Author's note: Here's my annual monthly update. I also changed "college" to "university" in chapter one. I forgot this was Canada, lol.
~*October 9th, 1965*~
"Could you pass me that wrench?"
Drew quietly handed Dennis the wrench, who grinned.
Drew shrugged half-heartedly.
Dennis put his head under the open car hood and used the wrench.
It was the afternoon, and they were both inside the garage working on a car that had just come into Fred's business that morning.
Or, Dennis was at least.
Why the hell is he so quiet today?
His younger brother was so excited to attend his university a month ago, and now...nothing.
"Thought you would be more talkative during your first home visit today," Dennis said casually as he twisted the wrench.
"I'm just thinking."
"What's it to you?!" Drew snapped at Dennis.
"Geez. Must be pretty bad then."
Drew crossed his arms and huffed angrily.
"Do you remember Cliff Coleman from high school?"
Dennis widened his eyes, lifted his head up from the hood, and leaned slightly to the left to look at Drew.
"You mean that big scary guy who used to bully you back in grade nine? Didn't he move to another school in grade ten?"
"He did. And now he's my roommate."
"Can you change it?"
"I can't," Drew said bitterly.
"Oof. Sorry to hear that."
He put his head back under the hood and continued working.
"So he started torturing you again?"
"No, and that's the problem."
"What do you mean?"
"He's too nice!"
Dennis brought his head up too fast and bumped his head on the hood of the car.
"Are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'll be fine." Dennis said, rubbing his head. He set the wrench down on a nearby table, and walked over to Drew with his hands on his hips.
"So what do you mean by 'too nice'"?
"I mean- I...He's..."
Drew struggled to find the right words to express the situation, but he finally managed to get them out.
"He's a completely different person. He apologized for bullying me, bought me a beer, and he even chose me to be his partner in one of our classes. He even helped with the project!"
"Sounds like he's trying to be your friend."
"I'm never gonna forgive him for the shit he called me in high school," Drew insisted firmly.
"Never said you have to, but...maybe he's changed-"
"People don't change, Dennis."
"If you say so, Drewy."
Drew rolled his eyes at his brother's nickname for him.
"So, got any dates yet?" Dennis asked him, trying to steer the conversation in a different direction.
Drew's eyes lit up with excitement.
"This is more like it."
"I thought it'd be. Anyone interesting yet?"
He reached into his pocket, and pulled out a Polaroid.
He handed the photo to Dennis.
The photo featured Drew with several other people and the words "first day! 1965" were scribbled in black ink on the bottom right corner. Drew pointed at one of the four girls who were in the photo.
"That's the one."
Dennis pointed at who he thought he was talking about.
"Her? Ugh, no. She's ugly. I meant the one next to her, the hot one."
"Ah, I see. What's her name?"
"Tiffany. And not only is she pretty, she's also..." he sucked in his teeth and grinned. Dennis was able to pick up on the context.
"That's nice. I'm happy for you."
Dennis looked back at the girl next to her and noticed that unlike the other two girls next to them, they had their arms locked around each other.
"So who's the girl next to her? Her sister?" He asked Drew as he gave the photo back.
"No, that's her best friend."
"And do you know her name?"
"I don't know, something with an 'L' I guess."
~*August 14th, 1969*~
The sun had finally set, and the sky was getting darker with every passing moment.
Jack sat on the couch in Cliff's living room near Keegan, who was watching a sitcom, and made himself comfortable.
"Get me a beer from the fridge will ya, Cliff?"
"Get off your lazy ass, and get it yourself."
Jack scoffed, but didn't say anything else.
A rapid knocking could then be heard from the front door.
"Don't bother getting up, I'll get it," Cliff said to a very relaxed Jack who was now lounging on the couch. A funny scene from the sitcom playing on TV happened and it made both Jack and Keegan laugh.
Cliff walked over to the door and opened it to find a very pale looking Drew.
"Hey, man," Cliff said, looking him up and down.
"You look like you just stepped in shit on the way here and then licked it."
But to his surprise, Drew didn't retort.
"Not today, Cliff. I need to come in."
