn’t look hurt. She shrugged off the hiking bag, she had somehow manged to grip. Jasmine turned to the carrier, opened it and took the black cat out. Surprisingly, he had survived. She hugged him to her chest and buried her face into his fur. He mewed and looked at me.
‘Did you see what happened?’ I asked her breathlessly.
‘One of them fell off the bridge, the other two stopped in time. They went to help him,’ Jasmine’s muffled voice came.
‘We need to keep moving. They’re going to come after us.’
I pulled out my knife, which had been badly digging in my back and sheathed it again. Tucking it into my boot, I went back to the motorbike and climbed on. Jasmine said something to the cat and gently placed him back in the carrier. He went in without any fuss then she picked up her bag and the box up before scrambling up behind me.
I started the engine once more and guided the machine around, I was getting use to it now. We followed our tracks back and jumped onto the road again. I looked left and right but couldn’t see anything. The sound of the motorbike made it hard for me to hear, but I took Jasmine’s word of it and drove us off down the road.
Hi there, thanks for reading this story. If you have any feedback of any kind please feel free to send it to me, I like reading and replying to comments. Plus, it helps improve my writing.
At this moment, I’ve no further plans for ‘Here We Stand’ though I’m kind of tempted to turn it into a novel for NaNoWriMo this year, because I think there’s a lot more to tell! I’m not sure yet though, but it would be interesting to here your thoughts.
As with all my stories, I just let them unfold, so it’s hard to predicted how long they’ll end up sometimes. I do feel sad to finish this one though. Elk seemed to be developing into an interesting character and yeah, I know the science fiction-dystopia setting didn’t really come across how I wanted it to, but sometimes I just find it hard to cram everything in to these short stories.
Anyway, thanks for all your support and I really hope you’ve enjoyed reading this story. Here’s to a new month of writing!