Categories > Original > Fantasy > Tradewinds 09 - "The Building is Hungry!"


by shadesmaclean 0 reviews

Justin's joyride

Category: Fantasy - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Fantasy,Horror - Published: 2009-10-08 - Updated: 2009-10-08 - 923 words - Complete


Justin could barely hear his own voice over the racket of the motorcycle’s engine, but he loved the feel of it as he sped down the tunnel. The thunder of the engine, the wind in his face. Though he started out slowly, getting used to the handling of it in these narrow tunnels, he gradually felt comfortable going faster. Now that he had a chance to really get the hang of it, he had poured on the gas, risking a little more speed in the better-lit sections. He was really glad it was equipped with a headlight, for there were stretches where all or most of the lights were out.

It was fast, and easy to maneuver; he definitely planned to take this thing with him.

The only thing to disturb his otherwise exhilarating little joyride was the occasional question of just how long these tunnels could be, where they might end. His mind kept insisting that there had to be a vast network of tunnels— above? below?— Centralict Island. It was the only possibility to that made any sense to him.

For they were starting to seem, for lack of a better term, never-ending.

It was hard for his mind not to wander here…

…To wander back to sand and sun, to what he would realize, weeks later in the disjointed tunnels of the Building, was the only place in all his life where he had ever truly felt content.

Justin was just finally starting to catch his breath after his longest training run yet. He was certain he had run farther in some of his escapades in the Triangle State, but keeping up with Max was something else. As he lay on the sandy beach, he still couldn’t figure out how the hell his new friend got to be so fast without anyone chasing him everywhere.

And there was Max, sitting on a rock, petting Bandit, as if nothing had happened. Justin knew this wasn’t half the distance his friend typically ran, and even after more than two weeks of this, he wondered if he could ever really become that fast. That strong. That tough and focused. That wild.

Of course, Max assured him he could do more than he thought he could.

“Are you sure?” Justin demanded, for it seemed to him that he hadn’t gotten any faster.

“Do you think I was this fast five years ago?” Max asked. Sounding as if he were quoting someone— perhaps the one who taught him all these things once upon a time— he told his friend, “These things don’t happen overnight. The only way you become stronger is by pushing your limits.”

“I suppose. At least I got farther this time…”

And Max just laughed, assuring him that even someone named Carlton could run that far. Whoever the hell
that was. From time to time, Max just dropped names like that. And of course, if he asked what he meant by that, Max would just clam up.

After a while, he quit asking; he just didn’t like the sad, distant look on Max’s face, yet he was also confident his friend would tell him more about himself in time.

At times like this, even being stranded on a desert island didn’t seem so bad. Of course, the two of them continued working on the new raft, though it would be months before they were even ready to test it, still for now he felt he could wait a while. No need to rush. No need to worry.

The outside world, and all of the adventures he imagined himself having out in it, weren’t going anywhere, seemed so far away at moments like this…

…And now here he was. To think that Max’s training had indisputably saved his life several times since those all-too-brief carefree days.

His thoughts were snapped back to his present adventure, though, when he spotted something barring his path up ahead. So lost in his reverie, he was both surprised and relieved that he actually noticed it in time. As he slowed down, realizing that there was no way to crash through it in this small unarmored vehicle, he drew nearer, seeing a waist-high bar across the width of the passage, and a small booth next to it.

Came to a complete halt in front of this obstacle, not liking it at all. Found himself wishing he had brought the tank after all as he peered into the booth’s dusty glass windows. Even the fact that the booth turned out to be empty didn’t dispel his feeling of being ambushed.

For a long moment, he just stood there in the sepulchral silence of the tunnel, remembering the armed checkpoints the TSA seemed to set up at random in the ports and shantytowns. And again with the black-and-yellow stripes on the bar blocking his way. On top of that, the audacity of the blocky sign demanding what appeared to be a sum of money to pass.

“Fuck that,” Justin muttered as he fired up his laser staff and chopped the bar down.

With that, he hopped back on his motorcycle and took off again. He didn’t like this place, and didn’t want to be stopped in this maze. Of course, it seemed this vehicle just kept going.

He figured this thing had to run out of gas sooner or later, he just hoped it didn’t before it could carry him out of here.
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