Saviour Excerpt 001 - The Gang In The Desert

After quenching their thirst and filling their stomachs the little band set off again. Shelise rarely had to tell the animals what she wanted anymore, and this day was no different. They continued on, the animals spacing themselves out as much as the narrow gorge would allow. Luca, Lucky, Cat and Faith climbed the walls of the canyon when they had the chance, running ahead of Shelise in order to place themselves behind the group ahead. As usual, Kai’s protectiveness prevented him from leaving her side, and Shelise was grateful for that. She didn’t really want to face this lot on her own anyway.After barely half an hour Shelise dismounted and left the horses behind her, fearing that the noise of their hooves would alert the group to their presence. Kai accompanied her towards the nearest entrance, but shortly before she reached it Shelise noticed a large rock that jutted out of the cliff wall. It was about halfway up the wall and overhung the little valley; it would provide a perfect vantage point.Shelise scrambled up the gently sloping wall while Kai laboriously scaled the wall on the other side of the gorge. When she reached the flat boulder Shelise lay down, taking a deep breath before pulling herself along on her stomach and looking over the edge. Raze and Horse sat on a large rock almost directly below her, a mere fifty metres away. Raze’s multi-coloured hair and Horse’s massive form were absolutely unmistakable from such a short distance.Shelise watched as Raze moved slowly around Horse. She was shaving him with a cutthroat razor… his face, his head and his body. Knowing how crazy Raze was, Shelise was amazed at the gentleness with which she pampered Horse. She even thought she recognised something close to love on her face, but was a woman like that even capable of such a feeling?Suddenly the ringing of a mobile phone broke the still morning calm, making Shelise jump a little. Raze leaned forward and kissed the top of Horse’s bald head before reaching behind her and grabbing the phone that she’d clipped to the back of her shorts. Raze’s voice came up to Shelise on a slight breeze, but her words were broken and Shelise could only hear little snatches of the conversation.“Where?” Raze asked as she looked up to the other side of the gorge. Shelise realised that she was looking for something just in time to duck her head back from the edge of the rock. She was out of sight but she could still hear Raze’s voice.“… any idea… … far away…,” she heard, and then a pause. “No!… … not now… … fucking bitch… … suffer!” Shelise frowned as she listened to Raze’s voice. How did they know that she was there? She looked nervously up at the top of the cliff wall and all around her. There must be another scout around here somewhere. Was it possible that someone had seen one of the animals? They’d better not have hurt any of them.Shelise pulled her pistols loose, taking the time to check that the clips were fully loaded and the safeties were off. Next she loaded one of the metal bolts into the crossbow, laying the others out within easy reach to her right. She decided that she’d use the crossbow first. If she started with the ones that were still asleep and her aim was good, she hoped that she’d be able to kill a few of them before anyone noticed.Shelise heard a commotion down below and she tentatively looked over the side, groaning in frustration as she realised that Raze and Horse were waking the others. They were rushing about the camp, callously kicking at the sleeping forms and shouting for them to get up. Raze’s body language clearly conveyed her excitement as she skipped around the camp. Several of the men grumbled as they rose but most said nothing, although Shelise noticed a few of them rubbing at their tender ribs.“Oh shit,” she swore softly to herself. Why couldn’t things go easily for her for a change? She’d just have to take advantage of the morning confusion, as much as she could at least. Before they had the chance to awaken fully, Shelise leveled her crossbow at one of the men that were still asleep. He was the furthest away from her, but the furthest from Raze and Horse too. It would take them longer to discover that he was dead. She only hoped that she wouldn’t miss.As Shelise fired her first shaft she saw the man stir. He turned his head, groggily looking to see what all the fuss was about. As he turned towards her he lifted himself onto his elbow… and that was his greatest mistake. The irony was that her aim had been a little off. If he’d lain still the bolt would have sailed right over his sleeping form. Maybe she was having a bit of luck after all.Shelise was sure that the man saw his fate at the last second, but he didn’t have the chance to make a sound. The bolt sliced into his left eye, spinning his head back around before coming out the back of his skull and pinning it to the ground. As Shelise loaded another shaft into the crossbow she watched his body spasm slightly and then become still. She could see the shaft sticking out of his skull, but so far no one else seemed to have noticed.Several metres away from him a couple slept together inside a blue sleeping bag, the woman with her arm draped across the man’s chest. Shelise aimed the crossbow at the man and watched as the bolt sailed silently across the distance. It embedded itself in the side of his chest, but not before passing through the thin forearm of the woman sleeping with him. She woke up suddenly, screaming firstly at the pain in her arm… and then even more hysterically at the realisation that her lover