Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

0
Free copy left
You can read our best books
Spoke_Un_Spoke would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

Spoke/Unspoken

By Spoke_Un_Spoke All Rights Reserved ©

Romance / Humor

Spoke/Unspoken

When I say she was ‘orange’ I really mean it.  Just like me: bright orange.  Not yellowy-red, or the colour of autumn leaves on the turn.  Nor what those humans call ginger, auburn, or burnt sienna.  She was orange – the colour of, well – an orange!  I’d seen others of similar sheen, but she dazzled with metallic luminosity. 

My owner chained me to the lamppost by the corner shop.  He wouldn’t be long, and I figured it unlikely that I’d see this beautiful creation again. Her chain was rusty and her chrome a little grubby, but she shone like a spangle in the springtime sun.  She had a lovely frame, just the right proportions.  Sparsely adorned: no extraneous markings, frivolous additions or pointless accoutrements.  She was, you might say, quite au naturelle.  And if you don’t mind me saying so, she had a damn fine rack of gears on her – front and back. 

She may have spotted me as I freewheeled around the corner, but we were likely to be ships that passed in the night, or bicycles that peddled by in daylight.  Cycle-romance is only ever fleeting.  People think we’re chatting when we’re locked up in bike-sheds, chained to the bike-rail outside Blackwells, or touching tyres along the railings of George IVth Bridge. Or that we talk about our favourite routes, or moan about dog-walkers on the Leith to Newhaven inner-tube cycle path. 

Do our owners suppose, when they jam us up together on the cycle-racks by Tescos, we enjoy invading each other’s personal space?  Perhaps they fancy the idea that we like a little bicycle-frottage from time to time, or that for all our revolutionary fervour, we play ‘footsie’ with our pedals while they browse the shelves for glossy picture-books.  (My owner bought this book once: bikes of every gender and design.  He showed it to a friend as he unchained me.  Pure bicycle-porn!)

No, it’s not like this for bikes.  The idea that we talk is fantasy – what humans call ‘projection.’  Even when we’re made to touch, through careless application of a D-lock, our sole point of communication is when we clash together.  It is, for some, the briefest spark; a momentary jar.  A clash of antlers; or for us, a clash of handlebars. For some a courteous ‘oh hello,’ suffices, and for those less polite, it’s an abrupt, ‘Oi, watch out.’ I’ve had plenty of clashes in my time, but only one resulted in this love-at-first-kiss thing.

I was drifting along a former railway line that naively skirts the Seat of some archaic King. Edinburgh quaintly calls it ‘The Innocent Railway Cycle Path.’  It was autumn, I remember, because we had to keep swerving to avoid the blackberry-pickers who have a terrible habit of walking backwards into the path with their Tupperware boxes and plastic bags.  It hadn’t rained for three days, but the tunnel was dripping and dank as Glasgow’s ‘Clockwork Orange’ subway.

The wind, if not the gradient, was in our favour. As we were about to emerge, the light was dazzling.  My owner, being more careful with his money than his cycling, hadn’t switched my front light on.  Being blinded by the sun, he didn’t see her enter the tunnel.  She, too, was busy negotiating herself around the railing that stops hooligan cyclists from hurtling into the abyss.  We clashed with a cracking embrace, her basket impaling itself on my handle-bars.  The gentle ‘ping’ of her bell said all that needs uttered in a bicycle tryst. 

Like all such encounters, it was short-lived.  I could feel us both saying, deep in our well-oiled sprockets, to our respective owners: come on, this is it!  But they blew it.  Each said to the other: are you okay, yes I’m fine, are you, no really, I’m sorry, oh no, it was my fault, no mine, are you sure you’re okay, yes, no really, I’m sorry, no really, I’m sorry – and so on.  Pathetic!  Off we rode – or more accurately, were ridden – in opposing directions of opportunity unbidden.

The shop-bell of the newsagents broke me out of my reverie; I was back on Easter Road.  There, on the other side of the street stood she, my lookalike, my dream bike, my un-ignited flame.  I wonder if my owner saw me looking.  He unchained me, then, clearly teasing, pushed me to where she rested waiting for her owner.  He stopped for an obvious amount of time, looking her over.  Who owned this splendid thing, this ‘his-and-hers,’ this other half of a matching pair?  I hope she wasn’t disappointed.  Sadly, it was for me, in cycle-terms, the eternal question. 

But it wasn’t the end of the story.  Believe it or not, we met again!  This time, my owner attached me to the same post.  We had that moment when our frames were jostled together, a brief conversation, and a touching of souls that told each other of our inner desires (which, for bicycles, is all about the air in our tyres, not our hollow hearts.)  Then I noticed something that made my gear-cables quiver. 

My owner had inadvertently (what humans would call, Freudian) slipped the chain through her frame.  We had a connection!  What if her owner came back and, unable to remove her bike became frustrated, angry, or worse still, violent?  Would he return before her and, disengaging us, leave all they might have spoke unspoken?  Could it be that our owners would return to their bikes at the same time?  If so, would it be a polite greeting, a shared recognition, or (this was my fantasy) a discovery of the self for which each had been searching? 

