An outlaw biker story set during the aftermath of an alien invasion in 1970s England.
In 1973, 99% of Earth’s population are wiped out in an alien invasion.
Satan’s Bastards are among the 1% who survive. Holing up in a nature reserve at the arse end of nowhere, the men spend the next five years partying while their women scavenge for food and booze from the ruins of nearby towns and cities.
But when a supply run goes tits up, it sets in motion a chain of events that will change their lives forever.
It’s now 1978, and it’s time for the mamas and old ladies of Satan’s Bastards to fight back against the alien scum who wrecked their lives.
This is their story.
Mia always got nervous before a supply run. She’d be daft not to, given the risks involved, but she knew it had to be done. If it was left up to the men they’d eat nothing but swans and rabbits, and sit around smoking dope all day. That was no way for Satan’s Bastards to live. They should be out on the road, roaming the country like they used to. Not rotting away in some nature reserve at the arse end of nowhere. So while Mia felt the usual jitters of apprehension, she felt something else too. A tingle of excitement at the prospect of getting back in the saddle and riding away from there. Even if it was only for a few hours.
She picked up the sawn-off shotgun lying beside her sleeping bag and inserted a cartridge in each of the twin barrels. You can’t be too careful out there, Fat Brenda always drilled into her. That was true, but shotguns were only useful for scaring off packs of wild dogs or as a quick way of getting through locked doors. Against the Angels they were no use at all. Nothing was.
Mia stuffed the loaded shotgun into a backpack and looked around the jumble of possessions littering her tent to see if there was anything else she might need for the shopping trip. A six inch serrated knife with an ivory handle and a box of spare shotgun cartridges went into the breast pockets of her leather jacket. She picked up a torch, checked it still worked, and tossed it into the bag with the shotgun. After another quick look around, she slung the bag over one shoulder and stepped out of the tent into the gathering dusk.
Wicked Tina, Suzy and Margot were waiting for her. Mia looked beyond them to the lake at the far end of the campsite, expecting to see Fat Brenda among the group of men and women watching Bonehead try to light the fire for the night. They jeered as he threw match after match at the petrol-soaked damp branches piled up like a skeletal tepee by the side of the lake. He struck another match and threw it. It blew out before it landed on target.
“You need to get a bit closer,” Tanner said, “hold it next to the wood when you strike it, then it won’t go out before it takes hold.”
“Yeah right,” Bonehead said, “and lose me beard and eyebrows again. Nah, you’re all right, I’ll do it me own way.”
Bonehead struck a match and held it to the remaining matches in the box until they flared up, then tossed the flaming box at the base of the woodpile. The petrol ignited with a loud whump, and crackling flames shot up the vertical branches. Everyone cheered. Bonehead turned to Tanner and grinned smugly.
“Yeah, well done, Bonehead,” Tanner said. He shook his head, but he was smiling at the same time. “Good idea, waste a whole box of matches when one would have been enough.”
Bonehead shrugged. “Got the job done, didn’t it? Besides, it’s shopping day, innit? Just add more matches to the list of shit we need.”
Tanner leaned into the flames and lit a huge joint before sitting cross-legged near the fire to smoke it. Bonehead pressed play on his cassette player and a Hawkwind song he had recorded from John Peel’s radio show blared out.
“Where’s FB?” Mia asked, noticing Fat Brenda wasn’t part of the group by the fire.
Suzy pointed at the row of tents lining one side of the clearing. “I saw her going into her tent a while ago.”
Mia nodded. “Right. I’ll go tell her it’s time to go.”
“Rather you than me, honey,” Wicked Tina said, grinning.
“Why’s that?” Mia asked.
“You’ll see,” Suzy said.
Mia walked over to the tent Fat Brenda shared with Dirk. Like the other tents, the outside of the green canvas was daubed with white spray-painted slogans – Satan’s Bastards, Scum, ACAB, Born to Ride – as well as upside-down crosses. She opened up the flap and looked inside. Fat Brenda was on her hands and knees on the worn grass floor, leather trousers around her ankles, while Dirk thrust into her from behind. Rolls of fat rippled with every thrust, like a jelly being smacked with a jack-hammer.
