Jewel sat behind the wheel, tension running all through her muscles, her hands holding the steering wheel with such a strong grip. In her mind she replayed the details of the race. Every driver was to give 1000$. Spectators could give as much as they wanted with a minimum of 50$. If they could pull just ten drivers they could hope to raise at least enough to hopefully convince the terrorists to give her mother back- if she won.
The brave ones could play against their cars. A high risk considering the cost of the cars and the expense of arming them for battle.
As it was, she was the only female in the race, she would be up against people she had never met and if the big names showed up, the Trevors, the GI Joes and such, this race would quite literally LITERALLY be the race of this lifetime! Eddy had spared no detail, he intended it to be the ONLY race of its kind and had chosen the worst bloody road. Many people had speculated on using the road before but no one had tried, and with good reason; it contoured round hills with areas of very steep uphill climbs and so many dumb curves. Studying the map, Jewel almost cried.
Kiria-ini road literally wound down a hill.
It started as a straight road for almost half a mile, with beautiful scenery all round, giving access to view a beautiful town forged on a hill, the only one of three in the whole country. The old beauty of the town lied to you, drew you to it, a town colored by dusty roads and what seemed to be staircases of building upon building, a town with seemingly no entry, and this lovely straight road passing right by its edge, like the shore afraid of the secrets of the beach.
The road then wound into four curves each one seamlessly leading to the other, bends so sharp yet deceptively calm for the beautiful scenery around it, lush greens on both sides of this dangerously curved road, and one particular curve like a siren had called many upon their deaths, motorists who had been bewitched by the scenery and had missed the sharp turning upon the the third curve that had never seen railing upon its banks yet had claimed more than the black spots known and marked elsewhere.
The road, ever calm, would then take you to it’s most charming delights of all, the scenic bridge where the turbid waters of River Thaganaini ran, waters so rapid and enraged not even the anger of a raging wife’s seething could hope to march, waters not too happy to be encaged by the fifty year old bridge that hung above it. That bridge was the cornerstone of Kiria-ini road and one would not hope to exist without the other. That bridge could also carry only one car at a time, in a road designed to be a dual carriage, a recipe for disaster, death by beauty.
As if the road could not get any worse, it then led you up a hill as it guided you away from the beautiful river, lying to you that the worst was over , it would then turn take you two curves up hill before granting you a rapid deceleration to the mother of all rivers, Thagana, which Thaganaini spills its contents to. A river so large it powered 10 of the country’s dams, and one that you could easily fly into at the speeds of a race.
Eddy’s circuit then turned left into a straight stretch that would double up as the drag race track before morphing into a sharp Y junction to which racers would turn left and uphill, making their way behind the hill and its enchanting hill town towards the start of the race passing two small towns along the way. Towns notorious for having the worst of bumps ever designed. You see the area had a shortage of engineers and locals had grown tired of their children ever sleeping in hospitals from fractured femurs and humerus while playing near the road, so they had taken matters into their hands and made what could best be described as small sharp mini-hills to serve as bumps and were rather satisfied with their handiwork.
The whole circuit seemed something out of a comic book! That darn hill might as well be called death hill!
It was the longest, hardest track she had ever participated in. It meant having fuel on the go, a lot of skill on the road, the high possibility of cops along the way, towns meant people and bumps- the nuisances! She could already smell the many black holes, the bridge into one of the largest rivers in the country was also a tad bit scary. She did not how to bring speed plus such greatly needed care to this race. All she knew was she needed to win.
They had gone through all possible cars going into the race and the array was as far and as wide as the earth and the sky, from Evo’s, to Subaru’s, Fords, Mustangs, mini coopers, BMW’s, Audi’s. It almost felt as if everyone who was a speed junkie and had a car at home had decided to sign up. She figured it would be fun to have a German versus Japan battle just for laughs.
Eddy and Jewel mulled over whether to allow the Mini Cooper into the race and test out her latest project but that sounded dumb seeing the intensity and the importance of the race up ahead which left her with two choices really to take the Mercedes to the road because she was used to its handling and could almost bet she was one with the car or to take the WRX to the road because they had already made MAJOR alterations while they were developing it with Eddy for his major race. It was a no brainer really, but Jewel cursed the lengthy stay she had had out of the streets.
She felt so green.
Eddy assured her that he was sparing no cost. He really wanted Jewel to win, to save her mother and with the slight chance that it would convince her to get back on the road; even if for track only. He was steering Ed Inc towards a different path and it felt that the future of the new Eddy Inc was squarely on this race. It would open doors to them hosting races, an assurance that they were ready to go big scale. It was too much weight to place on such young shoulders but he was sure she could handle it.
Seated at the back of that wheel, Jewel was not so sure.
Considering the terrain and the circuit chosen, with its vast curves and bends, she knew she had a tough time ahead. She needed to train to do the one thing she wasn’t perfect in; drift! She would have to drift through those curves if she stood any chance in winning and she needed to do so split seconds faster than her opponents.
