Brand down shifted gears, slowing the truck as the caravan rolled through the Crowsnest Pass. He idled through Coleman then Blairmore, past the Frank’s slide and across Bellevue before pulling into a rest stop on the side of the highway. He climbed out of the truck and stretched, his joints sore from the long drive and built up tension. He turned his head at the roar of bikes. Roy, leading his men, followed Brand’s lead and signalled off the highway to join him.
Leaning against the side of the truck Brand fished in his pocket for a cigarette, cupped his hands to his face, blocking the southwest wind from blowing out the lighter, and waited for his brother to join him.
“Where do you plan on stashing the truck?” Roy asked.
“Calgary is a big city. It covers lots of ground. Probably hide it among a few truck stops. Out in the open.” Brand tossed out the idea. Now, confronted with the reality, he required a solution. The destruction of the warehouse and highjacking of the drug shipment was an audible, a last minute decision. Originally, the trip west was to gather information, find flaws to exploit against the Warriors. The anger that took hold once he was standing in front of the biker’s supply warehouse changed all that.
Now, faced with the scenario, he turned his thoughts to dealing with the problem.
“Any suggestions?” Brand asked, knowing full well that the Wolves had locations scattered around the city for hiding vehicles appropriated in their line of business. Roy thought about his answer before replying. The tractor-trailer unit was a lot bigger than the average automobiles they came across.
“There’s a barn off Highway Two, comes in handy every now and again. Should fit this rig.” Roy described the place and gave Brand directions.
“Sorry you had to get involved,” Brand apologized. Another unfortunate circumstance, he realized, brought on buy his rash decision and the burning need to exact revenge against the men who shot his friends. The situation was quickly growing out of hand and now, his brother and the Wolves were forced into a battle they had not asked for. He had to put a stop to this before more people ended up on the wrong side of a shovel.
Roy scuffed the gravel with his feet. “A war for the city was imminent. The Manager and his cartel buddies have already pushed into our territory. Might as well give them the finger and declare our intentions.” Roy offered.
The lone Warrior biker following the truck lost site of the caravan. The group in front crested a large hill, blocking his view. He had been traveling close to a mile behind to avoid being detected. Driving through Bellevue, tourists driving rented R.V’s cut him off and slowed his progress. The crawling motor homes forced him to fall far behind and to lose sight of the Wolves and the stolen shipment.
Panicking, he snuck past the slow moving vehicles, riding the shoulder of the pavement and raced up the steep incline. He crested the long hill, his focus searching the road far in the distance. Too late, he noticed the bikers and the truck parked on the side of the highway. The lone biker realized there was nothing he could do to avoid discovery. With no choice remaining, he revved the bike’s engine and hurled down the highway.
A yell emanated from a rider in the rest area. One of the men turned his head toward the road as the loud rumble of the revved engine from the lone Warrior’s bike roared past. The colours of the single biker, he recognized immediately and ran over to where Roy and Brand stood. The two men turned their heads and watched. The outline of the Warrior becoming smaller in the growing distance.
“Take a couple of the boys, and hunt that bastard down. Don’t need our moves telegraphed.” Roy replied to the news. His words spread among the rest area. Excited talk and the rumble of exhaust pipes from igniting engines tore through the still air. Members of the Wolves straddled their bikes. Twisted throttles set the bikes rolling, and gravel flying as the powerful machines thundered onto the highway.
“Probably on our trail since the attack.” Roy thought out loud. “There is going to be hell to pay if he’s reporting our movements back to the Manager. I imagine every Warrior wanna-be in the lower part of the province is racing in our direction by now.” He added. “We better get moving.”
“Hang on a minute.” Brand interrupted. “Give your boys a chance. See if they can catch up with him. If they do, tell them to bring him back here.” He reasoned. “Besides, if the Warriors are heading this way for a showdown…this place is as good as any to deal with them.”
