I have always seen these bikers going at speed I always considered dangerous for a place as heavily occupied and intricate as the woods. But they were professionals. Since my time of running through the woods, I haven’t seen a rider colliding with a tree. Maybe they do because we have heard stories of bikers having accidents, but I had never witnessed it before.
As much as what they do scares me, I still found it very intriguing at the same time. It often made me wonder if I could do it too. Going through the maze of these woods in such neck-breaking speed.
But I enjoyed running. I enjoyed running through the wood most especially. I mean, I have never ruled out doing other sports before, because I love every type of sport, but I do not see myself doing biking.
At least not until one evening when I was doing my usual running through the woods. The sun was just going down, casting a dark grey down the tree leaves to the ground. It was usually my second running of the day after the one in the morning, which I do mostly to keep myself fit before the main competition comes up.
It had rained heavily in the afternoon, and the ground was drenched and slippery. I almost didn’t want to go on with my run that evening, but I was so used to exercising that I won’t be feeling good if I didn’t. I would rather not run in the morning than not in the evening.
Mitchell, my friend, and roommate would say I was addicted to the last thing people got addicted too. I didn’t think people who didn’t do exercises as I did were enjoying their lives.
I was running that evening through my usual route in the wood when I heard the first shot. I ducked on reflex and listened. Then I heard the flapping of bats and their larking.
I laughed and said to myself, ‘That must be the hunter shooting at the bats.’ I was just making up my mind to continue running when I heard bike noise coming from a close distance. Then rapid shots followed.
The first one sped past me at speed I had never seen any bike racing here do. If I wanted to describe it, I would not call it neck breaking this time, and I would call it a skull cracking speed.
A few minutes later, a second and a third bike sped past me again. These were holding guns in their hands. If they had noticed me where I had hidden to escape stray bullets, they didn’t show it. But I’m certain they hadn’t noticed me.
I stayed for a while and listened. When I was sure they were not anywhere near, I stood up and started running where they had gone. And that was because I could not make up my mind to go back towards the road.
I ran a few meters and did not see any traces of the people that had sped past me earlier. I wondered why they would be chasing and shooting at that man. I wondered if they had caught up with him and killed him. Or if he was able to escape them. They were probably still chasing him through the vast jungle. One thing I was sure of was that he had given them a good run, and for a minute I admired him.
I kept running. A part of me was looking forward to seeing these people again, so I was looking out for them, while the other part of me wished never to see what I had just witnessed again.
“Help me,” I heard the faint voice calling somewhere in the wood.
The sun was almost not visible now, and darkness was enveloping the earth. I could not see where the voice came from. And it called again.
“Please, help me.” Then I saw the form coming out of his hiding. He staggered towards me and was about dropping when I caught him.
I felt a sticky wet fluid on my palms, and I knew instantly that it was blood.
“We need to leave now, and please help me. They will look for me everywhere and will surely come back this way. I had doubled back at the mountain pass, but couldn’t go on when I got here, so I tried to hide. Do you know how to ride?”
I said “Yes” without thinking much of what I was about to do
He pointed to where the bike was lying, “There… we have to go now.”
We climbed on the bike and made for the road. I parked the bike behind a tree before we got to the road and carried him on my shoulders to my parked car and drove him to the hospital, where he was given immediate care.
When he opened his eyes a few days later, he told me he had witnessed his assailant murder someone, and they wanted to kill him for it. He had led them to the woods where he knew he had a shot at losing them.
“You are a shitty biker,” he said amusingly.
He later identified his assailants, and they were arrested, charged for grand murder and attempted murder.
“My name is Shirley,” I said, thrusting my hand towards him as we later introduced.
“I’m Marcus.” He shook my hand. “Thank you for saving my life.”
We became good friends, and I got to find out that Marcus was a professional mountain biker. He taught me how to ride a mountain bike like a pro, and I was happy to learn.
I later switchedfrom running in the evening to going mountain biking with Marcus andothers I met through him. I loved it every moment and consideredmaking it my number one sport.