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Further Adventures of the Borderland Biker -Chapter 16

Pistols, Booze and Bell Peppers DON'T mix well.

By Derrel Whitemyer

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Editor's note: The following story is from the book, "The Further Adventures of The Borderland Biker, In Memory of Indian Larry and Doo Wop Music," by Derrel Whitemeyer. 
The semi automatic weapons were stored in the empty water tank above the supporting shed.
The semi automatic weapons were stored in the empty water tank above the supporting shed.


Aside from the gray or was it gray blue Warrior parked next to a pile of empty fertilizer sacks, the shed except for a wood stove with more than a few bullet holes in it was bare. Larry then climbed the ladder leading up into the water tank.

“This tank hasn’t had water in it for years; but you’ve got to come up here and see what’s hanging on the walls.”

After a quick climb up the ladder I was inside. Lining the walls of the tank was the crème de la crème of semi automatic weapons. All were made of exotic blends of space age polymers and metal alloys and none had ammunition. 

“All are semi automatic,” I said, “all are modern in design; but none have ammo. I think we may’ve stumbled upon an arsenal for survivalists.”

Climbing back down Larry and I search the shed for the ammo but with no success.

“Hello old timer. Did the high tech weapons upstairs kick you out?” Larry said as he picked up a worn, worn to the point of having worn off the bluing, Ruger Redhawk revolver hiding on a small table between an almost empty whisky bottle and a bowl of bell peppers.
“Is,” I asked, “your new friend loaded?”

“No, however there are five rounds on the table beside the bowl. My guess is someone who loves their liquor has been using it,” said Larry pointing to the wood stove with bullet holes in it, “for target practice on that stove. We need to make sure the Road Warrior’s ready to role as soon as the sun goes down. Speaking of being ready,” Larry said as he held up the Ruger, “I’m going to load this with the five rounds.”

After Larry rolled the Road Warrior into the center of the shed he became Larry the master mechanic. After a few minutes of checking essentials he gave it a thumbs-up. 

“I can’t sleep,” said Larry, nodding up at the water tank and then at the bullet riddled wood stove, so I’ll stand watch.”

“I nodded at them too, “With our survivalist friends able to show up at any time, I’m not going to sleep either.”

“Then I might,” laughed Larry, as well finish my story.”

FADE IN: Larry continues to tell the story in first person of how he entered the Borderlands.

Bobby and I continued riding north. Talbot would go south with the truck carrying the diesel fuel. He’d drive it back to Warden Bishop at the minimum security prison before sunset. It was where Bobby and I had been serving time.

“Larry,” Bobby yelled over to me, “we’re burning daylight; we need to leave now if we’re going to make it to Spanky’s Café before dark.”

Bishop had found out where Kate was broadcasting from by using the signal’s strength to triangulate the location. We should be able to reach it before the sun went down providing we didn’t run into any major obstacles.

 “We’ll top-off our tanks,” said Bobby, “after we’ve ridden further north. We’ve quite a few miles left in them before we need to stop.”
I’d chosen to ride the Harley,
I’d chosen to ride the Harley,

Bobby had chosen to ride the Indian.
Bobby had chosen to ride the Indian.

“I wonder what could’ve caused cold that intense back at the facility; maybe there’s something to your legend?”
Bobby had ridden his bike around to where it was pointed north, “I vote we don’t hang around until nighttime to find out if the Aleut legend about the Devil being a giant trapdoor spider is true; I say we do all our wondering after we’re sitting in front of a nice warm fire at Spanky’s Cafe with enough wood stacked beside us to last until morning.”

Bobby and I had been released from an underground minimum security facility in the Nevada desert. Warden Bishop, the head of the facility, has agreed to erase our criminal records from the system if we agreed to search for diesel fuel and attempt to make contact with any others that may have survived an EMP attack on the United States. Thousands of hidden EMP devices, smuggled into our country by terrorists, had been set off destroying most everything electrical. Since then the facility where we were kept has been unable to contact or hear from anyone. With the exception of a strange (a woman by the name of KWOP Kate has been playing Doo Wop music and asking if anyone’s out there) broadcast from an AM radio station northwest of us near Bridgeport California we’ve not heard from another person. It was almost by accident we heard her broadcast.

