The Bicyclist

The protagonist makes a wish and gets more than she bargained for. Hope you like it!

grayscale photography of person riding bicycle
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

“My life is so boring,” I complained into my phone. “Nothing interesting ever happens around here. I wish my life had a little more excitement.” Strolling along Route 286, I absently swung my shopping bag full of the week’s groceries with one hand and held the phone up to my ear with the other. Cars sped down the highway on my right while birds sang in the woods to my left.

“Careful what you wish for, sweetie,” my mother warned. “No news is good news.”

I sighed. “No news is a slow death. Every day is starting to feel exactly the same. All I do is work and study. If it weren’t for the seasons I wouldn’t be able to tell that time is passing at all.”

Mom made a thoughtful noise. “Well, why don’t we do something this weekend then? Kennywood opened a couple weeks ago; how about spending a day there?”

Perking up a little, I said, “Sure, sounds good. I heard they have a new ride this year.” We made plans to meet at the park on Saturday and hung up. I put the phone away and sighed again. Life really was so dull.

Behind me I heard the rapid clicking of bicycle wheels. Looking over my shoulder, I saw a man who looked to be in his late twenties riding up to me on a blue mountain bike. He was tall, pale, and clean-shaven with clear blue eyes, sandy hair, and, to my concern and disapproval, no helmet. It looked like he was on his way either to or from work, judging by his khaki pants and neatly tucked green polo shirt. He stopped next to me and smiled, revealing slightly stained teeth. Not yellow like a smoker’s teeth, the staining was more of a brown, as if he drank tea or coffee a lot.

“Hi,” he started. “Do you know which way Birmingham Meats is?”

“The butcher shop? Yeah, you just keep following this road. It’s on your right at the cross-street. Not this one right in front of us.” I pointed toward Holiday Street where it intersected the highway about 10 meters ahead. “The next one.”

“Great, thanks.” He nodded and pedaled off. I started considering what to make for dinner tonight, when movement out of the corner of my left eye grabbed my attention. My brain barely had time to register it. Barreling down the Holiday Street hill at roughly three times the speed limit was a shiny black sedan. I looked back at the bicyclist, and to my horror saw he was in the middle of crossing the street. Feeling all the blood drain out of my face, knowing it was too late, I called out. The bicyclist turned his head just in time to watch the sedan blow past the stop sign and plow into him. It was the most horrifying thing I’ve ever seen. He folded over the hood and rolled onto the roof before spinning through the air and landing head first on the pavement. Bones crunched audibly and blood splattered everywhere upon impact like a smashed watermelon. The sedan flew across the highway, sending the twisted bike into someone’s front lawn, never slowing down.

For a moment I stood there, stunned. In a daze, I dropped my bag, squatted down next to him, and dialed 911. The smell of blood filled the air. A growing pool of it spread out from the gash in his head, dying his hair and shirt red. Several little pale objects lay on the ground next to him, and I almost threw up when I realized they were his teeth. My phone clicked. “911, what is your emergency?”

“Someone just got run over,” I whimpered. My voice came out thin and breathy, and my hand shook so badly I could barely hold onto the phone. “Where are you?” the dispatcher demanded. “Is the person alive?” I grabbed his wrist and pressed two fingers below his thumb. Nothing. I swallowed. “No, he’s…” He jumped straight up. I mean, straight up. He didn’t use his arms to help him, just went straight from prostrate to standing. “Ma`am? Are you still there? Ma`am?”

He looked down at me and smiled. Blood dripped down his face and out of his mouth. As I watched, new teeth sprouted from his gum-line to replace the ones he lost, creating little points of white in all the red. But that wasn’t the worst part. The worst part was his eyes. Orange-yellow with slitted pupils, they shone down at me with feral amusement.

“Get away from it!” I turned to see two men in dark suits dashing toward us across the highway. They both wore dark glasses, and as they got closer I realized that one was carrying a shotgun and the other what looked like a cattle-prod. The bicyclist bolted into the trees and the two men dashed after him, shouting into their earpieces.

I stared after them, trembling, the dispatcher urgently asking me what was going on. The phone was pulled from my limp hand, and I looked up as a third suited man lifted my phone to his ear and informed the dispatcher that everything was under control before hanging up. He pocketed my phone, and for the first time I noticed the automatic rifle slung over his shoulder. Leaning down, he put his face very close to mine and said, smooth as silk, “Go home. Now.” I staggered to my feet, stumbling down the sidewalk, completely forgetting about my shopping bag. “And miss,” he called after me. I froze, too afraid to even look back at him. “You saw nothing.” I nodded rapidly and ran the entire way home.

Once I let myself into my apartment, I crawled under the covers without taking my clothes off and stayed there, shaking until the following morning. After the sun rose I walked back to the intersection. To my utter surprise my bag still sat there, undisturbed, but the blood and ruined bicycle were gone. Snatching up my bag I hurried into town. I use a different route to go home now. I’ve never gone by that intersection again, and I’ve never spoken of that day.

 

Be careful what you wish for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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