Wednesday, 5th March 2003
It was 8am when Joe Bremner slowed his Triumph Tiger and the powerful engine rumbled as the bike rolled down the snow-covered entrance ramp. It was the access point to the underground car park of an upmarket apartment block not far from the city centre. Big Joe knew the code to gain entry. He wouldn’t need it when he left.
Five minutes later the six-footer was unzipping his leather jacket as the elevator took him silently to the tenth floor. Long, unkempt ginger hair hung out from under the distinctive helmet, and around his jaw Joe’s beard bore no signs of a recent trim. He liked the windswept look that many bikers cultivated.
Even in his heavy riding boots and leathers, the big man was able to walk along the corridor of the tenth floor with remarkable stealth. If unseen, it would be hard to say he was there at all. By the time he arrived at the door with the gold number 108 in the centre, he was ready to do as he had been requested.
He pressed a forefinger against the tiny doorbell and dimples parted his whiskers as he heard the multi-chiming bell within. There was a stirring behind the zipper of his well-worn Levi ‘originals’. Joe’s loins were already preparing for what was about to happen.
The door opened after a second ring and standing within the apartment was a tall, blonde woman in her late 20’s. Her long tresses were worn loose over her shoulders and contrasted with the diaphanous black baby-doll that barely reached mid-way on her thighs.
Joe sneered and lowered one hand to rub the front of his jeans before he spoke.
“Are you Stephanie?” he asked and appraised her beautiful body from head to toe.
“Yes,” she whispered in a breath. “What do you want?”
“Are you alone?”
Stephanie nodded and glanced down at the bulge in the front of the biker’s jeans.
In response, Joe’s whiskers parted as he smiled at the woman.
Long dark lashes fluttered as the blonde’s blue eyes looked the visitor up and down. Her glistening crimson lips trembled and after an initial gasp, she bit down onto her lip with her immaculate white teeth. Her breathing was rapid and shallow as the big man stepped forward and wrested the door from her, and then closed it with a thud.
Joe placed his hands under Stephanie’s arms and lifted her bodily from the plush carpet as he walked into the apartment. In the centre of the spacious room he stopped and placed his prize down again. She teetered on her black stiletto heels and lifted her hands up across her ample and barely covered breasts.
“Take it off,” Joe growled and threw his riding gauntlets onto a nearby chair.
“Please,” Stephanie pleaded and her hair hung lower as she inclined her head forward a little.
Joe placed his massive hands on the top section of the flimsy nightie, gripped for a few seconds as he looked into the woman’s eyes, and then he pulled, tearing it open to give him a full view of the sumptuous body within. He held her face in both of his large hands and pressed his lips roughly to hers, prodding with his tongue until it gained access to her sweet mouth. He ceased the kiss only to assault her slender neck with his lips and teeth.
The big man sucked hard on the succulent flesh of Stephanie’s neck, shoulders and breasts and as he slurped and sucked at her, he heard her gasp and whimper. He lowered his right hand and caressed the soft body until his fingers reached the tender slit above Stephanie’s thighs. He slipped one finger inside her and heard her let out a squeal. The finger slipped out and the hand cupped the woman between her thighs.
Joe lifted the woman almost vertically and walked her into her bedroom where he threw her onto the large bed without ceremony. As Stephanie got up onto her elbows and looked at her assailant she saw him undoing his broad leather belt and pushing his jeans down.
There was no underwear to prolong the moment, so without any further warning the woman was looking at the big biker’s engorged cock. It was standing almost upright and throbbing, ready for use. The dimensions of Joe’s manhood were of the same scale as the remainder of his body.
When Stephanie’s thighs were forced apart she made no sound, but looked up wide-eyed at the face lowering to hers to assault her mouth once again. In a simultaneous motion the biker’s tongue was forced into Stephanie’s mouth and the massive tool between his legs was thrust hard up between hers, burying itself deep.
As Joe’s hips thrust back and forward in a steady rhythm he gorged himself on the sweet taste of Stephanie’s mouth, neck, shoulders and breasts. He held a nipple between his teeth and rolled his tongue across the hardening flesh. He heard the woman whimpering.
Stephanie gripped the outer denim jacket that was worn over Joe’s leather riding jacket. As she used her strong, slender fingers to hold on like talons she called out.
“Fuck me you big bastard!” She threw her head back, her mouth open in ecstasy. “Harder ... fuck me harder, faster!”
Joe got up onto his knees and lifted Stephanie by her buttocks. He held her in position with her thighs and gave her what she wanted; what she craved and asked him to provide. He treated her like an object rather than a person and he rose well to the challenge.
