His Brother's Ghost in the Car

Brad had just about finished the first lap in the middle of the pack, when he felt his foot push down on the gas peddle. He tried to let up, but it was like somebody had dropped a kilo of lead on his foot. He should be terrified, but he was  exhilarated by the sudden burst of speed. His car edged toward the front of the race. Whenever he tried to steer toward the inside, the wheel would only just go so far. The car seemed to be driving for him.

He supposed he should be frightened by a car that seemed to have a mind of its' own, but he wasn't. He was strangely calm and completly relaxed. He was getting a good deal of encouragement from his crew boss, and he thought he might be able to win something for Sandy after all. Sean had spent most of his and Sandy's savings buying into this car with race legend, Frank Merker.

Frank had approached Brad at Sean's funeral about driving in this race. Sean had been signed up for it, and of course now he couldn't do it, being dead and all. Frank couldn't drive either, he had lost one leg below the knee last summer in a pile up on the track. Frank and Sandy were counting on him winning at least enough to keep the car in the running.

Brad had been in the motor pool in Iraq, he could drive or fix just about anything with wheels. He'd driven souped up jeeps with just a little less guts than this car. At least he wasn't trying to avoid mortar fire or roadside bombs. His tour had been up for two months before Sean's death, and he'd been living with Sean and Sandy since he got home. He'd been trying to decide whether to stay home and work on the cars that Sean drove, or sign up for another tour in Iraq.

Sean's death had pretty much made the decision for him. Frank was a friend, and if he wasn't able to make some money to pay off this car, he would have to give it up and quit racing for good. Brad had offered to take Sean's place to help Frank out. Brad had been training in this car for six weeks, and had easily qualified to drive in this race.

Brad's qualifying lap had been good, but still a fair bit behind the lead vehicle. Now something really strange was happening. Brad's car was suddenly neck and neck with the lead, and Brad wasn't really sure how he had gotten there. It's like he had been put into a trance by staring so intently at the track ahead.

Then before he knew it, the flag went down and he had won the race by a quarter of a lap. As he stopped the car and leaned back in his seat, the spirit of his brother appeared in the driving compartment with him!  "Good job, Brad, I knew you had it in you," Sean said. Brad looked at his brother, who was right beside him in a compartment barely big enough for the driver. Brad had seen so much death over there, that it had lost its' power to frighten or even surprise him. Even so, he had never seen a ghost before.

"I'm guessing that the kudos should go to you, and not me," he said to Sean, who just laughed.  The race officials were opening the compartment from above, and handing in the flag for a victory lap. By the time anyone had gotten close to the car, Sean had disappeared. It was good to see Sean again, but Brad wondered why he had not  "moved on," or whatever. He wondering if winning this race was unfinished business that he had to win for Frank and Sandy in order to rest in peace.

The End

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