Chapter 15

Dirt, Chad and Kurt got the crowd to move back to a safe distance and the drivers got into their cars and were moved up to the start that had been marked with yellow spray paint. Denan stayed a bit further back in the crowd, not wanting to make it obvious while Eddie had gone over to his own car and along with Melissa they sat on the bonnet, like usual Melissa showed no interest in the racing preferring to spend the time texting on her phone and Eddie was giving it all a once over glance now and again and at the same time he quietly enjoyed his drink. Out on the road the four cars had their engines running though remained motionless Erin had managed to get her car to the middle section of the road though she was sure it was only allowed because the guy with the Sti whose name she now knew was Charles wanted to keep her close and within his sights.

'He is such a try-hard.' She mumbled and when she took a sidelong glance to her right she saw him looking straight back at her with the exact same smug smile, and he even wiggled his eyebrows in a suggestive manner.

'Ugh.'

Erin quickly turned away and focused back on the flat stretch of road in front. Dirt shooed Kurt and Chad away while he walked to the middle and brought the PA system back up to his mouth.

'Now, this is where the fun really begins, we're kicking things off with a quarter mile drag race.'

'These guys have three chances to win the money but in order to do so they will have to win 2 out of the three races.'

'This race ain't just about the car its about the skill, let's see who is willing to put it all on the line.' He explained. He raised his left arm in the air his hand revealing a bright red rag.

'On your marks…get set….GO!'

His hand dropped the red rag and all four cars instantly charged forwards blitzing past him leaving behind a cloud of smoke, burnt rubber and there was even a slight hint of NOS in the air and all that could be seen as the cars flew down the road is a fuzzy blur of colors and it looked like they were still in the same formation as they were at the starting line. The RX-7 had managed to squeeze its front bumper in front of Charles and Erin's cars while the Civic and Supra were not too far behind the pack, both jostling for prime position and avoid being pushed to the back. Erin didn't pay any attention to any of this she just kept her focus on the road needing to concentrate; drag races were always a little bit different and like the drift races one small error of judgment could be costly for a racer. She put her car into second gear and pushed in front of the others though it wasn't long before Charles and RX-7 caught up again she knew they had probably waited for her to make her move she couldn't help but let out a little laugh.

'Oh so they can't make their own decision and have to wait for someone else to go first. Hmm…well you should never trust your competition.' She remarked.

'What the?' she exclaimed suddenly, further down the stretch of open road she just manage to catch sight of a large obstacle of some sort it looked like a truck but instead of facing the road vertically it had been strategically placed at a horizontal angle instead, and leaving little room to pass she only hoped it wasn't an oil tanker truck.

'Shit this is not good.' She said she didn't have a lot of options the cars were still too close together and they were gaining ground on the truck. Erin shut her eyes for a split second moved one hand from the steering wheel flicked up a switch and turned a tap in the clockwise direction.

'Here goes nothing.' The sound of air popping gave her the signal she needed her free hand got back on the steering wheel she mumbled a quick little word and then hit the NOS. She jerked forwards abruptly and as the car sped down the road closing in faster on the truck her eyes stung and her cheeks felt like it was being torn apart. Unable to see properly through her watery eyes she swung her car to the left side and heard a loud blare of a car horn from behind, which was quickly followed by an even louder smash. Erin didn't have the time to turn to look she sped on ahead unaware if any cars were behind her after the sound; she was quickly approaching the end, she could just make out a flood of colors and something that resembled a checkered flag of sorts, it had barely registered with her before she flew past it. She hit the brakes the cars' tires screeched and it took her a couple of seconds to get it under control, and when the car finally came to a stop a cloud of dust and smoke surrounded her but she stayed still with hands on the steering wheel.

'Did that just happen?' she asked out loud; sounds of other car engines brought her from her thoughts as the cloud and smoke began to clear she looked around. Charles, the RX-7 and the Supra all made it across the finish line but the Civic was nowhere to be seen Erin guessed that was the car to make the loud smash noise she hoped the damage to the car wasn't serious and the driver was all right, nobody in the crowd appeared to show very much concern they were too busy cheering the drivers that had made it. Erin opened her door and got out the cheering went up a few more decibels she gave a slight nod at the crowd.

'Well, well'

Erin rolled her eyes refusing to even look in Charles' direction he had a smirk on his face while walking towards her.

'Look, I'm not interested so you shouldn't bother wasting your time.' Erin said still not looking his way.

'Oh come now, don't be like that. It is pretty obvious we have plenty in common, and would make a perfect duo together.' He said she snorted.

'Please.'

'You wouldn't know what you are missing without me.' He added; Erin this time did turn around she cocked one eyebrow up.

'Do you think I am actually that naïve?' she asked Charles' facial expression didn't change he still looked determined and arrogant.

'Nobody has ever turned me down.' He answered.

'Well I am so get a life.' She said and closing her car door she turned away from him and walked off; she noticed some of the people in the crowd were whispering to each other and pointing to something back on the road, Erin glanced over her shoulder just as a tow truck slowly came into view with the Honda Civic attached to the rear the tow truck was also followed by an ambulance.

'Oh no.' She said

'Humph.' Charles said from behind her Erin rolled her eyes she really didn't' want to have him hanging around anywhere near her.

'Hey guys!' someone shouted all of the attention went to a guy standing in the middle of the now empty road, a guy dressed in an all black track suit with a white backward-facing baseball cap waved his arms in the air.

'What do you want?' Charles asked.

'Don't you give my that attitude, all you racers are expected back to the start line now.' The guy remarked.