Poor bastard looks scared shitless. This must be serious.
Cliff opened the door wider, and let him in. Before closing the door, he noticed that Drew had brought his uncle's large pick-up truck with him, and it was parked on the curb.
"What's up with that?" He said pointing his thumb toward the truck as he closed the door.
"It's my gift from JMI."
So, that's why he drove the truck here.
"You talkin' about those motorcycles?" Cliff asked, crossing his arms.
"You got them too?!" Drew nearly yelled back.
"Yeah, it arrived just before you got here-"
"That delivery driver must've thought we were in a motorcycle gang, eh?" Jack interrupted from the couch without turning his head.
"Yeah, it was so strange. He kept asking us if we did any racing," Cliff replied back, slightly amused.
"So where are they?" Drew asked him urgently.
"In the garage."
Cliff shifted his eyes in confusion.
"I need to check something."
Cliff and Liam pulled the garage door up and the cool night air fell over them.
"What are you looking for?" Keegan asked Drew who was digging through the trash can in front of the garage.
"I'm looking for those envelopes that you threw in here," he said as he felt something squishy.
It was an old banana peel.
"Ugh, gross," he said, shaking his hand.
"You're gonna be looking forever, because they're not in there," he heard Jack say.
Drew straightened up quickly.
"Then why'd you say it was in here?!" He yelled at him angrily.
"I said it was in the trash, but I never actually said 'trash can.'"
"God damn it!" He wiped his hands on his jeans, which now smelled like bananas.
"Where is it then?"
Jack pointed at a corner in the open garage.
"There you go, hotshot," he said, trying to stifle his laughter.
Drew angrily walked over to the corner, and saw that he was right.
Son of a bitch.
He crouched down and gathered the discarded envelopes in his hands.
He found one with Keegan's name on it, and tossed it to him, which he caught.
"Did any of you notice the black box inside?"
Keegan reached into the envelope while Jack spoke.
"Yeah, but we thought it was just a piece of plastic."
Keegan pulled the "black plastic box" out of the envelope and looked at it carefully.
"Well, it's not!" Drew snapped back angrily, still bitter about the banana.
"What is it then?" Cliff asked him calmly.
"It's..." He sighed.
"I don't know, but... it changed my motorcycle into something else. Like magic, or something, I don't know."
A silent pause, and then-
"Cliff? Do you know the number for any mental institutions around here?" Jack asked him.
"I'm not crazy!" Drew insisted desperately.
Frustrated, Drew marched straight to Keegan, who looked slightly alarmed.
"Keegan, can you press your thumb to the blue circle there?"
"Just do it!"
Keegan looked taken aback.
Drew softened a bit, and tried to compose himself.
"I'm sorry. Just please, do it? Okay?"
Confused, Keegan brought his right hand thumb against the blue circle, and pressed down.
He yanked his thumb away quickly, and then those same words that Drew saw before showed up.
"What is this?" Keegan asked Drew nervously.
"It's some sort of TV, I think," he replied.
"Bull," Jack said as walked over to them to look over Drew's shoulder. The other two joined in next to Jack as well.
Keegan pressed the "yes" option to go to the next screen, which featured his full name on it.
Liam, who was fascinated, grabbed the device out of Keegan's hands before he could verify his identity. He brought it up to his eye level and stared at it intensely.
"Unreal," he said quietly as he turned it between his hands.
"I outta crack this thing open and see if-"
"No! Don't do that." Drew interrupted him. "Just give it back to him, and don't touch it again."
Disappointed, Liam handed the mysterious box back to Keegan, who immediately confirmed his identity.
"What's 'JM mode'?" Jack asked.
"Wait! Don't press anything else yet, Keegan," Drew told him quickly.
He went into the garage and looked over the four motorcycles until he found the one addressed to Keegan with that same blue ribbon on it's left handle bar. He pulled the ribbon off and tossed it on the floor, and then started to push the motorcycle out of the garage toward the driveway, where he parked it right in the middle.
"Wait, why are you bringing that thing on to the driveway?"
He ignored Jack's question.