was dead and the bolt had effectively fastened her arm to his corpse.Shelise fired another bolt at the woman. Everything except her terrified face became a blur. The bolt speared into the woman’s throat and she fell silent… apart from the wet gurgling noises she made as she tried to scream, which Shelise couldn’t hear. Barely ten seconds had passed since Shelise had killed the first man, but time seemed almost to stand still. She was amazed and somewhat sickened at the speed with which she had killed three people… but she knew she had no time to reflect on this. Her cover had been blown.The people down below her were rushing around frantically now. Shelise could see that they had no real idea of where she was, but they were all running to take up arms, and to take any cover they could find. She tossed the crossbow to the side. There was no time to reload now, and they knew that she was there. She could afford the loud rapport of the pistols.Within seconds Shelise had shot another four of Raze’s gang. By this time Horse had spotted her peering over the rock and had aimed his shotgun at her, his enraged voice shouting her location to the others. She ducked back just as a bullet from one of the gang slammed into the edge of the boulder, sending up a burst of red dust, most of which settled in her hair and on her face.Suddenly Shelise heard a terrifying yowl… followed by a scream so full of fear that it made goose bumps spring up all over her arms. She wanted to see what was happening but she knew that if she poked her head up right now it was likely that one of them would pick her off. Conscious of this, she rolled to her right across the boulder, coming up against the wall of the gorge before she lifted her head to look down into the bowl again.She saw Luca immediately, her body crouched as she mauled the guard stationed at the far entrance. The gang were nowhere to be seen. She assumed that they’d taken refuge below the boulder she was on. There was much confused shouting below her and Shelise could hear several shots ring out as they aimed at Luca. The big cat was quick though, leaping and twisting her body as she turned and worked her way from one rock to another, making sure progress back towards the gang.Lucky and Faith burst through the entrance, and Shelise wondered at the fact that she hardly recognised the dogs’ savage, snarling faces. She could hear Kai too, but he was still on the top of the gorge wall. She heard, as well as felt a mixture of fierce growling and frustrated yelping emanating from him, and she realised that he’d been unable to find a way down into the bowl. He turned and ran back the way that he’d come, his paws throwing up small rocks as he disappeared from sight.The shooting from underneath Shelise was really beginning to worry her. What if they shot one of the animals? She’d have to do something. She lifted herself to her feet and leaned out over the edge of the rock as much as she could, her pistols held at the ready in front of her. She could half-see two men, their bodies stiffened into a defensive pose as they fired at the oncoming animals. She fired both pistols at them, the two shots sounding as one. Shelise was a little amused to see the men simultaneously falling face down into the dirt.She still couldn’t see the others, and soon Luca and the dogs disappeared underneath the rock as well. She heard screaming voices as the animals attacked… and her heart leapt as one of the dogs yelped in pain. Several of the men sprung from their hiding places. Obviously they’d decided to take their chances of being shot rather than suffer the wrath of the animals. Shelise aimed at the broad back of one of the running men but before she could fire Raze appeared from behind a large rock on the opposite side of the gorge.“I’m gonna kill you Shelise,” she roared, pointing a menacing finger. Shelise turned her face towards Raze’s voice and noticed the perverted laughter that distorted the woman’s mouth. It was enough to knock Shelise off guard for a moment. That, along with the fact that Raze had the phone to her ear once again. Who could she possibly need to ring at a time like this?Shelise aimed her pistols at Raze, fully intending to rid the world of this evil woman once and for all, but her mind was suddenly filled with Luca’s terrified scream.[Shelise, the bikes…] Shelise looked over towards the line of motorbikes and saw that Horse had emerged from his hiding place behind one of them. It took a moment for her mind to comprehend the reason for Luca’s concern. Horse had a long, camouflage-coloured bazooka resting on his shoulder, but by the time she’d registered the danger it was all too late.Shelise swore and leapt backwards as she saw the missile fire from the front of the weapon, a long trail of smoke and flame leaping from the back. Within that first split-second before she could react she saw Horse fall to the ground, the violent eruption throwing him off balance and propelling him face first against a half-buried rock. Adrenaline kicked in and Shelise turned to run, but made only two paces before the boulder exploded violently underneath her feet.The missile had caught the underside of the boulder, the explosion breaking it free of the cliff and lifting it up in the air a few metres. The force of the explosion sent Shelise sailing upwards and towards the cliff wall. Her head and right shoulder hit the side of the gorge with a massive thump that stunned her, making the world around her grey out for just a second.As she began to fall she looked down to see that the majority of the boulder was still intact, sliding down the side of the gorge on an avalanche of smaller boulders. It reminded her addled brain of a huge surfboard riding a solid red rock wave. She could see that she was falling faster than the massive rock, and providing that it didn’t slew off to the side, she would land on it. She giggled drunkenly at the thought of how she was about to surf the gorge. She just hoped that she wasn’t about to wipe out.