Ride

Short story compiled of 2,000 words exactly for The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, twenty-four competition! Enjoy! :) -Rachel x

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1. Ride - A Short Story

Ride - RachTheWriter 2013

My entry for The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones twenty-four hour competition! This short story is made up of 2,000 words exactly, starting under the cut! Thanks for reading and hope you enjoy! -Rachel :) x

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 "Riders! Positions please!"

 I could feel the excitement buzz through me at the sound of the starting officer's voice over the booming speaker, and it wasn't because of the electric vial I had injected in me, either. Most slickboard riders used the injection commonly, all in the aim of getting our hearts pounding and our nerves alert for the race, so it wasn't cheating or seen as a drug-enhancing juice like in the normal world. The drugs were encouraged to have racers compete in their best forms; it made a more exciting competition and showed who was the best at their optimum level. A plastic needle full of blue lightning bolts battled containment inside of the tube, and the moment its electric energy slipped into my arm, my mind was ready: thoughts and tactics amplified to the max.

 I was a little jittery from the electric shock, feeling the hairs on the back of my neck turn to static, but I was fired up, ready to race. Full of the lights of New York City, the busy metropolis outstretched before me, and I eyed up my competition. The guys along for the ride were typical slickboard addicts, drenched in leather fitted suits, with the occasional speck of denim and studs, along with goggles and spiked hair, no doubt also fuelled with Bolt. Although, with the style in the Trepidome, it wasn't uncommon for riders to have...eye-catching hairdos.

 Cheers and hoots of excitement came from the spectators lined up outside the barriers, stretching far into the city centre. I could see the stats for each racer up on a big TV board on several sky-lining buildings, and I subconsciously pulled my beanie further down my head with the recognition of my face on screen.

 "We love you, Lynn!" Girls screamed beside me, some holding hologram signs with hearts and 'Will you marry me?' proposals plastered on their screens. I gave them a wave and the best boyish grin I could muster, chuckling mentally when they fanned each other and hysterically screamed louder.

 If only they knew they had fallen in love with a girl, not the street-racer Lynn Wood, my identity here on the slickboard circuit. To have a girl racing was unseen. Sexist, I know, but equality hadn't improved in the world, and it hadn’t reached here, in the secret life of New York. If they found out I was a female, that my real name was Annabelle Lynn, my reputation would crumble in an instant and the embarrassment would be too much to handle. I’d never return to slickboarding. My mind rejected the idea.

 I checked that every gadget was inside my board's secret compartments, including a flame thrower, an air gun and a taser; the weapons that would be used on my competitors if they were in the way or got too close. My slickboard was a singular metallic panel, much like a surfboard, but instead of it being made of thin, breakable plastic, the board came together in iron and steel. Two exhaust pipes pumped out smoke from the miniature engine hidden under the board's surface, with two circular rotors on the bottom that would make me air-borne. You could paint your board if you wanted to, but I kept mine plain. It made it look more authentic.

 I looked up at the green digital timer above the start banner. Thirty seconds remaining. Time to board. I stood on the panel and with a kick to the back throttle, the engine roared to life. I could feel the anti-gravity kick in and the board effortlessly began to rise from the ground, floating in mid-air. It was hard to ride at first, but once you got your balance, it was easy. I made sure my feet were clicked in -wouldn't want to fall out over one of the loop-de-loops in the track, yikes- and focused myself, looking to the city before me.

 Everyone, racers and spectators, stood on the cellophane plastic track that circled in and around the colossal buildings and streets, built specifically for slickboard races. The track curved at the sides to allow us to grind and perform tricks to overtake, and the deeper you went into the city and the higher you went above it, the track morphed into tubes that covered over our heads so we didn’t fall out. You couldn't be a scaredy-cat in this sport.

 "Alright! Racers, are you ready?"

 I deepened my voice to match with the other riders to blend in with the low reply of 'Ready!' They were on their boards like me, squinting and eyeing up the track like an arch enemy. I held back a laugh.

 "On your boards...get revved... ride!"

 And we were off.

 The four of us flashed past the starting line and made our way into the heated city. If I were at home, I would let my blonde hair down and relish the feeling of the wind blasting through me, but here in the circuit, it was a pleasure that was heavily hidden. I was able to pass as a male with my boyish figure -flat chest, narrow hips- and the built up muscle in my biceps, but if they saw the long hair that grew to my hips, I had a funny feeling it would be the end.

 I planted my feet heavily into the board, bending my knees and darting my gaze to either side of me. The wind of the sonic boom surrounding us rippled through our clothes, clinging to the front of our chests, but luckily for me the guys were too focused on the hurdles up ahead to notice the slight protruding of mine. I saw the notorious racing twins Crash and Clank, who were suspiciously closing in on me with wicked grins, and I knew that despite teaming up being illegal, the two boys were secretly working together.