"Okay, now press the star."
Keegan pressed the star cautiously.
But nothing happened.
"Cliff, get the phone."
"No, wait!" Drew yelled at Jack.
"Oh, just flake off-"
"Guys, look!" Liam interrupted them.
Jack looked toward the vehicle skeptically, but his eyes widened when he saw what was happening.
The vehicle completely transformed before his eyes, and when it was done, no one spoke for what felt like an eternity.
But it couldn't have been more than fifteen seconds.
"Wha...? No, that's..."
Jack was at a loss for words.
Drew shoved him with his hand.
"I told you, I'm not crazy!"
"Yeah, well. The night's still young, so we'll see about that."
Drew shook his head at Jack's blatant denial.
Drew was surprised by Cliff calling his name.
Cliff walked over to the front door of his house which was a good fifteen feet away from the garage, and Drew followed him.
Cliff lowered his voice.
"Do you still think someone's after you?"
"Yes!" Drew said a little too loudly.
"Sorry. But yes, I do," he whispered.
He looked to the left and right, as if preparing for attack, then back at Drew again.
"Okay, so tell me. What happened after the motorcycle changed?"
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, I didn't want to press any more, so I loaded the bike onto my uncle's truck and drove straight here."
"So you came here not knowing? Way to go." Jack interrupted them.
"Jack! Jesus, man..."
Cliff put one arm around Jack's neck and brought him to the side.
"Look here. Didn't your mom tell you when we were twelve to stop butting into other peoples' business?"
"I'm surprised you still remember that after your brother-"
Cliff immediately took his arm away and pushed Jack away with his hand.
It was at that moment that Liam walked over to their little discussion circle.
"So what do you think? Should we keep pressing the buttons?" Drew asked in a normal tone, trying to resume the conversation they were having before Jack came over.
"Why do you think it's dangerous?" Cliff replied back.
"I'm worried it might be a bomb."
"Can I say something?" Jack asked them.
Drew breathed in and out.
"Sure." He said through gritted teeth.
Jack didn't usually annoy him, but on a day like today, he was really testing his nerves.
"I'm sure I was right before. This is an American prank."
"So, you really think that a bunch of Americans sent us the letters, black boxes, and motorcycles just for the heck of it?"
"Cliff told us that you have some cousins who live in Medford, Massachusetts. Maybe they saved enough money-"
"They're kids! Who the hell is gonna let them buy a motorcycle?"
Jack's confident expression became sheepish.
"Damn. You're right," he said with a light chuckle.
Drew huffed angrily.
"Okay, but being serious for a minute here, none of us have any enemies, right?" Jack asked everyone around him.
"Not that we know of," Liam answered calmly.
"Right," Jack said, agreeing with him.
"So someone is gaining something from this," Cliff joined in.
"But who?" Drew asked them with his arms crossed.
Jack looked around for a second, and then began to speak again.
"Okay, I know you think that the Americans have nothing to do with this, and I'm not saying it's your cousins, but since the war in Vietnam is so bad, maybe people are getting so desperate that they're-"
The sudden yell from Keegan shocked all of them.
But it was even more shocking to find him sitting on the seat of his motorcycle with a slight smile on his face.
"Why are you sitting on that thing, man?" Jack whined.
"I was curious. Come look at this."
Jack sighed and walked over to him, while the others followed.
Jack noticed a small TV screen on the motorcycle that said "JMI - present" on it.
"What the hell is this?"
"I think it's another present from JMI. All I have to do is press 'confirm' to get it."
"Yeah, right. What else did they say?"
"That I'll be traveling to meet them."
"Ooh! Maybe this isn't a bomb after all." Liam interjected excitedly.
"Who are you and what have you done with my best friend?" Cliff asked him with a slightly worried expression.
"Believe it or not, I am capable of happy emotions, Cliff." Liam answered him coyly.
"So if it's not a bomb, then what?" Jack asked him.
"It's a vehicle that drives itself, and they've chosen us to test it."
"So you believe in that, but not the moon landing?" Drew asked him.
"I never said I don't believe, I was just saying what other people said."
