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(Author’s note: I haven’t done a 300 word short in a while, until today.)

The intermittent revving and idling of a motorcycle funnelled through the short space of her opened window, its loudness sufficient to challenge EPA standards for hearing.

Lanie obsessed with the machines, her distaste known to anyone who interacted with her in a moment when a two-wheeled engine passed near. None begrudged her the enmity. At the sweet age of five, a young rider downshifted, wrist-flicked the gas, and swerved into the meat of a curb-hugging puddle. Walkside, Lanie readied her hopscotch move, an act interrupted by the aural charge.

Closest to the muddied water, Lanie caught the brunt of its cold splash. She screamed and pushed backward, domino to three unable to counter her momentum. Play session ended, each retreated to different homes, where loving parents removed clothing, cleansed skin, and salved wounds acquired on the fall to hard concrete.

Lanie didn’t choose her fear as lifelong companion. A closed window, a wince, a muttered expletive, all she did by rote when bothered. With the newest inconvenience, she stewed over why the rider shattered neighbourhood tranquillity, when other transportation emitted what aggregated into background din.

The engine redlined in roared power, a feat matched by Lanie. She rushed the door and crossed the street, a streak of blue fire intent on a life-changing act.

He never saw her storm, the teen that tinkered and adjusted. Crouched in pondering, he fell as a leg swung over his prized possession, kicked it into gear, and spread a streak of discarded rubber proclaimed by a malodorous smoke of bluish grey. He questioned hearing a rebel whoop. He disbelieved the yeehaw. His bike disappeared past the lazy crest of a hill, portal to who knew where.

“Mom, my bike…” the young man said as he slinked through the door. “Mallory’s grandmother just stole it.”