Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Truth or Dare (08/28/08)
TITLE: Speeding Down Hellway 66
By Joshua Janoski
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“I’m coming!” Jenna responded as she ran down the driveway.
Jenna was slim, with golden locks flowing to the small of her back. Her pink, Chevy t-shirt revealed her midriff and pierced navel. Tiny jean shorts barely covered her backside, and her pink Chuck Taylor shoes completed the ensemble.
Jenna hopped into the car as it peeled away from the curb.
“I better not be late tonight, Jenna.” Jared said with frustration as he zipped in and out of traffic.
Jared’s mind drifted off to thoughts of tonight’s race. His obsession with street racing began on his 16th birthday. Jared’s parents gave him “Carla,” a 69’ Camaro in need of restoration. Jared invested every extra dime and hour of time he had into transforming Carla into the ultimate muscle machine. Carla was restored from the inside out and souped-up with performance parts. She boasted a whopping 400 horsepower, and was among the fastest cars in town. Her paint job was midnight black with viper red racing stripes running parallel down the front of her hood.
“Jared!” Jenna screamed. Jared snapped out of his daydream and swerved to miss an elderly woman crossing the intersection.
“You almost killed her!”
“Well she shouldn’t have been crossing the street so slowly!”
Jared’s family would have cringed at those words. Jared had a good upbringing with a respectable Christian father and stepmother. However, after Jared tried to contact his biological mother and was turned away, he began to rebel. His high speed lifestyle drove him onto the roads of drugs, alcohol, and sex. He was the life of the party and used the respect gained from racing to intimidate people.
“Pastor Thompson would like to meet with you.” Jared’s dad told him two days earlier.
“For the last time, I don’t want Pastor Thompson giving me a ‘pep talk’ about God! My life is fine like it is.” Jared snapped.
The rumble of Carla’s V8 engine broke the serenity of the empty desert highway as the car left town.
“Who are you racing tonight, babe?” Jenna asked.
“Oh my gosh! No way!” Jenna shrieked in typical valley girl fashion.
“I was dared to do it, and no reputable street race turns down a dare.”
Jared arrived at a road block that said “Closed for Construction.” Cars lined up in the sand on each side of the sign. Jenna jumped out to mingle with the girlfriends of the other racers.
“Jared.” Rico said smugly. “Do you seriously have the guts to race me?”
Jared laughed. “I don’t turn down a dare, and my goal is to be #1. Let’s go, punk!”
Both cars lined up on the closed side of the barrier. Tonight’s track was Highway 66, a very dangerous stretch of road. The highway was crumbling, the curves were tight, and the desert sand was a hazard to most sports cars.
“Gentlemen start your engines,” the girl at the starting line yelled.
Carla’s engine roared next to Rico’s 67’ Mustang Fastback. Jared pushed in the clutch, waiting for the signal. Rico glanced at Jared, but Jared’s eyes stayed fixated on the pavement ahead.
The checkered flag was waved. “GO!”
Tires squealed, as both cars left behind black streaks and the smell of burnt rubber. Rico pulled in first by a fraction of a second, but Jared quickly gained speed and caught up. Both racers were neck and neck as they approached the first turn. They drifted together around the corner, tires screaming as they returned to the straightaway. Jared’s palms began to sweat. His car’s suspension was not built for curvy roads like this, but he couldn’t turn back now. He accelerated and shifted Carla into fourth…
The roaring sound of Carla’s engine turned into the beeping sound of a heart monitor. Jared opened his eyes to see his dad standing over his hospital bed.
“You’re awake! Thank God you were wearing your seat-belt; otherwise you would have flown through the windshield when you hit that gigantic pothole.”
Jared thought about what would have happened had he died. Where would he have gone? Would his street racing reputation have mattered anymore? Would beating Rico have been enough to save his soul? No! He still didn’t need God… or did he?
Jared’s father left the room as Pastor Thompson walked in, Bible in hand. The pastor spoke.
“Jared, can I speak with you about a road you haven’t yet traveled, a straight and narrow road?”
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