by Elizabeth McGuire
The thing was lodged in the side of his neck. A spiky bulge stretched taut and pumping scarlet to the tapping of his pulse.
Earlier at 5 a.m. he’s revving towards the open desert. Whipping by rows of houses with cracked driveways where dune buggies and trailers rest idly under metal canopies. Past concrete motels with frigid coffeemakers collecting dust, blinking static behind flimsy broken blinds. Doors with “Closed for Season” signs.
The bike is blazing fast, alarming birds and wayward snakes. Flying over remnants of the old air force base where phantom pilots honed their skills. Branding crosshairs in the dust. Turning aerials in B-17s. He opens throttle and rockets past shells of ghost towns and caverns of abandoned mines. Pushing 125 over moguls. Careening at 150, catching thin air the engine rips rubber spewing crunchy gravel. The bike tips skidding towards the spigot of a decommissioned gas line, spinning flips as shrapnel hits.
Dumbstruck in the aftershock. His twisted, broken boney limbs are coddled by a ditch, needled by intravenous cactus pricks and lit by searing sun. Legs fractured, ribs cracked and lungs punctured. Crawling blindly nowhere. Fearing fear and gravity. A sickly horrifying whistle strains with every crimson breath bubbling up a slimy mess. Lucky to be choking through his perforated neck.