The Moon Upstairs, A Biker's Story: book 4 of the series

by Edward Winterhalder & Marc Teatum

The Moon Upstairs: A Biker's Story

Chapter 7 excerpt, read by Bill Griset

The Moon Upstairs (Book Four in The Biker Story series) is a story where redemption and reunion, love and loyalty, life and death combine to take readers deep into the world of the 1% outlaw biker. You get to go inside its clubhouses, learn the rules, and find out what it’s like to be inside this nearly invisible part of American society. After serving ten years in prison for manslaughter, former Skuldmen motorcycle club president Landon Blues McKendry is released on parole. Instead of using violence to make his mark in the world, he is now armed with a university degree in architecture and a new guiding light Buddhist philosophy. The biker is on a mission to reunite with his fourteen-year-old daughter Justine, the only surviving member of his family, but a restraining order and condition of parole prohibits Blues from seeing her. Appearing to lead an exemplary lifestyle, Blues has hardly become a model citizen. As he tries to rebuild his life, he crosses paths with bikers who have anything but his best interest at heart. The biker breaks parole by contacting his daughter, and learns in the process that she harbors a deep hatred for him, as he begins the long, hard journey to reconnect with the only family he has left.
The Moon Upstairs, A Biker's Story: Chapter 1

The night was clear, the season’s air crisp and on a small back country road surrounded by deep woods, overgrown brush, and a scattering of swampy areas, the whine of a fast moving high-performance finely tuned sport bike pierced the darkness as it’s rider worked the motor through the gears. Under a full moon, racing past a standard welcome sign, the machine slowed as it entered the small town of Rutland in western Massachusetts.

Dropping into neutral and coasting the bike to the curb along Main Street, the rider pulled to a stop under one of the old town’s few streetlights letting the bike idle beneath him. With the engine purring like a kitten, he pushed up the visor of his full face helmet and pulled a few sheets of paper out of the chest pocket of his leather jacket.

Unfolding them, the rider studied the Google map detailing a lone structure not far from where he was. Attached was a picture of an upscale cottage; on the picture was a hand drawn arrow pointing to the address of the cottage on the mailbox. The last page contained a hand drawn layout of the interior of the house. Putting the collection back in to his pocket, the rider dropped the bike into gear and resumed his journey—before he hit second, he turned left on to Demond Pond Road.

 ♦ ♦ ♦

Landon “Blues” McKendry tossed and turned in bed next to his wife as moonlight spilled into the room. The baby’s crying had kept him awake most of the night. When he glanced at the alarm clock on the night table on his side of the bed, the twenty-six year old man saw that it was 1:45 AM.

“Didn’t you just feed him an hour ago?” Blues inquired, exasperated.

“Yeah, I did. I don’t know what’s wrong with him,” Victoria answered, as she sat up to drag herself out of bed for the fourth time that night.

The raven-haired beauty of twenty-five rubbed her eyes, then headed for the bedroom door while Blues grabbed her pillow and covered his head.

A few minutes later, Victoria returned with their son Justin in her arms. Walking over to the bedroom window, she tried to comfort the infant as she glanced outside. From the her vantage point, she could see the full moon reflecting off the mirror-like surface of the nearby lake, less than a hundred feet away.

As she unsuccessfully tried to comfort the baby, Blues pulled the pillow off his head, propped himself up on one elbow, and gave Victoria a pleading look.

“I’m sure he’ll settle down. It just may take a while. Why don’t you go do a few of your karate forms or for a canoe ride or something? There’s a full moon out tonight,” she suggested.

“What if I get attacked by monsters?” he joked.

Victoria walked away from the window and sat down in a plush wingback chair sitting in a corner of the bedroom. No matter how she tried to comfort him, the baby just kept crying.

“With your black belt, baby, I’m sure they’d be no match for you,” she responded, smiling.

Blues threw his legs over the bed, sat on the edge and lingered. He yawned, stretched, and ran his fingers through his thick, long hair. Ruggedly handsome, despite some damage that had been done to his face, he sported a powerfully built body that was marred by a few scars on both his back and on his chest.

A three-inch hairline scar ran above his right eye, and the distinct third-degree burn scar on his left jaw was complemented by a neatly trimmed beard and mustache. His arms were covered in outlaw bikertattoos, and his left forearm and upper left hand also bore third-degree burn scars. Trophies from a life spent in the fast lane of the motorcycle world.

Pulling on a pair of jeans that he retrieved from the floor, Blues got up and wandered over to the bedroom window, and then looked out to the lake. He bent down and gave Victoria a kiss on the cheek, and then planted a kiss on his son’s forehead.

“You’re the best,” he said to his wife.

“And you, where did you get those lungs?” he said to Justin, who was still crying softly.