“Christ, FB, you’ve had all day to do that. Hurry it up, yeah? We’re all waiting for you, it’s time to go.”
Dirk turned his head and grinned at Mia while he continued pounding into Fat Brenda. “Give us another few minutes or so, yeah? Then she’s all yours.” He slapped Fat Brenda on the arse. She cried out and called him a bastard.
Mia sighed and let the tent flap drop. Wicked Tina, Suzy and Margot burst out laughing. Mia shook her head as she walked back to join them.
“FB might be a while yet, let’s go and wait by the fire.”
They joined the other bikers by the side of the lake. A few more joints were doing the rounds, and Wicked Tina took a toke on one before she asked what everyone wanted them to look out for. Most wanted booze and smokes, predictably enough. Tanner wanted some new books, said he’d read all the ones they’d got him last time. Basher wanted chicken soup. Skinny Brenda caused a groan from the men and a torrent of insults when she asked for sanitary pads. Even some of the other women joined in with the taunts.
Bonehead held up his joint and offered it to Mia. She raised both hands and shook her head. “Nah, I want to keep a clear head for the ride. Save me some for later though, yeah?”
“I’ve got a big stash in me tent, we’ll share it when you get back,” Bonehead said, nodding vigorously. “Can you get me some more batteries while you’re out?”
Mia smiled. “Yeah, no worries man.” Bonehead was always the easiest to please. As long as he had juice for his cassette player and an endless supply of dope to smoke he was as happy as a pig making its first arrest.
“And don’t forget the pizza,” Basher said with a grin. Everyone laughed.
“Yeah, right,” Suzy said, shaking her head. “And I suppose you want ice cream for afters, do you?”
“Hell, yeah! And some donuts to dip into it!”
“I want bananas and custard,” Johnny called out.
“Don’t,” Wicked Tina said, shaking her head. “Those are one of the few things I still miss. Why the hell didn’t anyone ever think to invent tinned bananas?”
“Wouldn’t do you any good if they did,” Basher said, grinning. “They’d be too mushy to shove up your fanny.”
“Piss off, Basher. That was just part of my stage act, and you know it. Besides, the way I remember it, you were the one who ate it after I threw it into the audience.”
The cannabis-induced giggles came fast and loud. Mia doubted any of them would still be conscious by the time they got back later in the night.
“A rocket launcher would be awesome,” someone said.
“Yeah, and a movie projector with something to watch on it.”
“That dinosaur one with Raquel Welch in a fur bikini. Gets me hard every time.”
“I’ll have Raquel Welch, you can shag the dinosaurs.”
“You guys get what you get,” Fat Brenda said, walking toward the fire with Dirk. Her face was flushed, her cheeks rosy. “If you want anything special you can go out there and get it for yourself, you hear?”
“Hell no,” Dirk said. “That’s what you bitches is for. We got much more important shit to do right here.” He pulled out a bag of dried magic mushrooms and waved it in the air. Fat Brenda thumped him in the chest and he darted away from her, grinning.
Mia smiled. Nobody else would have dared do that to Dirk, and Dirk certainly wouldn’t have taken it from anyone but Fat Brenda. Being his old lady obviously came with some privileges, but Mia couldn’t help wondering if part of it was down to the sheer intimidating size of the woman. With her tree-trunk arms covered in tattoos, huge calloused fists and considerable bodyweight, she could’ve done some serious damage if she’d wanted to.
Dirk sat by the fire and opened the bag of mushrooms. He reached in for a handful and stuffed them into his mouth, then passed the bag on to Tanner in exchange for a toke on his joint. He took a long drag and held his breath, then closed his eyes and exhaled slowly with a sigh. He looked up at Fat Brenda.
“Take care, yeah?” he said, softly. “I’ll see you when you get back. And make sure you wear your helmet, just in case.”
