High Octane

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Chapter 3- Old friends

The same man from before- still wearing his helmet- was sat upon a comfortable, exotic-looking leather couch. The room was darkened- but lit by blue and pink LED strips which lined the ceiling- reflecting in the man’s black visor. He stood up to greet the two but appeared dumbfounded to see Hugo- even behind a helmet.

“Well, I’ll be fuckin’ damned! That you, Ace?“, the man spoke out from underneath his helmet in a deep, computerised voice- which appeared as 3 voices, each with a different, low pitch- accompanied by a faint Japanese accent. He towered above Hugo at 6 foot 3- as Hugo was only 5 foot 10. And well above Lillian- who was only 5 foot 5. Lillian felt slightly intimidated by the driver’s enigmatic, overwhelming presence.

“Mr Voodoo?“, Hugo replied in a shocked voice. The man began to laugh.

“In the fuckin’ flesh, choom! Bring it in!“, the man continued, as he brought Hugo in for a hug. Lillian always felt jealous when Hugo hugged others. She was very protective of him. How sweet!

“Sorry, Wraith. Would you mind steppin’ outside? Me and Hugo... gotta catch up.“, Mr Voodoo requested. Lillian obliged, as she was escorted out by Mr Voodoo’s bouncer.

Now, lemme explain to you who the FUCK Mr Voodoo is. This guy? He’s the leader of the Ghosty Boys. I met him once, back in 2062. He inspired me to get behind the wheel. As to why he’s called Mr Voodoo, well... he died. Well, not actually, like, proper died. He faked his death to have his record wiped. Sly bastard. That’s why he’s got the robotic legs. But alas, Mr Voodoo’s a ferocious racer. Mythical, almost- like Thor or some other superhero. But not many people know he’s still alive. Very, very few. And he picks those few very, very carefully. The only way to contact him is through Errand Boy- basically the public spokesperson for the Ghosty Boys. He’s... quite a bootlick, really. Follows orders damn well- like a police dog.

As to what Mr Voodoo looks like? I ain’t got a fuckin’ clue! He never takes the damn helmet off in front of people. And if you don’t know him, and you see his face; to put it simply, you die. But he and Hugo go WAY back! Hugo used to be a member of the Ghosty Boys- and he and Mr Voodoo were the best of friends back in the day. Until Hugo quit the Ghosty Boys after meeting Lillian; a pledge to “live a better life”. Mr Voodoo’s first question was, well... questionable. And inappropriate.

“You bangin’ a cyborg?“, he asked as he and Hugo sat down on the exotic corner couch. Mr Voodoo began smoking from what we call a ‘drug stick’. Basically just a fancy vape. Plumes of luminous red smoke poured out of two vents in Mr Voodoo’s helmet.

“That’s your first question? Seriously, choom?“, Hugo responded, raising an eyebrow. I’d be suspicious, too.

“Nah, I’m curious. What’s it like?“, Mr Voodoo pursued, seeking an answer to his off-putting, disturbing question.

“Why do you wanna know? You’re not plannin’ to cheat on Miss Zero, are ’ya?“, Hugo pressed with a smug look. Mr Voodoo laughed in a half-computerised, half-human tone. I shoulda mentioned that, too. His voice box is prosthetic. As for Miss Zero, that’s Mr Voodoo’s girl. He’ll kill ‘ya if you’re caught starin’.

“Nah, of course not! Couldn’t do my girl like that!“, Mr Voodoo retorted, continuing to chuckle- Red Oblivion smoke billowing from the vents in his jet-black helmet. “Anyway, how you been, brother?“, he asked.

“It’s been good so far. Me and Lils moved in together recently. It’s... really been quite a wild ride.“, Hugo explained, “I do miss the Ghosty Boys, though”, he admitted. Mr Voodoo chuckled.

“See, I knew you’d miss us! But I’m glad to hear that a brother’s doin’ good.“, Mr Voodoo responded warmly. “You want a drink? Smoke?“. Hugo shook his head- as all goody two shoes would.

“So you’re the one who ran the event?“, Hugo questioned.

“Yeah, choom. We’re lookin’ for a replacement for you, funnily enough.“, Mr Voodoo admitted. Ouch. Voodoo’s lookin’ to replace Hugo, AND the event wasn’t legal? That’s gotta sting. “But every time we arrange ‘em, it’s like fuckin’ amateur hour up in here!” Voodoo explained- clearly conveying frustration. “We were considerin’ scoutin’ Viper- as he was the best racer on this block- but then your girl showed up and bloody smoked him! How?”

