Deadman’s Curve… No one knew who first started calling it that. Maybe it was like those creepy ghost stories where no one knew how the story got started. It just spread on its own, each new telling of the tale making it more treacherous than the last.
Riley almost wondered if they started calling it that just to mess with her. Being the new kid sucked so much sometimes. Even though she wasn’t all that gullible, she never knew what was true and what wasn’t. She could only go off of what they said. Most had lived there all their lives, but she had just moved to town two years ago. Even after two years, she was still “the new kid”.
It was frustrating. Everyone had their own cliques, and she wasn’t welcome in any of them. It was like all the groups had been formed in kindergarten. If you weren’t there to be “assigned” to a group, you would be a loner the rest of your life.
Well, Riley refused to remain 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 about skateboarding with him. She knew he was interested. He and his friends always talked about grinding and “going for an ollie”. How could he completely ignore her?
Well, he wouldn’t ignore her for long. Not after this.
“Oh no. No, no, no. You are not going to do that again,” Suzy said to Riley, who just smiled back. Of course she was going to do that again. Suzy just told her not to. It was like an open invitation.
After all, they had just done it. Even after all of Suzy’s complaining, Riley hadn’t died. She had fallen and hit a tree, but she didn’t die. She was just scraped up and bruised. She could easily go for another run. This time, she’d just go faster and get it right. That was what happened last time. She needed more speed. It would make the video that much more awesome.
Riley’s plan was simple. She wasn’t popular at school, so while they were still on summer vacation, she felt it was the perfect time to start working on her “cool factor”.
She’d watched all these insane videos on YouTube. Kids jumping off buildings and down flights of stairs. It was amazing. So, if that was so cool, why couldn’t she do something similar, such as take on Deadman’s Curve?
What was Deadman’s Curve? On the outside of town was a stretch of road that snaked back and forth up a mountain. On one side was a wall of rock. On the other was a steep cliff, ending in the trees. Riley had gotten lucky the first time. The tree she’d hit was on the side of the road, not at the bottom of the cliff.
The road itself wasn’t used much because there was only a small group of houses at the top. Riley wasn’t sure who lived up there, but there weren’t a lot of cars that drove down. Therefore, it was perfect for some amazing skateboarding, as long as you ignored the chance you could die while doing it.
That was her plan. She was going to do what others didn’t dare. Skate Deadman’s Curve. It was either that or suffer the humdrum of unpopularity, continue being picked on just because she was the outsider. Riley had to show everyone just how cool she really was.
They had walked back up the winding curve, following the stretch of road. Suzy assumed they would grab their stuff and head back to her house so she could clean Riley’s scraped knee. She had some nasty road rash. Then Riley had stopped, and Suzy turned to look back at her.
When she saw Riley smiling, knowing she was going to go again, she shook her head.
“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, her skateboard in her hand. The breeze flowing through her hair, she pushed herself harder, running faster.
“Watch this!” she called over her shoulder. She threw down her board. As the wheels steadied on the asphalt, she jumped on.
Suzy better be recording this time.
Riley had done her best moves last time, but Suzy had forgotten to record it. What was the point of nearly killing yourself if it wasn’t being recorded? Really?!
Sure, she had helped her and made sure she was okay after she fell, but come on. Was that really important?
“Slow down,” Suzy yelled.
Riley didn’t turn around. She was already caught in the flow. The steep hill of Deadman’s Curve was hers. She picked up speed, and those butterflies that liked to tickle her stomach when she was on a roller coaster started buzzing hard inside her.
This… This is an awesomeness I’ve never felt before. Last time hadn’t been nearly as cool.
“Please be recording, Suzy,” Riley whispered, the words blowing away on the wind.
And then there was Deadman’s Curve. She came up on it quickly, thinking she had more time. She shifted her weight to try and steady herself. She had seen the videos, so she knew what to do. Those guys in the X Games crouched low, reached out an arm, and glided through turns much steeper than this. This should be a piece of cake. No problema.
But when she leaned back to balance her weight, it was already too late. She would never shift in time before hitting the guardrail. She’d have to drop really low, just like those extreme boarders.
Yeah, and she had no idea how to do that.
Her butt hit the road, hard, spinning her out of control. The trees along the side of the road tumbled in her vision. The sky couldn’t decide if it wanted to be above or below her, and the guardrail was getting really close.
“Riley!” she heard someone scream. In the spinning world around her, it was hard to make out who. Her skin felt like it was on fire, the asphalt ripping off layers. She felt her body repeatedly slam into the ground. Even through it all, she still couldn’t help but wonder if Suzy was recording. She hoped so. This was going to get a gazillion likes.
Riley’s body finally came to a stop on the side of the road. Groaning, she opened one eye to see Suzy carefully running down the hill after her. She tried to smile, but felt something loose in her mouth and just wanted to spit. 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 painful to move.
It didn’t matter. She would be a legend now. Since moving here, her father dragging Riley from their nice apartment in Chicago, she had found more and more reasons to hate the little craptastic town. Not only was she an outsider, but she was also a Chicago 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 just got pushed around. Riley had just done something awesome. No matter what anybody said or did, he could never take that away from her.
She heard Suzy come to a sliding halt beside her.
“Riley, are you okay? O–M–G, you’re 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. Riley smiled, looking up at her, as she passed out.