It was 30 minutes after entering the apartment that Joe and Stephanie lay side by side on the bed. They were both enjoying a post-coital cigarette, but there was no conversation until Stephanie turned and dug a long hard fingernail into Joe’s chest.
“Joe,” she said with a smirk, “you are fucking incredible.”
“Yeah, I suppose I am,” he said and laughed.
“As soon as we finish our smoke I’ll undress you and you can let me see how tender you can be.”
“You know I don’t do tender,” he said and half-turned to look at her face.
“Don’t worry,” she said, “I enjoy it when you’re trying.”
At 11am Joe threw his leg over his bike and settled onto the saddle. He was about to set off when he noticed the small folded piece of paper jammed between the dials. His brow furrowed as he first looked around the underground car park and then ripped the note out of its hiding place.
‘If you want to save your brother’s life - meet me at the Balgray Reservoir south of Barrhead. At High Noon he’s a dead man. You’re being watched. No phone calls and don’t drop in to get help at Byres Road.’
Joe crushed the note and pushed it into a jacket pocket. When his bike left the dry concrete ramp and slid on the snow covered surface of the roadway it struck him that the journey might not be as rapid as he had hoped.
Getting through the city centre was easy, but the southbound road was covered in a layer of fresh snow and it was falling heavily again. It wasn’t good weather to be on two wheels, even if the rider was experienced; and courageous. The M77 motorway southbound was so treacherous that only the inside lane was being used.
When it got to 11:30 and Joe found himself behind a line of vehicles trailing a snowplough, he decided to take his chances with the minor roads, knowing they wouldn’t be properly cleared. He took the exit down onto Nitshill Road which confirmed his suspicions. As heavy as the bike was, it wasn’t meant to be ridden on several centimetres of snow. At the Rouken Glen roundabout Joe took a right and headed south at a much slower speed, but at least he was moving.
As Joe negotiated the slippery road surface and managed to tackle the next two roundabouts he caught glances of the reservoir over to his right. For the first time he stopped focussing on the road and the hazards. He started thinking about who would be hard enough and stupid enough to threaten his brother Max.
At the Newton Mearns roundabout Joe felt his machine slip away from under him, but he got a strong leg out and steadied himself. When the big bike was upright again he kept the revs low and followed the short strip of minor road towards the reservoir. He was on high alert, but there didn’t appear to be anyone around. Was this some sick joke by one of the guys, he wondered.
“Over here!” a man’s voice shouted, “over here Joe!” A man in black leathers was waving frantically about 100 metres ahead, near the water’s edge. There were groups of bushes around the area but most of the foliage was white, thanks to the snowfall.
Joe kept the engine ticking over to avoid falling in the deeper snow. As he went forward he could only see the one person and although the man was in leathers it wasn’t his brother - could it be another biker that had found Max?
As the big man concentrated on the road surface he noticed a single line where a bike had been ridden recently, but there were deeper, wider tyre marks; from four wheels. When Joe was about 20 metres away he stopped the bike and dismounted. As he turned away from the bike to flick the stand down he used his right hand to check that his knife was easy to reach. He walked forward, eyes roaming the immediate area but seeing only the man in black leathers.
When he was about ten metres away from the man, Joe saw the wide back wheel of a bike. He recognised the number as his brother’s. It was pinned to a Triumph, just like his own.
“Where’s Max?” Joe said as he continued forward and tried to see more of the bike.
“He’s just here,” the man in leathers said. The man pulled on a rope and Max edged forward on his left elbow and leg. The rope was around his neck and his right hand was pressed hard against a bleeding wound in his right thigh. He was gagged and his wrists were bound by a short length of rope.
Joe’s blood boiled when he looked at his older brother’s battered and bloodied face. Max was only able to open his right eye because his left eye was bruised and closed. Most of his face was bruised and had bled recently.
“You’re a fucking dead man,” Joe said and started to withdraw his knife as he advanced.
“I don’t think so,” the man in black said as he raised his right hand and aimed an old Army pistol at Joe’s head. “Do you remember a phone call a few days ago? I told you to keep away from my wife you arsehole, but no, you’re too fucking hard aren’t you - well you’re not as hard as a fucking bullet.”
“She’s your ex-wife you prick,” Joe said and started forward.
The gunman squeezed the trigger.
When the bullet ricocheted from Joe’s helmet, the big man made to run forward and raised his knife. The second bullet ripped through his throat at close range. Joe’s features screwed up in disbelief and he fell forward onto his knees. As the life drained from him he turned and looked at his brother, already badly injured and tethered with rope.
