Random Acceptance: The Edge, “Singletrack”

So of course writing isn’t ALL rejection letters. At least, one hopes it isn’t. Case in point: One of my favorite short stories, “Singletrack”, which appeared in Greg Gifune’s magazine “The Edge”. And as a special yummy treat for those who have been knocking around the Internet as long as I have, please note the Geocities URL in the letter.

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Singletrack

“Singletrack” appeared in Greg Gifune’s magazine The Edge in May of 1999. I used to do a lot of mountain biking in the Adirondack Mountains, and the terrain is based on that (specifically, the trail around Moss Lake). I never encountered any wildlife larger than a squirrel, but the poor souls in this story are not so fortunate.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: In mountain biking terminology, singletrack denotes a trail—usually difficult to ride—that consists of one narrow cleared path.

The big downhill gave Jackson a momentum boost that carried him up the next rise with only a minor loss in speed, so he was still racing fast when he spotted the shelf of rock protruding from the path. He jerked up hard on the front wheel, but the ridge was too high to hop. He rammed it head-on, flying over the handlebars and into the spindly brambles that grew alongside the trail. They snapped and splintered like thin dry bones.

Jackson hauled himself out of the tangle of foliage. He grabbed his bike and dragged it over the spiny stone, then mounted it and began to ride. The bike wobbled and he fell again. He checked the front wheel; its rim was bent out of true.

He looked back up the trail. They were coming, coming through the trees; the wipeout had cost him precious yards, he was still miles from civilization, and now his bike was unrideable.

How on earth was he going to get away now?

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