The Great Bike-Escapade

I want to share a small short story with you all. This began as a prompt from a photograph of a bike, and I thought it would be fun to get my vampires to interact with it. I hope you enjoy it.

Python Bikes

The Great Bike-escapade

A light flashed in the dark sky. It came within the blink of an eye and spat out four bodies from within its silvery confines. The bodies hit the floor hard, and each person groaned in pain as they landed on the tarmacked ground below.

“Eugh Sakura, can these landings not be better?” A cloaked body said.

His hood pulled up tight around him with a gloved hand, holding it in place. He lay on the floor before his brown eyes surveyed the surrounding area. He saw no threat and turned his eyes upward to the twinkle of the stars and the moon. His grip on the hood slacked, and he gathered himself up off the icy floor.

Sorry. I tried, Anthony.

“You just need more practice.” Came the voice of another cloaked figure.

He tugged his hood down from his brown hair with flecks of grey on one side. His silver eyes adjusted to the brightness of the night. “Do you know where we ended up this time, Sakura?”

Sakura glanced around her and searched for any signs that would point to where, and when, they had come out in time. Minute details of signs and the architecture of the buildings helped make her assessment of the time they found themselves in.

She couldn’t say for sure, though, where exactly they were. There weren’t many details in their nearest vicinity. A grey lamppost, modern and not candle-lit. A white sign upon a wall with a street name, black paths and pavements. Large concrete buildings with flashing signs ahead. She shrugged. It was not enough and too much at the same time.

Her portals had always been the one piece of her magic that she had never mastered, and she wished with each jump they made through time that she had.

I can’t be sure, but I think it’s somewhere in the future. She said.

She spoke into their minds. An accident in her past had left her mute. One which she couldn’t remember, or didn’t want to. But she liked to communicate this way. It was faster than writing, and although the vampires couldn’t talk telepathically back to her, they could understand her. Unlike her handwriting.

“At least it’s dark.” George, a giant of a man, said. He got up off of the ground and dusted himself down before shaking his hood off. His blond hair stuck out on end and he patted it down and caught some of it between his sharp nails. He frowned. “Stupid thing. Do we have to wear them? I’m getting bolder each time.”

“Yes, unless you want to burn again?” Anthony replied.

“No,” George muttered, although he lifted the cloak between two fingers, narrowed his eyes at it and flicked it to one side.

George was a head and shoulders taller than Smith, who stood the closest to him in height, and he was muscular. His cloak had to be altered, and they had sewn several of the pieces of the heavy material together, just to fit his giant frame.

They had garnered the cloaks after one jump in Sakura’s portal. Instead of the usual darkness, they had come out in the bright sun. It almost ended the lives of the vampires. They had been lucky with a door to a dark building nearby and had broken into it. There they hid from the sun’s death rays.

The cloaks at least gave them some comfort that the sun wouldn’t torch them on the spot and end their long lives before they found their friend.

“This isn’t the place we need to be, though, is it?” Anthony said. His brown eyes narrowed at the concrete buildings. He took off his gloves and stuffed them in a pocket, revealing the sharp nails underneath.

I can’t be sure. I do sense darkness here, but not Fred.

“Then let us not drop our guard,” Anthony replied.

The four of them looked around. They waited for the dark, shadow, mask-like creatures to jump out at them at any minute. Their bodies tensed up for a fight.

“Oh, what’s this?” George exclaimed.

He broke everyone’s thoughts from the darkness that had entered their small group. George walked towards an unfamiliar object and grabbed it in his enormous hands. He patted a soft spot that rose out of its metal frame and pushed his weight upon it. The object groaned underneath him. The two wheels flattened to the ground, and he released it. It crashed onto the ground with a ring and lay there with a wheel turning around.

I believe that’s a bike. Sakura said. She eyed the object with disdain. She had tried one of those before, and it hadn’t gone well.

“A bike? What does it do?” George asked.

You’re supposed to get on the soft part and ride it. It’s a mode of transport. 

“Huh, looks too small for that.”

“Maybe it does for you, George,” Anthony chuckled. “How much longer do we have to wait to portal out of here?”

I’m afraid after the last two jumps I need a rest. Sakura replied.

