Chapter 1:

What Is It?

Motor (Part 1)

I threw my bag over my shoulder and left my apartment, closing and locking the door behind me. As I walked down the stairs from the balcony, I noticed something odd when I stopped at the apartment bike rack. My bike was gone. Someone had a really sleek black motorcycle sitting in my spot for my bike. I looked around, but didn’t see my bike anywhere. I sighed, setting my bag down. Did someone steal my bike? I looked at the motorcycle, hoping it wasn’t true. This would not be my ideal start to a Monday. I didn’t know anyone in the complex who had a motorcycle, and noticed upon closer inspection that a note was pasted to it. I knelt down to read it. On a piece of paper it said “To Michael Lang.”
“Huh?” I asked, confused. That was my name. I looked over the paper again, didn’t see anything definitive, just that the bike was apparently for me. I looked around, no one was nearby. Whoever ‘gave’ this to me was definitely staying in the dark about it. I took another look at the bike. It was one of those really nice bikes that scanned finger prints in order to start. That’s how it determined who was riding it, and also as a key. I noticed in the back was a large bag. I opened it, expecting to find a note or something giving me more of a clue to who gave this to me. Instead, I found a helmet. Now even more intrigued, I sat on the bike and ran my thumb over the center piece on the dashboard. There was a small beep. I looked at it and tried again. Nothing happened. I guessed it accepted my thumb print. Then the engine turned on. It looked like the motorcycle started! I looked at the bike, a little excited. Was this really mine?! I tried the gas handle on the bike, and it revved for me.
Was it a late birthday present? A surprise gift, maybe? No special reasons came to mind as to why I might be given something as nice as this motorcycle. But, seeing what the note said and how it accepted my finger print, I guess it really was mine. After kicking out the kickstand, I brought the bike up to a standing position and revved it some more. With a grin I put my helmet on, throttled the accelerator and took off into the street. As the apartment complex grew distant behind me, I flipped up my visor and yelled, “Thank you, whoever you are!”Bookmark here

As I pulled into the alley near my job to park my bike, I got more than a few looks for coworkers. A friend of mine, who just happened to be taking out the trash, saw me as I passed, and his eyes grew huge as he saw my bike.
“Mike!” He exclaimed, running over to me. “Where’d you get a sweet bike like that?!”
“I got it as a surprise gift. Found it this morning where my bike used to be.”
“Way too cool!” My friend said, running over to it. He put his hands over the bike’s body and whistled, looking at it. I threw my leg over the bike to dismount and heard a spitting sound. My friend leapt back from the bike, lifted his pant leg and hollered. I saw a large oil stain was on his leg.
“Dude, what happened?!” I asked, surprised.
“I don’t know!” My friend yelled. “Ah man! I might not get this stain out of my pants. The boss is gonna kill me!”
“Did something break on the bike?!” I asked, leaning over it to check.
“I don’t know man! I’m gonna’ go wash this.” My friend jogged inside to the employee bathroom to try and get his pants clean while I looked over the bike. I ran my hands over the piping; nothing looked broken. It was really weird. I tried to not let it bother me as I walked inside, making sure to bring my helmet with me.
Work was slow. I was simply frying up food for a cheap sushi bar in town, I didn’t even make the rolls. I just made sure everything was fresh and prepared for the next guy, while my friend was a dish washer and took care of any packaging for food to go. Once work was over, my friend and I walked out back towards my motorcycle. He was able to get the stain out of his pants fine. He stood back as I threw my leg over the seat and showed him the cool finger-scanning feature. Once I started it up, my friend beamed.
“That’s so cool!” He said, in awe. “I’ve never seen a bike that sophisticated. I wonder what model it is.” He walked around the bike, looking for a brand name to identify it.
“Huh,” he said after awhile, “can’t find one. Maybe it’s by a knock-off brand, but that wouldn’t be right given how high-end it is.” I shrugged, revving the engine up a bit.
“Hey!” My friend called, running up to me as I started to leave, “couldn’t I at least ride in the back?” He stopped when some oil shot out and splashed on his shoes.
“Hey! My shoes!” He hollered.
“Sorry! I’ll fix that!” I called back.Bookmark here

I didn’t have any other problems on the ride home. I wondered what the freak oil accidents were. I pulled it into the garage of the apartment complex, hardly anyone used it because few cars could fit in it. It was one of those complexes that had a lot of quirks to it. That was why I could afford it. After going to my room to get some rags and a bucket, I went back downstairs to clean the oil off the motorcycle. Then I tried to find anything that looked broken. Thankfully the piping was easy to see so I got to look over everything. It didn’t look like any part of the bike was broken, just like before.
Satisfied that, for now, everything looked ok, I closed the garage and went about securing my motorcycle. I put as much chain and locks up as I could, and once I dusted my hands from the job, I was pretty sure it’d take a decent hour to steal this bike, even with a blow torch. For now, that’d have to do. I kicked off my shoes and got into bed, thinking about who might have given me the bike. My parents? Not likely; they agreed to pay for my college finances so long as I had a job that provided me a means to afford food and shelter. None of my coworkers would have shelled out this kind of money, speaking of jobs. None of my school buddies would have sent it to me either. A neighbor? Equally unlikely. I knew few neighbors in the area and was pretty happy with that, actually.
One thing I wanted to know, before I fell asleep, was what brand the motorcycle was. That might help me figure out who could have paid for it. I sat up at my computer searching for brands based on the features I saw in the bike. After about four or five, I was starting to worry. None of the brands that had finger scanning possibilities matched the other facets of the bike I had locked away. Did that mean it was a knockoff? I wondered about it a little more but then heard a sound that concerned me. Sounded like a banging coming from the garage. Immediately I went to the worst possible conclusion. My bike was being stolen! Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.