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HomeAction Stories Fuel Season 1: Episode 23 - The Impaler

Fuel Season 1: Episode 23 - The Impaler

Series: Stories of the Fuel Speedway

Still reeling from being humiliated on Valentines Day, Thawn attempts to bounce back...

Racer Nicknames: All F-X racers were encouraged to have nicknames by Moodswing as nicknames have more character, are easier for fans to remember and look better on posters.

2nd of March - Season 1

Two weeks, that's how long it had been since Heart-Attack where Thawn Oberhauser had been thoroughly embarassed. It had been two weeks, which should have been long enough for people to forget what happened. But people remembered. He could feel it as he walked the concourse: people looking at him. People looking down at him. To them, he was the guy that got cheated on by his girlfriend on Valentine's Day with Jim Kieck.

Thawn had tried to take revenge the next night on Fuel by challenging Jim to a race which he went and lost. He'd then tried to make himself feel better last week by trying to get back the only thing that made him feel like he was on top of the world: the Formula-X Crown. However, in order to do it, he'd been forced to take part in a One Kilometer Derby which he'd also lost thus castling himself right out of the line of succession. Thawn needed another way to cheer himself up. And the only way to do it in the Fuel Speedway was to win a race. Luckily for Thawn, there was a paddock full of F-X racers to choose from.



Thawn entered the paddock just in time to witness an argument. While he would have ordinarily been happy to see the spotlight turned onto someone else, Thawn was too upset by what they were arguing about to be happy about this. It was Stevie and Solo who were arguing and they were arguing about the four-way match race they had last week to determine the new number one claimant... a status that Thawn believed should still be his.

"You know, you say you're only asking me about my engine because of our relay race tonight but I get the feeling you only want to know if I'm going to be able to compete."

Solo seemed to sense the anger in Stevie's voice. "You know that I don't blame you for the accident, right?" It was strange that they were calling it an accident considering that none of them were hurt at all and their vehicles had come out with only scratches.

"Well you shouldn't," said Stevie. "Accidents happen in motorsport all the time."

Solo took note of Stevie's self-righteous tone and didn't like it. "Yes they do. But while I don't blame you for that, I do blame you for getting in my way. was supposed to win that four-way and challenge the King for the title."

"Oh ignore him." It was Brenda Koek that spoke. "He seems to be forgetting that there were four of you in that race. I'm sure if John were around then he'd be blaming him too. By the way, where is John anyway?" That would have been a smart question except for the fact that she already knew the answer... at least she should have since Kloof had posted on F-X social media that he'd be playing reserve tonight since The Big Boot was still in the workshop getting minor repairs. "Now c'mon, Stevie. The show is about to begin and we need to prepare for our relay tonight."

Brenda successfully managed to get her relay partner for the night out of the argument just in time for Moodswing to kick off the show by going onto the middle-stage to announce the name of the upcoming P.P.V.: Festival of the Fall. He then introduced King Mandla to the stage which was when Thawn stopped watching. He remembered that he had a mission to complete which was when he laid eyes on Touch Mkhize.

He'd settled on Touch to challenge because of what he said on his little talk show last week where Touch had basically called him out for chickening out on a best of three races challenge with Jim Kieck when he opted for the One K.M. Derby instead. While the snide comment was a flimsy excuse to have a race in any other series... it wasn't here. Not on Monday Night Fuel.

When he approached Touch, he found him making notes for his next show. "Mkhize," said Thawn using that tone he knew that all the other racers hated, "I have a bone to pick with you."

Touch surprised Thawn as he was actually smiling. "I've kind of been expecting you."

That caught Thawn offguard a bit. "You've been expectng me? Wait, did you say what you did last week on purpose?"

"Honestly? No. When I said what I said, it was just me being unfiltered. But after I said it, I kind of liked that I did. Because, you see, it gives me a chance to right a wrong."

