Everybody’s running from something.
Sometimes from themselves.
And when that happens...
...you call on someone very special.
Someone who stopped running long ago.
For a long while, folks thought he was a myth. No one knew his name or where he was from. He simply...appears. Materializing out of the dust storms in a rusted ol’ speedster with a firebreathing nitro-boosted engine to match. You’ll hear him.
You'll definitely hear him.
Snarling down the rippling asphalt with a determined face.
He’ll be wearing a plain white dress shirt with a simple vest and tie, his sleeves rolled up and dark glasses to match the leather gloves covering his disfigured hands. He answers to no one but helps everyone.
Addicts, runaways, mobsters, the abused, the forgotten, the ones who wish to be forgotten. He does not discriminate.
In the end...it doesn’t matter. He’ll come for you when you need him most.
Because nothing stops a Highwayman.
He’ll get you to where you need to be.
To threaten a Highwayman is a sin.
To kill a Highwayman is impossible.
You can try.
But you will fail.
Any man can die. But an idea? It is something more than a man.
Don’t bother listing off your sexual prowess or talking about your macho, brooding attitude.
In the Saffron Gentlemen’s Club, only money talks. A man can do so much with wealth. It’s almost absurd.
I pass a bloke droning on and on about thematic symbolism about a book he’s penned. Shameless plugging in a strip club. Never thought I’d see the day.
The woman wrapped lovingly around his lap takes it all in, his words, his demeanor, his smell, everything, but I can see her eyes glaze over.
The only thing deep about her is her throat.
You could kill an epileptic by placing him in this club. Dazzling arrays of green and purple lights scatter across the hollering crowd.
The strippers, donning glow sticks around the parts that matter, the areas which tease your eyes and promise your mind pleasures you didn’t know you had.
The goddesses effortlessly slide up and down the fluorescent pole while saturated guitar leads wail in the background.
Pulsing in and out of my skull is a steady and infectious bassline, each downbeat coinciding perfectly with the sway of hips.
I maneuver my way through the sea of patrons, who consist of wannabe womanizers, aristocrats and shady rats I’m not too keen on meeting.
I catch the attention of a brunette server clad in a bare bikini and ask her if she knows where Paige is.
"Wait, you’re not one of her new boyfriends, are you? Don’t cause any trouble or I’ll break your wrists." she quickly snaps.
I show her a pair of silver car keys and a silver coin of unknown origin. "Oh." I can see on her face that she wants to apologize but for some reason she holds it in. "Well, look to the stage, hun."
And there she was, wearing nothing but a wristband. Free as can be, with all of those men by the stage in the palm of her hand. They’re all vulnerable, powerless against her smile, her charisma, her body, her motions, her scent.
I don't care for it. I'm here for one reason only. At last her dance ends, and I follow her to her dressing room. She's sitting in front of a mirror with those lightbulbs adorned around the frame.
I make no effort to hide myself, even going as far to adjust my tie. "You're not supposed to be back here." said Paige in a sing-songy voice. "And you're supposed to be keeping a low profile." I respond.
"I make good money here. Hey...at least I settled on a small town."
"Put some clothes on."
She twirls her head around, reapplying her red lipstick. "Why? Am I...distracting you?"
I turn away. "Something took my wife."
"Sorry to hear that."
"No, you're not."
"How's your daughter doing-"
"Leave her out of this."
"But you've brought her with you...haven't you?"
"I need access to the Echidna's Map. And you're going to give it to me."
"Why should I?"
"I helped your Coven. Now you'll help me. I never ask anything in return. But now I need the map."
"You helped my Coven. Not me. I don't know where it is-"
I grab her arm. Not in a gentle manner. In a manner that lets her know the malice that I'm capable of.
"Give me what I need. Then I will leave."
"No one is supposed to use that map except for the Coven. If I give it to you...then I may be forced to hurt you." Paige smiles deviously.
