Title: Too Much Torque
Word Count: 793 Words
Name: Lisa Shambrook @LastKrystallos
Too Much Torque
Heavy boots clumped and Ruby’s spanner bounced, clattering onto the dirty floor as she glanced up at the intrusion. She skidded backwards, ducking behind a Spitfire’s propeller shaft as grey-uniformed soldiers swarmed inside the hangar. They’d arrived sooner than expected.
“What have we here?” murmured a voice thick with accent. She jumped as hands rested on her stiff shoulders and began to knead, as if her back was soft, yielding dough – it was not.
She yanked off her goggles just as her oil-smeared fist met with the soldier’s jaw, “Take that as a warning shot!” she cautioned still brandishing her torque wrench like a gladiator’s weapon.
The soldier landed in a puddle of oil releasing a string of vulgar German whilst nursing his chin and wounded pride. He scrambled to his feet, grabbed her hair and yanked her arm up behind her back, roughly frogmarching her across the hangar into the small airfield office. He threw her into the wooden chair by the table then hurried to the door to watch the parade of captured mechanics.
On her feet she spanned the room in only two steps. The soldier whirled around seizing the wrench as she threatened to bury it in his skull. He caught her hands, snatched cables from the shelf and thrust her back onto the seat. His knee pushed up hard against her stomach as he bound her to the chair, and her feral growl was lost amid the hiss of steam and piston thud.
Ruby snarled, and he spat then struck her across the cheek with the back of his hand. “That’s for this!” He pointed at his bloody split lip.
Minutes later the general and soldiers ignored her as they ransacked the office. Papers fluttered everywhere and tools clattered off shelves.
“You won’t find anything here!” Her words earned another cuff across her face.
Angry, exasperated words flew about the room and Ruby grinned. The men left and she strained her eyes past her guard to watch them through the murky window, as the general forced the mechanics across the hangar, towards the Zeppelins and Spitfires out on the airstrip.
“Leaving you behind then?” She sneered as the soldier threw her a dirty look. As he turned back Ruby’s discarded torque wrench crushed his windpipe. An oil-smudged man pushed the limp soldier aside and grinned at Ruby.
“Don’t just stand there, Steve, untie me!”
“I’m surprised you didn’t clock him with the torque wrench the first time!” He smirked, waving wire cutters. “I would have if I was a lady,” he added.
“If I were a lady, he’d still be waiting for it – thankfully, I’m not a lady!” Ruby glowered beneath a layer of engine grease.
“Offering thanks?” he asked, as the cables fell to the floor. “I’ve never seen you as the damsel in distress type…”
“And you won’t again.” Ruby jerked a tool box open and rummaged, retrieving a small black cylinder. “This is what they were looking for,” she said slipping the film canister into her pocket.
Steve grinned again. “I knew there was more to you!”
She peered out of the grimy window and reapplied Scarlet Dawn to her lips. The soldier at her foot moaned and she thrust her steel capped boot into his head. “We have to get out of here, you coming?” She slid past the door and eased behind the water pumps pulling grenades out of an empty barrel. “Take these and throw them when I say.” His fingers brushed hers as he took them, she caught his eye and for a moment energy crackled and Ruby’s defences caved.
She pulled her leather jacket tight across her breast watching his face as she shook out her dark hair. His Adam’s apple bobbed unconsciously in his dry throat as he zipped up his own jacket. She threw him a pair of goggles and slid hers over her head.
The setting sun threw orange blazes across the hangar and he squinted, blinded by the sudden light shining through broken windows. She swung her shapely leg over the customised Indian Bobber she’d spent the last few months working on, and beckoned him, curling her finger in black leather clad hands.
The bike came to life between her thighs, its voice snarling through the empty hangar. Out on the airfield soldiers turned, shouts rang out and gunfire echoed.
Steve leaped onto the back of the rumbling bike tightly gripping her rear with his legs. She squeezed the throttle. Tyres squealed and the low-slung bike screeched through the hangar and out onto the runway. “Now!” she screamed.
Steve pulled out the pins and threw the grenades and as the explosion resonated they were gone, flames licking at their heels, speeding out into the gilded twilight.