'But we've just lost a racer they can't be serious.' Erin protested.

'They'll find someone else to take the vacant place now get a move on the TV cameras need to see some action.' The other guys went back to their cars started the engines and headed back to the top of the road Erin though hung back for a few minutes longer, she didn't feel it was right for them to continue on with the racing after what happened, she didn't know what sort of condition the driver of the Honda Civic was in though judging from how badly wrecked the car looked when the tow truck came past it put a sick feeling in her stomach.

Flashback…

'Dad I don't know, are you sure you think I'm ready for this?' Erin asked sitting opposite her dad at the dining table while they had an early dinner, Richard scowled deeply at his daughter.

'If I didn't think you were ready I wouldn't even let you anywhere near those rouge drivers out there.' He said.

'You have had all the training I can give you; and you've seen the tactics those drivers use to win.' He added.

'Yes but—'

'No but's Erin. We are going there tonight, it's your first one and I expect nothing less than a win.' Richard answered he finished the food on his plate stood up rather abruptly and strode to the sink dumping his empty plate in there then turned around.

'Now I've got to make a few phone calls so you get ready and wait for me out front.' He said Erin just nodded her head continuing to eat her meal Richard left the kitchen going towards his office she heard the office door slam shut and then silence. Erin stood up from the table left her plate in the sink as well and; feeling giddy and excited with what was about to happen she bounded off from the dining area and headed over to the garage; flipping the inside light on for several seconds she stood at the doorway leaning against the frame and simply stared at her ca, a black Skyline. At the start she wasn't too fond of the color worried people would assume automatically it would be a guy driving the car. Though according to her dad when they had been out practicing on the track and closed off roads; curious on-lookers had remarked about her ability and the apparent talent and ease with which she controlled the car. Eventually Erin didn't worry what anybody else thought about her even if they felt street racing was only for guys. Erin took the car keys out of her pocket and unlocked the car the indicator lights flashed twice and heard the lock's un-click she stepped up to the driver's side opening the door and before climbing inside she pressed another button attached to the car keys and the garage door slowly began to move. Once the door was completely open she got in started the engine and backed the car out of the garage, night had already fallen the moon was half covered by dark clouds with a few sprinkling of stars. Just as Erin had finished backing out her dad appeared at the entrance of the garage he looked a little bit irritated and possibly even slightly worried Erin climbed out.

'Dad?'

'I won't be long Erin, you stay here and I'll go and check the place is locked up before we leave.' Richard answered Erin wanted to protest because she knew the security was fine and her dad had nothing to worry about though she knew it would be pointless her dad always made sure security was tight, he didn't want anything to go missing, he didn't want strangers around especially at the garage he had built far too much for it all to be washed away. Richard went back inside closing the door Erin didn't get back into her car she left the engine running and causally looked around at the side street; momentarily her eyes narrowed in suspicion when she spotted two men dressed in casual street attire get out of a car, a white Subaru Forrester and cross the road to the same side of her dad's garage. They stopped and spoke to each other for a few seconds, one guy walked straight past Erin he didn't even give her as much of a glance, and the other guy had disappeared from sight completely Erin frowned wondering where he'd gone too so fast. When she turned to look for the first who had walked past her, he too had gone from sight she walked a little further away from her car towards the side alley leading to the back of the garage but saw nothing and just as she was about to give up and return to her car that was when she heard it. She froze mid-step unsure if the sound came from where she thought it was, it didn't seem right, it wasn't possible. Then almost as if reality suddenly kicked in she spun round broke into a run making as fast as her feet would carry her to the back. What she saw was not what she had expected several things were set on fire, the two men she had spotted earlier stood together laughing her dad was nowhere to be seen.

'Hey!' Erin yelled the two men stopped their conversation turning towards her; and though there wasn't much good light for her to seen she noticed one of the men move his arm upwards and she just made out the sight of a gun.

'You should not be here. If I were you I would keep your mouth shut turn around and go back from where you came.' The first man said.

'Where's my dad?'

'It's none of your business.'

'Where is he?'

'I said shut your mouth.'

Erin went to speak again when her head stung in severe pain she winced and cried out; attempting to turn around to see where the sudden pain came from she, instead stumbled forwards her knees became weak causing her to collapse to the ground.

End Flashback…

Erin shook herself from her thoughts looking at her surroundings some of the crowd had moved off probably to entertain themselves until the next race nobody took any notice of her.

'Hey.'

She saw Denan walking towards her looking a little bit worried.

'Is everything ok? People are wondering what had happened when you didn't come back with the others.' He remarked.

'I'm fine I was just thinking about stuff.' She said.

'Like what?'

'Do you know what happened to the other driver?' she asked.

'The only word I got was he was in a stable condition nothing too serious but he's not going to be racing anymore tonight other then that no one knows,' he said.

'That was crazy having the bloody truck in the middle of the road.' Erin answered.

'Well Eddie likes people to be challenged, he uses it as some type of psychological advantage as he calls it. The more barriers out there for the other drivers, the better he understands their weaknesses and uses it against them when he races.' Denan explained.

'By putting them in danger.'

'Probably.'

Erin didn't like the sound of it her dad had told her many stories when he racing rally racing, the drivers had to face a lot of different obstacles out there, some were unexpected and it always put them to the test but there were times when even those he considered a friend would risk it all just to win.

'Come on they're expecting you in the next race now.' Denan added she nodded her head and got back into her car and with Denan leading the way they re-joined the main group at the other end of the road.