20 minutes later Roy’s phone rang. His men had run the opposing biker off the road and were waiting for further instructions. He cut short his initial response, thinking about Brand’s request.
“Drag the man and his bike back here,” Roy conceded.
Brand talked to Roy about the difficulties that would arise from the Wolves aid in helping him avoid the Warrior’s attempts at reclaiming the drug shipment. The supper hour had passed; the sun was starting its descent toward dusk. The two men sat atop a wooden picnic table, cold beers in their hands bought from the local bar, kilometers back in the Pass.
Four bikes slipped off the highway and rolled along side the waiting bike party. A stranger wearing the colours of the Warriors sat in the middle of the returning group. The man’s face stern, indifferent, but a close glance displayed signs of concern. The man looked slowly around his enemies then dropped his eyes to the ground.
“What are your plans now brother.” Roy looked from Brand to the captured Warrior. “This little ominiw, pigeon, has probably burned up the phone lines informing his Colombian bosses.”
“I’m not sure. I suppose we could ask the man, see what their plans are…if he knows anything.”
The tractor-trailer unit sat parallel to the highway, blocking the view of the evening traffic. Brand sat idle watching Roy’s men escort the Warrior biker behind the semi out of view. Crushing out his half smoked cigarette in the parking lot gravel, he pushed away from the bench and with his foster brother in tow walked around the trailer to talk to the biker.
Two of Roy’s gang stood beside the rival biker, the man on his knees in the gravel.
“Nice evening for a ride.” Brand said to the Warrior. “You got a name kid?” Brand asked. The man glared back up at him, the man’s lips clamped tight. Looking over the scrawny young biker kneeling on the ground, Brand waited for a few seconds for the man to answer. When no response was forthcoming, he spoke again.
“This is the part where I say this is going to hurt me more than it’s going to hurt you…but I would just be lying to you.” He finished, searched the biker until he found the man’s phone and then nodded to the bikers standing guard.
“Do what you got to do.” He said and stepped back giving the small group some room.
The two Wolves took to the task with relish. Several other members joined Brand and Roy cheering on the one sided assault. At one point, the Warrior pleaded out for the men to stop, promising he would answer any question they had. Roy’s men looked at Roy and then Brand. Brand shook his head sideways declining the wounded man’s pleas. He motioned for Roy’s men to continue.
“Reinforce with him what will happen if he tries to bullshit us.” Brand’s thoughts flashed back a few days to the shooting of his friends; this man was getting off lucky with only a severe beating Brand reasoned. “Leave him the use of one hand; he may need to make a call shortly.” Brand stood back and watched the beating continue before raising his hand to stop the assault. Bending at the knees, he squatted beside the trembling, bleeding man.
“See those falls behind us.” Brand pointed to the Lumbreck falls south of the roadside rest area. “The water at the bottom swirls and is deep enough that no one will discover your dead body for a hell of a long time. Thought you might want that information if you plan on being a hero.” Brand drew lines in the gravel as he waited for the reality of his words to sink in.
“What have you told your boss and what is he doing about his shipment being high jacked?” He asked.
The young biker looked up at Brand, his face bleeding and bruised. He swallowed, raised himself up onto his elbow and told Brand about his updates to the Warriors boss ‘the Manager'. His instructions were to follow the group and notify the Manager when the caravan turned north toward the city. A large group of riders was gathered and ready to leave Calgary, driving south to intercept Brand and the others.
“Where. Where are the Managers men supposed to meet us?” Brand implored.
“I was told to report on your route back, let my boss know which roads you guys take.” The biker answered avoiding Brand’s eyes.
“Good. We shouldn’t keep you from doing your duty, should we.” Brand replied as he stood up and looked at Roy, an idea forming in his head. He smiled upon seeing the look of confusion displayed on his brother’s face.
Brand put a hand on Roy’s arm and led him away from the crowd. He thought out loud as the idea morphed into a workable plan.
