Nasty things happen to people in wrecks. Hard to believe a body can survive these meat-grinders, but they can. And they do. Crawlin’ away like animals. Cryin’ for their mamas. Already dead but don’t even know it.
Sherrif MacReedy sits in his patrol car, leafing through some report files. Photographs show the twisted remains of several motor vehicles and the people who died driving them.
(six hours earlier, daytime)
Logan is driving through some particularly scenic mountain country in his white convertible. The road winds its way through passes and around sweeping bends with deep overhangs. It’s a beautiful day. He needs to breathe and clear his senses. Taste the simple things. Rounding one corner, he screeches the car to a halt and climbs out of the car. He walks back a few yards and breathes in. He looks around and notices several tree stumps at the edge of the forest. He smells torn metal, coolant, broken wood, transmission fluid and burned rubber. He also smells death… lots of it.
He wanders across the road and to the broken trees. He can sense twelve bodies and five cars. He clambers down a banking, to the rocks below. There has been wreck after wreck, all in the exact same spot. Yesterday. Three days ago. A week. A month. The smell of blood is everywhere; teenagers mostly. They died slowly, but not alone. Someone else was there - for every wreck. From taking stock of the scents and the surroundings, Logan determines that it was one person, about five-ten, two-twenty with a sweet tooth. A lazily discarded Bazooka Joe wrapper provides that snippet of information. It’s hardly enough for a clean-up crew. It’s someone local.
Logan wanders back onto the road and comes across a sign for Pottsville. He gets back in his car and drives into town. It’s a typical small town with a gas station and a few houses littering the main road. He pulls into the station and speaks to the attendant, saying that it looks like a bad accident happened down the road. The attendant replies that it ain’t the first time. Stupid kids and spoiled ski-bunnies come speeding through the mountains without a lick of sense. Logan asks where a guy can get a drink. The attendant directs him to a bar across the street.
Inside, a hulking guy leans on the bar while the barmaid serves Logan. He mentions the crash again, and the barmaid reiterates that it happens all the time. Folks just go right over the edge. She leans towards him, highlighting her natural assets. She doesn’t think it’s much of a surprise. People get to enjoying the view and anything might happen. Logan understands exactly. A guy sitting next to him informs him that Sheriff MacReedy says he’s asked the state for more warning signs, but it ain’t happened yet. Logan thinks he’d like to meet the guy.
The barmaid asks if he’d like another, on the house, but Logan tells her that he’d best settle up. The big guy approaches and asks Logan (or midget, as he calls him) if he sees something he likes. Logan realizes that he’s found his ticket to meeting the sheriff. He passes the barmaid a few dollars. She asks what she did to deserve such a big tip. Logan tells her that half of it’s for her. The rest just about oughta cover the damages. He squares up to the big guy, and the stranger doesn’t back down an inch.
Logan is behind bars. His plan worked a treat, and he sits in MacReedy’s cell. MacReedy, a guy about five-ten and two-twenty pounds, sits watching him. He asks Logan what brings him to town, besides disturbing the peace. Logan says the other guy started it. MacReedy admits that he usually does. He’s regretting it now. He did some work on old Brett. He’s gonna be eating through a straw for a month. Logan replies that he was just out for a drive. A change of scenery does a man good. MacReedy is sceptical about that. He tells Logan that sometimes it’s best a man keeps his eyes on the road and keeps on driving. “That so, sheriff?” replies Logan. MacReedy says that if you take your eyes off the road, anything can happen. He looks at a group of photographs on the wall; all victims of the same bend in the road. “Could find himself in a whole mess’a trouble.”
Logan tells him that he was just passing through. He has bigger problems than him. The sheriff asks like what. Logan mentions the switchback curve a half mile back. It’s a nasty patch of road. It stinks of death; maybe even foul play. MacReedy asks, sarcastically, if that’s his expert opinion. He tells Logan that he knows his type. They drive by his town all the time like it ain’t even there. If they do stop, it’s to crack wise at the locals. As he doesn’t see a badge in his wallet, he’s going to have to respectfully disagree with his theory and asks that he moves on. “Damn,” exclaims Logan. MacReedy asks what it is. “I was just starting to like it here,” replies Logan. Macreedy isn’t impressed.
The sheriff unlocks his cell and lets Logan out. He tells Logan to gather his things and get the hell out of town. Logan says he will, but comments on the skulls on his counter. One is of particular interest. He points to it and says it’s a Wolverine, right? MacReedy says he’s right. They’re rare in those parts. Logan reckons he might be right.
It’s night-time by the time they leave the station. MacReedy points to the town limit and wants Logan to drive on out of there and keep going. If he sees him again, he’s gonna lock him up for a long while. Logan says he understands. The sheriff drives off. Logan knew as soon as he set foot in the cell that MacReedy was the man he was looking for. Blood and Bazooka Joe. He also knew how it was going to end. But, there’s only one way to be sure, so he wants to get it over with. He climbs into his car and hits the road.