With only about two days of fuel remaining for the facility’s electrical generator, because it was underground its circuits were protected, Bobby and I along with a mechanic named Talbot had gone north in search of more diesel fuel. We were also told to ride to where Kate was broadcasting. Bobby and I had the job of scouting ahead on our motorcycles for a path for Talbot to drive through the abandoned vehicles. We’ve found no sign of the drivers. 

For whatever reason certain shadows after the sun has set, maybe as a result of the massive EMP attacks, are suspected of being so cold they’re freeze drying people and are lethal. All of this begs the question of what other effects have the EMP detonations had on the world around us?

Able to finally find and fix an abandoned diesel tanker, Talbot’s now driving it back to the facility. Bobby and I are now on our way to where Kate is broadcasting from Spanky’s Café. Bishop was able locate it by triangulating the difference in the station’s signal strength. We’re anxious to get there before the day ends. What we’re not anxious to find out…is if nighttime shadows can really freeze dry people. 
It’s been nearly four hours since Talbot left us. In the meantime Bobby and I are in our highest gear and riding north like two low flying canaries a.k.a. guinea pigs trying to catch the wind. Bobby’s 111ci Indian’s setting a fast pace, not into the triple digits but fast enough to keep my Wide Glide in 6th gear most of the time. Abandoned cars and trucks continue to slow us down; one ten mile cluster almost stopped us until we were able to find a way to wind our way through. When we finally turn off the two lane highway onto the road leading into the foothills and to Spanky’s Café evening’s shadows are beginning to lengthen. 

Bobby instead of pressing on suddenly slows down and stops between two abandoned cars.

“Abandoned vehicles are becoming fewer and farther between. I make a motion we top-off our tanks on the chance these are the last vehicles we’ll see before we get to Spanky’s. We’ve enough fuel to make it to where Bishop marked it on the map, but on the chance he was wrong…”

“…but on the chance Bishop was wrong,” I added, seconding Bobby’s motion, “we’ll at least have enough gas to make it back to these cars.”

The Toyota van closest to the center of the road was near empty; the Mustang closest to the guardrail was nearly full. Evening shadows had crept down from the hills, over the guardrail and were a foot from the Mustang’s rear wheel.
Our siphon consisted of a small battery powered pump that drained gas into a gallon plastic bag. It was another example of Talbot’s ingenuity, that and the fact he was able to get the diesel tanker repaired and running before noon.

Bobby has already filled the plastic bag four times fueling our bikes. He was in the process of filling it one more time which would allow me to top-off my Wide Glide when he yelled and pointed at the shadow he’d just stepped in, “Ouch, the shadow’s so cold it burned!”

Looking at where he was pointing, I could see the shadow that had been touching the guardrail was now stretched across the road to where he was standing. We’d been in and out of isolated shadows throughout the day with no ill effects. The shadow that had touched Bobby was completely opaque, reflecting no light and reached across the fields and into the darkness of the bordering hills. 

“Larry, it numbs your legs; if I’d stayed in it for any length of time I wouldn’t have been able to move.”

Taking the last gallon of gas Bobby had siphoned I finished filling my Wide Glide. There was about a pint left in the plastic bag.

“Get on your bike and get ready to roll. I’ve a theory about these darker than normal shadows...that is if they really are shadows,” I said, having already poured the remaining gas across the shadow and then lit a match.

“If the flames from your fire travel up the fumes flowing down from that Mustang’s open tank you’re going to get more than your eyebrows singed”

“Not to worry, the wind’s in my favor,” I said throwing the match into the puddle of gas.

What happened next was more unexpected than having the Mustang explode. From where the opaque part was touched by flames it retreated like an all black broken wave back down the beach, back over the guardrail. It had been riding piggyback on top of the normal shadow; but I had to be sure if my theory was correct. Risking the fumes from the open tank might at any moment be ignited with a change in the wind; I got off my bike and walked over to the where Bobby had been standing. Stepping into the normal looking shadow brought with it no freezing cold.  
“It feels and looks like an ordinary shadow. It’s as if the cold dark layer rides along on top it. In fact you can see the dark layer in the distance; it’s the opaque part that’s moved off into the field, the part that’s retreated from the light and fire of the burning gasoline…”

“…but that’s just started to move closer,” Bobby completed what I was about to say, “now that your fire’s dying down! What do you say we ‘not’ find out if that darker layer holds a grudge against you for setting it on fire; what do you say we figure this all out ‘after’ we get to Spanky’s Café.”
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