Chad Worenko worked the gears of the big rig. The caravan began its journey toward Calgary. The 18-wheeler climbed from the roadside turnout and lumbered onto highway 3. A fleet of motorcycles flanked the truck and trailer. Brand traded his seat inside the cab for the captured Warrior’s bike and rode ahead with Roy by his side. The rival gang member traveled locked in the trailer, bound to a pallet of produce.
James Cartwright paced the floor in his Millennium office, a generous amount of rye sloshed in the glass clutched in his fingers. The Manager walked off his tension, his mind racing ahead to the forthcoming showdown between the rival bike gangs. Barker left the city with fifty plus hardened Warriors. But, would that be enough to crush Roy and his men.
The call he received a little under an hour ago placed the truck and the stolen shipment of drugs at the intersection of Highway 22x. A route that traveled from the Crowsnest and ventured north toward the city. The two-lane road, less popular than Highways 3 of 2, roller coasted over hills along the edge of the Rocky Mountains, cutting through several small communities south of Calgary.
The Manager went from one call, the update from his lone scout to ordering big Don Barker to hasten his leave of the city. Time was short and the miles, long. The idea was to ambush the Wolves among the tree covered hills south of the town of Longview, the long hills forcing the tractor-trailer unit to climb in lower gears. Other than a few tourists this time of year the highway would be deserted, the perfect place to end this conflict, far away from the prying eyes of law enforcement.
The large contingent of bikers roared down the highway. Motorists encountering the swath of motorbikes hurtling over the asphalt smartly pulled to the side of the road. With car doors locked, families waiting apprehensively as the cacophony of bikes and the leather clad bikers riding the metal two wheelers roared past, scared and apprehensive, allowing the gang to cruise unimpeded as they rushed to greet the Wolves of Satan.
Sitting astride the motorbike, the wind battering his t-shirt and whistling past his helmet, Brand dwelled on the captured biker’s words to his boss. Was the man convincing in the lies he was forced to tell? A lot depended on luck for Brand’s impromptu plan to have any chance of success. His thoughts swung between hope and forming an alternate course of action should the ruse fail. The biker’s misinformation to his boss included a false route back to the city.
When signs of High River lit the horizon, Brand blew out a sigh of relief. The short distance to Roy’s property consisted of open country mostly but included less chance of being surprised or attacked.
Dusk settled over the prairie landscape when the caravan left the paved highway for the last few kilometers of gravel road north of the Okotoks turn-off. Gravel and choking dust lifted into the air blanking out the darkening countryside. The convoy rolled through a bush littered gate and into an abandoned acreage. A deserted farmhouse silhouetted in the weed filled yard. Roy led the procession on a flattened grass path past the decaying building to a rusted, oversized Quonset hidden on the back of the acreage.
The night air rumbled with the sounds of powerful engines. A queue of bikes lined the grass path behind Chad and his semi while the massive doors on the Quonset slid open. Roy motioned the truck inside and then followed. When every machine rolled onto the concrete floor, the doors closed, blocking out the night.
Brand removed his helmet, and from the seat of the bike looked around the brightly lit interior. Men stood on catwalks, ringing the buildings second floor, each man brandished a gun watching the procession enter the building.
Brand stepped from the bike working the stiffness from his legs and arms before crossing to Roy. “You know there is going to be hell to pay for today's antics. Are you sure you want me or this truck around?”
Roy smiled and shrugged. “Shit was starting to bubble up anyway, a little stirring to make it boil over is irrelevant. Better we begin the dance on our terms opposed to theirs.” He said.
The opening of the doors at the back of the trailer caught Brand’s attention. Two men climbed up and in the darkness offered by the unlit pellet filled container, the men secured a blindfold over the lone Warrior’s eyes before lowering the bound man to the concrete floor of the Quonset. The men dragged the captive the short distance to where their boss stood.
“Drive him and his bike to the outskirts near the ski hill and leave him bound in a ditch. His buddies will stumble across him in the daylight.” Roy instructed the men.
