Carter Walbridge didn't believe his parents would actually give him a motorcycle for his sixteenth birthday. It was totally a long shot, and he never thought in a million years that they'd ever agree. But there it was. Black and yellow and shiny like how motorcycles are supposed to look on TV. But this wasn't television. It was real life. He could touch it, and it felt smooth and cold.
"Aren't you going to give it a spin?" his father asked playfully. "Crank the motor."
Carter heard Jade stifle a laugh. "I doubt he even knows how to ride it."
With that insult, Carter mounted the bike. He gave the handles a good squeeze and adjusted the mirrors to his liking. He shifted into a more comfortable position and flipped the kill switch on. Holding down the ignition, he shifted gears and released. The bike roared to life.
Jade stepped back, reflexively covering her ears. His parent's stood by with wide grins on their faces, oddly proud of their son and his new death machine.
"Don't forget this!" his mother yelled over the roar of the engine, handing him a flat black helmet.
He took it with both hands and pulled it down over his head. It fit snugly against his ears, blocking out all sound that would distract him. He felt the steady vibration of the motorcycle beneath him and let the hum of it calm his nerves. He didn't know where to go, but he wanted to do something more than just drive around the block. He nodded to his family once, and then lifted his feet from the ground.
He zoomed through the neighborhood at nearly top speed. He was sure that after seeing him drive away so furiously, his parents would immediately regret their purchase and take the bike away. As such, Carter was going to enjoy this ride, just in case it was his last.
The streets looked different from the new vantage point. The stop signs were taller, and the lights were kind of intimidating. He thought it funny that everything seemed so small from inside a car. When he crossed the four way stop at the end of his road, he made a quick decision to veer left. The bike tilted dangerously close to the ground, but he held on tight and managed to bring himself and the bike back to a vertical position. The house he was looking for had blue shutters on the windows and a matching blue mailbox at the end of the circular drive. He wasn't sure if anyone would be home, but he needed to see her. He wanted to show off.
Ren's convertible was parked by the door. The top was down, and the engine was still ticking when Carter pulled up beside it. He shut off the motorcycle and dismounted it. Looking around, he didn't see any sign of her. He must have just missed her, because it was obvious she'd just gotten home. He walked up to the door and rang the bell. It was a long, obnoxious tone that went on for several seconds. When no one answered, he knocked three times.
He checked to see if the handle was unlocked. Luckily it was, so he turned it and walked inside. Carefully, he placed his helmet on the table in the foyer. Someone's keys were on the floor beside it, haphazardly spread about like that had fallen from the surface. He didn't recognize them as Ren's, but he picked them up and placed them beside his helmet. He closed the door with a quiet click and tiptoed softly through the rest of the house. Every room was empty downstairs, so he ventured up to the top floor. Each step on the spiral staircase was solid with no creaks or moans.
He called out for her at the top of the stairs. "Ren? Are you here? It's Carter." No one answered. He made it to her bedroom door. As he pushed it open he said, "The door was unlocked. Do you want me to—?"
YOU ARE READING
Negative SpacesTeen Fiction
AUTHOR'S NOTE: It's not completely necessary to have read the entire Small Circles collection before reading this novella. However, I strongly encourage you to do so, in order to gain the proper appreciation for Carter's character. All four books ar...