My first impression was that I’d expected him to be a little scarier, somehow. I mean, sure, the blood-encrusted clothes were a little on the horrible side, but he looked fairly normal beyond that… sort of “I was a Government contractor before I died, and I had an excellent comic book collection,” kind of guy.
As he moved farther away from the dumpster, I saw what I’d been worried about. My target had a posse, and they were much more unapproachable. There were five I could see easily from my vantage point, and I’m willing to bet they’d been a motorcycle gang before they’d died. There was a lot of blood-caked leather, metal studs, and chains arrayed around my nerdy target.
I wasn’t sure of exactly how I’d cope with this new information, beyond going back to the bar and returning with more firepower. A katana and a pistol wouldn’t do me much good… and then the thought hit me… unless I started whittling down the herd immediately.
I didn’t think they could see me from where I was watching, but any idiot will start looking around when a shot is fired. They could, if motivated properly, figure out where the shot came from, and I’d have seconds before being mobbed. I had to wonder how many of the motor goons I could ventilate before being overrun.
More importantly, I had no idea how many more of them there might be out of my line of sight.
Shooting some of them might help me learn the answer to that question, but I didn’t have a good escape plan. Weighing the options was driving me a little crazy.
I’d been leaning forward in the chair—lost in thoughts and plans, and unaware of my surroundings—when someone grabbed me by the hair and pulled me to my feet. I tried to draw the sword, but my opponent had his hand on the handle. I was at a significant disadvantage.
When I tried to draw my pistol, someone slapped it out of my hand. I had two opponents, and one of them seemed to know what he was doing. Not good for me, I assure you.
Worse, I wasn’t in motion.
My sensei taught me, many years ago, that if you stop moving, you’re dead. It was one of those situations. They had the drop on me, and whatever I had to do to deal with the situation, I’d have to do it from a dead stop.
I should have studied Judo.
“Before you think about being macho dude, the guy you can’t see has a shotgun pointed at you.”
I looked up into the face of the guy who had me by the hair, and considered his words. He looked down at me—big, and tall—with bloodshot zombie eyes, and deliberately puffed air down at me. Undead breath sailed up my nostrils, and weighed anchor with a stench like an inside-out skunk, coated in rotten Brie.
I gagged and my eyes watered uncontrollably. He laughed, giving me more reason to gag, and shook me around by my head for extra sadistic jollies. My regurgitation switch is very loose, most of the time, but that time I managed not to vomit.
For this guy, I would have gladly tossed my squirrel stew all over. Damn it.
“You really shouldn’t have done that grandstanding shit a few miles from here. Word travels fast. Faster than you, looks like.” I hated the smirk on his face.