Walk the Edge (Thunder Road #2)(8) by Katie McGarry

“Razor,” Pigpen calls as I straddle my bike.

When I meet his eyes, he continues, “Are you tight?”

I’m not a talker. Speak only when I have something worth saying. Everyone knows this, but this silence is beyond my normal. My mind replays the image of Mom’s car. It was crushed almost beyond recognition. The cop said there were no skid marks, no signs she tried to stop. My lungs ache as if someone crushed me beyond recognition.

Am I tight? Hell, no. I look away and Pigpen says, “Whatever this is, we’ll figure it out.”

I nod, then start my bike. Not sure about the we’ll part, but I plan on getting some answers and getting them soon.

Breanna

I KNOW THAT the capital of Bolivia is Sucre. I know that the average distance from the earth to the moon is 238,900 miles. I also know that blue whales can go six months without eating. Random, bizarre stuff. That’s what my head is full of. Nothing that will boost my math scores on the ACT or secure me a date to prom. Nothing that will save me and my best friend from this being our last day on the planet.

While my brain is obviously wired differently, there are certain commonsense rules all girls in town comprehend. It’s not knowledge that has to be taught, like when I was six and my oldest brother spent weeks teaching me to tie my shoes or how at four my older sister spared a few minutes from her overly important life to show me how to spell my name.

In fact, sitting here on the top step to the entrance of Snowflake High watching this potential disaster unfold, I search my memory for the first person who warned me to steer clear of the Reign of Terror Motorcycle Club.

There was no pamphlet handed out during health class. No sex conversation like the one my mom had with me in kindergarten because I referred to a certain male body part by the same name as a round toy. Stupid brothers teaching me their stupid slang.

But when it pertains to the threat that is the Reign of Terror MC, it’s not learned, it’s known. Like how an infant understands how to suck in a breath at the moment of birth or how a newborn foal wobbles to his legs. It’s instinctual. It’s ingrained. It’s fact.

“Do you think his motorcycle will work this time?” Addison asks.

“Hope so,” I breathe out, too terrified to speak at a normal level in fear of drawing the scrutiny of the men wearing black leather vests who circle the broke-down bike. Reign of Terror arches over the top of the black vest, in the middle is a half skull with fire blazing out of the eye sockets and drops of fire rain around it. It’s ominous and I shiver.

Addison and I sit huddled close. Legs touching. Shoulders bumped into the other. We’d probably hold hands if we didn’t have our welcome-back-to-school information folders gripped tightly to our chests. Because we can’t spawn eyes in the back of our heads, we lean against the large pillar of the overhang so no one can sneak up on us from behind.

It’s edging toward nine in the evening, but the August sun hasn’t completely set. Darkness, though, has claimed most of the sky. Temperatures during the afternoon hit over a hundred and I swear the concrete stairs and pillar absorbed every ounce of today’s sunshine and is now transferring the heat into my body.

Sweat rolls down my back and I shift to peel my thighs off the step. Why I thought it was a fantastic idea to wear the jean skirt, I have no idea.

I take that back. I do have a clue for my clothing choice. Tonight was the first time my entire grade was together in one room since the end of last year. My goal for the year may seem simple to some, but to me, it sometimes feels impossible. I’d like to be seen, to be known as something more than freakishly smart Breanna Miller at least once before I leave this town. I’d like to somehow find the courage to be on the outside who I am on the inside.

An annoying sixth sense informs me that I’m about to make a huge impression—on the evening news: two friends on the verge of starting their senior year vanish without a trace. Because that’s how motorcycle clubs would handle this—they’ll kidnap us and then hide our bodies after they’re finished with whatever ritual act they’ll use us to perform.

My knee begins to bounce. Mom and Dad left after my failed attempt to convince them to let me attend High Grove Academy and they promised to return in time for pickup.

The senior welcome session ended at eight and the parking lot cleared out by eight twenty. The straggling parents arrived by eight thirty and that left Addison and me alone with blond-haired biker boy and his dilapidated machine.

He called his buddies around the same time I tried the various members of my family for the fiftieth time. His gang showed in a chrome procession in less than ten minutes. I’m still waiting to hear from anyone I’m related to.