Joe looked from Max to the smiling man in black, and then down to his knife. He looked back to Max and threw the knife with the last of his strength. He gazed at his brother’s face and mouthed the words, “Kill him.” Joe didn’t see what happened next. He fell forward.
Max’s head was filled with a torrent of emotion as he watched his brave brother try to throw the knife. Max let go of his bleeding leg and dived forward to grab the knife from the snow. As he pulled his arm back to throw it he saw the pistol being aimed at his face.
“No witnesses big bad Max,” the heartless young man in black said and squeezed the trigger. There was a click from the old revolver. The man looked at it in disbelief and tried to fire again. Another click issued from the ageing Webley and he looked at the surviving biker.
Max would have to do the best he could. In the club he was known as Max the Knife, but his skills with a blade were badly affected by him having the use of only one eye, and both his wrists bound. When he saw the gunman fiddling with the gun Max made a quick assessment. He got up on one knee for a few painful seconds.
As the man with the gun struggled to make it work again he ignored the threat of the knife for a second too long. The sharp blade missed his throat, but sliced across his right cheek lifting a flap of skin. As it continued its flight it sliced through the right ear. Blood poured down the gunman’s face and he screamed in pain. He ran forward to kick Max in the face but the desperate biker grabbed the incoming foot and pulled hard.
The gunman realised his mistake. Even tethered, the biker would still win a straight fight. “You’ll fucking freeze to death here you bastard.” He scrambled to his feet and clamped a hand to his bleeding face.
“You’re a fucking dead man,” Max said as his adversary stumbled away through the bushes.
A few seconds later a black 4 x 4 skidded towards Max, but the biker rolled into the bushes out of the vehicle’s path. The large car bumped over Joe’s dead body and then bounced off his Triumph before skidding and bouncing along the remote, snow-covered track.
Max looked at his kid brother’s body again and for the first time since childhood he felt a tear roll down his cheek. He swore to himself and on Joe’s honour that he would get through his injuries and kill that bastard gunman; even if it cost his own life. A few minutes later, through loss of blood and hypothermia setting in, Max’s eyes closed and he lay down.
“Hey big man!” a young woman’s voice shouted. “Wake up for me.”
Max opened his eyes and wondered where he was and what had happened. He felt the pain in his leg wound first and then the dull pains in his face and head. When he tried to focus he saw a pretty young woman with short auburn hair looking down at him. She was dressed in leathers.
“Joe-,” Max gasped, trying to look around the crouching woman.
“If Joe is the other biker in Angel colours, I’m sorry mate. You’ve lost him.”
“Who the fuck, are you?”
“My name’s Rachel,” she said, “and the important thing now is to get you to a medic.”
“No fucking hospitals-,”
“I didn’t say anything about a hospital,” Rachel said as she leaned forward and sliced through the biker’s jeans around the wound. “I said a medic.”
Max lay back on the pile of branches that had miraculously been tucked between him and the snow under him. He looked down at the branches and then at the woman and tried to guess her age. She was probably no more than 30, and very good looking. When the black leathers registered in his mind, Max looked behind his saviour.
He said: “Who’s riding the Kwaki?”
“Me,” Rachel said, glancing down at him as she produced a large bandage and proceeded to bind up the biker’s wounded leg.
“Yeah, if your pillion, who’s the rider?” Max insisted.
“Fucking pillion,” she said and looked him in the eye. “Do you want me to finish this or not?” She turned and continued with the first aid. “I’m the bloody rider; there’s nobody else.”
When she’d completed all she could do with the wound, which took a few minutes, Rachel stood up and pulled out her mobile phone. It answered after three rings.
“Hawk, it’s Rachel. I had to drop my task. Yes, I’m fine, but we’ve got a man down and he’s in urgent need of medivac.” She listened for a moment while the man on the other end spoke to whoever was with him. When she was given the chance she explained where she was and under what circumstances. She listened to the response and checked her watch.
“Okay boss, I’ll get on it now-,” she paused when she was interrupted with a question. “Yes,” she said, “I’m carrying.” As she spoke she pressed her right hand against the left side of her leather jacket and nodded. “Okay, see you later.”
Max leaned up on one elbow on his bed of broken branches. He wiped the fresh snow from his face. “Who the fuck do you work for?”
“A very special guy,” she said and winked before putting away her mobile and trudging through the snow to her black Kawasaki 1000. She opened one of the side panniers and returned to the fallen biker. Rachel knelt down and handed him a couple of pain-killers and then she poured a hot drink from a small thermos.
