Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Familiar Roads

Racing along, the wind whipped his hair back crazily, the sun warmed his skinned, and the clear blue sky made him smile broadly as Derek peddled his bike through the busy streets. Nothing gave him the same rush of zooming down a hill at top speed, passing all the cars in their gridlock.

Nearing the bottom of the hill, Derek could see that there was a traffic light at the intersection, but with luck it was about to turn green. He kept his course, speeding toward the intersection.

The light did indeed turn green, but out of the corner of his eye, Derek saw that a straggling car was making a dash to get across perpendicular lane. His heart jumped in his chest as he mashed the brakes, but at his speed, they were not going to be enough.

He swerved and skidded his tires sidelong, weaving around the car's bumper and running wildly onto an off-shooting lane way.

The action had happened too quickly for him to process, but somehow he had made it through; impossibly. And now he was peddling along an unfamiliar side street. His heart still race as he caught his breath; the sound of the car horns still echoing in his ears.

Close one, he thought to himself. He smirked cockily and continued on his way.

As he leisurely peddled along, the sun must have been covered by clouds, for it became suddenly shaded and the temperature dropped to give his sweat covered skin a chill. Tall trees further shaded the street as he casually examined the unfamiliar buildings and cross streets.

He read the street sign of the intersecting street he was passing and noticed it was the name of a town that neighbored his own boyhood hometown. He chuckled to himself, what are the odds, he thought. For it was not a very common name.

He peddled on, thinking he was going in the right direction. He passed by another street that had the name of an old dog he had had as a child. That was weird.

His thoughts were still on his long gone dog as he passed by a half built library, its brick frame hollow inside, but the engraved sign on the front of it caught he attention. It was the same name as the university he had gone to. But this library could not have anything to do with the school, for it had been across the country on the west coast.

A strange feeling came over him, that this strange street felt not so unfamiliar at all. Although he had certainly never ridden down it before.

He glanced around, staining to see if he could recognize any of the bigger buildings that were on the other side of the ones on this street. But only trees could be seen behind; almost like there was nothing else.

Derek decided to get off the street and turned up the next cross street with yet another name from his past. He peddled hard, trying to put distance between him and the strange street. Panting, he came to the next street and turned up it.

Again he tried to get his barrings, and saw another half built building with his mother's maiden name across its edifice. Frantically he looked around and saw that he was back on the same street.

But how? He had gone in the totally other direction away from it. But here he was, seeing more and more familiar names on street sighs, buildings, and billboards. Where was he?

The sky darkened and the winds picked up as he struggled to peddle. The wind whipped so harsh that it stung his eyes when he tried to see where he was going. He put his head down and pumped his legs until they burned with strain.

Suddenly, he hit into the curb with a tremendously jarring force that caused him to and fly, headlong over the handlebars of his bike and land, skidding along a grassy lawn.

Shaking off the daze, Derek got to his feet; grass stains all down the front of his shirt and shorts, warm blood welling up from the cuts on his knees. But nothing seemed to hurt, so he brushed himself off as he looked around.

Surrounding him, all in perfect alignment, were rows of tombstones. He had crash landed in a cemetery. A terrified chill shot through his chest and he turned to get his bike and get away. But there was no bike, only more, ever-stretching rows of tombstones.

His mind raced as he started to run along the path between the big stone slabs. He could not have flew that far from his bike. And where was the street? All he could see were rows of the stone markers, gray like the clouds moving in the sky above.

Looking back as he ran, Derek tripped on one of the tombstone bases and fell on his face once more. As he pushed himself up onto his knees, he looked at the grave he was in front of, and the tombstone's engraved words sent shakes through out his body.

On the grave stone, his name was written. His date of birth was followed by today's date. And underneath, it said that he had died tragically in a bicycle accident.

Derek's chest tightened and his breathing labored as his ears were filled with the piercing sound of car horns blaring.

He lay on the hard ash fault. He could see his mangled bike wedged underneath the car in front of him. His body hot with pain as he tried to look up at the people surrounding him from above, their voices faint. A familiar feeling fell over him as the light around them dimmed and the darkness crept over him.

The horns faded out as did the last of the light.

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