Night Flight

Night Flight

The wind rushing over the windshield of the motorcycle was cool that night, invigorating, with just a touch of moistness. The road was empty all along this stretch at one am, nothing but black pavement and white stripes. I twisted the throttle and watched the tach climb rapidly. The speedo said I was doing 90 mph but the smooth road made it feel like I was just drifting along. The exhaust note was a mild drone, the ride was smooth almost like a sewing machine but when I tweaked the throttle, again the bike surged ahead almost instantly driving the speedo up to 110 mph.

The pavement had areas of mist lying in low places and the occasional patch of fog added to the almost supernatural feel of the night. The moon had been a round full white lantern floating just above the horizon when I started out but now it was high in the sky and at my back. The moons glow made the landscape visible but stole the colors from the long needle pines that thickly grew along the highway turning them into black and gray parodies of their daytime selves.

Ahead was a steep curve with a strong banking that opened into a low rise before becoming flat and straight. Rushing straight at the curve at 110 mph, I hit the front brake at the last possible instant. Sparks flew from the pipes and center stand as the shocks compressed from centrifugal force at the apex of the curve. Loosing 40 mph to the curve I dropped to third gear and whacked the throttle hard to regain my speed. When I came to the rise at the end of the curve I was accelerating so hard the front wheel skimmed above the pavement for a few yards before regaining contact softly. The road was at least two miles straight ahead from here so I accelerated hard and up shifted at red line twice before settling for fifth gear and 120 mph. The stripes on the road began to blur as I continued to accelerate, finally hitting top end at 150 mph. Still the motorcycle seemed to float along, rock steady.

I enjoyed the feeling of power the engine transferred to my loins and body. My peripheral vision was just a blur and the road came to me so fast that I could only focus on objects at the limit of my headlight. Suddenly out of nowhere and seeming to come at me was an another motorcyclist on the shoulder of the road. No lights or flashers just an instant of bike and rider dark and still, barely registering in my mind as I flashed past. I hit the brakes hard, decelerating with a vengeance to a complete stop. In the rear view mirrors, could be seen the glint of chrome in the moonlight and a figure leaning on the bike.

For a moment, I almost decided to go on. Maybe the fellow biker had just stopped to admire the view or maybe he had stopped to rest. At last, I decided to go back and make sure there was no problem. After the rush of air at 150 mph, standing still was nearly stifling and the heat rising from the V4 between my legs was almost palpable. Turning around with one fluid motion, slowly I motored back down the highway to confront the lonely figure now standing in the middle of the road helmet in hand. As I approached the figure standing by the road it suddenly hit me this is a woman. In the back of my mind something was screaming, this is not what it seems, but I ignored it. Her skintight jet-black leathers didn’t gleam at all in the moon light like black leathers should, almost like they absorbed all the moons light and were darker than dark should be in the full moonlight.

I pulled up along side and asked the obvious question, “Do you need any help?”

Her answer of “No I am just waiting” was a surprise.

I took closer look at her, voluptuous in build, skin pale white in the moonlight with a long mane of black hair. Suddenly the dark misty road began to look even more like a dream. Fog was beginning to become thicker rising up all around us as I shut down my bike and asked. “What are you waiting for?”

The woman in black walked closer to me and in a low voice replied. “Waiting for you.”

Surprise must have been written all over my face as she said. “Follow me back beyond the curve in the road, I stay just beyond there.” And pointed back down the road from where I had come.

The woman walked with a deliberate sway back to her motorcycle and got on, pulling her helmet down over her long hair. Her bike started up with a roar and she turned to me with a gleaming smile and said. “I bet you can’t keep up with me!” so I start up my bike and we race away together. Faster and faster, she goes easily accelerating just beyond my own powerful machine, 90, 100, 110-mph. Now side by side she continues to accelerate towards the curve, I keep up determined to match her all the way. 125, 135, 150 mph, I am at top end. Still she leads me on, the curve is fast approaching but she does not slow. I begin to dread the curve, I know I can’t take it at this speed and I know neither can she but she continues steady on.
Suddenly I can see the curve in the headlight, I grab the brakes and start to feel the tires loose their bite on the pavement. I am fighting for control, sliding sideways as the bike tries to stay on the pavement. Sparks fly off my bikes lower reaches as I finally get the huge weight of my motorcycle back under control and on the road as I slide through the curve. At the other side of the curve as I ride out the woman in black is nowhere to be seen. No lights, no side roads, just me and the drifting white fog in the moonlight.

