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a non-profit gallery for the visual and performing arts

31 East 3rd St., Richmond, VA 23224
Open Thurs-Sun, 12-4 PM and by appointment
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Mailing Address: Zero East 4th St., Richmond, VA 23224

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September 18 - October 18, 2015

Bicycle Stories

artspace and Richmond Young Writers

Illustrations
Plant Zero Project Space Hallway Galleries


Emily Jansen, Age 14
"What a Beautiful Day"
illustrated by SAM SHABAN

The wind whipped by me, making a whistling noise in my ears. My legs worked almost effortlessly to peddle my Janis Coda Sport 2014 down the busy street. I commuted to work by bicycle every morning that it wasn't raining and today was a beautiful day. Blue skies, small amount of clouds, low humidity for August in Virginia, and a noticeable breeze through the city of Richmond. All in all, a beautiful day. Trust me, I'm never this happy. Today is just an exception to my usually foul mood. A refreshing ray of sun in my more or less cloudy life. There was a visible smile on my face as I peddled around the other cars. Even the blaring horns couldn't bring me down from my happiness induced high. Today is going to be a good day, I thought to myself and maneuvered my way down the always-crowded street. My mood was optimistic for once in a very long time.

As I rounded the corner onto the adjacent street, a certain car caught my eye. From the looks of it, it was a Ford F150, probably late 90s model, with various dents in the red exterior. The only reason I knew so much about it was because it was my tuck. The one I'd had for five years, that I'd bought the day after I graduated from high school. And it was supposed to be in the parking garage under my apartment building. So what was it doing a mile away from where it should be with someone else driving it?

I made my way cautiously by the truck, watching the driver. It was a man, probably late 40s, with a shaved head and a very big, very prominent red dragon tattoo covering the right side of his head and face. The man's dark gray, almost black eyes, met mind, and I tried to shrug off the unsettling feeling I got from him. I passed by the truck and tried to forget about it, returning to my happy place. But half a mile later, I could still sense the truck behind me, following me. The unsettling feeling in the pit of my stomach returned and I peddled harder. I wanted to do whatever I could to get away from my pursuer.

Suddenly, I heard the loud purr of a motor speeding up and felt the front fender of the truck hit the back wheel of my bike hard. My bike flipped, and I fell to the ground, wind knocked out of me. My vision was blurry, but my injuries weren't life threatening. I slowly started to get up when I heard the man get out of the truck. He was by my side in a matter of seconds. I felt him kick in the side of my head with his muddy hiking boot, not once, but three times. And as the darkness of death crept up on me, I thought to myself, what a beautiful day.




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8/17/2015 3:59:21 PM