Authors: Britten Thorne
Neither of us had recovered enough to run for as long and as far as we had the day before. I barely made it a mile before I had to stop for a minute and catch my breath. I could just make out the first of the herd behind us, lurching up the road - far away, but they’d be on us soon enough. They’d never quit.
Further behind them, I could make out trails of smoke.
I guess it worked. Sort of. It was enough.
“Are you bleeding?” I asked Adam, observing the mess all over him. Even his normally immaculate leather jacket flaked with dried blood all over the arms.
“No, it’s not mine. Come on. We’ll just walk for a bit. But we can’t stop moving.”
We didn’t manage to lose the dead. We walked along the two-lane highway with nothing to see but scattered trees and the shambling corpses behind us. We watched the smoke continue to rise. “They’ll see it,” Adam assured me repeatedly, “They’ll come.” His brothers.
“We have to get off this road,” I said.”We’ve only got the one can.” But Adam shook his head.
“We can’t stop and scavenge with them this close on our tails. They’ll trap us somewhere again, or worse.”
“So we’re going to just count on your buddies just magically showing up?” The late afternoon sun beat down on us. We’d been walking for so long, I could barely feel my feet.
“They’ll see the fire. They’ll see the trail, they’ll know the dead are chasing something. Josie.” He grabbed my hand. “We’re going to make it. Just keep moving.”
His touch was a comfort. I composed myself with a deep breath and kept walking.
They’ll find us. They’ll find us.
Funny how “they” weren’t so scary anymore. Not now that we needed rescue. How long ago had I met Preacher and Van? How frightened had I been, then? I wondered if Sunny was well, if they found those girls they’d talked about. I looked down at our hands, our fingers entwined.
I guess I sort of trust him, now. Funny how much he changed my mind.
I didn’t recognize the sound immediately when I heard it.
“Finally.” He kissed the back of my hand.
Fear gripped my heart again. “Are you sure they’re yours? Devil’s Ashes?”
“It has to be. We’re in our territory.”
“Did you forget that we were being chased in the first place?” The sound was getting closer. It was coming from the opposite direction of the herd. “Adam…” I squeezed his hand. “Please.” We were stuck; we were out of road. One way was certain death, the other maybe friends, or death for Adam and worse for me.
He looked around. There really wasn’t anywhere to hide except behind some trees, but the corpses were still close on our heels. “Okay.” He yanked his jacket off and turned it inside out before putting it back on. “I’m pretty sure we look shitty enough. Just shamble.”
“Are you serious?”
“Yeah. Off to the side of the road. They won’t bother with us if we’re out of the way, whoever they are. If they’re my guys, we’ll flag them down. If they’re not…” He shrugged. “We’re kind of at the end of the road here either way. Do you have a better idea?”
I shook my head. We walked in the grass along the side of the highway, and once the motorcycles were in sight - three of them - we lurched and shambled like the dead. I had to let go of his hand and walk apart, and it made me feel way too exposed.
Three. We left three guys in the city. This is them, their stupid fucking rivals, they’re going to kill Adam.
I grew dizzy with terror. My stumbles weren’t entirely faked.
But then Adam was laughing and waving. Relief washed over me like a wave, leaving my knees weak. He grabbed my hand. “We’re okay,” he said, laughing with disbelief. “Come, come meet my brothers.” We waited for them in the middle of the road, Adam waving at the three approaching bikes with visible relief.
They pulled to a stop to either side of us - three rough men, all older than Adam, with ragged scars and scraggly beards and the matching leather jackets.
“We knew that herd was chasing some people down,” one of them said. His hair and beard were dusty blond, his sunglasses cracked. “Had no clue it was you. Happy to see you, Lark. Been a long while.”
Adam grinned. “You too, Chief. Real good to see you. This is Josie.” I flinched from his outstretched hand before shaking it.
“What happened? Where’s your bike?”
“Swarmed. We barely made it.”
“I can see that.You lit those fires?”
“Yeah.” He elbowed me softly. “Josie’s idea.”
“A good one. We’ve been keeping an eye on this herd. Once we saw the flames, we figured someone was out here and circled out in front of them. I guess you’ll be wanting a lift?” I grabbed Adam’s arm. Maybe I trusted him now, but I didn’t know these guys at all. And now I’d have to ride with one of them? It was too much. Chief noticed my dismay. “Honey,” he said, “We’re taking you home. I don’t know how much Lark told you, but you’ll be safe there. You’ll see.” I nodded, though my heart was in my throat.
After they gave us some water, Adam and I rode apart - I held onto Chief as we drove away from the herd and away from the highway.
We reached the wall before nightfall. I don’t know what exactly I was expecting, but it wasn’t such a large, solid structure. How long had it taken to build? How many people? I thought of the city, then. The safety and security I’d felt within its steel and concrete bones. The isolation, yes, but it was
city. My home.
“Stop!” I shouted into Chief’s ear. I pounded on his shoulder. “Let me off!” He pulled to a stop, signaling the other bikes as he did. All three halted their approach. We were close enough to read the signs on the wall. “Property of Devil’s Ashes.” “No admittance without approval.” “Lay down your weapons before you approach.”
I jumped off the bike and stared up at it. What horrors might the other side hold? God, I hated the unknown.
“Go on ahead,” Adam called, “I’ll walk her in, she just needs a minute.”
They nodded as if they understood, as if this was nothing unusual at all, and then they drove forward. Adam held my hand as I watched. What looked like a corrugated garage door pulled up, allowing them to drive through.
And on the other side, women, running up to greet them. I could hear them laughing from where I stood. But still my hands shook, and I felt frozen in place.
