Hick & Gravo
I worked myself out from under the Creep who had sprawled dead on top of me. Oddly, the infamous Creep stink did not make itself known. Then I looked at myself. I was a mess. I stunk to high heaven. That room I was held in must have been every bit as nasty as I imagined it. Having that room dark as a pocket may have been a lucky break after all.
I tried to locate where the cross bows had been fired from. No luck. I knew it was Gravo and probably Diddler or maybe that crazed Metal Head. Maybe all three. Gravo was fussy who went out with him. I knew how fussy. It took two months of solo hunting before Gravo even showed any interest in me. One day he just joined me for my regular tour. And even though he didn’t say much, I know taking out that Creep with my sling shot from 35 yards had to make an impression. The next day I found a tired but solid thirty aught six with a scope leaning into my locker. Gravo’s thirty Aught six. You could cut the envy with a knife when I showed up for muster the next morning with that rifle slung over my shoulder. I made sure I rubbed it in. Flaunted that rifle for a couple of weeks. Yeah, I’m the new guy. I’m better than you.
Out in the open with my hands still bound was not good. No matter where Gravo and friends were. Damn the dusky dark. I quickly scrambled up the alley and found a pile of rubble near the open street to take a peak. Looking around for anything to break my bonds, I came up empty. Okay, I would wait. Sit here and let Gravo and the boys find me.
Some ten minutes past. Starting to feel exposed with not much more than a few cinder blocks and some broken slabs of asphalt to blend in with, I turned back to the alley. Just then Metal Head came dropping out of the sky from the fire escape near the alley opening. He ran over to me.
“Did you see that last shot? Two of those suckers are mine. You didn’t take any ears yet did you? ”
I held up my bound hands and just looked at him. At my side an empty knife sheath hung. I was covered in slimy shit and must have looked as bad as I felt.
Metal Head drew up short and looked at me hard. “Uh I guess not”, was all he said.
He pulled out a tired old Leather Man multi tool from somewhere and motioned me to raise my hands. Seemed like forever before my hands were freed, but eventually the tired old tool won out over the ingenious Creep bindings made of what looked like old brake cables. It struck me that this binding was more than would be expected from minds supposedly toasted at birth. Odd.
A commotion up the street caught our attention and we both ducked down. Cautiously, I popped up to take a look. Coming at us full bore was Gravo. Gravo was no runner. His body was more suited to plodding than jogging. I was impressed with his speed though.
I turned to Metal Head, but he was already headed back up the alley. Either he was finding cover or the lure of 3 unclaimed ears was just too much to resist. Hiding here was no longer useful so I jumped up and ran to meet Gravo. He tossed me his handgun and we continued up the ruined street and into the alley after Metal head. Neither of us spoke. We were too busy using air to keep our legs moving as fast as possible. Gravo stopped, looked to the left and yanked me into an open doorway. Gravo said, “The creeps won’t follow right away. They’ll think about it first. You stay here for some cover and I’ll fetch that fool Metal Head.” He jumped out and I could hear his steps fade as he scurried across the cobblestones and debris in the alley.
I considered Gravo’s order and immediately disobeyed it. We were stronger as three than split up like this. I followed Gravo back up the alley and caught him just as he reached the three dead Creeps. Metal Head was just finishing up his trophy collecting and turned to show them off. There was glee and satisfaction in that grin of blackened teeth and split lips. He tried to hand Gravo one ear. “You keep it Head Man. I don’t get bounties anymore.”
“Gravo, there’s something inside here you need to see.” I tugged on his sleeve.
“What the Hell? I told you to cover us.”
“Gravo! Dammit, you need to come with me.” I headed back to the big forklift door and slid it open. I disappeared inside figuring Gravo would have to follow. I was right.
Dawn had given way to full sunlight and the broken skylights thirty feet up threw even more light on the cache of boxes, crates and shrink wrapped bundles. Gravo came in huffy, pissed that I was not following his lead. Twenty hurried steps in turned to more of a shuffling pirouette as he began to understand what he was seeing. He stopped.
“What’s this Hick?”
“Don’t know, but over there near that door are skids of what I think are bike boxes. Never been opened bike boxes.“
“This should not be here. The Creeps don’t do this. Where…….Jeez, “
Gravo sat on a shrink wrapped skid of some mysterious things and tried to get his mind around the treasure trove he was in the middle of. Metal Head hung antsy at the big door. He was not interested in boxes or skids. Such things made no dent in his one track mind. He wanted to head back. Head back now. Hanging here this deep into Creep land was keeping him from catching his daily buzz and the wonderful sleep that always followed.
Gravo stood up. “Let’s head. Big Boss is gonna want to know about this. And Hick, by the way, where are your weapons and your bike?”
“Gravo, I dunno. Everything went black hours ago. All I know is they pulled me out of that door there and dragged me out into the alley. You know the rest.”
Gravo just looked at me. He headed toward the door to the alley and turned back to take one more look. Metal Head slid the door closed behind us and we headed back towards the Barricades.
The hike back went quietly and without any run ins with Creeps. We did alter our course so we could backtrack to where I had been jumped. No weapons but we found my bike. In the middle of the street still intact except for that damn flat that started all this in motion. I grabbed the bike and we headed home.