"Threatening a Highwayman is a sin."
"I've sinned plenty, mister. And no. I'm not giving it to you."
Her skin starts to heat up, burning my palm. For a brief second her eyes glow a fantastic red.
A blade to the neck solves everything. I let her limp body fall to the floor and rummage through her shelves. I hear the place going silent, aside from the music. The witches will find me soon enough.
Then, behind the frame of an oil painting is a yellowed tattered excuse for a map. A map through the Deadlands. I shove it into my pocket.
"I'm coming, Jane." I mutter. "You won't be alone for long."
As I begin to leave, I'm struck by a silent broadhead. Pain surges up my shoulders.
Her Sisters have come.
I bolt towards the exit, as several more witches armed with bewitched crossbows take aim. I see now that the club is empty, besides a single woman in a long white coat sitting by the stage.
"You've made a mistake. Breaking into a Coven club without my permission." spoke the woman, drinking a glass of wine. "Breaking rules is so uncharacteristic of a Highwayman, hmm?"
"I'm not one anymore." I reply, tearing the arrow out of my arm.
"I can arrange that." The witch teleports behind me and kicks me onto the table. Glass tears away my fragile skin.
Get up, old man.
I didn't have to.
With a thunderous crash, The Revelator barrels through the club's walls, flames erupting out from the skirt exhausts.
The 8 cylinder engine growls and roars like a rabid animal unleashed. Luckily, my daughter can tame such a thing. She learned from the best.
"Dad! Get in!" shouts my daughter, firing a sawed off shotgun. I run through the ensuing chaos and land on top of the roof.
"Go! Alice! Go!"
She stomps on the throttle, the tires vomiting out bits of shredded rubber and smoke.
550 horsepower and enough torque to reverse the rotation of the planet violently propels the muscle car out of the building, leaving the Sisters with a nicely packed plume of dust and debris.
But they're giving chase with two Harleys in hot pursuit.
"Honey!" I shout above the burble of the engine. Crossbows smash into the boot of the vehicle.
My daughter opens up the sun roof, and tosses me a revolver. I take aim and miss the first three shots.
"Keep it steady, Alice! Get it on pavement!"
Below me, she shifts into third gear, maneuvering the car around the wreckage of an airliner. "I'm trying!"
Cursing, I fire off my last shots, blowing the tires off of one motorcycle. Good riddance. The remaining witch is in the midst of reloading.
"Alice! Gun!" Blood is starting to seep onto the windows.
"Wait!" She's shuffling through the glove box while simultaneously weaving through the junkyard. "I-I]'m tryin'..."
"Alice! Now, honey! Gun! GUN!"
The witch brings up her weapon to take aim, charging the arrow with sizzling arcane energy.
Panic courses through my bloodstream. "ALICE!"
I catch the rifle and squeeze the trigger.
One witch whose skull is scattered all over the sands.
I crawl my way into the passenger's seat and pat my daughter on the back. "You did good, honey. You did..."
Something insidious is looming in the rearview mirror.
A titan of sand and rock ascending into the dark moonlit clouds.
"Dad...uh...what's that?" she asks, worry tinging her tone.
The Beast. The Guardian of the Deadlands. "How's our reserves?"
"Six buck for the shotty, two rounds for the Widow, and two Greek Fire grenades."
I swiftly reload the repeater.
"Ugh. Keep your eyes on the road, and the pedal to the metal. You hear me, Alice?"
I hold her hand. "I know you're scared. But you can do this."
"Breath. Breath. In and out. Remember what I said?"
Alice grabs the shift knob which I fashioned out of an 8 ball. "Nothing stops a Highwayman."
I give her a smile and a quick peck on the cheek. "We're getting her back. I promise you."
Through the infinite wall of dust and fire...we ride together into the horizon, the Beast howling behind us.
We've got some road to burn.
This is my writing on the story. Here I am!!!!! djdj jiodjdiowjiojjiojio