Fat Brenda nodded, then turned away and strode off past the tents and through the bushes on the opposite side of the clearing. Margot bent down and kissed Deano passionately, then followed Fat Brenda. Mia raised a hand to Bonehead. Bonehead, and three other men sitting near him, waved back.
“You ready?” Suzy asked.
Mia nodded. Of course she was ready, she’d been ready all day. While everyone else slept off their hangovers from the previous night’s party, Mia had woken with the dawn chorus. She’d watered Tanner’s cannabis crop and gathered wood for the night’s fire in a daze, her mind filled with thoughts of the ride to come.
She followed Suzy and Wicked Tina through the bushes and onto a gravel path where the motorcycles were parked. Twenty-eight of them in total, one for each surviving member of Satan’s Bastards, all with leather saddle-bags draped over the rear seat.
Margot and Fat Brenda were sat on their bikes, revving the engines as she approached. Mia walked up to her Norton Commando and mounted it. She lifted a leather helmet and goggles from the front brake lever and put them on, then twisted the key in the ignition. The engine roared into life first time when she stamped down on the kick-start, adding to the noise of the other bikes around her.
Fat Brenda pulled forward first on her Triumph Bonneville, closely followed by Margot on her Kawasaki Avenger. Mia watched Suzy and Wicked Tina follow them down the dirt track, their rear wheels throwing up dust as they went. Mia pulled in the clutch and kicked her bike into gear. She switched on the headlight and rolled forward slowly, both feet scraping along the dirt as she went. She had once dropped her bike on the bend where the dirt track met the main road cutting through the nature reserve after her rear wheel slipped in some mud. That led to months of taunting about needing stabiliser wheels from the other bikers, and she was determined never to let that happen again.
The others had already sped off into the distance by the time Mia reached the end of the dirt track. She slipped the clutch and dabbed her way onto the tarmac road, then opened up the throttle and accelerated up to thirty. It was a straight road, lined both sides with the silhouettes of tall trees blocking out the stars, and Mia had ridden it so many times she felt she could do it blindfold. She twisted the throttle another inch and whooped in joy at the acceleration tugging at her wrists.
This was what Mia missed the most from the old days. The wind in her face, her long black hair whipping out behind her. The roar of the engine, its heady scent of oil and petrol in her nostrils. The thrill of the ride. It reminded her of those carefree days long ago, when Satan’s Bastards were the kings of the road. Riding wherever their bikes took them, doing whatever they wanted, not a care in the world. Travelling from town to town, terrorising the locals, then moving on before law enforcement caught up with them. Another day, another town. Another night, another wild party. But all that was gone now, and was never coming back. The Angels had seen to that.
The exit gate came up fast and Mia eased off on the throttle, letting the bike slow itself naturally as she drifted over to the right hand side of the road in preparation. She took the T-junction at twenty, and used the whole width of the main road to accelerate out of the sharp corner. This was another road Mia knew like the back of her hand. She knew every twist and turn, every burnt-out wreck and abandoned vehicle on it. So while the other women rode more cautiously in the cloying darkness, Mia kicked up through the gears and accelerated to sixty.
It didn’t take long to catch up with the other bikes. Suzy and Wicked Tina rode two abreast, either side of the dotted white line, trundling along together at a steady fifty, Margot close behind them. Fat Brenda took up the rear, and Mia eased off on the throttle as she rode alongside her. They cut through woodland, then crossed a river into open farmland. Overgrown fields, long since grown wild, flashed past on both sides, dimly illuminated by the light of the full moon. Wicked Tina and Suzy slowed on the approach to a wrecked Ford Cortina straddling the road, and manoeuvred into single file to navigate around it.
Mia looked up at the sky once she’d passed the car, checking in all directions now her view wasn’t obscured by hedgerows. She knew the Angels rarely ventured out at night, but it wasn’t unheard of so it always paid to be vigilant. Finding the sky clear, she twisted the throttle and edged ahead of Fat Brenda, then overtook Margot and looked for an opening between Suzy and Wicked Tina. They must have seen her coming because they parted, drifting over to the far left and right sides of the road to make room for her. She waved her thanks as she passed between them, then opened up the throttle wide. This was what Mia had been waiting for. An open road, and nothing to hold her back, nothing to slow her down. She accelerated up to seventy, a wide grin on her face as the rushing wind took her breath away.