A part of me (that over-active imagination with which some bikes are saddled) wondered if my owner was lurking in the shop doorway until she returned.  Then he would appear and unlock more than a combination.  I couldn’t see him – my view was obscured by my companion’s fulsome panniers.  Instead, I started to form my freewheeling fantasy of who she might be.

Was she a ‘Cycle-Chic’ who, refusing to wear travel-appropriate clothing preferred to look trendy and seasonal as she freewheeled through The Meadows?  Would she be dolled up with high-vis jacket and cycle-clips, sporting one of those ridiculous helmets that look more like tin pots than head-gear?  My owner wouldn’t be seen dead in one of those.  By the look of her tread and her mud-spattered saddle, I figured this owner had ventured no further up a mountain than a brief spin up Calton Hill or around Arthur’s Seat. 

As time ticked on, I felt increasingly deflated.  I wondered what my temporarily-conjoined friend was thinking.  Then, as slow as a puncture, my owner returned, like an un-oiled chain with a missing link.  And as we were untangled from that glint of once-shared orange light, we both might well have said, I love you.  But instead, the clash of conversation amounted to no more than: I’m sorry; no really. 

Write a Review Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, Spoke_Un_Spoke
Continue Reading
Further Recommendations

Stephen Warner: To start off, I am thoroughly impressed. The writing style is somewhat unique, and the plot seemed to move at a nice and steady pace. However, I was not expecting this to be a vampire book! I am usually not one for novels about vampires, but I was pleasantly surprised! You wrote with such grace a...

Jennifer Sibley Jannise: So, I originally read the book because my daughter asked me to. However, I read it in 2 days and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is well written and thought out. If the author writes and publishes any more books, I would definitely read them.

zoheusher20: What more can I say? The writing style and little details drew me into the book and for the entirety of the story I was Juliet. I felt her turmoil and emotions and every trouble or triumph as they arrived. This story was very different and had quite a few little but unexpected twists that made it...

emmaneal74: I loved this booked. Would definitely buy it when published and read it again. The story flowed in such a way I just couldn't put it down. I was never confused about the characters or their roles in the story which can happen sometimes with so many lead. I'd recommend this to anyone wanting to r...

Alex Rushmer: Chapter One: Not much is happening in this chapter, but I was absolutely fascinated by the depth of your character development. I love how you just sat there with the reader and explored Eddward. Usually, that sort of thing gets boring very fast, but this was actually really cool! He's so unique ...

SPepper: I had a hard time putting this book down even to go to sleep. The story is compelling and beautifully character driven. I hope author will make this a series.

Hudson: Your story was fantastic Erin! The Rising Sun was one of the first stories I read on Inkitt, and I have to say I don't regret the three to four days I spent pouring through the story.Probably the biggest strength I see in your writing is your characterisation of Eliana, Oriens, and the rest of th...

rudyoxborough46: An action-packed, mystical adventure awaits anyone wishing to read this novel. I’m amazed at how well you’ve managed to flesh out the characters in this book, and I hope to read more of your work.I’ve read books about goblins and elves and all that mumbo-jumbo before, and most accounts of these c...

Giuliana Cassetta: My face is full of tears, I never cried like now with a book or even a movie. I loved every single chapter. I truly don't know what to say, I'm out of words and my eyes hurt from crying. Such an bittersweet story, it's so wonderful. One of my favorites for sure. Keep it up!

More Recommendations

christylynnr5: This was beyond amazing! I loved this book. The characters seemed so real. It was amazing how the author let Zak and Kaylees personalities slowly change. This story was very sad and eye opening. It could teach some people a very worthy lesson. It was a great combination of romance, mystery, and a...

Sandra Estrada: I loved every minute of it and I thank my lucky stars that brought me to the story, it's been a whirlwind of emotions, plot twist after plot twist but I never got tired of them. Abby and Kade's story is a hard one to understand but once you're submerged in their story and love, you can't help but...

ynez2005: I LOVE THIS BOOK SOOOOO MUCH!!!!Though you really need to make another book,more Princesses!!! Whoooo!!!Girl Power!!!Mabey it could even be Devona's BFF???That would make it even better!!!Plus can you pleeease make Akki come back,together with Thea and Authur amd the whole family is back!Other th...

Kelsie Ann: The title of this book is ironic considering I COULD NOT put the book down! Everything about this is amazing! For the original 'His Bubblegum Klutz' readers, do not be discouraged to read this book! I was at first, but I assure you the plot is the same and it's worth reading a second time! You wi...

christylynnr5: This was beyond amazing! Its plot was so unique! It was a beautiful romance story with a mystery twist! I can't believe it ended the way it did!!!! There HAS to be a second book!! This needs to be published and made into a series!

263Adder: Okay so I adore this story. I only knocked one star off plot for historical inaccuracies because I'm a bit of a stickler for that. The ending broke my heart though, considering you already changed history couldn't you (SPOILER) change it a bit more and have them together!!!! I want an alternative...

About Us:

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.