Part 3

I continued on, not looking back, my bicycle glowing orange and red in the moonlight. I didn't peek back, didn't want to know how close anything was coming up on me.

I still wasn't really worried. A little disturbed, sure, maybe a tad frightened even, but worried? No, not yet. I worried about my lack of worried for a few more strokes of my pedals, then shrugged and continued on, dwelling on more important things.

What could possibly be more important than my lack of worry? Well, for one, how likely that the grocery store would be there when I got there, how safe it would be, and whether or not they might have any food. That was, after all, the whole reason I set out on this trip in the first place: to go grocery shopping.

But that was going to have to wait a little longer, because I'd just reached the local highway that held the local shopping center, and the cross traffic was anything but typical.

I don't know any way to describe how the cars looked aside from "carnivorous." They looked and sounded hungry. I stopped at the intersection to wait for the light to change (because it was red, after all), and examined the passing vehicles with considerable interest, not unlike a birdwatcher examines predatory birds that might come eat him if he encroached on their territory.

Planes, trains, and automobiles, oh my!

Wheels, it seemed, were largely optional; some of them hovered, some of them flew, some of them just seemed to teleport from place to place, phasing in and out of this phase of existence like a zoetrope that's missing more than a few panels.

One fuchsia-ish thing that looked almost like a Cadillac that swallowed a classic McLaren, started slowing and pulling to the side toward me, a tongue miraculously hungrily licking the front grill. Before it could get to close, however, something that could have been the child of a monster truck and a street-cleaner rolled over the top of it and gobbled it right up.

"There's always a bigger fish," I mumbled to myself, though not too loudly out of concern of drawing too much attention to myself.

I turned and looked carefully behind me, keeping my peripheral vision focused on the traffic, just in case something else decided I looked too tempting. The monsters that had been following me were still there, but holding back; as eager as the were to approach me, their fear of passing traffic held them off. The boxy skeleton was still firing reflexively, but its shots fell woefully short of me.

The traffic started to grow more roiled, and I turned my full attention back on it. Ah, the light was finally changing; that's what had made them so upset. I shifted my hands on my brakes, strategically unclenching the muscles that I hadn't even noticed starting to cramp.

I had a feeling that I would need to stake my claim, claim my stake, my right to have a turn crossing, because these were predators, after all. The worst thing I could do was appear weak.

My light changed to green, and I released the brakes, pedaling into the intersection, staring dead ahead. I didn't hurry, accelerating slowly (as one can only do on a bicycle), and crossed. When I was just more than halfway, and the oncoming traffic was closer to me, one car in the front of the lane decided it was hungry enough to challenge me.

It was a beat-up pink Smart Fortwo, and it rolled forward into my lane, until I would have to pass within inches for the tiny front grill.

I turned my head and growled at it. The Fortwo's engine revved at me, trying to be threatening, but it was tragically pathetic. I didn't laugh, but stopped pedaling, letting my bicycle slow as I approached the interloper.

The front seat of the car was empty, which I rather expected: sentient cars probably don't like backseat drivers. I braked in front of the car, my right foot at the bottom of the stroke hardly an inch from the painfully pink bumper. The grill started to open to a sight of ferocious looking teeth, and I kicked it in the jaw.

To the car's plastic panels, it was probably more like a slap than a punch, but the car flinched.

I growled again, this time putting my foot on the ground and leaning towards the tiny smart, my leg threatening to brush against its exterior. The poor little thing scooted back a few inches, trying not to scuff up my leg any more than it already had dinged my shoe.

The other traffic had gone silent.

I smiled, my mouth full of not-so-sharp teeth, but teeth nonetheless, leaned over and patted the hood. The hydraulics nestled closer to the ground, and I could hear some oil pattering out onto the asphalt. I put my weight back on my left foot, took my fingers off the brakes, and finished crossing.

The light turned yellow, then red, and traffic resumed behind me.

The End

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