The throaty roar of an accelerating motorcycle came from behind. Mia glanced in her wing mirror and saw Fat Brenda coming up fast. She eased off on the throttle to let the other woman pull alongside in case it was something important. Fat Brenda looked at Mia and shouted something, but the words were lost to the roaring wind.
“What?” Mia shouted back, frowning.
Fat Brenda pulled ahead, waving as she sped away into the distance. Mia grinned and twisted the throttle another inch, determined not to let Fat Brenda take the lead. If she wanted a race, then she was going to get one, and Mia wasn’t going to make it easy for her. Norton versus Triumph, Mia versus Fat Brenda, with the winner getting gloating rights for the rest of the night.
Faster and faster they went down the empty, twisting road. Mia’s speedometer nudged eighty. Another twist of the throttle sent it to ninety. Fat Brenda went for the ton and opened up the gap between them. A sharp left-hander came up fast. Mia dabbed her rear brake and drifted over to the centre of the road to get an early view around it. Fat Brenda moved over to the left to take a racing line around the bend, and disappeared from view.
Fat Brenda screamed.
Mia instinctively grabbed the front brake and stamped down hard on the rear. She came to a halt at the apex of the bend, just in time to see Fat Brenda fling herself off her bike and roll into the hedgerow with her head tucked under her arms. Fat Brenda’s motorcycle continued on two wheels, then toppled and spun end over end in a shower of sparks before it thudded into the underside of a tipped-over lorry with a loud metallic clang.
“FB!” Mia shouted.
Fat Brenda sat up and waved. She struggled to her feet and limped toward her wrecked bike, shaking her head and mumbling obscenities to herself. After a few paces she stopped and turned, then ran back toward Mia. Before she got far a deafening explosion knocked her off her feet and sent her sprawling in the centre of the road. A huge fireball blossomed out. Mia ducked down over her petrol tank and covered her face with her hands as the searing shockwave hit her. When she looked up again black clouds of billowing smoke filled her vision.
“FB!” she yelled, kicking down the Norton’s side-stand. She jumped off the bike just as the others pulled up alongside her. Suzy stared open-mouthed at the burning wreckage from astride her Honda 400. Margot jumped off her Kawasaki and ran with Mia, calling out Fat Brenda’s name.
“I’m over here,” Fat Brenda shouted.
They found her sitting in the road, hands on hips, staring forlornly into the flames. She looked up at Mia and frowned.
“My poor bike.”
Mia laughed, relief coursing through her to see Fat Brenda still in one piece. She held out a hand to help her up onto her feet. “You mad cow, you could’ve killed yourself then, and you’re more worried about your stupid bike?”
Fat Brenda shrugged. “I loved that bike.”
Mia smiled. “Yeah well, bikes are replaceable, you’re not. We’ll get you a new one as soon as we can. Same model, same colour, you won’t know the difference.”
“Or maybe one that’s a bit faster?”
Mia laughed and shook her head. “You think that’s wise, given what you’ve just done?”
“Nice firework display,” Wicked Tina said, grinning from the seat of her motorcycle when Mia, Fat Brenda and Margot walked out of the smoke together. “I reckoned you was done for, thought I might be in with a chance to take your place in old Dirk’s tent.”
“Hell no, you skinny bitch,” Fat Brenda said, grinning back. “Dirk likes a bit of meat on his woman, he don’t go for titless scrag-ends like you. Besides, it takes more than a little spill like that to put me down for the count.” She patted the scuffed leather covering her enormous stomach. “Extra padding comes in useful sometimes.”
“Yeah well,” Mia said, climbing on her bike. “Looks like we’ll need to find another route.” She wheeled the bike around. “And I suppose you want a lift?”
Then she saw Wicked Tina staring up at the sky. Two pulsating blue lights hovered just above the north horizon, growing larger by the second.
“Angels!” Mia yelled.