"Hey, Uncle Kip? Uncle Kip!" Meria yelled at her uncle from under the hood of the Chili Red Mini Cooper that had come into the Garage that morning.
"What?" Kip answered with an irritated tone.
"This guy's Coop has some seriously damaged shock absorbers. There's oil seeping on the piston rod and the outer tube's dented," Meria answered, "He's lucky he brought it in when he did or he might have been splattered on the side of the road by tomorrow."
"Shit. Well, that guy didn't look like he knew shit about cars. Make sure you tell him what to check for when he comes to pick it up, alright?"
"Yeah, alright." Meria answered, looking for the guy's phone number to call him up and give him the prices for installing the new shock absorbers.
She was getting really good. Kip knew it; Meria was getting more and more sure of herself everyday. Kip supposed it helped having her dad, mom, uncle, aunt, and everyone else who helped to raise her as ex-car thieves though, even though she didn't have the slightest idea about their unlawful pasts. However, he didn't think, those 14 years ago, just a year and 2 months after the death of Kalitri, when Memphis and Sway had Meria that she would be such an excellent mechanic.
Kip swept his greasy fingers through his even greasier brown hair, and looked around at the Raines' Garage, the best garage in Long Beach. Memphis and he had purchased it just 1 year after Meria had been born. And they all worked it, Kip, Memphis, Sway, and Boxer. It had grown real big, they had 5 separate garages in one garage, and they'd had to hire 5 extra guys to help out with it plus the four of them and Meria stopping in to help out after school. They'd made it through all the bumps along the way and for the last year and a half things have been closer to perfect then they had in a very long time. Kip let out a huge sigh at the thought of that and went back to working on the 2003 Nissan 350Z he'd been working on all morning.


"Hello?" The Cooper's owner answered after the 2nd ring.
"Hi, this is Meria from Raines' Garage, and I'm calling about your Mini Cooper." Meria responded in her most professional voice.
"Oh, yeah, did you find out what was wrong with it?"
Meria rolled her eyes, "Yes, your shock absorbers need immediate replacing."
"Oh," the guy said sounding obviously confused, "And what's that going to cost me?"
"It depends on what you want, basically we have the ones guaranteed to last you 5 years or the ones that'll last you 3 years. The one's that'll last 5 will cost about 200 and the 3 years will cost about 150."
"Ok, let's do the 5 years," The guy said, sounding a little unsure.
"Ok, it should be ready in about 4 hours, but we'll call you and let you know when it's done."
"Ok. Thanks."
"You're welcome, bye."
Meria hung up and let out a big sigh, people like that bugged her. People that didn't even know the basics of a car, all they knew was where to put the key.
She wiped her greasy hands on an already oily rag lying on her toolbox, and put her bleached blonde hair up. She hoped no one from school showed up tonight, her wife beater was covered in grease and her pants were practically stained black. She didn't think they would but on a Friday she never really knew.
She got a shock absorber from the supply closet and then started to remove the old one. She remembered the first time she was allowed to work on a car. She was 10 and she had been watching her mom work on cars as long as she could remember. She watched every time she had replaced an engine, changed oil, done a tune up, changed the tires, found a dead shock absorber. Her mom told her everything to look for in every situation, and Meria absorbed it like a dry sponge. And the first time she worked on a car, she had to replace the valve on a PCV system. She knew then and there she wanted to work with cars for the rest of her life. Her parents and aunt and uncle, and Auto, and Donny, and everyone had all sat back and watched the whole thing, and after she finished, they all clapped. She felt herself blush scarlet but she felt great just the same. With that last bit of reminiscing she finished installing the new shock absorber. Her uncle was standing against the wall with his arms folded across his chest and his foot against the wall behind him.
"Good job, kid." He said, unsurprised, "Now go home, your mom called, and dinner's ready for ya. I'll call the guy and tell him his Coop's ready."
"Alright, Uncle Kip." Meria said as she picked up her bag off the floor, "See ya later!"
Meria walked out of the garage to see the setting sun in the distance. Her house was only a 10 minute walk away, so she decided to take her time and make it 15 instead. She breathed in the air of Long Beach. She'd been born and raised here, and she loved it. She looked up and saw the small feathery clouds going from deep pink to orange. It was perfect, especially since the road was almost always deserted at this time.
Suddenly Meria noticed something she hadn't noticed during her intoxication of the sunset, tires, slowly rotating behind her. She didn't look back, didn't feel the need to. She just kept looking around, observing everything around her. She realized she didn't just stop to look at things enough. But a minute later, the car was still behind her. Even though she was walking rather slowly, it still hadn't passed her. A surge of slight panic went through her body. She felt the beat of her heart triple. She counted to 3 in her head. One-Mississippi, two-Mississippi, three-Mississippi. She started to sprint. The car sped up and passed her, but stopped 10 feet in front of her. The passenger door opened and a figure in black ran towards her out of it. She screamed and sprinted past him, but was swiftly caught. She felt a large gloved hand cover her mouth and the figure yank her towards the silver GTO and throw her violently in the back, while getting in himself. As soon as she felt his hand leave her mouth she let out an ear-piercing scream. She felt something hit the back of her head hard, and she went weak and plunged into darkness.