The Man He Used to Be, ch. 6

by: Marty Chrisman

Luke struggled to fight his way out of the blackness clouding his mind. His head throbbed with pain from the blow to the back of his skull that had knocked him unconscious. (Good things the Duke boys have hard heads) As his mind slowly cleared,  he realized that he was leaning against a post in an old barn with his hands tied tightly behind his back. His ankles were tied too.

Instinctively, he flexed the muscles in his wrists and arms, testing the ropes. They were tied so tightly that he could feel the rough fiber of the rope cutting into his skin. The more he struggled trying to free himself, the more the ropes cut into his wrists until he felt a small trickle of blood running down his arm. He gave up. That wasn’t going to work.

Completely conscious now, he felt the searing pain in his left shoulder and remembered how one of the men who had bushwhacked him had twisted his arm behind his back. He knew the shoulder was probably dislocated from the feel of it. Things weren’t looking very good at the moment. He had no idea why the two men had grabbed him or what they had in mind for him but he was fairly certain he wasn’t going to like it.

Luke looked around trying to place his surroundings. He was in an old barn that had obviously been deserted for a long time. That didn’t help much, there were a lot of places like that in Hazzard County. Through the cracks in the walls, he could see that it was dark outside. He knew that Jesse and Bo would be looking for him by now but they had no more of an idea where to look for him than Luke had as to where he was. Luke took a deep breath and exhaled softly. All he could do was wait and see what happened next.

He didn’t have long to wait. About an hour after he regained consciousness, the barn door opened and the two men who had abducted him came into the barn. Smirking, they walked over to where Luke was tied.

“Not so damn cocky now, are you boy?” Billy sneered

“Can’t pull any of them fancy tricks on us now, can ya?” Bobby said with a smirk. Although he was securely tied, Luke noticed that neither man got too close.

“What’s this all about?” Luke asked, his voice dangerous quiet, not a good sign if you knew Luke.

“You’ll find out soon enough, Duke.” Billy snarled. “Let’s just say we’re gonna have us a little fun.”

“Yeah,” Bobby said with a chuckle “Fun for us but not so much fun for you.” Without any warning, Bobby suddenly punched Luke in the stomach, several hard quick blows. Luke tried to catch his breath in between punches but he didn’t have time to fully recover before being hit again. When Bobby finally stopped, Luke gasped and coughed, trying to get his breath back.

Billy, who was obviously the one in charge, grabbed Luke’s hair and jerked his head back. “Now listen up, boy..” he growled “I’m in charge here and don’t you forget it. You try anything funny and you will be sorry. You have no idea how long and how bad I can make it hurt before I kill ya.”

“If you’re gonna kill me anyway, don’t you think I got the right to know why you’re doing it?” Luke said defiantly, locking eyes with the other man without backing down.

“You’ll find out soon enough.” Billy told him. He jerked back hard on Luke’s hair, slamming his skull against the post hard enough to make his head spin. In a fair fight Luke could handle himself but this was anything but fair. These guys meant business. Luke just wished he knew why the hell they had it in for him. Luke had his share of enemies but he couldn’t think of anybody who would go this far. He had a feeling they were just playing with him for now, the worst was yet to come.

“That’s enough” a woman’s voice said sharply from the darkness to Luke’s left “I don’t want him hurt…….. not yet anyway.”

The two men scowled but stepped away from Luke. From the corner of his eye, Luke saw a woman move out of the shadows until he could see her face.

“Christy?” he exclaimed in a startled voice, as he recognized a local girl that he had dated a few times in the past. “What the hell is this all about?”  There was a hard edge to Luke’s voice as he tried to figure out what Christy’s involvement was in this whole thing. Nothing about this whole situation was making any sense.

“It’s kinda of game, Lukas..” Christy said with a phony sweetness in her voice that irritated Luke. “It’s called getting even.”

“Getting even for what?” Luke demanded, his eyes narrowing angrily. He was tired of this game already.

“For being you.” Christy told him

“What if I don’t wanna play?”

“You don’t much choice….you’re gonna play, you’re just not gonna win.”

“You’re crazy.” Luke muttered

Instantly, he realized that was the wrong thing to say. Christy’s eyes flashed with anger and she slapped Luke across the face, hard enough to jerk his head to one side.

“Don’t ever call me that!” she screamed at him “Or I’ll kill you myself right here and right now!”

“Okay…okay.” Luke said hastily, trying to pacify her. He suddenly realized that Christy might just be more dangerous than he thought. “You’re gonna kill me anyway, aren’t ya? That’s part of your game, isn’t it?”

“Of course it is.” Christy said “But the best part of this game is going to be watching you suffer first.”

“What did I ever do to you?” Luke said, still trying to figure out just exactly what was going on.

“It’s what you didn’t do.” Christy snapped “I wasn’t good enough for you. I was just another one night stand as far as you were concerned.”

“I wasn’t the only one in Hazzard you were sleeping with.” Luke said pointedly “Yu were sleeping with every guy that asked ya.”

“Maybe I was but that wasn’t no reason for you to treat me like dirt.” Christy hissed

“I never treated you like dirt.” Luke said defensively

“You did after you met that little piece of trash that you married.”

Luke’s jaw tightened angrily at the mention of Kelly and his eyes flashed.

“You leave Kelly out of this.” He snapped

Christy laughed, a strange look on her face that Luke couldn’t quite read.

“But I took care of her and now it’s your turn.”

Luke’s mind suddenly filled with a cold rage worse than any he’d ever known as the pieces of the puzzle slowly fell into place. “You’re the one that hired that guy to run Kelly down.” He said coldly, not bothering to keep the rage out of his voice. Uselessly, he struggled against the ropes that held him prisoner. If he could have gotten loose, he would gladly have killed Christy at that moment with his bare hands and enjoyed it.

“So you finally figured it out.” Christy said with a smug smile. When she reached out to touch his cheek, Luke furiously jerked his head to one side, not wanting her to touch him.

“You really are crazy!” he snarled

“I told you not to call me that!” Christy screamed, clawing his cheek viciously. She glared at the Porter Brothers. “Teach him some manners.” She stepped back, watching in pleasure, as the Porter boys closed in on Luke and began beating him with their fists.

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