“What are you going to do now?” Brand asked.
Roy glanced over the inside of the building; he met the eyes of his men. The tired bikers waited silently for their boss’s response.
“The next move is up to the Warriors, I guess. I’ll wait and see what our escapades bring about. I don’t think we’ll be waiting long until we know how this is going to play out.” “How about you?” his eyes returned to Brand.
“The old guide, Jerry, Susan’s father. I visited him at the hospital yesterday. Apparently, his phone contains video of the cartel’s business. Meetings he secretly recorded.” Brand found his thoughts change from the current problems of the stolen drugs to the search that lay ahead. “Problem is, Jerry misplaced the phone. Lost it a bar he’d been drinking at or so he thinks. If I can locate the videos before the Warriors get their hands on it.” Brand shrugged at the long shot. “Who knows?
Jerry’s full of stories, but it he's telling the truth about the recorded meetings, the video could help take down the Warriors along with the cartel. Give the cops some solid evidence. That way this shit goes away.” Brand paused; the memories stirred the rage seeping through his body once again. “At least the men who ordered the shooting of my friends won’t go unpunished.”
“The Warriors will find out who you are. Between them and the Colombians, you are going to have a lot of men gunning for you.” A look of concern grew on Roy’s face as he thought about Brand’s safety. “You can hang here for a while. Let things cool.”
Brand put his hand on his brother’s shoulder. “I’ll keep that in mind. I need a ride to my truck. It’s a hell of a walk from here, and it has been a long day.” Brand noticed the truck driver standing to the side. “Bring one of your boys along to drive Chad’s truck back here, would you. He won’t be safe in the city. Oh, I need one more favour.” The two men left and walked into a small room at the side of the building.
When Brand returned, the gathering at the center of the Quonset began breaking up, the riders mingling with the guards in the Quonset or climbing on their bikes and leaving the property. Brand wondered over to the trucker, his hand outstretched. “You took a big risk today. Thanks.” In Brand’s hand, a thickly folded wad of dollar bills.
“Your truck should be back within the hour. Don’t linger and don’t look back. And no matter how far you put this province behind you, don’t talk about what happened today. The Warriors have chapters across the country. Okay.”
Chad Worenko nodded his understanding. “Yeah. Thanks,” he said holding the cash up.
Brand looked past the trucker at the parked semi. “It’s far less than your truck is worth. Maybe when this trouble ends, I can get it back to you.”
“Don’t worry. The bank owns it more than I do. But I appreciate the offer.”
Quintin Rojas had returned to the Manager’s Casino office when Cartwright received the call about the truck and the Wolves bikers and how the convoy never showed. Cartwright sat silent, digesting the news. Rojas watched with mild interest than with words dripping with a lack of respect for the other man, asked the rhetorical question he already knew the answer.
“They slipped past your men?” He wondered out loud, his mouth forming into a deadly grin while the bike leader fumbled for an answer. All Cartwright could do was nod.
The Colombian stood and walked over to the lone window in the office and gazed at the lit parking lot several floors below, a scattering of patron’s vehicles remained at this early hour. Rojas thought over the situation before turning his attention back to the biker.
“Do you know this guy that destroyed the warehouse and stole our drugs?”
“No. The asshole riding with the trucker?” The Colombian replied annoyed.
“Not yet. Diego sent a picture from the security cameras. I’ve forwarded the file to a contact in the police department. We will know soon enough.”
“What about the big Indian running the Wolves. How can we get to him?”
“Won’t be easy. We don’t have enough men to confront him.” Cartwright replied. Thoughts of his currently mired by the shame and defeat of the past hours rebounded with the talk of the looming war against his cross-town rivals.
“I’ll bring in extra manpower. You get the name of the asshole who stole our shipment.” Rojas paused. “If these men want to play with fire, then we need to increase the size of the flames, Parcero. Don’t you think?”