“Listen,” Adam said quietly, “Maybe I
wrong to force you here. But I couldn’t leave you. I couldn’t.” He stepped in front of me, blocking my view of the door and the people.
“If you want to go back to the city, I’ll take you. I’ll grab a bike and we’ll go. You don’t even have to come inside.” He kissed my forehead. “I’ll stay with you out there. Maybe I’m crazy. But I can’t leave you.”
I threw my arms around him, hugging him tight. “I can’t leave you, either, but I can’t make you go back.” He squeezed me back.
"Can you think of just one reason to trust me? One little thing?" Remembering our time together, I could. I could think of many. The look in his eyes after we fucked that very first time in the city, when he was afraid he'd hurt me. How careful and gentle he was when he marked my hip. His white-hot passion in the rooftop. He'd been pig-headed, and rough, and angry, sometimes scary, but never cruel. I nodded, and he stepped back. "Hold it in your head. Take my hand. Come home with me."
No more hesitation. The city had stopped calling me. It was, after all, nothing but bones.
I whispered, “Thank you,” and took his hand.
“Look.” He turned and led me onward. “They can’t wait to meet you.” The women had lined up and were smiling and waving. I laughed; there were
amongst them. They looked clean and well-fed and happy. How long had I been living alone in that grave, that a place like this could grow and thrive?
“We’ll have to change your nickname, pigeon,” he said, smiling was we walked.
“Pigeons always return home. I was afraid you’d go. I was almost sure you would.”
home. I think. I’m just…” I smiled shyly. “I’m home when I’m with you.” He’d had to drag me kicking and screaming, but this was where I belonged.
He groaned. “Okay. Pigeon. Maybe you’re too tired to meet everyone tonight. Maybe you need to meet my bed, first.” I laughed, a real, genuine, joyful laugh. Not only because of what he’d said, but because there would be a real, proper bed.
Thanks for reading!
If you liked this story, continue turning the pages to check out another that you may enjoy as well…
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Stubborn, hot-headed Lily only had three options - get married, get on her back, or get the hell out of town. The local MC makes the rules, and they rule the town. She chooses to leave. Nobody tells her what to do. Nobody bosses her around.
Until she meets Nomad. He’s the former president of the Dust Bowl Devils. When he offers her a ride to LA, she jumps onto the back of his bike without looking back. But he’s got a different sort of ride in mind…
Warning: This 20,000+ word novella contains explicit language and graphic adult content including wild and rough sex between a young woman and a dominating older biker.
We’ll be staying in this town for a day or two,” he said as he stood. I followed him back outside. “I’ve got some business to attend to. You’ll wait in the motel unless I take you out, understand? You don’t go anywhere alone.”
What?!” That was just too much. He may have been doing me a favor, but I wasn’t his prisoner.
He raised an eyebrow at me. “How about you ask like someone that has some manners?”
I knew I was being deliberately shitty. I couldn’t help it. I was stressed and far from home, and his calm about the whole situation was making me angry. “Care to tell me what the fuck please, sir?”
We’d reached his bike. He paused to kick the stand up, intending to walk it to the gas station just in the next lot. He didn’t look at me as he spoke. “Oh, honey. You’re going to pay for that.”
I followed him to the gas pumps, a few steps behind. What did he mean by “pay”? I should have taken off right then. Fact was, I wasn’t his prisoner and I wasn’t his family, and if I wanted to run screaming, no one would take his side. Hell, he might not even try to follow me. I could make my own way to LA, or to anyplace else. But something stopped me.
That hint of promise in his threat.
Daisy is a dancer in Maxwell's Spectacular, a traveling carnival in the early 20th century. Arthur is the show's new strongman, and the most handsome one any of the other performers have ever seen. He's a quiet and mysterious man, but when Daisy feels a spark between them, she feels she has no choice but to explore it.
Will the dangers of traveling carnival life come between them? Will her outspoken nature push him away, or will the storm of his desires bring her willingly to her knees?
Warning: This 14,500 word short contains explicit language and graphic adult content, including first time BDSM experiences, bondage, spanking, whipping, and various sex acts between two carnival performers.
Daisy walked towards their show tent, intending to stretch and practice on the stage while it was free and empty, but her feet carried her beyond the main tent and out amongst the wagons.
She found Arthur’s easily - the tall, red one, that appeared to be sagging on its wheels. Determined to stop being a coward, set aside her silly feelings, and stop avoiding him, she marched up and knocked on the door.
“It’s open.” He didn’t need to raise his voice to be heard - it was booming enough on its own. She stepped inside and shut the door behind her.
Arthur had his own wagon because it would have been impossible to fit another bed inside. There wasn’t even room for a chair, though he had a small table the back, covered in books. His strongman costumes dangled from a curtain rod above it.
He was lying on his back on his bed, reading. The book looked oddly tiny in his huge hands. If she’d stumbled upon the scene at another time, she’d find it almost comical. Now, she straightened her back. He glanced up from the book, then back down.
Not good. He wasn’t happy to see her. “I never properly thanked you for chasing that creep away the other night,” she said.
“Well, I’m thanking you, now.”
He looked up, raised an eyebrow. “You weren’t so grateful then.”
“Well you were rude.” She put her hands on her hips. “Nobody talks to me that way, not ever.”
He closed his book and studied her for a moment, then rose to his feet. He stood directly in front of her, looming so she had to tilt her head back, even lean a little, just to see his face. She stood her ground, but felt the fight leaving her. Suddenly, she felt very small. “What I mean to say is, I... I...” she stammered.