Grabbing a t-shirt off the floor from his side of the bed, Blues left the bedroom and pulled it over his head as he walked into living room. It, too, was bathed in moonlight. For a country house, the layout was straight out of one of those architectural design magazines. The main living room was large, and took up the back half of the house facing lakeside. Three walls of floor to ceiling windows brought the beauty of the surrounding pine forest in. A wraparound porch populated with several classic wooden rockers no doubt increased enjoyment of the view ten fold. The living room itself wasfilled with designer furniture. Not too trendy, but their clean lines didn’t compete with nature’s craftsmanship just outside. There was a three piece sectional couch that filled, but didn’t dominate the space facing the glass walls. Over a fireplace of fieldstone hung a framed flag sporting the colors of the Skuldmen motorcycle club; the same insignia that adorned the t-shirt Blues had on.

Turning to look at the source of the light streaming into the room, he was surprised to find his four-year old daughter Justine awake. Like her mother, Justine had jet-black hair; she was wearing her jammies, clutching Rufus, her teddy bear, and kneeling on a couch in front of the large picture window that overlooked the lake. What Blues found interesting, was that she was not looking at the lake—her attention was focused on the moon.

“Hey baby girl. What are you doing awake at this time of the night?” he asked.

“Hi Daddy. I’m looking at the moon upstairs. It’s so pretty.”

Blues dropped himself down on the couch beside her and she slid over and climbed into his arms.

“Can’t I stay up with you for a while?”

“No, you need to go back to bed, my little angel. Daddy’s gonna go for a canoe ride,” he responded.

“Can I go with you? Please, please? I promise I’ll be good.”

“I don’t know, sweetie. You should be in bed.”

“So should you, Daddy. Please, Daddy—I want to go with you,” she pleaded.

“All right. You go put on some shoes and a coat over your jammies.

I’ll tell your mom that you’re coming with me,” he replied, setting Justine on the couch.

“Can I bring Rufus?”

“I think we can handle an extra passenger.”

 ♦ ♦ ♦

Wearing a denim jacket over his t-shirt, Blues walked across the porch and down three wooden steps and continued along away a gravel path toward the lake. For the thirty yards, he carried Justine, who was clutching Rufus, piggyback. At the end of the path, he carefully descended another series of wooden steps to the lake’s edge. Extending 35 feet out, was a sizeable dock. At the end, tied up on one side, was a sixteen-foot American Traders classic canoe and on the other, a Pelican paddleboat. Setting the young girl down on the dock, he pulled a small lifejacket out of a built in utility box that sat on the edge of the dock.

Securely strapping the jacket on his daughter, he reached back into the box and grabbed an adult sized lifejacket for himself, a large square floatation cushion and a paddle. He threw the bigger lifejacket in the back of the canoe, placed floatation cushion in the bow and dropped the paddle against the rear seat. Lowering Justine into the bow on top of the cushion, he set her down, facing back toward him.

“You hang on tight now,” he said.

“Okay, Daddy.”

Blues untied the canoe, clambered aboard, installed himself on the seat and pushed away from the dock with the paddle.

The water was like glass. And with deep long strokes, Blues began to silently move the canoe out into the stillness of the night.

As the moonlight rained down to illuminate their world, Blues set up a slow and steady rhythm of J-strokes as the craft glided out towards the center of the lake.

Lake WHATEVER was not quite a mile wide, but nearly two miles long. There were few other houses around the lake, which was the main attraction for Blues. He squirreled money away bit by bit and scraped enough together and bought this place before the kids were born. He and Victoria used it as their own private get away retreat when things in life got to be too much. A weekend at the cottage was often what kept them together during the tumultuous times that a full patch member of The Skuldmen MC often had to endure. Not having many neighbors poking their nose into his life suited Blues just fine, and yet it was close enough that if club business called, he wasn’t more than an hour’s ride back. Victoria liked it afforded them the chance to be ‘them’ away from the club.

After ten minutes or so of paddling, Blues got to the middle of the lake. He pulled the oar out of the water and let the momentum of his forward action take the canoe a little further on. The silence of the night was awe inspiring. Placing the paddle on the cross members of he shell, he glanced lovingly over at Justine, who had fallen asleep, with her arms around her teddy. Blues fished a small tin out of his left upper jacket pocket, opened it and grabbed a half-smoked joint. He pulled a lighter out of his pocket, and fired up the joint. Taking in both the night air and the smoke from the potent weed, he enjoyed a few hits as he marveled at the world around him. After two or three tokes, he snuffed out the joint and put what remained back into the tin and picked up the paddle and dipped into the lake to continue on.

He was at the far end of the lake, nearly two miles from the cottage, when his attention was suddenly drawn back towards the opposite side of the lake. A barely audible high pitched whine could be heard and single light was playing peek-a-boo through the trees and bushes that graced his side of the lake along the dirt road that led up to his second home. A single headlight could only belong to a motorcycle. There wasn’t any good reason why a bike would be on his road at 2:30 in the morning. Judging by the tone of the motor, it certainly wasn’t one of his club brothers. He turned the canoe around and dug his paddle into the black water below him and began started paddling the canoe back in the direction of the cottage.