“How does it feel to know that you’re about to die, bitch?” Raze screamed, her words followed by wicked laughter. “You’re gonna die and then I’m going to wipe out every single one of your friends.” Shelise didn’t have the time to reflect on what Raze was saying. She landed close to the edge of the boulder and it tipped a little, threatening to spill her off. She couldn’t help the shocked scream that escaped her lips. It looked like Raze had been right… she was going to die here today.One of her boots slipped off onto the loose rocks and gravel and Shelise tried to scramble urgently up towards the centre. She knew that if she fell there was a good chance that she’d end up underneath the boulder. She made some headway, but it surprised her that her hands felt greasy and kept slipping. As she looked down she saw why… they were already coated with the blood from her grazed knuckles.The ground was rushing towards her and Shelise was being pounded by rocks that had been loosened from the cliff by the sliding boulder. They were falling all around her but all of a sudden she didn’t really care. She lifted her head and pulled herself up into an unsteady crouching pose on top of the sliding boulder.“I’m not dead yet, Raze,” she roared angrily. “I’ll see you in hell first.” For a second she thought she saw a spark of fear in Raze’s eyes as she stared defiantly at her, her face twisted with a venomous hate. It was enough to make her even more determined to take her revenge upon this evil pair. She took a step backwards… and then burst forwards as quickly as the short length of the boulder would allow, leaping off the side just before the massive rock smashed into the ground.Shelise tried to roll her body into a ball, but she’d leapt awkwardly. She only succeeded in landing on her side, the loosened rocks carrying her down the last couple of metres to the floor of the gorge. She had the time to feel several of the larger rocks slamming into her body… but it was the sharp pain in her right side that was the worst by far. She was having trouble breathing, and her head spun as several large dark spots grew and burst in front of her eyes.Faintly Shelise heard a shot, but it was as though the sound was coming to her from a distance. It wasn’t until another shot sprayed pellets into the ground in front of her face that she remembered the danger she was in. Rolling to the side she looked up to see Raze’s crazed face. She was standing with her legs spread, bracing herself as she’d fired Horse’s shotgun from her hip. Horse was lying unconscious on the ground in front of her, a large gash in his forehead spilling blood into a puddle underneath his face.“Are you dead yet, bitch?” Raze screamed. “I hope not. I want you to die slowly. I want to hear you begging me to kill you.” Shelise wished that she had a weapon, but she’d dropped both of her pistols with the shock of the explosion. She steeled herself for the next shot, knowing that she had nowhere to hide and fearing that it would be the one that would kill her.But the shot never came. Raze screamed in frustration as she realised that the pump-action was empty. Knowing that she had no time to reload she dropped the shotgun and pounced at Shelise, her body twisting as she pulled her arm back, her hand clenched into a fist. Shelise’s right side screamed painfully as she pulled herself up into a crouching position. The pain brought the return of those dark spots in front of their eyes, and she blinked them away, knowing that now was not the time.Raze was closing fast… or maybe it was just that Shelise’s reflexes had been dulled. Either way, she was surprised at the speed with which Raze had reached her. Raze swung her arm, her fist connecting with the left side of Shelise’s face and knocking her back down into the dirt. She pulled her foot back and kicked Shelise, and although she tried to roll away the heavy boot sunk into the soft flesh just above her hip, painfully knocking the breath out of her.Raze laughed and bent down, catching a large fistful of hair and pulled sharply in an attempt to lift Shelise to her feet. She’d let her concentration wane a little and Shelise used this to swing a heavy punch up into Raze’s stomach. She bent forward slightly, her eyes widening in surprise as she realised that her rival wasn’t going to give up so easily. Shelise found her feet and swung at Raze again, her fist this time connecting under her jaw, knocking her backwards to land on her butt.Then Shelise watched open-mouthed as, with a flick of her legs, Raze landed on her feet in front of her. This woman was amazing! Shelise couldn’t believe how quickly she’d recovered.“That’s really gonna cost you,” Raze threatened, her hand coming up to rub absently at her jaw. By now Shelise’s strength was back and her mind was clear. She didn’t feel her pain any more and she planted her feet, lifting her fists up into a defensive position in front of her.“Yeah?” she replied, a wicked smile on her face. “Well, you’d better hope that you live to collect, ay?” Raze began to circle her and again Shelise thought she saw a fear flit across her face… and… yes! Finally… Shelise managed to connect their minds.