“If I’m entirely honest... I ain’t got a spit! She’s been behind the wheel once. Its almost like she... downloaded the ability to drift into her brain!“, Hugo explained- surprising Mr Voodoo even more. He appeared dumbfounded and confused- even if he was behind a visor.

“Damn. I guess there are perks to bangin’ a cyborg! How much she win?“, Mr Voodoo mused.

“5k.“, Hugo replied bluntly.

“5K! For her FIRST race? Bitch, I got 200 bucks for my first win!“, Voodoo blurted- feeling like he’d just been conned. Or scammed. I’d feel the same way. “Damn, inflation do really be a cold motherfucker!“, he mocked.

“So I’m guessing the reason you called us up is because you wanna recruit her? Just sayin’, she’d be out.“, Hugo warned. Mr Voodoo appeared slightly offended by his comment.

“Oh, c’mon choom, we’re the fuckin’ Ghosty Boys! You’d have to be dumb or dead to turn us down!“, he retorted- appearing to be aware of his own prestige and respect. “You realise some of those people see us as gods? Idiotic, I know! But we’ve got presence. Status. Power. Money. I’ll bet ’ya 100 new dollars that she takes our offer!“, Voodoo explained- seeming to demonstrate arrogance. Hugo shook his head in defeat.

“So I’m fuckin’ right!“, Mr Voodoo mocked- pointing a finger at Hugo. “Nah, but that’s not the only reason I called you up. I just wanted... to see how you’re doin’, choom! I saw your Nissan and thought to myself... that’s Ace, ain’t it?“, Mr Voodoo explained- a hint of catharsis in his voice.

“Ah, so you just miss me!“. It was Hugo’s turn to mock. To his surprise, Voodoo replied truthfully.

“Of course I fuckin’ do! Any person who’s affiliated with Ghosty Boys is family for life! That won’t change for nothin’!“, Voodoo explained- demonstrating a clear closeness to Hugo. “But because we’re family, we help each other out.“. Hugo nodded his head- as if he knew what Voodoo was alluding to. You see, Mr Voodoo and the Ghosty Boys once saved Hugo’s life. And- according to their ‘code’- that means you owe the family a favour. Sounds fair if I’m honest.

“This is about my debt.“, Hugo admitted with a heavy sigh. “I haven’t forgotten it. What do you need?“.

“Alright. We got a job. A big one. For a big-leaguer: Victor Silver-Skin. An international corporation is due to ship top-end parts through the Dead Zone to one of his rivals”, Voodoo began explaining. Hugo stopped him.

“And you’re gonna steal the parts?“, Hugo questioned. He knew Mr Voodoo all too well.

“What do you think, Sherlock?“, Mr Voodoo mused. Hugo just stayed silent.

“Well... yeah. But shipping through the Dead Zone? That’s literal suicide!“, Hugo pondered.

“Yeah, for them. Not for us. But I’ll get Krypto to explain everythin’ once we get back to HQ.”

“So what I do I get out of this?“, Hugo asked.

“Look, I’ll cut you a deal, alright? You and your girl help us out on this job, and she’s in. You can re-join, too. Debt-fuckin-free. Oh, and of course, you’ll both get a cut of the pay.“, Voodoo explained, as if the job couldn’t get more lucrative.

“She wouldn’t agree to an illegal job, Voodoo.“, Hugo reminded him.

“She don’t have to know that it’s illegal, choom. We can make somethin’ up!“, Voodoo exclaimed- clearly disregarding any feelings and commitments Hugo had to Lillian. One thing about Voodoo: he doesn’t take shit from anyone. Anyone who’s met him will tell ya that. Hugo stared deep into space for a moment- comprehending what was best for them. Voodoo awaited an answer.

“Alright, fine. What are we tellin’ her?“, Hugo finally responded.

“See, I knew the Ghosty Boy in ‘ya wasn’t dead!“, Voodoo exclaimed- patting Hugo on the back. “As to our façade... we’ll say that we’re stealin’ the parts from the Animals. And the reason for it... is to wipe the Ghosty Boys’ criminal record. Sound good?”

One thing about the Animals: nobody fuckin’ likes ’em. In fact, they’re despised by pretty much everybody in this city! And it’s not surprising- in my opinion- given the fact that they kidnap children, torture innocents, deal in human trafficking... they’re the worst of the WORST. Any hit against ’em is bound to do some good for the other gangs.

“Yeah, that should be... fine. Besides, she knows the Animals are monsters.“, Hugo confirmed.

“Alright, good. We got a deal; we got a plan. Now all we need is to explain it to her.“. Voodoo laid out. “Yo, Rich! Bring Wraith in!“. The bouncer soon began to move from his post.

Time for some good old-fashioned lies.

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