Rider cocked his revolved and pointed it at Mike’s head.
And Chuy, in Scarecrow’s body, whacked his spiked club into Rider’s grinning face. Scarecrow, it turned out, was a muscular man, and had none of the underfeeding-induced weakness Chuy felt, despite his pressups. So when Chuy swung the club as hard as he could—
the weapon’s nails sank without effort into Rider’s face—
Chuy lost his grip—
and Rider’s head snapped off his shoulders. The moment of disconnect sounded like a snapping twig, and then the head and attached club winged out over the rusted hood of a blue Buick and disappeared. Chuy’s momentum carried him forward so far he tripped over Rider and Bull Head and fell to the ground.
“Twitch!” Mike gasped.
Oh yeah. Chuy climbed to his feet and armed himself: Rider’s pistol in one hand and Bull Head’s curved sword in the other. He advanced on the cage and two spearmen who stood outside it. Scarecrow resisted, tried to take control of himself back.
Stop it, Chuy told him.
The Bull will be angry.
The Bull is dead. I killed him.
As he stomped in Scarecrow’s body closer to the wheeled cage, Chuy got a good look at the animals pulling it. The Drays, he thought Bull Head had called them, unless by that he meant the bats. They looked something like elephants, only smaller, and hairy, and they had huge lower jaws that gaped down, revealing teeth like Bowie knives.
Not that Bull. The real one.
I’m not afraid of the Bull. Chuy meant it. Dead and damned already, what was the Bull going to do to him, even if Eddie and the others were right and the Bull was one of the Fallen, the originals rebels against Heaven?
Who are you?
The spearman stepped hesitantly towards Chuy. They must not know what to make of the fight they’d witnessed, Chuy knew. Too bad. He raised the pistol and fired. Bang, bang! two shots to the chest dropped the first guard and bang! a third, right in his neck, killed the second.
The Drays bellowed and shook their shoulders, but didn’t burst out of the chains that held them yoked to the wagon. Chuy snatched a ring of keys off the belt of one of the spearman and took advantage of Scarecrow’s strength to pick up the dead man and hurl his corpse in front of the Drays. He didn’t look at what they did with it, but the bellowing stopped and was replaced by chomping and sucking sounds.
Chuy unlocked the gate. Twitch hesitated a moment, and behind her the other prisoners hung back and watched with hollow, nervous eyes.
“Mike?” she asked. She sounded like a nervous innocent girl, but she was poised in a sideways crouch in a way that made Chuy think she was ready to kick him in the teeth if he gave the wrong answer.
“Mike?” Chuy choked. “I kill a bunch of worthless sons of bitches and risk my own neck to cut you out of jail and probably save you from instant death and you pay me back by mistaking me for that dumb maricón?”