Last week’s #1lineWed theme was innocent. This week is sort of a no-brainer (especially since I’m the one picking out the themes! 😆 ) Guilt makes people do weird things. And the guilty have to live with what they’ve done. Despite the fact that I mostly write on the dark side, and my characters often have a lot to feel guilty about, I only found one excerpt that used the word guilt. Go figure! Anyway, this is the opening to Gravedigger’s story. And no. Don’t ask me when it will be done. Digger is one of those characters who is very secretive about his story.
The Russian faced the room, flanked by Hardass, Easy, and me. Representatives from every local chapter of the motorcycle club stared back at us, waiting. The alpha Wolf energy in the room electrified the atmosphere and the air stank of burning tires. Rage. The Nightriders were entitled.
Russki glanced my way. “Show them.”
I grabbed the corner of the plastic tarp covering the conference table and jerked it off. Nobody made a sound but the fury ramped up so high the temperature in church turned frigid.
“This is Spider, sent from the Hell Dogs as a warning.” Russki’s deadly voice dropped into the well of seething anger.
A man rose to his feet. “I’m Ripper, president of the Mizzippee chapter,” he drawled. “Spider was mine. Went missin’ from Biloxi ’bout two weeks ago. Dropped right the fuck off the radar. Now I know why.”
Ripper’s face was devoid of emotion as he struggled to keep from shifting. Growls and snarls edged in around the silence. I covered the body. Spider was a brother. We would treat him with respect in death.
“The Hell Dogs are without honor. They attack our women. Our children.” Every eye remained glued on the Russian’s face as he spoke. “We will hunt down the Hell Dogs and every club that thinks to align with them. We will not stop until we wipe them from the face of the earth. Until Fallen Angel is strung up for my personal attention.”
A low murmur ran through the Wolves. The Russian—before he challenged and killed Bricks McIntire, the former national president of the Nightriders—worked for the Russian mob. He’d been an enforcer, assassin, a Wolf well-versed in the intricate art of torture. No one wanted to be the focus of Russki’s talents.
My nose flared as more scents wafted in the closed air—frustration, its acrid sulfur reminiscent of matches struck and blown out, and the hot pepper sauce of determination. Every man in this room was an Alpha Wolf. Not one of them would hesitate to fight to the death.
Another fragrance tickled my consciousness, a teasing memory not even ten years could repress. Violets and brown sugar. I shoved thoughts of her away. I had no time for what-might-have-beens. My brothers and I were in a life-and-death fight. Too many innocents had already been hurt. Even if I knew where to find her…I severed that train of thought, grimacing as the stench of rotten eggs—my own guilt—washed over me.
Easy’s gaze cut to me, his brows pulled together. I gave him a headshake to divert his focus. Carolina. She might as well be dead to me. It had been my fault. All of it.
The Russian caught my attention. Time to do my job as club enforcer. I raised my fist. “We ride. We hunt. We kill. Nightriders forever. Forever Nightriders.” A hundred voices echoed my challenge.
My name is Gravedigger and I came by it honestly.
What about y’all? Are you feeling guilty because you haven’t shared any words? 😉