The others turned toward her. She wore a pale complexion and dark purple bags sat under her bright purple eyes. And although their mission was urgent, they didn’t want her exhausted. Neither did they want to lose her by overexerting herself. The vampires had grown fond of the purple witch and thought of her as one of their own.

“Right then, let us find somewhere to hole up for the night,” Smith said.

He frowned at the tiny purple-haired woman, who barely reached five feet in height.

The group walked down the alleyway in no particular direction. Fast-food smells of Chinese and chips grumbled their stomachs and watered their mouths. They shied away from the shops with the scents of food. They had no money and had learnt that in the future they could not bargain with the storekeepers.

Above them, signs flashed in bright fluorescent lights. These lights didn’t hurt their eyes. But Smith, unaccustomed to them, jumped at every flicker. He banged into several people along the way, who gave him scathing looks, to which he bared his fangs. After his last bout of flinching had almost knocked Anthony over, Anthony had snapped, “would you quit that!”

“Sorry I can’t help it.”

Anthony narrowed his eyes at Smith’s raised hands. “Let’s just find somewhere and fast.”

There look. Sakura said and pointed towards a large building that had HOTEL written in lights upon it. We can rest up there.

“Is it safe?” Smith asked.

None of them replied to him. Instead, they rolled their eyes and walked toward the giant building. The path became clearer as people walked in the opposite direction from where they headed. The closer they got towards the large hotel in front of them, the further from the town and its flashing lights they seemed.

Large black iron gates with spikes framed the stone building. The path up to it was clean, and rows of plants lined each side. The vampires and Sakura took in the heady scents of roses. A warm yellow glow from the stained glass windows inside welcomed them. It drew their weary bodies nearer. 

“Guys?” Smith pestered, glancing at it through slitted eyes. “Guys, is it safe, though?”

“Never mind if it’s safe or not, we all need rest!” Anthony snapped at him, but before he could say any more, Sakura interrupted.

Shh! Something’s out there!

The group went on alert and looked all around. The buildings out here were darker, and they eyed each of them. They scrutinised the lack of light on the concrete. A shadow moved. One that was darker than normal.

 A chill crept their spines and the surrounding air froze in their mouths. They tasted acid on their tongues. There was no mistaking it. The masks were here.

Smith prodded Anthony and George in the sides and pointed towards a mass of dark shadows clustered around one building. The shadows around the building moved and as they both turned to look, they saw faint outlines of the dark bodies that hid within. 

There are too many! Sakura shouted.

The masked creatures drifted toward them. The dark shadow bodies swept their masked heads and scented the air in front of them. A pungent acidic smell rolled off of them in waves and turned into the vampire’s stomachs.

Gas masks filled most of the creatures’ faces. Their hands have large talon claws instead of fingers glinted black and menacing in the dark. Their entire bodies looked like worn leather, mottled with scales and tufts of hair rose from their scalps where the masks didn’t cover. The creatures were dangerous, dark and indistinguishable from the shadows in which they hid and formed from.

We must flee!

“Can we not fight them?” George asked. He cracked his knuckles and prepared himself for the fight ahead, to get revenge for his friend, who had been taken by the creatures.

“I don’t fancy going through another of your portals so soon,” Smith whined.

I thought you said I needed the practice, Smith?

“Yeah, you do, but my backside does not.”

The group backed off a few steps and kept their eyes fixed on the ever-growing number of masks which had surrounded them.

“I think you had best make that portal,” Anthony said.

He stepped in front of Sakura to protect her from the vile creatures.

Sakura sighed, but gathered her last reserves of energy from inside. She was bone-weary and had used up much of her resources already. If she found Fred the next time they went through, she would be in no fit state to help get him out.

She swirled her hands faster and faster until the same silvery light tinged with purple that had deposited them in this time swirled before her in a circle. It grew larger with each sweep of her hand. She thought of the place where she wanted to go and concentrated on it as much as possible. She hoped they would jump to the right place this time. 

While she swirled, the masked creatures attacked. Their clawed hands moving at speed towards their heads. The others moved and blurred in front of her eyes. Their movements are too fast for her to follow. Too fast for the masks to catch. She knew from experience that the vampires were formidable warriors.

