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Blame It on the Rain.

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Fortnightly Fiction.
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By MICHAEL BUCKINGHAM GRAY.
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THE RAIN STOPS and he nudges open the car door. Walks round to the boot and hauls out his bicycle. A voice rings out and he swings around and starts up the hill. The land spirals around and around, and the tops of the pines fall from view. His helmet swings from the handlebars and he grunts as he lifts the front wheel of his bike over a pothole. He rounds another bend and catches the rest of the pack. Clouds cluster overhead, and it begins to rain once more. Fog descends. A horn sounds. And the group stops at the top of the hill.

“One at a time,” a woman in a yellow jacket says, putting up one hand, and gesturing with the other, towards a ramp.
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He sweeps his foot back and forth in the mud, and with every new blare of the horn, prods his bicycle forward until there are no more cyclists ahead. Pulls the helmet off the handlebars and puts it on his head. Throws a leg over his bike. Then stomps on the pedals. His front wheel kicks sideways on the first turn. And in the second, he slides the rear of his bicycle. The track widens. He rises from his saddle and jiggles over the ripples. Then the earth falls away. For a moment, he feels like he is hovering. And then drops and lands in the mud. He raises his head. Finds himself back at the bottom of the hill and glares at his car, with the boot still open.

Michael Buckingham Gray is a writer and creative writing tutor. His fiction has appeared in various magazines including Meniscus and Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine. He holds a Masters of Creative Practice in Creative Writing from Curtin University in Western Australia, and has tutored at the University of Notre Dame Australia and elsewhere.

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