Death Run

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A race told from the perspective of one racer.

Submitted: December 19, 2011

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Submitted: December 19, 2011

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Death Run, pure terror. A test of skill for the greatest speeder bike pilots. Suicide for any less. Miles of a narrow canyon where you make even a small mistake and you’ll be dead before you realize what happened. Dodging spires of pure rock. Following the winding path. Added on to this a nearly constant danger of a flash flood. Following this, you get the joy of turning around and climbing a cliff without your speeder. Once you get through this, you get to run along the top of the very cliffs that offered a quick death. Now if you slip it means you get to fall slowly to your inevitable death. The closer you get to the edge without falling the more fame you get upon your return. All of this is watched by the Elders using seeker drones. Many men have died attempting this run. Trying to get the fame and honor. Not all who fail end up dead. Some are mauled and maimed for life, forced to live with the shame. Too injured to reface the beast that destroyed them. A lucky few eventually heal enough to reface it. Today is my day to run it, along with a lucky few.

 

I approached my black speeder bike. I could see my reflection in the polished body. I was glad for the black faceplate I wore; I knew without it I would look terrified. Trying to calm my nerves, I ran my fingers along the green flames I had painted on my bike in preparation for the race. Solemnly I mounted my bike… my only chance to get through this alive was my bike, and my skills. I revved the engine with the other racers. I glanced to the sides at the other racers. Most were clothed in brighter colors. I nodded at one in particular. The racer was clothed in bright yellow and blue, I knew him. He was one of my closest friends.

 

“Getting dressed for your funeral already?” he had taunted when I showed him my racing uniform weeks ago.

 

We all revved our engines one last time. Then in the corner of our visors, a green light flashed. The roar was thunderous as we all took off. We all wanted to get through this first. Trying not only to beat out this year’s racers but the records set in years past. Slowly I mentally drifted into the zone. There was a straight away through an open plain to give us time to jockey for position safely. I quickly secured first. A racer in a bright orange jumpsuit slid in next to me. He sideslipped into me. Both our bikes were rocked by the impact. I pushed my bike harder to try to pass him. He pushed his harder. I saw his bike start to smoke.

 

“Slow down!” I warned over the helmet comm.

 

“Not falling for that one,” he replied.

 

“You’re smoking!” I yelled. As I finished talking I saw, his bike burst into flames. I dodged the flaming wreck. Poor bugger… Going to have to watch for that. The rest of the field was uneventful. Then came the Canyon.

 

I pushed my bike harder. I zipped through the canyon. A handful of pack leaders on my tail. Spire stuck out from the walls and ground. A labyrinth. Flying through at over 100 mph.  I dodged the spires. Left. Right. Down. Left. Up. Right. Left. Up. Right. Down. Left. Spire after spire flew by. It was only me and the canyon.

 

Suddenly the canyon turned sharply. I whipped around the curve and nearly rammed into a spire. I yanked up in the handlebars to try to rise above it. I felt my rear clip it. My speeder’s nose dropped. I fought for control. My bike plummeted towards the ground. Spire in front of me! I tried to slide to a side. My speeder rolled. I scraped a wall. Scraped my leg. Bleeding. Need control. I fought on. Finally, it gave in. I resumed my routine of dodging. As I regained my calm, I realized I had fallen behind. More than a few men were ahead of me.

 

I pushed my engine again. Slowly I caught up. A man ahead of me made a mistake. He ran into a spire. He left a crater and it began to crumble. I pulled up as it fell. I saw another man be hit by the falling spire. Suddenly the amount of spires dropped off. The air was clear except for a few surviving riders. More than half had fallen… We stopped to catch our breath and mourn for our fallen brethren. I searched to crowd for my friend. I quickly spotted him. We punched the air in celebration.

 

We all got off our bikes as we had been told to. One man charged towards the cliff. We all followed not wanting to be left behind. At first, each man tried to find his own way up, but eventually small groups formed.  My leg didn’t hold me back at all; my body was too full of adrenaline to feel pain. A few were left at the bottom, too injured to climb. All working together to get everyone up. Once my group had reached the top I volunteered to boost all the other men up and be hauled up after them. After everyone was up, I waited for them to reach down for me. I waited… suddenly a man reached down. A man not from my group. Once I was hauled up, I recognize his jumpsuit.

 

My friend and me nodded at each other and ran to the waiting replacement speeder bikes. I hopped on my and blew out of there. I had a lot of ground to cover to get first again. This bike had less maneuverability than my last but I had maxed out the speed abilities. I flew past the first few men. Suddenly a man slid in next to me.

 

“You killed my twin back in the plain,” he informed me, his voice full of hate. We zipped on each man struggling to hold a position along the cliff edge. I ignored the man and rode on. Suddenly he shoved my handlebars, turning my speeder into the canyon. I pushed the engine as hard as I could, and went along with the turn. I injected a burst of highly volatile fuel into the engine. With a thunderous roar, my bike fired flames out of the after burner. I struggled to hold on as my speeder sped up crazily. The ground had long disappeared beneath me. However, I was moving too fast to start falling. Suddenly the ground was back. I was on the other side of the narrow canyon. I pushed the engine and focused on ‘riding the rim.’ Half my speeder was over the canyon. Suicide when racing with others, the slightest bump would send me below, but I was alone on this side. My blood was pure adrenaline as I shot by everyone on the other side. The end of the canyon was in sight. I pushed my engine harder. I heard it begin to whine in protest. As the canyon ended, I fell towards the field. I was alone, no one ahead of me. I blew across the finish line and slowed down.

 

My leg ached as the adrenaline began to let off. I tried to get off my bike and stand but my leg, sore from the climb and still gravely wounded from my encounter with the wall, betrayed me. I collapsed to the ground smiling like an idiot. Finally I began to feel my leg… the effects of the scrape, the rigor of the climb, the icy wind created by racing at over 100 mph. Medics ran up and began to treat my leg.

 

I searched the crowd for the racer in blue and yellow. Racer after racer crossed the line but he never appeared. I saw another one of my friends approach. He was a few years too young to attempt the race yet. He looked concerned.

 

“Did he make it?” I asked referring to our mutual friend.

 

He merely shook his head and walked past me.

 

 I gave up on sitting up, and fell back. I laid on the ground in defeat. I had just done an impossible task, but at a terrible cost. I laid there motionless as the medics began bandaging my leg. Even as my leg flared with agony, I laid immobile.

 

“You in there kid?” one of the medics asked worried by my inaction.

 

“Yes. I’m okay,” I mumbled. “Just tired,” I lied.

 

“You did lose a lot of blood,” he commented, apparently trying to make conversation. I pretended not to hear him and laid still.


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