One fall was all it took to end his dream of becoming a pro motorcross rider. One corner taken too quickly and one stone that slid too far ended his aspirations for the future.
Three years earlier, the same racetrack had taken the career of another young rider, Hunter Bradley. Bradley had been luckier – he’d only lost feeling in his left leg.
Dustin lay in a hospital bed, hooked up to God knows how many machines designed to keep him breathing. His father watched his only son as he battled for life.
His mother cried as he lost the fight and slipped away.
“Watch the glass,” Dustin whispered.
Hunter nodded, dodging the fragments of glass that remained in the frame of the window. The store was quiet. There was no traffic at midnight in the suburbs.
He landed with a muted thump – even so, Dustin shushed him as he looked around the corner.
“All clear,” Dustin whispered again, holstering the Magnum in his pocket.
Hunter wasted no time in opening his safe-cracking kit and getting to work.
Dustin huddled, shivering, in a blanket. Californians were never going to be at ease with Washington winter storms. He hadn’t managed to pay the electricity bill this month, and he’d watched too many scary movies over the past twenty-three years to go to sleep. How many of them had started with the power being off?
There was a knock at the door.
Dustin jumped approximately a foot.
He stood, dragging the blanket along with him. Dustin peered out the spy-hole in his door, glad that there was a light just outside his apartment.
A young man stood there, blond hair plastered to his face and his Italian wool suit sopping wet.
“Mr Brooks? My name is Hunter Bradley, I work for your father…?”
Dustin exhaled. He unfastened the security chain on his door and opened it, ushering his guest inside.
“I’ll get you a towel…”
Ring, ring. Ring. Ring ring.
“Hi, I’m just calling about the ad in the paper for the Mazda 626?”
“Oh yeah, sure. It’s in a pretty good condition, it’s road worthy-” Hunter tapped the pad of paper with his pen.
“Actually, I’d much rather see it in person, if that’s alright?”
Hunter was a little taken aback at the abrupt interruption. “…yeah, sure. Um, my name’s Hunter.”
“Oh, man, sorry. I’m Dustin.”
Hunter watched the number of motorcross bikes zoom around the track. Lothor had neglected to mention exactly which biker the Yellow Ranger was – he said as soon as the Thunders got onto the track, they’d be neck-and-neck with him. But at this moment, the craze of the track, the number of riders tinkering with bikes off-track, the staggered starting times for each rider, the test-runs going on outside the circular track…Hunter’d be lucky if he could identify the males riders, yet alone those in yellow and out in first place.
There was one Hunter had noticed straight away – he was in yellow, and looked pretty good out there. He’d been talking to a brunette woman near a van bearing the name of a store Blake and Hunter had already visited – Storm Chargers. Curly brown hair, tanned…kinda cute.
However, the carefree laughter had betrayed him as a civilian.
Hunter and Blake glanced at each other before pulling on their helmets. Time to roll.