Raze lunged again, but now Shelise could foresee her every move. She brought her left arm up to block Raze’s swing and punched her in the face again, sending her reeling. Advancing unmercifully she hit Raze several more times before finally knocking her to the ground with a high swinging kick to the side of her head.

Shelise was feeling oddly pleased with herself as she looked down at Raze’s bloodied face. But, as she stood over her battered nemesis she was surprised to see her turn her head and smile up at her. It shook Shelise for a moment. Raze looked delighted… she was actually quite pretty when she smiled like that. Shelise heard Kai yelping frantically just a split-second before she felt a thump to the right side of her head and she passed out.Shelise couldn’t be sure what happened next, she couldn’t even be sure what was real. She felt herself falling and somewhere in the darkness she heard frantic yelling, Kai’s growls, gunshots, the deep and powerful rumblings that could only come from a large motorbike… and then silence.*Shelise opened her eyes. Her head hurt and she was so groggy that for a moment she thought she must have been out for hours. But that couldn’t be. Judging by the scene in front of her it had only been a matter of seconds, maybe minutes at the most. Her foggy mind could see that much, at least.As she blinked herself back to reality, she saw that a red Harley Davidson had skidded to a halt in front of her. Raze and Horse were running towards their own bike, and she saw Kai rapidly closing the distance, his body stretched out fully. Horse was firing his shotgun blindly over his shoulder as he ran, and she watched as Raze snatched a smaller rifle from one of the bikes that she passed. The mystery biker had dismounted and was crouched with his back to Shelise, using his bike as shelter and returning their fire with a rifle of his own.

Luca was crouched protectively over her, her low yowls sounding as loud as thunder inside her pained head. A bullet whipped past her, landing in the dirt not far from her head and kicking up a small spray of dust that made Luca start. Shelise’s mind registered the fact that it had only just missed them, but she couldn’t move. She lay there staring at her rescuer’s back. She couldn’t understand why this biker would turn against his leader to protect her… but… there was something very familiar about his frame. And she was sure that she’d seen that black leather vest somewhere before now.

The roaring of Horse’s motor kicking in sent another screaming pain through Shelise’s head and she squinted as she watched Raze leap onto the back of the hog. She wrapped her legs around Horse’s hips and twisted around in the saddle, firing back at them as he accelerated out through the far entrance of the bowl. Within seconds they were out of sight, and after a moment Shelise dropped her head back onto the ground.The biker in front of her stood up, staring at the spot where Raze and Horse had disappeared for a moment before turning back to Shelise.“Are you all right, love?” he asked, his voice full of concern. Shelise’s vision was greying again and his voice began to fade. As the biker knelt down Luca stepped back, allowing him to lift Shelise into a sitting position, one arm supporting her shoulders and neck as he used the other to wipe at her bloodied face.“Axe?” Shelise asked incredulously, trying desperately to blink away the encroaching fog. “What are you doing here?” Axe chuckled down at her, but his smile belied the concern that she could see in his eyes.“I think you’re fuckin’ lucky I turned up, you know?” he replied, his voice quiet and ringing slightly with annoyance. Axe trailed his hand through her hair, pulling it out red and sticky. “Trust a crazy bitch like you to think you could take on a whole gang by yourself.”“Look around Axe. I don’t need no fuckin’ baby-sitter,” Shelise tried to say. Axe smiled despite himself, and Shelise tried to return that smile. But her face was bruised, her lips so swollen that they were hard… and she wasn’t entirely sure if she’d succeeded before she passed out again.

Saviour Excerpt 001 - The Gang In The Desert

PhoenixArt

Joined January 2010

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Artist's Description

An excerpt from a novel I’ve been working on, called Saviour. I’m never sure which genre this fits into… it could be fantasy, science fiction, action, perhaps even horror. And it most definitely rings with very strong ‘girl-power’ themes.

I’ve been working with and editing this a little since I uploaded it. There is an extra passage at the end that I thought I should have originally included, so I’ve added it on.

More Saviour excerpts…
The Gang in the Desert
Time
Shelise
Lucky, Charlie, Kai
Cat, Faith, Luca
A Pain In The Eyes

Artwork Comments

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