Rage's Story (Vanish Book 1)

BOOK: Rage's Story (Vanish Book 1)
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The Vanish Trilogy:


Rage’s Story




elle michaels


copyright May 11, 2016

all rights reserved.


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I’m standing still in time, I feel it pause around me, as real as I feel this pistol warm in my hand. Life’s crossroads play host to moments that last forever. Those short seconds that conspire together to twist your life from one direction to another and stretch into an infinity you seem forever blissfully immersed in, or torturously imprisoned by.

True love’s first kiss.

A parent’s demise.

Bike crash.

First bike ride.

Getting patched in.

Every goddamn time you kill.

Sweat streams down his face as he stares into my eyes. I know what he sees in them, because I can feel it in this very moment coursing through me. It’s rage, and it’s brimming. I can feel it swarming all around me, abuzz across my skin, sinking in, radiating out. It’s the bead rolling off my brow, the air fuming from my nostrils, the blood flooding my muscles as they swell. I know when I walk away, I’m never really far from it. Like all the other moments that last forever, it will stay with me, running alongside my timeline, existing as long as I do. And now, as I feel them, so many are stained with rage.

She whimpers behind me. It breaks my focus. I’d nearly forgotten she was there, what I was here for. Lacey cowers in the corner watching my finger wrapping around the trigger of a silver pistol, the same that had left the black and blue bruises across her cheeks when it was wielded by the bastard on his back before me. Sneaking up behind proved a simple maneuver, retrieving the pistol a matter of quick handwork. Throwing him to the ground was a combination of weightlifting and adrenaline, his two hundred some pounds of muscle a serious contender for my own brawn. But, being club prez, it went mostly untested. Until now.

He lifts a trembling hand into the air between us. “Rage,” he pleads my name. “Wes,” he corrects. A personal tactic. Forego the nickname, appeal to reason. He was better keeping to Rage. In this moment, the moniker is at its truest. “This is more than as it seems, son.”

“Save your excuses, Mike.”

I pull the hammer back. It clicks. The sound shoots up his spine and snaps his jaw shut.

“Lacey,” I call to her.

She snivels, then replies, “Rage?”

How she says it makes me feel monstrous. But sometimes good people needs monsters on their side. If that’s what I’ve become, if that’s who I am, then I was forged by the malice of Mike’s creation. The club was about freedom before him. Then he made it about greed. Choosing the opportune moment to rise into the head seat, bear the crown, and wield the power of the Devil’s Right Hands for personal gain. During wartime, he promised vengeance. The terrible things we do in the road to vengeance, the foolish mistakes we make.

I should’ve done this a long time ago.

“Lacey, we’re going to put this to bed.” I turn my head so I can look into her eyes as I speak to her, but I keep Mike in sight. “Do you understand what that means?”

She looks over at Mike, eyes still wide with fright, but she’s got a fire burning behind her pretty green eyes. She’s setting a hell for the man who laid a hand on her. All for saying no to ‘a little extra cash.’ Standing up for the girls at the club. Taking a stand. He knocked her down. Had I not gotten here in time, not heard from the other girls where Lacey was going…

There might’ve been two bodies left here when I walk out.

She looks back to me and nods. I’m not going to tell her to leave, or look away. What she’s been through, she’s earned the satisfaction. I can’t say she won’t find herself haunted by its imagery later, but I know what it’s like not to see, never knowing that triumph of being alive while your enemy lies lifeless.

The moment drags and its details engrain themselves every second I don’t pull the trigger. The smell of a smoldering cigar placed on the prez’s desk, the throne, as it were. The dim lighting seeping between the blinds of the window that overlooks the garage. The small little office where we’re gathered sits at the back of the clubhouse behind a burgundy door with frosted glass and a golden knob. I want to open it and walk away. In a moment, I will. And yet I’ll always remain in here, inside of a breath and a memory, shared with a beautiful black and blue angel, and the demon that sullied her.

“Alright, Mike. Ready?”

He swipes a trail of snot sliding out his left nostril on the back of his hairy arm. His face is red and his eyes are wet. His grey hair lies flat on his scalp, gelled, but ruffled at its ends. The spit from the corners of his mouth have matted his beard along the sides of his chin like a slobbering dog. “Rage. What do you want from me? Huh? You gonna pull that fuckin trigger and blow me away for this?”

“No,” I answer. “I’ll blow you away for what you would’ve done.”

He chortles. “And what’s that? Ruin the club? What did you think this was all about, exactly? Peace, love, and freedom? Keeping to the edge of society, charting territory off the map? Carving out our own? That’s all bullshit. You know what it is? Hm?” He presses against the floor with one hand and gestures emphatically with the other in a swooping motion from side to side, dismissive. “Nothing. Just another bunch of jerkoffs getting together and fucking everything up, like people do. Human nature.”

“All that righteous talk, none of it was true.”

Mike laughs again. He nods. “That’s right. Look at yourself, son. That nickname of yours, remember why we started calling you Rage?”

I’m suddenly acutely aware of Lacey’s presence.

“That night outside the clubhouse. That rowdy sonofabitch. Remember? Remember, Rage? Your fists? What they looked like after you were done with him? Jesus, what he looked like when you were done with him?”

I can feel her scooting away, pulling her slender legs into her chest, awkward and vulnerable in her short denim cutoffs and her blood-stained tank top. I wish she understood. I wish she knew what I was, what more I am. But she’ll never see it. I suppose I’ll never be it, standing here, in this town, in this clubhouse, in this office, with the ghost of this villain.

The flash banishes the darkness from the room and then the darkness chases it out. The sound reverberates long after it claps. The hole beneath his receding hairline smokes before it drips. His eyes, wide, gaze somewhere towards his chair and his massive body, limp, lies still in the room’s corner.

