Ghost Story: 5.1
The big twin’s deep repeating thump echoed off the brick facades of the warehouse district. Reflected neon flashed off the wet street as the big Harley weaved its way down the pothole riddled dead end.
As the lone witness stood as still as a cemetery angel watching over ancient graves, he studied the large patch on the rider’s cut as he rumbled by. Sandwiched between ‘Dead Horse MC’ on the top and ‘Passaic NJ’ on the bottom rocker was the club’s emblem, the silhouette of Fredric Remington’s ‘End of the Trail’ sculpture. Barely perceptible through the dense night, the corners of his thin mouth curled up in a grim smile; his prey had arrived.
The dark man didn’t move as he watched the chopper pull up next to the entrance of ‘Dolly’s Bar-No Grill’. This was Dead Horse MC’s clubhouse and front to lauder the cash made from their trifecta of illicit activities, liquor, drugs and sex. He stood and watched; there was no hurry, everything that was to happen had been preordained. His only compulsion was to complete his portion, his blood soaked and savage part in the future history of this place.
The bartender, prematurely aged and thin from years of substance abuse, looked up as he heard the raucous sound made by the heavy metal door’s rusty hinges. He watched through perpetually bloodshot eyes as the immense biker stooped as he passed through the doorway more from habit than necessity. When the invisible beam of the electric eye guarding the entryway sounded its electronic chime, the bartender calmly snuffed out his butt and stuffed a half empty fifth of Jack Daniels into his back pocket.
The big man sauntered up to the bar, and as the two men exchanged a few short words, the grizzled barkeep handed the larger man a thick envelope. His nightly duties complete, he picked his threadbare denim jacket from a hook by the end of the bar, staggered to the door, and accompanied by the sensor’s chime and screech of the door, checked out from his final shift.
Outside Dolly’s, the night’s cold fog enveloping him, he pulled a familiar red and white box from the breast of his coat and a scratched Zippo from the change pocket of his worn and faded jeans. As he lit the cigarette and inhaled that first long pull of a fresh stick, a cold thin blade sliced open his throat. He didn’t see the stranger standing by the doorway waiting for his departure from the bar, didn’t hear the man move silently out of the shadows and step up behind him, nor did his dulled senses alert him the danger, the death waiting to release him from this world and move him into the next. He wasn’t as fortunate as others that passed on by this same dark mechanism of death; there was no safe and cozy place for him waiting in the ether, he was damned. His destiny was sealed many years before; he just didn’t know it until this dark and damp night.
Inside, as a freshly lit cigarette was sizzling itself out in a pool of dirty water and blood, Roger looked across the room at the small dance floor positioned behind the dark wooden bar. Lucy was staring at him, waiting to be noticed, this was part of their nightly ritual. To the club, he was their Sargent at Arms and treasurer; she was just another dancer and whore. To each other they were soul mates; fated in this life and the next to be together. His nightly visits were part of his responsibilities with DHMC, being able to see Lucy every night she was working was an added bonus. Truth is, he would find another reason to ditch his old lady and head down to the bar, such was the pull she had on him.
He smiled, this was her signal that they were alone and it was safe for them to be together. She scampered across the small dance floor, jumped up onto the bar and leapt into his massive arms. He didn’t even flinch, her tiny body weighed less than a third of his; he caught her in mid-air and pulled her to him, their lips met. They had no way of knowing this would be their last mortal kiss.
Behind them, mere seconds after the thin, grey haired barkeep left, the normally noisy door opened silently, and the electric eye chime didn’t chirp as the cloaked stranger walked in and approached the couple locked in a lover’s embrace. As they parted for breath, Lucy opened her eyes. Before she had time to comprehend what the small black box being raised to Roger’ neck was and warn her love, the taser jolted the big man. As his arms went rigid and Lucy began to fall, she smelled Roger’s flesh burning beneath the jittering weapon. As she hit the floor she saw the tiny red dots, like LEDs in the darkness, emanating from the caped man’s skull.
She wouldn’t remember any of the next twelve hours until years later; the night a nerdy Doctor called to them from beyond Dolly’s black door.