Chapter 8

Tai; Lilley

Word Count: 1294

Rumbling through the skeleton of New York City in the huge armour plated Juggernaut eighteen wheeler with its reinforced glass windows and windscreen and a huge sharpened plough attached to its front Tai made sure to keep an eye out ahead of them for any signs of trouble or ambush. It was rare that Raiders of Scavengers would come this deep into New York knowing this was his area, but some were stupid enough to try and deal with him. The Blood Skulls had even set out an enormous bounty on his head and whoever, 'Took out the Titan' as his men had started calling it, got over three years worth or rations packs, fresh water and a high position in the Blood Skulls hierarchy. Several had tried, many were just boys. Reckless teenagers brain washed by the Blood Skulls, he hadn't slept for days after he had to kill that young man...He couldn't have been more than eighteen. Such a waste, especially now. 'Hold on b*tches we got a speed bump coming!' roared Shark through the intercom of the huge vehicle, his harsh southern American twang rumbling with laughter. Tai barely had timed to grab hold of the roll bar above his head before they hit the so called 'speed bump'.

A more accurate word for it would have been a teen foot crack in the asphalt so when the hit it Tai fired from his seat smacking his head onto the ceiling of the passenger cabin. Another came soon after the first and again Tai smacked his head. 'Jesus Shark!' he spat rubbing the crown of his head with a massive gloved hand.

'Hehe, sorry boss. That one was a bit of a doozey weren't it?' crooned Shark through the intercom.

'Yeah! Just try to get us there in one piece!' ordered Tai.

'Aaah don't get ur' panties in a twist boss! I know these ere' roads like the back o' my hand! Wha...what? I thought this was 63rd street...' with that Shark logged out and obviously decided to use the full of extent of his dwindling brain power on getting them home.

'We need a new driver.' said Oasis with a thunderous look on her face. She was sitting in partial armour with her long legs crossed elegantly and her arm around Abigail who was sat looking out of her window whilst drawing pictures on the glass with nothing but her breath and her finger. Tai smiled. Always the mother hen Oasis.

'Shark's an arse but he's the best driver at my disposal. I wouldn't want anyone driving such an important package back home.' Tai said standing and reattaching his gun belt and battle knife as he did.

'One Scavenger's so important?' she asked looking up at him with deep brown eyes.

'No...but she is.' Tai pointed to Abigail before moving to the back of the lumbering truck. Kicking open the roughly carved door the wind immediately began whipping around him, sending his platted ponytail lashing outwards like some possessed tail. That was the other thing about Shark, no one could convert vehicles for this kind of environment and terrain better than him, this was shown by how elegantly he had created a small armoured walkway between the truck and its cargo hold. The bridge was even complete with several holes built into the thick aluminium walls that were just big enough to fit the muzzle of a gun through. Crossing from one world to the other Tai booted open the door to the cargo hold, creating a loud rumbling bang that shook the entire hold. Most of his men were back here watching the Scavenger. Shadow stood closest to the door with his back and one foot casually resting against the wall, his twelve gauge in his hands and Tai knew it was fully loaded.

The three other members of his personal strike team were surrounding the tiny man who sat in the centre of the hold on a rickety metal chair, a black bag over his head a gag in his mouth and hands cuffed to a chain that attached him to the floor. 'Hey Tai.' said Shadow standing up properly.

'You said anything to him?' Shadow shook his head, his bald head glistening with sweat in the artificial lights the lined the top of the hold. 'Good. Let’s do this.' clicking his fingers Azreal, Marcus and Phoenix all looked to Tai and nodded. As one the three of them moved to the Scavenger and pulled the bag from his head. He whimpered at the sudden glare, his watery brown eyes blinking in an effort to adjust faster to the brightness. When he saw the three soldiers another whimper escaped him, and when he saw Tai. All colour ran from his face so much so it looked like he'd died and now his ghost had taken his place. Striding over to him Tai's massive boots sent shudders through the reinforced metal floor until he was stood completely over the tiny man. 'Take the gag out.' without a moment hesitation Phoenix reached over and yanked the blood red cloth from between the mans stained brown teeth. 'You know who I am?' rumbled Tai over the urchins ragged gasps for air.

'Y...y...yes. You''re the Titan.' I am. Remember that little man.

'You know who my men are?' the little man nodded.

'Shadow Strike.'

'Two for two. Well done.' Shadow said causing the others to laugh slightly. Tai remained calm and kept the measured anger in his face.

'What's your name?' Tai asked.

'I...I...' stammered the tiny man.

'Answer the question motha' fu...' threatened Marcus pressing the muzzle of his glock against the side of their hostages head, Tai raised a hand to call him off.

'Hatchet! Hatchet they call me Hatchet!' he screamed trying to bend away from the gun barrel.

'Good.' said Tai softly. 'Hatchet we're going to play a game. It's a very simple game called twenty questions and depending on how you answer these questions is correlated to the state in which you'll leave this vehicle.' Marcus laughed.

'Yeyah you little Blood Skull biatchhh!' said the tanned New Yorker with a broad smile.

'If you answer these questions well we'll get you treatment for your leg, give you three days provisions and drop you at a location of New York of your choosing. If you don't,'

'If you don't we'll drag you behind the truck and give the kids bats.' finished Azreal for Tai. 'Watcha' say boys...three sweets if they can hit him on the head?' As his men jibed and haggled how many sweets the children would get Hatchet began to weep into his soiled leather jacket.

'Do you understand?' asked Tai. No answer. 'Do you understand Mr Hatchet?!' the shout shook the walls and Hatchet nearly jumped from his chains.

'Yes yes I understand!' he cried trying to wipe the tears away on his shoulder.

'Good. How many Blood Skulls are in New Jersey?' fired Tai.

'I...I dunno'. They send us out mostly in splinter cells see...but at a guess...maybe a thousand or so.' whimpered Hatchet.

'What's their main base of operation?' at that question Hatchet faltered.

'I...I can't...they'll kill me!'

'They'll kill you?' chirped Marcus, 'Motha' f*cka' he'll kill you!'

'Well technically if we drag him behind the truck the kids will kill him, or the road surface itself...or the IED's.' said Phoenix looking at Marcus and Azreal, That did the trick. Tai thought as he watched Hatchet sink into his chair.

'OK ok! F*ck! There's a hospital, New Jersey General. They've filled it fulla' all kindsa' bombs and guns and bulletproof glass and all sortsa' Black Ops sh*it!'

'Tai,' broke in Shark's voice over their intercom. 'We're home.'

The End

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