Long black hair tussled in the dust clouds left in the biker's wake. The sight of a few bends in the road came as a welcome relief. Sure the long, straight highways were great for a speed trip but they didn't hold any challenge. Sandra loved a challenge. It was all part of the thrill of the race. Challenge gave birth to achievement, which made all her victories taste that much sweeter.
Sandra West was a world class racing champion. Her speciality was taking part in long distance motorbike races all over the world. However she excelled in the American tournament widely known as the Dusty Trail. She had won it ten years running and she was going to make sure that the fifteen riders behind her weren't going to get a look in this year either.
That included her boyfriend Martin Langford. She had met him last year in the African Red Road race. He was the only one that had managed to beat her on a leg of the route. True he only beat her on one leg, but it was enough to impress her. When they got talking at the rest stops romance blossomed between them. It didn't dull their competitiveness' though, quite the opposite in fact as Martin now felt that he had to beat her to prove to himself that he was worthy of her love. He pulled up beside her and smiled over at her. Sandra pointed over at the road and he quickly dropped behind to avoid the oncoming car. He stayed there for a while, admiring the view and listening to her music.
For the long trips Sandra usually tied a ghetto blaster to the back of her bike. She had it tuned into the local rock station. It was playing "Radar Love" whenever they hit the forest road. Sandra smiled, she liked to think of it as their song. She hummed along to it while speeding along the road. Tyres screeched as she swerved to follow the diversion sign.
She paid no attention to the details. It was just another diversion through another backwater town, probably set up for tourists so they could see the big race. It had happened the week before too. The locals of West Fairbank had seen the footage of the race being broadcast by the helicopter and set up a diversion through the main streets of their town. Sandra looked at the upcoming road sign as its white flashed against the dark green of the surrounding forest. SILENT HILL 5 MILES. Her heart quickened at the sight. Had it really been ten years? Screeching behind her signalled that the other riders had reached the diversion. None of the others knew what had happened and if they did they certainly didn't give any indication of that knowledge. She saw something that dampened her spirits.
A thick cloud of fog was rolling in on her. She came to a halt at the roadside with her hazard lights on and pumped her horn. The other riders saw her and joined her at the side of the road. Except for a solitary rider at the rear who sped by them into the fog at about 90mph.
"Who the hell was that?"
Martin spoke up, "Not one of ours Sandy. Don't worry I'm sure they will slow down whenever they hit the town."
Sandra nodded, "Fair enough. OK folks here's the deal. It's another tourist town diversion and we're in the middle of a thick fog. Just stick together and we can worry about resuming the race as soon as we're through the cloud."
The others agreed and they all took off together at a steady pace. A cheer was heard when "Highway to hell" came on just as they entered the town. There was no sign of anyone on the streets and the radio was starting to pick up static. They passed a large green sign with yellow writing saying "WELCOME TO SILENT HILL." The population part of the sign was scratched out so that the wood on the sign was visible. The radio was now spewing out nothing but white noise. Something about the lack of people was bothering Sandra. The place had changed since she had last been here. She didn't let it overly worry her though as she was more concerned about finding the next diversion sign.
A cold white speck hit her rosy cheek. She wiped it away 'Snow? At this time of the year?' That wasn't the only cause for concern as she and the rest of the group ground to a halt. "What the?"
The road had come to an end. The riders studied the drop in front of them in silence for a while before one of them spoke up. "Looks like someone forgot to finish building this part of the town. What happened here? For a tourist diversion there seems to be no one but ghosts in this town."
Martin peered into the nothingness below, zoning out as he gazed intently.
Sandra startled him when she spoke. "Stare not into the abyss lest it stare back into you."
Martin gave Sandra a strange look. "Where did you hear that?"
Sandra shrugged "I don't know. It just sprung to mind. This place is starting to creep me out. Come on lets…" The sentence was never finished as air raid sirens blared out of the ghetto blaster. Sandra turned the ghetto blaster off. The sirens were not silenced. Worry was laced through Sandra's tone. "We are going. NOW."
The riders mounted their metal steeds and rode off in search of an exit.