Drifting gave her nightmares. It came so easy to her when she was relaxed but evoked the worst of fears when told to do it under duress. Kind of like how gloves are so easy to wear until someone else is watching.
She remembered the last time the stunt had jammed on her. She had been with Eddy eager to show him she was ready for the big leagues. She had been barely 16, with a fake driving licence and a lot of gas up her feet. She had done it on the street, the street! The one place that She had been warned against. One, because if caught she would have to explain her fake licence. And two because you never knew with pedestrians and cyclists, everyone walked as if they had right of way every time on the road- and they did apart from when they didn’t and a driver’s first rule was to drive his car and that of the next while safeguarding those on the road. Drifting if not done professionally could really limit that and Eddy had sternly warned her. She had discovered why that day. She had come within inches of running a little boy over. Inches. And the guilt had ensured she would never freely try it again.
She seemed to have willed her mind to forget the skill altogether because today…
She tried…. the first, second, third…. hundredth time and nothing! She almost screamed. Her mother was out there somewhere depending on her and the stupid car wouldn’t badge. Like how hard was it to turn at a bend? Her frustration was palpable. She thanked God that Eddy had had the mind to put the oldest tyres available because all she smelt was burnt tyres and she hated it.
“God I don’t have time for this! I need to perfect this and move!” She thought as she revved the car ready to go at it again. Eddy had watched her for long enough and could not take it. She needed to breathe and she wasn’t.
“Jewel baby, relax you need to relax”
Jewel let out a guttural groan. What was wrong with this man?!
Eddy was confused. He had never seen her this frustrated.
“okay hunny; I know you know this, you’ve done it before a million times and you always did it for fun; same thing; throttle, clutch kick, steer, release the steering wheel allow it to turn catch, throttle and proceed.
Jewel was hearing him but not understanding. I mean it made sense but it wasn’t working, and she needed it to work, it had to work, there were no two ways to it- so much depended on it!
She revved the car again and tried for what seemed like the millionth time…..and failed!
She hit the emergency breaks bringing the car to a screeching stop and just grabbed the steering wheel like her life was somehow pulsating through it. This was not working!
Eddy knew she needed a break. She would achieve nothing this way. He was not sure how exactly to communicate that to her in this estrogenous state. Gratefully, she got out of the car, slammed the door and just left. The car was in the middle of the track and in no way parked but he did not think this was a good time to point it out. They all just watched Jewel walk out of the gate and hoped wherever she was going held hope.
In the little church on bent knee Jewel broke down. She cried like a little child unaware of how loud she was, unaware of her sobs, she just cried. She felt like Hannah in The Bible crying for her unborn child. She knew crying solved none of her issues but she could not help herself. She was so tired. She had no strength to question God; no strength to ask for anything. All the WHY’s in her heart chocked her and then dissolved into burning hot tears streaming down her cheeks.
She allowed herself to fall prostate on the ground and just lay herself bare before the Lord hoping that somehow God could hear the unspoken prayers present in her heart that her brain could not yet conjure. She hoped that God really did hear the broken and contrite Spirits because there was nothing else left in her.
She thought of her mother; probably in chains with a looming knife next to her ready to bring her back home in piecemeal and tears just flowed.
“Forgive me for every time I cursed her Lord. forgive me for every time I let my anger burn against her, Forgive me for always blaming her…. Forgive me Daddy and please spare her life Daddy; return her home whole. Our last conversation can not be about a flight Daddy Please …Give me another day with her to beg her forgiveness… To tell her I’m sorry, to tell her I love her
Sobs just broke out as she remembered the relationship she had had with her mother.
For ten days her mum had been in captivity and the whole world had known but her. She who had crucified her for years for not attending her father’s funeral. She who had considered her mother worthless because she had not made time. What excuses did she have now? That she had been broken hearted and switched off her phone? That she had ran off from home? That she did not watch the News that her mum supposedly hosted? All of that sounded so lame! In this generation of Social media, and whatsapp stories, Facebook, Twitter and their cousins, such news should have reached her, somehow!
There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus
But am I really in Christ Jesus? How do you forgive someone who cursed their mother? To death by the worst way and is now living out their dreams?
For by grace you are saved, through faith- and not from yourself, it is my gift, not by your works, so that you may not boast
God how am I to find 5 million dollars? How Father? by what miracle ?
I need you Daddy! This driving has always been for me a calming place and I need to help mum but I don’t know how to do this drift ….I can’t…. I can’t God not without you
Be still my child
I will never leave you nor forsake you, I will hold your hand even through this… just be still
I know God I know…I am trying..
Do not fear, Do not be afraid I am the Lord and I am with you . I will strengthen you and uphold you with my right hand
Jewel heard the voice, calm as a whisper, strong as the wind, gentle as the morning sea and She felt it breathe life into her bones. She felt it lift the weight off her chest and she felt it dry her tears .
She did not quite understand the how but she knew that everything was going to be okay. She just had to be still ….❤