Author : Clint Wilson, Staff Writer

He scanned the desolate horizon through ancient hollow eyes from beneath the brim of a very weathered top hat.

All around him was the smoldering ruin that had once been the world of man. Endless heaps of scorched garbage and piles of twisted and rotting corpses were set against the background of a burnt orange sky that was peppered here and there with wandering radioactive clouds.

His thin cruel mouth turned up in a macabre grin showing off two rows of sharp yellow stumps. His skin was old tanned leather stretched impossibly tight over its frame. A few wisps of long white hair danced in the hot breeze from beneath the old top hat.

Also flapping in the wind was his long dusty overcoat. It blew open revealing an intricately carved and well-oiled leather gun belt. The pearl handled revolvers were now back in their holsters, still searing hot but finally silent.

He laughed aloud and it sounded like a rusty tin can being torn in two. Turning and stepping over a dead rat his cracked leather boots with their jingling spurs took him to his nearby waiting steed.

The rigid framed Shovelhead leaned at a rakish angle. Its lone bullet headlight and springer front end gleamed nearly as much as its chrome spoked wheels. He threw a long leg over the carved leather saddle and grabbed the ape-hanger handlebars with his spidery fingers. Then the mighty beast roared to life with a single kick from his pointed black boot.

Flames belched from the slash cut pipes and a great rumbling noise rolled across the decimated landscape. He threw back his head and laughed again, the rusty tin can sound now augmented by a thick slimy gurgling. He turned and spat a glob of pure blackness and it hit the dead rat squarely, singing its fur.

His thin fingers pulled the clutch lever in and he kicked the bike into gear. As the big machine lurched forward and away, its blasting exhaust pipes blew debris in all directions. Then he changed gears and accelerated and the mighty rumble of the big V-Twin engine grew louder and higher yet, still there was no one there to hear it but him.

And as a fading red iron-cross shaped taillight disappeared down a bombed out highway, the only sound louder than a tricked out Shovelhead skull bound for glory, was the rusty laughter of the devil himself. His work here was finally done.

Discuss the Future: The 365 Tomorrows Forums
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows