After an unfortunate false start last night, I re-rolled for Chuck’s flash fiction challenge “Another Roll of the Dice“. The new rolls gave me the “Grindhouse” genre, with the elements “a troublesome dog” and “a hidden compartment”.
The road stretched out into the inky darkness, pierced only by the headlights of the purring 1960 DeSoto Adventurer plunging into it. Deke knew he had to get out of town, and fast, before the law came down hard on him. It didn’t matter that the bullets they took out of the poor guy were all silver; they’d see it as murder, not the supernatural pest control that it was. Still, a wife (well, widow now) and kids were safe, as was their town, and they’d never have to fear a full moon again.
Zeke perked up from his place in the passenger seat, looking out the window. Deke put his foot on the brake, just a little.
“What is it, boy?”
Zeke’s tail thumped the leather seat, and he began to pant. He was excited by something. Long years on the road had taught Deke to trust the bull terrier’s instincts, and he pulled into the saloon parking lot. The Adventurer rattled to a stop, and Deke stepped out, followed quickly by the dog. Deke looked down at Zeke, his hands on his hips.
“Can I count on you to stay on the porch?”
Zeke cocked his head to one side.
“Yeah… I thought so. Just don’t be a menace, okay? Be nice.”
Zeke responded with a short, upbeat bark.
Inside, the saloon was lit mostly with neon lights. Pool balls clacked on their table in one corner. Deke found an empty table near the back wall and sat where he could see the rest of the saloon. His waitress, tall and curvy with long dark hair, walked up moments later.
“Get you something to drink, sugar?”
“A cold bottle of beer, miss, if you don’t mind.” He put a few bills on the table, and she took them to the bar. Deke had to pull his eyes away from what her hips were doing to focus on the rest of the saloon. His thumbs tapped the buckle of his belt idly, and he took a deep breath.
You’re just keyed up from the werewolf fight. Calm down. It could just be a seedy bar.
He heard the bikes outside moments before the riders entered. Three men, all broad-shouldered under their leather jackets, and a woman walked right up to the bar. Deke’s waitress returned, and he could see her smile was a bit less natural this time.
“What’s your name?”
Deke smiled. “That’s a good and lovely name, for a good and lovely lady. Rachel, what can you tell me about the foursome that just walked in?”
Rachel glanced nervously at the bar. “It’s best if you don’t ask.”
Deke leaned forward. “If it’s trouble, I might be able to help.”
Rachel took another glance, then leaned over to whisper to Deke. He tried to ignore how she looked.
“They tore up a lawman who came ’round here a few months ago. All he did was ask about a few missing person cases. Next thing you know…”
She shook, visibly. Deke laid his hand on her wrist, the silver rings on his first and third fingers catching the neon lights.
“Outside there’s a white DeSoto. I want you to go and open the passenger side door, then the glove compartment. Don’t do anything else, and do not get in the car. Do you understand?”
He smiled. “It will be all right. Just trust me.”
“Rachel!” The bartender’s bellow was unpleasant. “Flirt on your own time!”
Biting her lip, Rachel nodded at Deke, then dropped off her tray as she said she was taking a break. Deke watched the bikers more closely. The moon was still full, and their arrival was on physical vehicles. That narrowed the possibilities considerably. He finished his beer, stood, and approached the bar to hear what was being said.
“I’m telling you,” the female biker was saying to the bartender, “now that the furball’s gone, there’s nothing to stop us now. His territory’s ours for the taking.”
Deke whispered a quick prayer, then tapped the closest biker on the shoulder. “Pardon me.”
The burly man whirled, clearly ready for a fight. Deke’s fingers flicked the clasp of the hidden compartment on his belt, and the vial dropped into his hand. His thumb popped the tiny cork, and a snap of his wrist put the contents in the biker’s face. The hissing was immediate, and the biker fell back, screaming.
“Holy water,” the woman said, looking Deke up and down. He smiled, and he heard Zeke barking outside.
“I had a feeling. You lot always squabble with werewolves over good hunting grounds.”
She lunged for him, and he stepped back, but not far enough to avoid having his shirt clawed open. His silver cross spilled out into the air, and the trio still standing stepped back. Zeke bounded into the bar, grabbing one of the bikers by the ankle in his powerful jaws. Deke grabbed a nearby chair and smashed it against the bar. The one unfettered male biker came at him, fangs out, a deadly undead missile. Years of training and less than favorable scraps put Deke on his back, a shard of wood aiming up. The improvised stake found its target and the biker rolled away, grabbing the wood protruding from his chest.
The dog let go of the ravaged throat of his victim and shot outside. The female hissed, stalking Deke as he stood.
“You won’t leave here alive, holy man.”
“Who said I was alive in the first place?” Deke pulled at the hole in his shirt, showing the scars across his chest. “One of your kind killed me a long time ago. God brought me back to make sure your kind never rules the earth.”
“I’ll send you back to your god right now.”
Zeke returned, a can of lighter fluid in his jaws, his tail wagging. Deke smiled, producing his matches.
“Ma’am, with all due respect, I think you’ll be getting to where you’re going first.”