What she saw, however, were several masked creatures flying away from her. Their bodies landed with sickening crunches somewhere in the darkness.

She closed her eyes and concentrated again, as more and more of the masked creatures pressed all around and closed them in.

A black tendril came out of nowhere. It shot out of the shadows and lashed Sakura on the back. She screamed in the vampires’ minds, not knowing what had hit her. The vampire’s head swivelled toward her as she stumbled and lost control of her magic. The portal began to close.

Her back arched, and another scream tore into the vampire’s heads as it struck again. Her robe shredded and deep red welts lined her back. Sakura turned around and sent a blast of purple magic in the direction in which the tendril had come from. She heard a thud as the magic collided with its target.

Sakura hurried to get the portal started once more, but it was too late. The last of the silver magic vanished from sight, and with it Sakura’s hope that they would reach safety.

Shoot!

“What is it?” She heard Anthony yell from somewhere. The three blurry bodies of the vampires kept the masked creatures from touching her.

The portal I lost it.

“Can’t you make another?” George pipped up.

No.

“Then we will fight our way out,” Smith said and blurred in front of her. He paused and frowned as he looked at her. “You don’t look so good.”

Something got me.

“A mask?” Smith asked.

No. Something else is here.

Smith’s frown deepened as Sakura’s voice weakened in his mind. He looked all around, but all he could see were shadows and the mask-like creatures.

“I see nothing here.”

It’s there. We must go! Sakura’s frightened voice spurred Smith into action.

“George, Anthony, time to leave!” He yelled out to them and scooped up Sakura, who tottered into his arms. He avoided touching her battered-looking back. Blood seeped out from her and into his fingers. “Oh no, Sakura.”

She shook her head and pursed her lips. The pain caused her vision to blur as she looked around them, searching for a way out.

The mask-like creatures surrounded them. Smith could see Anthony and George fighting them off. They kept them away from him and Sakura. Her body now drenched in sweat and blood in his arms. He bit his lip.

I will blast us a way out of here! Then get as far away as fast as you guys can. Sakura said, her voice in his mind weaker, and Smith wondered if she would have the strength to even help them out.

He shook his head at her.

I can do this, then I must rest. Just get far away. Even try the bikes.

Smith frowned. He didn’t like it. Not one bit, but he nodded at her. She sent him instructions on how to ride the bikes. She told him not to stop pedaling unless they unbalanced themselves or wanted to get off.

He watched her then as she gathered herself together through the immense pain. Her breath steadied, and she closed her eyes. She shot out her hand and a ball of purple light flew forth. It mowed down the masks in front of him.

 Smith saw the opportunity, yelled at the others and ran as fast as he could away from the shadows, and whatever vile creature lay in wait other than the masks within.

Smith turned a corner and spotted more of the bikes. He was breathing hard when George and Anthony ran up to him. Sakura slumped in his arms and even though she was tiny, her body acted like dead weight and weighed too much for him to carry far.

“Why are we stopping?” Anthony asked.

“Sakura told us to use the bikes. That we can help get us away quicker on them.”

George looked at the largest bike there and sighed, “I don’t think I will fit.”

“Yes, you will. Now just get on and peddle! We need to get her away from here as fast as we can.”

“Then I best carry her or her weight will become too much for you,” George replied.

“Are you sure? She is bleeding.” Smith said.

He opened his hand up. Red droplets of blood ran down his fingers and began pooling on the ground. 

George flinched and sucked in a deep breath. “I can do this. For her. For Fred.”

He gritted his teeth and Smith nodded as he handed over Sakura. George cradled her in one of his massive arms. With little thought, he clambered onto the bike and sat on its saddle and looked at Smith. “So how do these work?”

“Use the pedals and don’t stop. This,” He pointed to the bar at the front, “is for turning.”

“Ok,” George replied, and placed his feet up on the pedals and kept them turning. He moved and gathered speed with each rotation. This wasn’t so bad, he thought, as he made his bike speed along at a break-neck pace. His legs pumped as quickly as they could. The breeze sent his cloak streaming out behind him.

Smith and Anthony looked at one another before each jumped onto a bike and followed their large friend, who was now a speck in the distance.

End.

Thanks for reading,

S.McC Author of Elements

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