Lacey still holds her palms stiff against her ears. I stuff the hot pistol into the front of my jeans and pull my white beater over the handle. I crouch before Lacey and, slowly, wrap my hands around hers. I hold them to show her I’m calm, to show her it’s okay to be calm now. Her hands drop to her sides and a single tear spills over her soft, pale cheek.

“It’s over now, Lacey,” I reassure her.

She nods. I can see she doesn’t know. I suppose she’s right to be skeptical. Now it’s never really over. It’s with her forever. Us forever. My only hope is running. Hope to forget. To replace it with something less ugly. Find something beautiful and wrap myself around it, never let go.

“Where do I go?” she asks.

I don’t have an answer. I wonder the same for myself. But anywhere is better.

“Leave, Lacey. Don’t look back.”

She nods. I turn around, move to Mike’s side, fish my hand around his pocket until I feel the metal of his keys. I pull the ring out. I return to Lacey and offer them to her.

“His car’s outside, next to his chopper. Take it.” Her fingers curl around the keys as she sniffles, pulling herself together. That’s it, Lacey. Now run.

I leave the clubhouse and hop onto the leather seat of my motorcycle, a loud, black machine that rumbles against my thighs as I start her. I gun it out of the parking lot and burn rubber racing down the county highway west, seeing if I can’t outrun the past.

It’s worth a shot. A shot is all I have left.








Hours on the road and I’m starting to feel the exhaustion settle as the last drips of adrenaline run dry. The sun drops low, it’ll be dark soon.

I pull into a little town, something nice, upscale and isolated, tucked between two mountains where a luscious valley rests. A river snakes through it, babbling along beneath me as I drive over a bridge at the edge of the place.

I think for a moment this might be too nice a place, where the people take offense to the sight of a guy like me. I must look rough at this point. Hole-riddled jeans and a dirty white beater. Tattoos along my bare, bulky arms. Two days’ sweat collected then dried by the road. Blonde stubble stretched out across my cheeks, chin, and sharp jawline. Dirty blonde hair greasy and tossed atop my head. I must be the ideal ruffian to fear in a place like this. Bad boy from out of town, seedy element seeping into their perfect lives. I didn’t want to raise any alarms, but I don’t have a choice. I need a strong drink and a night’s rest. A day’s rest, too.

I drive slow on the edge of town, where they keep their liquor stores and drug dealers. Every place has drugs. I’ve learned it’s all too lucrative, in fact. Mike taught me that. Taught what they do to you. Selling that shit.

I see a pink neon sign that flashes a block down. The curvaceous appearance of a woman bent forward shows alongside the name ‘Pussycat Lounge.’ If there’s a place a lowlife like myself might fit in around here, that’s it. I pull into the parking lot and park my bike in the corner. Before I get off, I rub my face. I bury it into my hands and grind my palms into my eye sockets. I push them deeply, like I want to pop my eyes out of place into the back of my skull. I sigh and scratch my stubbled cheeks.

It’s alright, Wes, I tell myself. Just another day. And another’s coming tomorrow. And the next. No need focusing on this one.

I step off my bike and bend my legs to stretch the stiff out of them.

At the door, an asshole with diamond earrings, spiked hair, and a shiteater’s grin takes my ten and checks my ID. He passes it back to me with a smile that begs for my fist. “Welcome to the Pussycat Lounge, Wesley.”

I stuff the ID back into my pocket and walk into the place. The bass heavy music turned low lays a soft blanket of noise that keeps everyone at ease. It’s a small spot. There’s a bar in the back where a redhead in a tube top serves up draughts to a handful of haggardly looking blue collar types who hunch over the bar. Spread out before the bar, the showroom, a haphazard arrangement of round tables and chairs that converge on a stage. Blinking red lights line the stage and the DJ booth alongside it. A pole rises from the center before a full mirror along the back wall.

It’s a cheap joint. Just the right place to kick back for an hour or two before I find some shady motel to catch a few winks.

I seat myself at the bar beside the worn out men who pay me no attention. The redhead approaches.

“What can I get you, hun?” she asks with a pleasant smile. Feels like home. I relax my tensed muscles.

“Whiskey, please.”

I plant a five on the bar and she pours me two fingers over ice. She puts the bottle back and winks while she slips the five into the register.

“Enjoy your night,” she says.

I smile politely back at her and take a sip. The burn is exactly what I needed. It sizzles in the center of my tongue and creeps its way down my throat, warming my chest and burning in my gut. I’ll need a few more before the night’s out.

I feel a new presence beside me. I lift my head from my glass to see. Bleach blonde, petite frame, golden skin adorned with glitter that collects and sparkles in her cleavage. Her purple bikini does just enough work to cover what it needs to. For now. She’s young. I can see in her eyes she’s still enjoying the work. Parts of it, at least. Her glossy red lips part as she smiles at me.

“Hi!” she says excitedly.

I smile back, playing with the glass in my hand, twisting it on the bar. “Hello.”

“From out of town?” she asks.

I nod. “How’d you guess?”

“Intuition,” she answers with a wink. “I’m good at that sort of thing.”


“Wow,” she says, reaching for my biceps. She does her best to wrap her small hands around them, feeling their hardness. I let her, enjoying the cute look in her eye as she fawns. She hasn’t had her heart broken yet. Hasn’t raised a guard against the world yet. “What do you bench?”

“A couple of you.” A little harmless flirting.

She giggles. “Sounds like fun, you lifting me over your head. Probably be more fun to wrap your hands around than a metal bar.” She runs her hand along my arm, biting her lower lip, and laying her other hand in my lap. “What brings you to Westwood Valley?”

BOOK: Rage's Story (Vanish Book 1)
5.4Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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