The Night is Theirs, For Now
Motorcycles roared across the tired asphalt, exhaust trailing behind them as Moss Bay’s long-haired, pink-clad cyclists hit bumps, flew briefly into the air, and then each landed with hefty impact and shrieks of distorted engine noise as their bikes kept their speed and blasted across one of the city’s oldest roads.
Their pink uniforms were assembled from the gaudiest rags a man could find in the hollowed-out ruins just outside the limits of new civilization. The bikers had kicked their tires into shape, spit-shining them with oils and solutions and who knows what else that helped them handle the crumbled roads outside of the city, and ever since they’d gotten a feel for the dark roads beyond, they’d joyride out every other week or so and most of them would come back alive.
Even most of the people in the old town, who saw them ride in every night, weren’t sure what the bikers got up to on their trips outside. Whether you lived in the ritzy downtown core or up on the old hills, Moss Bay was still civilization, and the only cities and towns anyone there knew about for sure were across the sea or on another island.
The bikers, though, they didn’t care. They left town whenever there was a little light to see by, and came back better armed and outfitted than ever before. They wore their post-apocalyptic loot with pride, and after they’d taken their protection money from the down-on-their-luck folks in the old town, they parked at their barbed-wire hideouts and watched VCR shows on old, sputtering TVs.
The people living downtown, protected by laws, demons, and bigger guns than the bikers had, looked down on the gangs of old town. But none of them would ever walk out of the glow of their buildings and lamps to say it.
As the bikers shot through the dusty, nearly forgotten street where he’d been drinking alone, Moshe hid in the nearest alleyway. This part of town was plenty big and plenty dark, with few of the bright lights and two-story buildings downtown had these days. In his blue jeans and deep green hoodie, the bikers wouldn’t see him against the backdrop of tawny brick and an old dark blue dumpster, and that was great news for him.
This little slice of Moss Bay, where they’d laid buildings, using soviet floor plans, atop elevated foundation designed to keep out permafrost that would never come, where they’d built their first steel mills and then abandoned them when more efficient options and better locations for workers came along, belonged to the two or three biker gangs that still remained in the city.
If they wanted cigs or booze, you got them what they wanted. And they didn’t want pussy drinks, either: Moss Bay’s bikers wanted drinks that knocked you out, not drinks that woke you up, like they had in those coffee bars downtown. And if they didn’t want anything from you, you kept out of their way, easier said than done when they rode down the street towards you at 100 miles per hour shouting heavy-duty obscenities.
And in exchange for dealing with all of that… well, you could get away with more crime, more often, than in the inner city. If you wanted to meet a vampire, you could probably find one living at the bottom of a big apartment block with their blinds down. And if you were stuck in old town because you were stupid or just unlucky, you could at least comfort yourself by saying: eventually the city’ll expand up here, or they’ll at least send someone, or maybe something, like a vengeful demon, to clear it out.
As for Moshe? He fell into all those categories. He went down the hills and into the crowds to hit the gym when the bikers weren’t, but he got what he wanted out of living in the old town, same as the gangs did. It wasn’t such a bad place to live, as long as you kept one thing in mind: it was almost always night. And nighttime in Moss Bay’s old town belonged to the bikers, at least for now.