She had been lucky. The axe blade had penetrated about a quarter of an inch into the skull but had damaged the side of her face, cracking her cheekbone and fracturing her jaw. One part of Startz remained almost surgically cool as he scrutinised Holly's face professionally. Gently, with infinite care, he began to ease the blade out from the wound. He knew it would bleed. He found a clean duster in the back that would soak up the majority of the blood. Hopefully it would clot soon.
The axe blade finally emerged and Startz threw it to one side in disgust. He was worried about the car exploding and he knew he had to get Holly to hospital. She was starting to come round. She made a small cry and stared at everything around her as if seeing for the first time.
'Okay, honey,' Startz consoled her. 'You're going to be all right. Just as soon as I can get you to Heaven's Gate I'll make you just like new, I swear.'
He began to weep then as Holly moved her head. They had to get out into the storm. Then there were the bikers. Startz wondered what they had in mind. He didn't have long to wait to find out.
Startz grabbed the damaged door handle and twisted and pushed with all his strength. He felt the handle being grabbed outside. With a ripping sound the door was yanked back off its hinges and left half hanging off.
There was rain and wind and blinding light. Startz could see the silhouette of a massive head staring down. Holly looked up in fear and awe.
'Well now,' said a rough, deep, voice, 'what have we here?'
Holly felt herself being pulled bodily out of the car. A rough, muscular arm reached in and fastened a stained hand on her wrist. A second arm reached in and Holly felt herself being lifted up and out through the door hatch into the circle of blazing light.
'Be careful, she's hurt,' screamed Startz, struggling to get out the same way. Another set of powerful arms grabbed him and dragged him out, throwing him on to the muddy ground. Startz took a kick to the ribs and a cuff around the ear. He fell backwards and shaded his eyes with his hand.
There were about a dozen of them, posed like twenty-first century apocalyptic horsemen on their steeds of metal and rubber. They were all heavily decorated with symbols, mostly tattoos and luminous stripes. They wore leather and rubber. Some wore animal fur. Their faces were burnt from the sun and their eyes shaded by reflective sunglasses, which appeared to give them glowing eyes in dark sockets.
Holly had sunk to her knees, prevented from collapsing completely by the Neanderthal leader. He was a man used to getting his own way. He had hold of Holly's hair. She was staring wildly into space, blood mixing with rain from the gash in her head, clothes clinging to her body. The leader held her like he was claiming a prize. He gazed around at his troops then he looked down with disdain at the figure of Thomas Startz who was struggling to get to his feet.
'Well, well,' croaked the leader, 'we're gonna have some fun with this rich bitch,' he bellowed an order at two of the bikers. 'Tie him up to the car. He can have a grandstand view.'
Before he knew what was happening, two of the bikers had dismounted and grabbed him roughly by the arms. They dragged him to the car, found some greasy rope and tied him to the dangling doorframe. One cuffed him across the ear then laughed.
'I could really hurt you, asshole. I'd like that. Keep your eyes open 'cos if you don't I'll take 'em out, one by one.'
Startz stared, fearful suddenly. The leader leered down at Holly, who was barely conscious.
'Well, rich bitch,' he growled, 'this is payoff time.'
Startz screamed. 'No, no, keep your filthy hands off her.' The nearest biker cuffed him again. He felt his nose bleeding and the salt taste dripping onto his tongue.
The leader laid Holly on the ground. The storm had returned with a vengeance and the clearing took the brunt of the ragged lightning and tympanic rolls of thunder. The giant biker kneeled over Holly and grabbed her face.
'You capitalist bitches on heat think you can rule the world, dontcha? Well, sometimes good old fate steps in and plays a trick on you. And you can't figure out why. You scream to heaven, why, Lord why?' He looked over at Startz and grinned, an expression that caused his scarred face to assume a demonic appearance.
'One minute she's yours, buddy, and the next minute, she's mine. Ain't life a whole mountain of dogshit!'
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