Soon after, Sheriff MacReedy opens the trunk of his car and pulls out a stinger. He stretches it across the road at the switchback and waits behind a tree. Sure enough, Logan comes along, tearing down the road at pace. He sees the stinger in his headlights and knows that this is gonna hurt. The tires deflate quickly upon impact and Logan’s vehicle tumbles into the forest and down the banking. Windows smash and metal crunches as the car hits several trees before coming to a halt.
Logan awakens to find himself strung upside down from the beam in a barn. Several dead bodies wrapped up like mummies are seated around the walls. The rear half of a yellow Lamborghini Diablo is hung from the ceiling like a trophy. MacReedy sits nearby, drinking some beer from a can. He clanks Logan on the head when he notices that he’s conscious and says that he must be asking himself why? Well, he continues, it’s simple. His road. His rules. All the latte sippers like him driving through at night… they come because nothing down there is real. They craves reality, and he gives it to them.
Logan coughs as blood clogs his throat. MacReedy asks if he has something to say. Logan struggles to speak, but whispers, “ur problem ‘cough’ you know what it is?” MacReedy stands and can’t believe the nonsense people say when they’re dying. He should get himself a tape recorder. It’s all blah, blah, blah to him. As he speaks, Logan puts his hands behind his back so they cannot be seen. MacReedy takes a swig from the can and Logan asks for a beer. He says that he was just about to put him out of his misery. They asks for their mommas. They wanna confess. They curse him and their fate, but Logan… he asks for a beer. He pops open a can and pours some into Logan’s mouth.
Once again, Logan speaks, more coherently this time. “You know what your problem is?” he asks. MacReedy tells him that he hates to break it to Logan, but it’s him that’s got the problem. As he speaks. Logan brings his hands down with his claws unsheathes and plunges them into the sheriff’s chest. He barely has time to cream before he falls to the floor, dead. “You… need a vacation,” says Logan. “I’m thinking some place really hot.”
Logan is hanging from the roof of a cave by his claws whilst three brutish thugs lay into him with baseball bats and large fists. Skulls of their previous victims litter the cave’s floor. Logan finds all this rather humiliating. A half-dressed woman runs away from the cave, terrified. He knows what the reader is thinking. How did a first rate mutant hero get himself into a jam like this?
Logan has found himself at a diner in the middle of nowhere. He walks inside as missing persons float away in the breeze. A truck sits with its engine idling; its occupants waiting. Everywhere Logan turns, there’s a new jackass waiting to be taught a lesson. Three muggers, two burglaries and when he went into an ATM he found a bank robbery in progress.
He walks to the bar and sits himself down, asking for a drink… finally. It seems like he’s been on the road a while. As he sits there, he looks out the window and sees a woman get snatched by a strong arm reaching out the truck window. The truck takes of into the hills. Logan knows that his drink will have to wait a while. He takes off in pursuit and arrives sometime later at a cave in the hills.
He quickly finds their cave and scrambles inside, saying, “Let’s get this over with then.” He doesn’t want to waste too much time on these people. The three guys and their petrified victim look at him as he approaches. Logan takes the first swing, punching one of the guys hard. He tells him that ‘no-please-no’ actually means, No! As the guy falls, he takes a look around and notices all the skulls on the cave floor. With his attention diverted, the woman runs across him which surprises Logan. One of the thugs takes his opportunity and smashes Logan hard in the face. Unfortunately, Logan has his claws extended, and they stick fast into the cave’s low ceiling. He pulls at them. Nothing. He tries to retract them into his arms. Nothing. The thugs don’t waste any time in laying into him, thumping his torso and battering his legs with baseball bats.
Logan realizes that there’s only one way out. He’s gonna have to goad these guys. One of the thugs wants to use Logan like a piñata, like they do in South America. Logan educates him that Mexico’s in Central America, so why doesn’t he take that baseball bat from him and shove it up his…
He is broken off, mid-insult by the baseball bat, loaded with nails, being slammed into his throat. Logan looks over at the shortest of the trio and tells him he has nice boots. “They make ‘em for men?” he asks. The guy punches him hard in the face, and the big guy wants a turn. Before he strikes, Logan tells the others that this guy’s so dumb that he sold his car got gas money. He can’t remember the number for 911. When he was a kid, he bet his dad had to tie a steak around his neck just to get the dog to play with him. He begins a ‘Your mama’s so ugly…’ insult when the guy punches him.
He carries on regardless. “They pay her at strip clubs to put her clothes on.” Another punch comes flying in, but Logan continues unabated, despite the painful beating he’s taking. He addresses the other guy. “Yours is so fat, the horse on her polo shirt is life-size.” With this blow comes release, as Logan’s claws finally cause the rock around them to crumble. He drops to the ground and stands, arms and claws outstretched before them. They realize immediately that they are in trouble. Logan lays into the three of them, berating them for interrupting his drink. The fight lasts seconds.
With the three thugs defeated, Logan leaves the cave and makes his way back to the bar. Unfortunately, as he reaches the place, a gunman pulls his pistol out and threatens a young female driver who has pulled up. Logan isn’t going to let this one go, either.