This story was written in answer to Fandango’s One Word Challenge. Word – ‘Finish’
This story also includes the Your Daily Word Prompt word – ‘Prevail’
Here’s what I came up with …
Street-Race for Life
The Aerodrome race track was cloaked in misty rain. The roar of engines signalled the start if a not-so-legal race. This was a street racing competition with racers driving turbocharged Mazda, Nissan and Subaru cars. Each visible by its neon lights and the flames kicking out of its exhaust as it hurtled around the track.
In the black Nizmo with red neon lights was Wes. The fear in his eyes told of more than a race at stake. He gunned his accelerator and drifted passed a Scooby. He’d given-up street racing when he turned twenty-one. Now at almost fifty, he was forced back behind the wheel. He needed the two-hundred-and-fifty grand prize money to save his twelve-year-old daughter, Maddie. She’d been diagnosed with a rare cancer and only specialist treatment in Switzerland could save her. This race was Wes’s only chance to prevail and get her that life-saving treatment.
Hitting the straight, he shot-up through the gears and powered into fifth place. Fiery torches, phone lights, loud music and cheering reached his ears over the roaring engines as he whipped by the stands.
Ahead, the violet Mazda and blue Scooby in the third and fourth were jousting for position. Sparks fly as the two collided and bounded apart into the hard-right bend. The Scooby oversteered and entered the gravel, only to lurch back onto the track.
“Crazy fools, this isn’t a destruction derby.” Wes braked a touch, made it around the bend, and then hit the turbo to regain his one-hundred-and-forty miles per hour speed. As the track straightened he swore.
Something exploded ahead.
The violet Mazda slewed across the track, its lights going out as it smashed into the Scooby and flew high into the air.
Wes swore, his car going right under the flying Mazda as the scooby thundered off the track and buried itself in the tire wall. Wes glanced in his rear-view mirror to see an explosion of flames as the Mazda impacted the track behind him. “Bloody hell!”
“Racers, the collision will not end this race. Be mindful of the debris and get over that finish line.” Came the ordered over the driver’s headsets.
“Wes fixed his leaf-green eyes ahead set his jaw. “Right on!” he sucked in a breath, hurtled around the next bend. He eased up to one-fifty miles per hour and reeled in the yellow Silvia in second. It was twenty years newer than the Nizmo. Yet Wes smiled, with the modifications his car was carrying, he should catch it alright.
Two bends later they were hood to hood and grappling for second place. The Silvia’s driver Conan couldn’t resist flipping Wes off as they roared down the back straight.
Wes laughed at him and took a position for the coming bend. A little gas saw him nudged ahead as he punched the handbrake and screeched into the bend sideways.
Conan had gone in straighter and tighter.
Wes thumped back in his seat, the Silvia slammed into his rear bumper slewing him off course. Gravel hammered against the underside of the car, as he dropped down the gears, gained traction and fired back onto the track. “You’ll pay for that, Conan!” he yelled as they raced through an S-bend and back toward the pitlanes.
Once more, Wes used his turbo to catch-up. He came alongside Conan’s Silvia and wound down his window. “Hey, pal. Looks like you need a break!” he yelled over the roaring engines.
“No chance!” Conan gave a two-fingered salute.
“Goodbye!” Wes had been easing passed him at the last moment he jinked the wheel left and crunched into the Silvia. Glass broke and a wing-mirror vanished as Conan’s car disappeared into the pitlane, spinning like a top.
Wes refocused on the track. He was sweating and trembling with adrenaline. “Last lap. If I catch the last car, I can save Maddie. Come on, Wes! You have to do this!” he told himself as he sped passed the flaming barrels around the stands of cheering fans.
There was the gold Skyline. Easily the fastest car on the track, Wes gained but slowly. On the deep bend out of the front straight, he punched the clutch and came around it sharply, back on the accelerator and turbo he caught up dramatically. Kicking up debris from the crash earlier, he swore. His windscreen crazed, making it difficult to see.
The gold Skyline’s brakes came on ahead. The last driver had seen the wrecked Mazda on its side – late. The Skyline was forced to slow left the track to avoid a collision.
Wes grinned as he powered through a haze of smoke and twisted metal leaving the wreckage behind.
The Skyline was only three car lengths ahead now.
Wes saw the next bend coming fast, he popped the handbrake. jinked around it and flashed through the gears as fast as he could.
Two car lengths gap between the cars now.
Nothing changed on the back straight, or the next bend. It was in the S-bend that Wes’s superior drifting helped him. He whizzed in and out of the turns without losing a beat. He reeled in the Skyline and drew level with it. A look left gave him a shock. “Martine!” he and Martine had been lovers when he raced years ago. Apparently, she’d never stopped racing.
The blonde racer looked his way and gaped.
Wes’s headset crackled. “Wes, why are you racing again?” she asked as they raced on neck and neck.
“My daughter damn it.” Wes felt tears burning his eyes as he urged his car onward.
“Shit, your daughters Maddie in the paper, isn’t she?” Martine replied.
The two cars roared passed the pitlanes.
Only one bend and a half the straight to the flag.
“Yeah, that’s her. She’s dying damn it.” Wes set himself and hurled his car around the bend.
Martine had the upper hand, she accelerated passed and blocked his route forward. “I’m sorry …”
Wes heard the headset click off. He pulled wide and floored his car but Martine was winning the race. He shook his head no chance now—
The Skyline had come within feet of the finish line. It braked, went into a donut slide and flashed passed Wes.
He gaped as his eyes met Martine’s streaming with tears as he passed her and crossed the finish line first. By some miracle, he’d prevailed in his most important race ever.
“Why’d you let me win, Martine?” he asked once he caught up with her outside the track later.
“I can win any race I want. I’ll make my money next time. Take your purse for winning this one and save your daughter okay.” Martine hugged him. “I want to see her fit and well in the paper’s soon.”
“You’re a hero, Martine. I promise to bring her to thank you personally.” Wes wiped his eyes as he looked at the winners check; grasped in his shaking hand.
“Nah, I just did the right thing. You’re the hero racing for your daughter. Now bugger off and give her the good news.” Martine grinned as she climbed into her car and roared away.
Wes looked at the stars above his head and said: “Thank you!”
Have a great day!