♦ ♦ ♦

The rider cut the bike’s engine, leaving the only sound of crunching along the small rocks that littered the road, and after he coasted another fifty feet brought the machine to a stop. Not much farther down the dirt road, the house he had been thinking about for the last hour was barely visible through the trees bathed in moonlight.

The rider dismounted, turned the motorcycle around facing the way he’d come, and quietly pushed the kickstand into place.

Pulling the packet of papers out one last time, he removed the photo and the map of the interior and jammed the rest back into his pocket. Leaving his helmet and gloves on, he strolled silently towards the cottage. When he got to the mailbox, he stopped for a few seconds to compare it with the picture.

Knowing now that this was indeed the cottage in the picture, as he walked down the driveway he added that to the others in his jacket. Sneaking past an older model compact car, and he stopped for a second next to a mid -sized blue and silver trade van that said McKendry Carpentry & Remodeling on the side.

Unzipping his leather jacket, the man pulled a 9mm automatic from the shoulder holster, clicked off the safety, and quietly racked the slide.

♦ ♦ ♦

Blues muscles screamed as he repeatedly dug the paddle deeply into the lake pulling with all his strength moving the canoe swiftly across the water towards the cottage’s dock. With almost a mile to go, he looked down at his daughter. Justine was still asleep, oblivious to her father’s panicked state of mind. It seemed as though her presence and thoughts of her mother and younger brother gave Blues an extra hit of energy and determination. Breathing steadily and strongly, harder and harder he pulled and the craft picked up speed.

 ♦ ♦ ♦

The motorcyclist swiftly made his way to the entrance door on the side of the house. He paused, took one last look at the map that showed the interior of the cottage, and then turned the knob. The unlocked door swung open easily and silently.

With sneaker shod feet, creeping silently through the moonlit home, the assassin made his way straight to the master bedroom. The silhouette of human forms lay on the bed in the shadows of the room. Raising the piston, he slowly took aim and then fired repeatedly.

In the deep of night, the sound was deafening. It seeped out of the house and bounced around the trees before it spilled onto the open water of the lake.

Blues was three hundred yards from the dock when he heard the sounds of gunshots coming from the cottage hit his ears. A collection of frightened birds, awakened from their sleep by the loud noise and the accompanying echo, fluttered out of the trees in front of him. For a moment he stopped paddling, cocking his head to one side, not wanting to believe what he just heard; but only for a moment. With renewed vigor he took a deep breath and dug the paddle in again.

Pulling the empty clip from the gun, the man jacked another full clip into his 9mm. Hastily, he began to search the other rooms of the cottage. Going from room to room he found no one else in the building. Satisfied that his task was complete, he hurried outside and ran up the road back to his bike.

Blues arrived at the dock, clamored out and tied up the canoe. He was just about to continue on up to the house when he took one last look at Justine. She was still fast asleep. Making a snap decision that she’d be alright nestled in the bottom of the canoe, he turned and although out of breath and nearly spent from paddling across the lake, he bounded up the stairs.

Running at full speed towards the cottage, Blues heard the sound of the sport bike’s engine come to life. The shrill of a metric motor was loud and Blues realized that at this point the rider didn’t feel the need for quiet anymore. With the sound of the motorcycle fading into the distance, he picked up his pace toward the building. Stopping at his truck, he swung open one of the back doors, and from an inside panel, pulled a gun out and continued up to the cottage.

Stepping into the living room, he called out his wife’s name.

“Vicky! Vicky? Where are you baby?”

He quickly made his way to the room where he saw her last and in the half light of the night, looked toward where she lay.

Pulling back the covers, and laying eyes on what was before him, he gasped in horror. In an instant, his entire world changed. Though they looked as if they were asleep, in the blood soaked bed, were his wife and son.

His arms went limp, and whatever strength he had left his body. Blues dropped to his knees as he screamed out and began to cry.

Read the Reviews

Good read – check it out…I just wrote the authors: Ed and Marc—I got “The Moon Upstairs” yesterday and finished it this morning…GREAT write and read. A real ‘page-turner,’ tough to put it down at 1:30 a.m. this morning but picked it back up at 7:30 a.m.…good interweaving past book “One Light Coming” characters in and out of this new story. Highly recommend this read!
—Paul W. Cote, Amazon

Coming from the perspective of a young woman, reading this book was an eye opening experience and offers a look inside a lifestyle that very few are familiar with or understand. I very much enjoyed reading this narrative, and was immediately taken by the gripping first chapters. This book encapsulates many different phases of life, puts you right in the shoes of the main characters, and gets you involved with the storyline. I obtained a copy of it for my father for Christmas who is a bike-fanatic and he was very excited to get reading. Once he started, he was able to become engrossed and the book held his attention which is not an easy feat! A great book for those well read and those not so literature inclined alike. Full of emotions and gritty at times, this book will make you think and feel—and give you an inside look into a lifestyle that is very rarely examined by mainstream lit. Highly recommended!
—Miranda, Amazon

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