Keegan pressed the "confirm" option.
"But come on guys. A vehicle that drives itself? That's a little crazy, isn't it?" Jack asked them.
"Isn't every new thing 'crazy' at some point or another? How's this any different?" Cliff asked him.
"Because it has to do with us, and-"
"Does anyone else hear a strange noise?" Liam interrupted Jack.
They all turned to see a bright white glow coming out from underneath Keegan's bike, and the strange noise seemed to be coming from the front of the vehicle.
"Guys...something's not right," Keegan said nervously. As he said this, seat belts had begun to wrap themselves over him from where he was sitting.
Then the vehicle slowly began to move.
"Hey!" Liam shoved Jack's shoulder playfully.
"I was right," he said proudly.
Jack shook his head and followed Keegan, whose motorcycle had somehow managed to detect the driveway and was now making a turn onto the bike lane next to the sidewalk. From there, it began to move slowly across the lane.
"Guys, this thing is incredible! It's almost like it knows exactly where the obstacles are."
Drew, Cliff, Liam and Jack, followed Keegan's steady pace on the sidewalk.
"Hey, you know what? That area up ahead's pretty good for racing," Jack told everyone.
"Look here. No more cars parked on this side after this one," he said, tapping lightly on someone's red car.
He looked up ahead, and noticed that Keegan was moving a lot further compared to before.
"Hey, Keeg! Not so fast, we can only go-"
"Jack! Guys! HELP ME!"
Quicker than the drop of a hat, the four of them took off running to try and catch up with Keegan, but the motorcycle seemed to be gaining more speed with each passing second.
"Keegan, wait!" Liam tried to yell as he ran.
They all continued to run as fast as they could, but only Cliff could get close enough to reach.
He stretched his arm to try and grab the impossibly fast bike, but with a quick flash, Keegan and the bike disappeared into thin air, which caused Cliff to trip onto the sidewalk.
He pulled his pant leg up to find a scrape on his right knee.
"Ugh! God damn it."
The rest of the group stumbled where Cliff had fallen and Keegan had mysteriously vanished.
Drew crouched down to get a closer look at Cliff's cut.
"Hey, that looks pretty bad. We should get some bandages for that and then we can-"
He was cut off by someone grabbing him by the shoulders forcefully and pulling him up to stand.
It was Jack.
And he looked furious.
"Do you hear yourself right now?!" Jack yelled in his face.
"Keegan was just killed by that motorcycle, and it's all your fault!"
"I didn't kill him! And I warned you guys that it might be a bomb! Don't blame me because you were too stupid to listen."
"You son of a bitch, bastard. I should've made the call to the institution myself."
Drew aggressively removed Jack's arms from his shoulders.
"Oh yeah? And what would you have told them? We all saw the bike change. You would've gone with us to the nut house too."
Jack didn't answer, but narrowed his eyes angrily.
Cliff got up, and winced from his knee pain.
"Hey, man." He said to Drew, tilting his head.
"No bull shit. Are you sure you never heard of JMI before they contacted you?"
"Yes. And I had no idea they would do something like this either."
"Okay. I believe you."
Drew smiled for probably the first time since he got the motorcycle.
"So you believe him, but not one of your oldest friends? Whose side are you on?" Jack asked him angrily.
"It's not about sides, Jackass," he said emphasising the word "ass."
"Drew's my buddy. And so are you. And so is Liam."
"So Keegan doesn't exist anymore then? Okay, great."
"Don't put words in my mouth."
"Oh, I can put a lot more than just words in your mouth."
"This isn't helping," Drew said, starting to get annoyed.
"Agreed," Liam replied back.
"And I don't think Keegan's dead either," he said quietly, but confidently.
The other three whipped their heads to look at him.
"What the hell are you talking about this time?" Jack asked him.
"Fellas, think about it. JMI sent us four motorcycles to use." He used his right hand to show four fingers. "Why would they go to all that trouble just to kill us? And given what we've seen those bikes do, they aren't cheap."
"So what are you thinking?" Drew asked him.
With an excited gleam in his eye, Liam smiled.