Darkness began creeping out of the abyss and with it came a screeching of tyres. A large silver chopper with a rider clad in black leather flew out of the pit and hit the asphalt, burning rubber as his tyres hit the road. A large red dragon adorned the back of his leather jacket. He was not the only thing to emerge from the pit. Five demons followed hot on his trail. They appeared to be some sort of skinned ape with wheels for hands and feet. A large rusted, metal stake ran through each one of them. They howled in pain as they travelled.
Sandra's group were getting unnerved as the darkness overtook them. Street lights lit up the darkness just in front of them with a blazing orange light. It was strange because the darkness only covered the streets the riders took and yet whenever they turned off towards a lighter street the darkness still stayed ahead. They turned sharply into a cluttered alley. In the narrow red brick passage the group had to stay in a single file formation. Sandra's eyes widened when she saw what lay at the end of the alleyway. 'Jacob? No it can't be.' A crushed silver chopper lay smashed to pieces wrapped around a lamppost. She was so involved in what was ahead that she didn't see what was going on behind her.
The Howlers had caught up to the back of the pack. The last rider beeped their horn, urging the rest of the group on but it was to no avail. The first demon lowered itself to pounce while the others took to riding the walls. With an almighty scream the demon sprang into action. It landed on the rider's back impaling them. Dark blood seeped from under the helmet as well as the chest wound. The stake extended and warped to unlock a hollow. Inside the hollow was a white orb the size of a tennis ball. It slipped out of the stake as the Howler detached itself. The rider crashed through a fence and landed in a pile of garbage. They shook as if in a seizure. The white ball rose to the middle of the riders back, fleshy tentacles knitting up the wounds from within. A gurgled scream was heard from beneath the helmet as sharp blades pierced each finger. The screaming stopped and the rider rose up to get back on their bike. In all the confusion the other four howlers jumped off the walls and took other riders in a similar fashion.
Back on the main street the ten remaining competitors rode for their lives. As usual Sandra led the pack. She didn't know if the streetlights were leading her out of the town or getting her more lost but they were all she had. A sound like thunder rumbling distracted her. Suddenly she was overtaken by a silver streak. 'Its that maniac from before. Wait. Jacob? It has to be. No one else wears a red dragon on a ride like that.' The Dragon rider veered sharply off into another alley. Sandra knew it was probably a trap but she had to follow him. She needed forgiveness. It was time to stop running from her problems. The other riders were still close but were having trouble handling the tight corners just as well as she could.
They came to a long narrow road near an old school building. The street was littered with cars, vans and recovery trucks from past attempts to escape the town. The streak of silver zoomed ahead. Two other glints appeared in the distance. The light from these was red. Before Sandra could worry too much about them her attention was caught by the sound of a scream. What she saw in her side mirrors unnerved her.
"April. Noooo." It was Troy the rider normally in third place.
His girlfriend Julia was riding slumped over the handlebars, blood soaking the tyres. A rider with a white hump pulled up alongside her and grabbed her by the back of the head to show the full extent of the horror. She was without a face and she was still alive, still screaming. A sickening "schlock" was heard before the screaming stopped. The rider took the back of her head out with its knife fingers. It wiped the gore on her clothing and proceeded to tear her head right off before violently thrusting her skull onto its headlight to make a terrible red beam of light shine out through her mouth. More knife riders were pulling up and were proceeding to butcher the back of the group like so many sheep marked out for slaughter. A couple of bikes crashed, sending the monsters flying.
"Nooo." Sandra screamed, "This must be a nightmare."
Then she saw the source of the red glints up ahead. Two figures stood near the side of the road, each one with a red pyramid shaped helmet and each one holding a gigantic blade at shoulder level like a toll barrier. Her eyes narrowed as she looked for something to use. Luckily a nearby tow truck had its ramp down. It was then that she knew it was Jacob. He had set this up for her. She needed to see him but he would make her suffer first. She couldn't feel anger because deep down she felt like she deserved this. She focused on the task at hand. The jump was a difficult one but there was no other way through. She signalled for the rest to follow her.