 Our first hurdle, a flaming strip of fire, speedily approached. Go under, and you were lucky you didn't burn your head. Go up, and you had to somehow dodge a collective of round iron balls with deadly spikes attached to them that could easily rip skin and bone. The chains attached to them were electrified.

 An idea formed in my head. I knew I had to chance it, one way or the other, but that didn’t mean the twins would be as lucky. This was a good opportunity to lose them. I crouched as low as I could go under the incensed barrier, and felt the heat of the flames pass down the skin of my spine and narrowly singe the top of my beanie. I passed through, and patted my hat to make sure the fire was out. I couldn't take it off; not without allowing a cascade of blonde locks to tumble down.

 Crash decided to go over the fire and was about to luckily miss the spiked balls, when his younger brother by five seconds accidently shoved him into the weapons, tearing a large chuck of skin from his arm. They tumbled together, and both yelled in agony as they collided. I saw the river of blood start to flow, covering Crash’s entire arm, before an emergency pit-crew collected him and his board back to the starting area. Both brothers were removed from the track.

 I gulped. It was destroy, or be destroyed out here. Competitors were not willing to place nice. I kicked the accelerator to the max with the heel of my boot and felt myself tear away, not a scratch in sight.

 I was inside the city now, flashing lights all around. The glass-pained buildings reflected the glow of cars and dazzling advertisements like mirrors. I causally looked at myself in the windows, checking my hair was covered and that my look was still passable. You wouldn't notice from a distance my real gender, with the baggy trousers, boots and leather jacket. It would only be up close that you would see my thin fingers, my petite nose, lack of facial stubble and thick eyelashes. Even then, it could be safe. There was no one else around me, so I figured I was in the lead, but then a racer zoomed ahead of me, laughing.

 Grinding my teeth in annoyance, I stopped admiring myself like a girl and travelled around the curving track. If I got close enough, I should be able to jump over him and take up a place. The tubes began to form around me, covering over my head as we travelled higher, rounding the outside of city buildings. I looked down and saw the extreme height I was at, making my stomach drop a little. How much would it take to smash the plastic and tumble to my death? I tried not to think about it. Instead, I looked for the last racer that I needed to overtake.

 He wasn't around. Where had he gone? I had just seen him! He had an X-Wing no.2, which I knew my Torpedo Lighter could catch up with easy. But where...

 "It's Lynn, right?" A voice called. Nearly jumping off my board in freight, I looked up and saw that the last rider, blonde haired and slender, was directly above me. His board was on the ceiling of the tube, and he stood straight on, looking down at me.

 "Hell!" I gasped. I cleared my throat and tried to address him properly, but my mouth hung open. "How are you doing that?"

 "This?" He asked, pointing to his board, before causally waving it off. "Any board can do it. Even yours."

 "You are insanely tall, dude," I said, "even if a rider dared do what you’re doing, there's no way they could meet a person that was on ground level."

 He grinned, but it wasn't a cocky, Crash and Clank kind of grin, but...genuine. Soft. Understanding. What guys smiled like that to each other? I drove quicker, but he kept up easily, even pushing further ahead. I was surprised he hadn't fallen off with dizziness from all the blood moving to his head.

 "You might actually win this race for me," I said, "you’re bound to fall off with travel sickness at any moment."

 "Lynn, how come you're hardly at the track?"

 That surprised me. I raised an eyebrow up at the racer and met his curious stare. I was hardly at the track because I couldn't risk being recognised; sooner or later the guys would examine me more closely and realise that I was a girl. But he wouldn't know that.

 "I'm not a gloat," I shrugged, "when I win a race I don't like to stay around and brag to the rest of the competition. What's it to you?"

 "Nothing," he said, calm. "Just wondering."

 "Well, maybe you can go wonder someplace else. Preferably at the bottom of the points table. Excuse me."

 "My name's Ash," he suddenly announced, stretching out a hand from above. Was he crazy? I looked at his inviting hand and slowly up to his face, seeing a sea of green eyes and a gentle face. Something quite odd for a street racer. He had a scar above his eyebrow and few scratches here and there from previous races, like we all had. Me too. His blonde, un-dyed hair blew in the wind at our high speeds.

 He wasn't going to leave me alone. I knew a look of a person who was persistent when I saw one, so I grabbed his hand and shook it strongly, trying to act masculine. His eyes widened. "Whoa, dude, that's a strong grip right there."

 "I'll take that as a compliment," I winked. He studied me.

 "Well, I guess you would. Considering that you are a girl."

 My eyes widened. Before I could stop myself, my feet unclipped from their sockets in the front panel and I slipped off my board, bumped into the plastic tubing below that automatically opened on contact, and felt the earth swallow me whole.

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