• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 04
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You Can Take One Memory into the Next Life

Sun glint on spinning wheel was the last thing she saw. The last thing she heard was his last word exhaled in shattered-glass breath.



Kickstand down, helmet off. Rachael dismounts. A downdraft from the overpass catches her breath and jumpstarts her heart.

The doorman waves her in past the queuing Harley hipsters. Heat slaps as she pushes through the crowd, shedding her leather and tossing it to Marty behind the bar. The room smells of motorbike grease, char-broiled burgers, good smoke and cheap beer. Tight black dress reckless as a bomb about to explode, she catches the eye of the DJ in his crow’s nest perch. Climbs onto the knife-pocked bar and dances for someone she can’t remember and the emptiness she wants to forget.

Spotlights cobweb the floor and there, on the edge of it all, the glint of metal. Rachael looks away before she can’t. Crouches. Downs a pint in one pull. Shouts over the sing-along roar, “Who’s the guy in the chair?”

Marty heaves the glass rack from the dishwasher and waves the steam away. “That’s Jake. Poor bastard.”

“What happened?” she asks, though in this place there’s only one answer.

“Too fast on a bend in the Hills. Hit a slick. No helmet. Miracle he’s alive.”

“Never seen him before.”


You Can Take One Memory into the Next Life

“Funny. He asked about you.”

Rachael’s sweat ices as a fear in her chest ripens. She grabs her coat. Her helmet. Heads towards the door but like a moth in the headlights of his unseen stare, she’s pulled across the room.

He’s familiar as a forgotten dream. Or, another life. One with no helmet. No leather. No fear. Hair whipping. Eyes stinging. Heart singing.
         Go, faster.
“Hi,” she says as their eyes meet and the world stills. She tries not to notice his wheelchair. The Bud in one hand, the other in his lap. “Do I know you?”

He looks like he’d shrug if he could, then points with trembling hand. “Glad to see you remember to wear that.”

“I always remember my helmet,” she says.

“And I always remember you.”