She said: “Get them down your neck and try to relax. We’ve got help coming in about half an hour, and don’t worry it’s not the usual sort of help.” Rachel opened a small cellophane pack she’d brought across. It took her a few seconds to un-wrap a foil blanket and then she spread it over the injured man. “I didn’t want to give you fluids, but my main aim at the moment is to keep you alive.”
Max swallowed the pills and took a gulp of the hot coffee from the plastic cup. He sipped the remainder of the coffee and looked across at where Joe had been. His brother’s body was nowhere to be seen.
“I managed to drag him into the bushes a little way. I’ve covered him up so nobody will see him.” She reached into an inside pocket of her leathers and produced a brown leather wallet and a piece of paper. “Apart from keys, this is all he had on him.” She held up the piece of paper. “Are you the brother that was used as the bait to get him out here?”
“How do you know-,” the question stopped as Max accepted the note from her and looked at the message.
Rachel said: “I’m guessing that Joe was the intended target, because you’re tied up, but injured and alive. For some reason whoever that guy was, he wanted Joe dead.”
Max reached into his own pocket and produced a note identical to the note that Joe had in his pocket. “That bastard with the gun is a fucking dead man walking.”
“Let’s worry about him later,” Rachel said. “Will you be okay if I continue tidying up around here?”
“What’s got to be tidied?”
“I want to get your bike and Joe’s camouflaged amongst the bushes and then I want to cover some of the tracks.” She noted the furrowing of his brow. “What we need to do now is have this place ready to get you out. Recovery of your bike will be taken care of later.”
Max listened and shook his head, still bewildered by the strange woman.
Rachel said, “We’ll have to leave Joe and his machine out here so that they’ll be found. I’ll make an anonymous call once we’ve recovered your bike and cleared your tracks.”
It took Rachel around 15 minutes to roll the two Triumph Tigers into the bushes and then she covered them with branches so that the falling snow would layer them and they’d be well hidden. Afterwards, she rolled her own big bike closer to the bushes to keep it out of sight of the main road, which was a few hundred metres away.
Only when all was arranged as she wanted it, she knelt beside the biker and explained how she had been travelling along the motorway and only glanced down towards the reservoir because of the black vehicle leaving in such a hurry.
She said: “If it wasn’t for the snow I would have been travelling a lot faster and I wouldn’t have been looking down here. I had to miss the next junction because of a pile-up, and then the minor roads were bloody treacherous.”
When asked, she told Max that she hadn’t spotted the whole registration number, but it looked like PET were the first three letters. It was during the many questions about the black 4 x 4 that a vehicle arrived on the scene.
A dark green Toyota Land Cruiser purred along through the snow, performed an easy turn and reversed up close to the injured man.
Whilst one man dealt with the seat layout in the back of the vehicle the other one spoke quietly to Rachel for a moment.
“Right Max,” Rachel said as she knelt beside him, “I need you to trust me on this, okay?”
“Yeah, what’s going on?”
“These guys are taking you to a private clinic to get that bullet taken out of your leg.” She looked over her shoulder and held up a hand to halt the two guys with the vehicle. She turned back to Max. “I’ll get in touch with your guys at Byres Road and let them know you’ll call later.”
“What are you gonna tell them?”
“I’m going to tell them that there’s been an accident and you’ll call later. As soon as you can stand up you’ll be delivered to your house, and I want you to do me a favour.”
“Name it,” he said.
“Don’t have your guys going after the killer ... at least not yet.”
The biker’s eyes narrowed. “What do you know about him?”
“Nothing yet,” she said, “but when I do, I’ll be in touch. Will you trust me on this?”
“Okay,” he said. “I’ll give you a month to get back to me.”
“Deal,” she said, and held out her hand.
“Deal,” Max said and took her slender hand in his huge fist, shaking it with a gentle grip.
“I’m sorry about Joe,”
“So am I,” Max said and looked into the bushes, “so am I.”
Rachel said: “Don’t worry about his body. I’ll be close enough to keep an eye until somebody comes for him.” She thought she saw Max’s eyes glistening so she looked away for a moment as if in thought to allow him a chance to rub a finger across his eyes.
“Let’s get him out of here guys,” Rachel said. She took a business card from inside her jacket and showed it to Max. He just had time to focus on the words BTL Enterprises and a phone number before the card was slipped inside his jacket.
The two men eased the injured biker up onto the tailboard and started to assist him inside.
“Rachel,” Max called and waited until they made eye contact. “Thanks.”
Rachel lifted the forefinger and middle finger of her right hand to her forehead and gave the mock salute that any of her colleagues recognised. She waited until the vehicle had gone and then she poured a coffee and pulled out her mobile phone.
Sunday 16th July 2017
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