I am going to throw everyone’s week off now. It’s Wednesday, the first day of the Indies Unlimited flash fiction challenge vote for the week. And you know what? I don’t have a story. Not even a little bit of a story. Well, that isn’t true. I don’t have a story for the prompts, but I still have a story to read.
There are so many different reasons I could give for not having an IU story this week, but the thing of it is, no one really wants to know why I don’t have one. And it doesn’t really matter, mainly because I am here to entertain and I am fulfilling that part of the bargain still.
With that said, I want to jump into a bit of a build up to the story tonight. Sure we have reached into the realm of summer and all that and in the northern parts of the US it is motorcycle season. This means we need to pay attention to the road and watch out for the bikers. The worst thing many people in cars say when they hit one is “I never saw them.” We have never really trained ourselves to look for that smaller vehicle on the road.
This story was written as a love story, albeit a nontraditional one. But then, would you expect anything less from me when it comes to a love story? It is also something near and dear to my heart because that biker you didn’t see on the road could be me.
The maps had been marked and collected. Shian’s dad set the course and they went over it several times before the final path had been decided upon. Excitement and anticipation were the watchwords that they lived by every morning. She couldn’t believe they were actually going to do it. An entire month, just her, her dad and his bike, one thousand miles there and back again.
Shian had never met her mother. It sounded strange when she said it outloud but it was true. Her mother took off, left her and her dad alone in their apartment when she was a baby. So ya, she had met her mother at least once, the woman gave birth to her and she had to have been in the house for a little bit before she took off, but Shian didn’t remember her and her dad didn’t talk about her much. There were a few times when he did talk though. Smoke got in his eyes, every time. That’s what he told her before he changed the subject to something else.
But it didn’t really matter, because they were going on a trip, first time in forever. Her dad had worked it out to get a few weeks off from his job. He fixed up his bike, always called her his girlfriend, cause she was so much trouble. But he fixed her, even painted the tank pretty, red with blue strips. He spent so much time with her, Shian said he should marry her.
“Go on,” he said. He climbed to his feet, away from the bike. Grease and grime covered his hands and arms. Her dad had been adjusting the brakes and clutch cable before he jumped into other minor fixes he thought of before their trip. “Test the throttle. She should be smooth now.”
Shian twisted back and the engine roared. She could ride, sure, but the Triumph was a bit big for her still. Her dad told her in the past that she couldn’t ride on her own till the day came that she could pick it up from its side without help. The beast of a bike still out classed her in their wrestling matches. But soon, she was determined to reach the day she could do it. “She sounds mean,” Shian said.
“I just put those new pipes on,” he said. “She’s gotta look and sound her best for our trip.” The sugary orange scent of Gojo filled the air as he daubed some goop on his hands and rubbed them together. “It’s time to clean up and get ready for bed. Tomorrow morning will be here before you know it.”
“But what if I can’t sleep. I’m ready to go now,” she said. “My bag is packed and I just need to put on my leathers.”
“We both need to rest. It’s going to be a long trip and time on Tina,” he said. He nudged Shian through the kitchen door and into the house. “I’ll be in to check on you in a little bit.”
She lingered at the door for a few minutes and watched him put his tools away. His tool boxes though full, were well organized. Every tool had a specific spot to go to. He used to tell her that the extra details like that made all the difference. As long as he knew where everything was he wouldn’t have to worry about losing anything important.
They had left the house before the sun broke the horizon. The grey hours of morning lingered with a light fog. Her dad had mentioned that they would hit the heat later in the morning but she needed to stay warm now. The wind at sixty and seventy miles an hour on the freeway with nothing but leather to cover her body still cut to the bone.
She rode on the back behind her dad and he blocked most of the wind, but some still got through. Their backpacks trailed behind in the trailer, but they did have some things they could get to easily in the saddle bags. She should have worn a hoody underneath her jacket but it was too late. They wouldn’t stop again till first light.
Shian didn’t see the truck that popped up over the hill in front of them. Her father tensed and leaned the bike to the side to curve out of the path. The belly of the truck was the last thing she saw as they slid across the pavement.
She woke to the bing of a monitor, tubes and wires stretched across her body. Breakfast had been left beside her bed, orange juice and toast. She could move her arms and legs, though it hurt. Her leathers had saved her from losing skin but not from the bruisings.
“I wondered if today might be the day.” She didn’t recognize the man but he wore a lab coat and had a name badge, Dr. Wilton. “You gave us a scare for a few days there.”
“I don’t understand,” she said. “Where’s my dad.” The look on his face, she saw a few times before. Her dad had it the few times he talked about her mom.
Shian sat up and knocked the breakfast tray over. Orange juice, sticky and sweet spilled onto the bed and the floor. “He just fixed up the bike,” she said. Her eyes stung, burned like the sting of smoke. “He just fixed the bike.”
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