"We gotta retrace our steps."
Jack shifted uncomfortably in his bike seat.
"I can't believe I'm actually doing all this shit," He said in an annoyed voice as he pushed the "JMI" button located on top of the keypad.
"Do you want Keegan back alive or not?" Drew asked him sternly.
Jack didn't answer, but Drew knew how close he and Keegan were. They were "blood brothers despite not having any blood relations," in the words of Cliff.
Their moms were best friends, who had known each other since they were seven years old, and Keegan and Jack had been friends since the age of four.
That kind of bond was hard to break.
Drew looked at his own screen and saw the "JMI - present" option just like the instructions said there would be.
He pressed the "confirm" option.
He then began to count down, from the moment the vehicle began to start up, to the moment it started to move.
Countdown, ten seconds. Seatbelts, fifteen seconds. Movement, thirty seconds.
Total, fifty-five seconds.
They were all traveling down the same lane Keegan had disappeared onto with Jack next to Drew, and Liam and Cliff behind them.
No one spoke as the bikes slowly cruised through the lane, maneuvering around parked cars as they moved.
But once they went past the red car that Jack had tapped earlier, something changed.
Drew felt the bike beginning to pick up speed, so he began to count again.
Fifteen, sixteen, seventeen...
Faster and faster, he didn't want to let go. Not that he could anyway. The instructions specifically stated that he couldn't.
Twenty-five, twenty-six, twenty-seven...
The bike was moving so fast, he was starting to get light headed. It reminded him of those childhood trips on public airplanes where the plane would move super fast before taking off from the runway.
But just as quickly as the bike gained momentum, a bright flash appeared before his eyes, which caused them to shut instinctively.
The bike had come to a complete stop four seconds after that.
Drew opened his eyes, and saw that he was inside what looked like a very wide, empty parking garage with low lighting.
He also noticed a motorcycle about forty feet ahead of him, with someone hunched over it.
It was none other than-
"Keeg!" Jack yelled out. He tried to move out from underneath the seatbelts, but couldn't until they went away on their own, which was five seconds later. As soon as they were gone, he leapt out of his seat and went straight to Keegan.
He leaned down a bit, grabbed Keegan's head with his hands, and felt for a pulse on his neck.
He bowed his head.
Drew felt cold.
"Is he...?" He swallowed. "Is he dead?"
"No, he's not," Jack managed to get out breathlessly.
Drew breathed a sigh of relief.
"Hey, Four Eyes. What did your mom tell you about these glasses, you dork?" Jack asked Keegan softly, who didn't reply. His glasses had fallen down a little, so Jack took them and put them inside his sweater vest pocket for safe keeping.
Afterwards, he gently placed Keegan's head on top of the motorcycle keypad screen.
Then he stood up and took a deep breath.
"He's fine. He's out cold, poor guy probably fainted as soon as he got here, but he's fine."
"Where the hell are we?" Cliff asked the three of them.
"Beats me," Liam replied, looking around.
"JMI?" Drew suggested warily.
"It's possible," Jack replied back.
"Well, the address is in Canada, so at least we know it's nearby-" Cliff began to say, but he was interrupted by a flash of light that had appeared on the other side of the large room.
And then another.
Drew blinked several times to make sure he wasn't seeing things.
There in the big and dimly lit room, where the lights had flashed, were four more men on motorcycles.
And he didn't have a clue who they were, or where they were from.
He could only see the terrified expressions on their faces.
Author's Note: Yes, I know I used the stereotypical "can you pass me that [insert tool here]?" car mechanic dialogue, but I don't know much about cars. That "write what you know" advice is good advice, and I know nothing, lol. And I know some words in this chapter are not exactly mental health friendly, but I wanted to be a little realistic. Especially for men who literally grew up in the 40's, 50's, and 60's. In any event, I could've let the characters say much worse, believe me. Anyway, I finally got this chapter done. Now, I'm just wondering how I'm gonna get the present day group there. I'm sure I'll figure out something, but you're free to give me some ideas! ^_^ (The next chapter might come out even faster if the idea is good enough.)