Here Be Dragons: Chapter 2

Deadman’s curve. No one knew who first started calling it that. Maybe no one had. It was like those names in creepy old ghost stories, where no one knows how the story got started, but now everyone knew it. It just spread on its own, each new passing of the tale making it more treacherous than the last telling.

Riley almost wondered if they started calling it that just to mess with her. Riley wasn’t sure, and that was just another reason why being the new kid sucked so much. Even though she wasn’t all that gullible, you never knew what was true or not. She could only go off of what they said. They’d lived there all their lives and she had just moved there two years ago. Even worse, no one else had moved to town after them so after two years she was still always ‘the new kid.’

It was frustrating, everyone had all their own cliches, and she wasn’t welcomed into any of them. It was like all the groups had been formed in kindergarten and if you weren’t there when you were assigned your group you were set up to be a loner the rest of your life.

Well, Riley refused to stay the outcast. She was too cool to be a loner. Not only that, but she was going to get that jerk, Chad, to notice her. He’d completely blown her off when she tried talking skateboarding to him. She knew he was interested. Him and his friends were always talking about grinding and going for an ollie. How could he completely ignore her.

Well, he wouldn’t be ignoring her for long. Not after they did this.

“Oh, no, no, no, no.  You are not going to get me in trouble with doing that again?” Suzy said as she smiled at Riley.  Riley couldn’t help it, she smiled back, flashing her teeth in a devious grin. Well, of course she was going to do that again. Suzy just told her not too, it was like an open invitation.

They had, after all, just done it once and with all of Suzy’s complaining, Riley hadn’t died. She had fallen to the side and hit a tree, but she hadn’t died. She was just scraped up a little. She could easily go for another run. She just figured this time she’d go faster and get it right.  That’s what was wrong last time, she needed more speed. That would make the video that much more awesome.

See, her plan was simple. She wasn’t popular at school, and while they were still on summer vacation, she felt it was the perfect time to start working on her cool factor.  She’d been watching all these insane videos on YouTube, watching as kids jumped off buildings and other really crazy stuff. It was amazing. So, if that was so cool, why couldn’t she do something similar.  She’d take on Deadman’s Curve.

So what was Deadman’s Curve? On the outside of town there was a road going up a long treacherous mountain that curved back and forth. On one side was more mountain, a straight up wall of rock, while on the other side was a steep drop off into trees. Riley had gotten lucky the first time going down as the tree she’d hit was one on the side of the road and not on the bottom.

The road itself wasn’t used much as on top there were only a small group of houses clustered together. Riley wasn’t sure who lived up there in the big houses, but there weren’t a lot of cars that came down from them. The road seemed like it was hardly ever used. It was perfect for some amazing skateboarding as long as you ignored the chance you could die while doing it.

So that was her plan. She was to do what others dared not. She was going to skateboard the curve. She had too.  It was this or to suffer the humdrum of unpopularity, to continue being picked on just because she was the outsider. Riley had to show everyone just how cool she really was.

They had both been walking back up the winding curve, following the stretch of road. Suzy assumed they were walking back to grab their stuff so they could head to her house and she could clean Riley’s scraped knee. She had some nasty road rash and her mom kept a first aid kit. They had been side by side for the walk up, but then Riley had stopped and Suzy had turned to look back at her.

Riley had been smiling. Suzy stood there, nervous.

“You can’t be this dumb.”

“Come on, get your phone up and start recording.”

She didn’t wait for Suzy’s response. Riley turned and started running. The breeze flowed through her hair, she pushed herself even harder, running faster.

“Watch this!” she called over her shoulder.  Then she threw down her board, and as the wheels steadied on the asphalt, she stepped on.  Suzy better be recording this time. Riley had done all that, put on her best moves last time and she forgot to record it on her cell phone. What was the point of nearly killing yourself if it wasn’t being recorded.  Really!?

Sure, Suzy had helped her and made sure she was safe, but come on, is that really what was important?

“Slow down,” Suzy yelled.

Riley didn’t turn around. She was already caught in the flow, the steep hill that everyone called Deadman’s Curve was hers. She was already picking up a ton of speed, and those butterflies that like to tickle your stomach when you’re on a rollercoaster, oh yeah, they were buzzing hard inside of her. This…this was like an awesome she had never felt before. Last time hadn’t been anywhere near as cool as this.

“Please be recording, Suzy, please.” She said to herself, the words getting lost in the wind.

And then there was the curve to Deadman’s Curve. She came up on it fast, and had thought she had more time. She shifted her weight trying to catch herself.  She had seen the videos, she knew what to do. Those x-games guys, they slid their butts down low, reached out an arm, and glided through turns much faster than this.  This should be a cake walk, oh, yeah, she should have this, no problem.

But when she had bent back to balance her weight it was already too late.   She was never going to shift in time before hitting the guard rail. She’d have to drop really low just like those extreme x-games boarders.

Yeah, and she had no idea how to do that.

Her butt hit the road, hard, and then she spun with the speed. Riley kept turning and turning. The world around her spun, the trees along the side of the road were first right side up and then upside down. The sky couldn’t decide if it wan’t to be above her or below her, and the railing she had been so worried about hitting was getting really close.

“Riley!” she heard someone scream.  It was hard to make out in the spinning world around her. Everything felt like it was on fire, she could feel the pulling of her skin setting it ablaze. She felt the slamming of herself repeatedly being pushed onto the asphalt by gravity and knew it was beating her up. She felt all of it, but she still couldn’t help but wonder if Suzy was recording this.  She hoped so as he knew this was going to get a gazillion likes.

Riley stopped rolling on the side of the road, and looked up to see that Suzy was running down the hill after her. She smiled to her and felt something loose in his mouth and the saliva wouldn’t stop. She just wanted to keep spitting. Was she bleeding?  She tried to wave as Suzy ran to her, but Riley couldn’t lift her arm. It felt like it was trapped under her, and was too hurt to move.

She guessed it didn’t matter. She would be a legend now. Since she’d moved to the town, her father dragging Riley from their nice apartment in Chicago, she had come to find more and more reasons to hate the little craptastic town.  Not only was she an outsider there, but she was also a Bears fan in the land of green and yellow.

But this would do it. This would finally get Chad to notice her and prove she wasn’t some weird freak or a wimp who could get pushed around. Riley had just done something awesome and no matter what Chad said or did, he could never take that away from her.

“Riley, are you okay?  OMG your going to get us both killed.  I have to call 911, you’re a mess.  They’ll call your father.  Riley?”

It didn’t matter, as Riley smiled looking up at her as she passed out.

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