The Biker Wore Red (Chapter 2, page 1 of 8)


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Chapter 2

Niki was still on her first cup of coffee when Red let himself into the bus the following morning.

"Well, good morning!" T.C. greeted him. "Time for a cup of coffee?" She filled a cup and set it down on the table across from Niki without waiting for a response.

"Can't. Eli's waiting for his sister." He nodded in Niki's direction.

"Oh, Eli can wait long enough for you to have one cup," T.C. protested.

Red just shifted his weight from one foot to the other and looked poi tedly toward the open door.

Niki settled it. "Red's right. I promised Eli I'd be there first thing this morning. We still have a lot to catch up on." She rose and took a last sip of coffee then put the cup in the kitchen sink. "Thanks for putting me up, T.C."

She followed Red out the door as T.C. rattled on about enjoying the company, and how white folks needed to learn to take it easy more often.

Niki had to take two steps to every one of Red's just to keep up. "How is he this morning?"

"He'll do."

"You don't talk, much do you? Or is it me?"

"It's not you."

Niki let it drop. She had too much on her mind for small talk, anyway.

Eli was propped up reading a tattered magazine when Niki arrived. "Good morning. How did you sleep? Did T.C. make you her world famous hotcakes?"

"Fine. Yes. You'd have thought she was feeding an army, with the stack she set down in front of me."

Eli grinned. "She always does. That pack of dogs running around here is hers, and she splits her monster-sized meals between them, and two or three of the unattached men. She's been eyeing Red now for years, but he ain't biting."

He patted the mattress beside him. "Here, sit with me. We still have a lot to go over before you leave."

"Leave? Already?" Niki couldn't hide her disappointment.

"Afraid so. Mom is expecting you."

"She knows I'm coming?"

"It was her idea to bring you here to begin with."

Niki was skeptical. Her mother hadn't been in contact Niki since she'd abandoned them.

"It's like this," Eli explained. "A few months ago, a member of the sect found a spell in an ancient text that may be the answer to our prayers. That's where you come in."

Niki's imagination went into overdrive and she imagined giving birth to a demon baby that spoke in tongues, before having her heart removed from her chest while it was still beating. She shivered as the blood drained from her extremities, and she paled in dread of what Eli would say next.

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