As I come to a stop in the highway, a cold chill runs down my spine. Slowly and deliberately, I ride back the way I had come searching for some sign of the woman in black. However, no sign of anyone else was reveled in the headlight glow. No side roads, no sign of running off the road and wrecking, nothing to tell the fate of the woman in black. Slowly after walking through the curve to make sure there is no sign of where the woman in black went. I get back on my bike and ride back to town.

At a pub frequented by motorcyclists that sits on the side of the road leading out onto the stretch of highway 17 I decide to stop and have a beer before going home. The bartender, a friend named Frank, who I have talked to many times before says hello as I step up to the bar and lay my helmet on the stool next to me. “Beer Please” are my only words. He looks at me in a strange way, fills a cold mug with draft, stands across from me, and watches me drain it with one long gulp. “Another” he asks with raised eyebrows, “yes” is my short answer.
As Frank sits the mug in front of me, he asks, “Is something bothering you?” I hesitate, I am not sure if I want to tell of my recent experience, finally after drinking down the second mug I nod my head. “Something very odd just happened at the double s curve down on highway 17.”

His eyes immediately light up with interest. “Now what would that be? You see a UFO?” His voice was not as condescending as his words.

“No I replied, something a little more odd than even an alien space ship.” His look was quizzical but he didn’t ask any questions, waiting I guess, to see if I would volunteer what I had seen. “Give me another mug and I’ll tell you what I saw tonight” was my answer to his questioning look. As he filled the mug, I thought about what had happened down the highway and wondered if I should really tell such a story. I had no evidence to back up my claims, and the memory was beginning to feel almost dream like. However, as Frank set the third beer on the bar I started my tale.

“Frank, you do know that tight S curve about fifteen miles south on Rt17 that everyone likes to see how fast they can fly through?” “Sure, replied Frank, everyone brags about how fast they go through that curve.” “Well tonight I almost didn’t make that curve but I had company when I went into it but not when I came out!”

Frank hesitated, looking at me intently his next words were a surprise. “ I’m betting your company in that curve had a few curves of her own, am I right?”

Immediately I blurted out, “How did you know that?”

Franks next words were even more unexpected, “Let me tell you what I think you saw before I tell you how I know. Just after the curve, you saw another biker on the side of the road, as though someone was broken down. You went back to see if you could help and it was a woman, pretty much what you would think of as the perfect ten.” The look on my face must have been enough to confirm he was on the right track. Frank went on, “ she said she was waiting for you, told you to follow her, and dared you to try and beat her through the curve, am I right so far?”

I was silent for a few moments, as bizarre as my encounter was the fact the Frank could tell me what I had seen stunned me. “Yes, you are right! A woman with long black hair, milky white skin and tight black leathers. How did you know?”

“I hear a lot of stories, lots of bikers come in her after riding that length of Rt17 and several have told me that story. The details are different for each guy, sometimes the girl is a blond , a red head, or a dark skinned beauty but the end is always the same. She rides into the curve at an insane speed and disappears. Always happens on the full moon at about the same time. As far as I know, it’s been going on for about 10 years. A few guys have tried to look for her again, most never saw her again two of them did. Neither of them made it through the curve and they crashed. One of them survived and he said he met the same woman and tried to catch her. The rider who crashed and died looking for her lived long enough to tell the EMTs that he had caught her. I haven’t heard about any more sightings of her until now. I had thought maybe that one death had satisfied her. You are the first to report seeing her since he died.”

My thoughts whirled around in my head. I was already planing to go back and try to find her again. The look on my face must have been enough for Frank to guess my thoughts. “Don’t go looking for her again, I can’t explain who or what she is but one look at her should be enough! Think about what you saw no one could have made that curve at her speed and where did she go? I don’t think anyone really wants to know where she went.” Nodding slowly I acknowledged the wisdom of Franks words but I knew in my heart I would have to look for her again!”
Michael Hissom

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One Response to Night Flight

  1. rigney says:

    Wild, plausible, and reminds me quite a bit about the story of “Shackles Run”.

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