They formed a single line of six all the while Lawrence who was at the back of the line kept an eye on the blade demons. The road rushed towards her and in seconds she hit the ramp. Sandra held her breath and was sure that her heart stopped in those few seconds. Her heart more then made up for the lack of activity once she touched down on the street. She looked for the Dragon rider. He was nowhere to be seen. Sandra spun the bike around to see how the others did.
Lawrence and Kylie at the back had run into knife rider trouble and failed to see the huge blades. A quick decapitation later and they were free of worries. Martin and Troy just made it and no more. Unfortunately Pete "the buzzard" Jolson met a grizzly fate. As he jumped a Howler rode up a nearby slide in the school playground and collided with him in mid air. The stake went right through his neck. As he lay there impaled to the ground with a Howler struggling to detach itself he began twitching violently. The spasms became so violent that there was only a meaty stump left when the Howler took the spike out of his body.
Survival instincts pumped through the remaining three riders. They followed the streetlights to another turn down a longer road. Floodlights lit up a good distance ahead revealing an exit back onto the highway. A large "FINISH" was scratched onto the sign. Thunder sounded again and the Dragon rider sped up behind them. He grabbed Troy by the neck and yanked him off his bike to throw him screaming under Martin's wheels instantly breaking Troy's neck and sending Martin flying to skid on the ground some distance past where his bike stopped. The Dragon rider kept speeding on towards the finish line.
Sandra braked as hard as she could "Martin!" She screamed at the motionless body.
A wave of relief swept over her as she walked over to him. His breathing was shallow but at least he was still alive. He groaned as he moved his head to look at her. As soon as he did so the Dragon rider turned and revved. Sandra knew he intended to finish Martin off. She could almost feel the demons hatred from where she stood. Sandra knew what had to be done. She picked up her bike and rode out towards him.
The Dragon rider accepted the challenge and started moving. Although being able to handle high-speed chases around corners Sandra had the edge when it came to drag racing. She reached him before he got too far. "Just die and leave us alone," she shouted angrily.
She stood up and back flipped off her bike, sending it flying into the air. It caught the Dragon rider full in the chest sending him reeling into the exit post. The hot metal squealed and screeched as it wrapped around him and the post. A bright orange flame filled the darkness as the bike exploded. Debris rained down around her and something in particular caught Sandra's eye.
It was the tattered red dragon from the biker's jacket. On the back of which was a newspaper clipping.
"Devil's Bend claims another victim on the American Dusty Trail.
A sad day for long distance racing as one of the finest riders of our time was killed. Jacob West (23) from New Downshire was a rider who specialised in handling tight corners at high speeds. In most cases it gave him the winning edge, but it seemed that last Fridays run on the Devils Bend between Brahms and Silent Hill was too much for him and he span out of control. As he bled to death witnesses report that as well as asking for his sister he also talked about seeing a young girl on the road before losing control. An official investigation is being carried out by the Silent Hill Police Department who refuse to comment at this time. Jacob's sister, Sandra West who won the event this year was deeply traumatised and was also unavailable to comment."
Sandra closed the paper in her fist. She spoke to no one in particular while looking at the burning wreck. "I know I should have been there in your last moments instead of going on to win but I thought you were going to be OK until help reached you. There is nothing I can do to change the past. I have forgiven myself now and you should let it go too. It is time for you to find peace. I have someone I can help now so please let me go so I can get him to a proper hospital."
She picked up Jacob's bike and walked it back to where Martin lay. Her spine tingled as "Silver machine," started playing on the melting ghetto blaster.
The darkness faded when the radio stopped. Sandra blinked and suddenly she was standing on a foggy street with a silver chopper. A red dragon now adorned the side of the bike. Martin was still there and it was still snowing.
She could hear the camera helicopter hovering nearby. "The racers got lost in the fog. You had an accident. I stopped to help and we haven't seen them since. Agreed? I don't think they would believe the truth somehow."
Martin managed a weak sounding "Agreed."
Sandra helped Martin up onto the helicopter when it landed. When it had taken off to head to the nearest working hospital she rode off into the fog. A red speck of a taillight faded in the distance and the streets became silent once again.The End