"Right a wrong? What wrong?" When would I have wronged this guy? thought Thawn. For the past six months, Thawn had been a feature-racer while Touch was a high profile support-racer at best. They occupied different parts of the line of succession so when would he have had a chance to wrong this guy?

"Don't you remember? We faced each other back in November. It was supposed to be a title race but, just like last week, you chickened out of defending your title."

Thawn vaguely remembered the episode he was talking about. It was funny because he remembered it differently. He remembered it being Moodswing who had refused to have it be a title race due to wanting to preserve the advertised title race for Show-Down in Downtown.  But that didn't matter. "Oh, I remember that. I remember beating you. So, what does it matter if the title was on the line or not?"

"Oh, you're right. It doesn't matter. That doesn't matter at all if I beat you here tonight. So, what do you say, Impaler? Fancy a race with little old me?"



Thawn hated that this night had started out with him wanting to challenge Touch to a race and ended up with Touch challenging him. He also hated the way that Touch had said his nickname, Impaler. He'd spoken the word like it was nothing. Like it no longer carried the same reverance it once did. That was what Thawn was thinking about as he zipped around the racetrack at 200km/h.

Thawn was currently leading the 15 Lap Match Race, expertly preventing Touch from finding gaps to overtake. Thawn was glad that the race was a 15 lap race as he had more experience with them, better strategies for them. But he had been surprised when Moodswing had made the race the feature race of the night, using their previous race from six months ago to build what little hype he could during the episode. He'd billed it as a grudge race, airing sizzle reels which had played on the big screens throughout the episode. 

They were nine laps down when Touch managed to overtake Thawn for the first time in the race. Thawn swore, as he began attacking. He knew why that had happened. It was because he'd been thinking about Rebecca. He'd been thinking about his girlfriend making out with Jim in that parking lot and the humiliation that had followed. While he hadn't admitted it to anyone, he hadn't cared much about Rebecca and neither had she cared about him. It had been a status thing for them, not a love thing. She'd been with him because he was a racing star and he had been with her because she was a society darling. No, what Thawn cared about was his pride and how embarrassed he'd been when the headline of the Formula-X newsletter made him out to be a fool. 

Thawn tried to use that as Fuel to get back in the race but it was futile. Thinking about Rebecca or Jim just seemed to distract him further, increasing the gap between him and Touch as they entered the last couple of laps of the race. Thawn tried to focus and aim to overtake Touch on the longhand of the track where he'd noticed from past races that he had better luck with passes. But it was no good. Every time he moved in at the corners, his mind would drift to something else he was angry about. 

This time it was his nickname name and the way Touch had said it. When Thawn had first come up with "The Impaler",  he had purposely invoked the idea of Dracula, inviting people to think of the oldest most evil vampire in history when they thought of him. He'd also liked the poetry of how it lent itself to being similar to his vehicle's name, The Devil's Advocate. But he'd meant for the nickname to sound terrifying to anyone who spoke it. So when Touch said it the way he had, it had bothered him to his core. 

When the finish line finally came about, Touch managed to gain an upset victory turning Thawn from bothered to livid, but mostly at himself. He knew he should have been able to beat Touch. After all, this was a feature race and Touch was nothing but a support-racer. Thawn smacked his steering wheel in frustration. He was losing his touch and if he didn't watch out, everyone would be calling him Impaler the way Touch had. He was going to have to rebound from this funk somehow. And he was going to have to do it soon and prove to the world that while he might not be King anymore, he still had fangs, that he was still as cunning as ever. 

Suddenly Thawn felt himself coming up with a plan as he walked back to the paddock while Touch went into the Winner's Circle. He realized that he was coming at all of this wrong. He was focusing on curing his embrassment using his racing skills when he should have been using his mind. That's what had made him such a successful business man and that's what would not only turn his fortune around but also put him back in the title hunt. But he wouldn't be able to do it alone. He needed someone else: a patsy. He needed someone he could manipulate to do his bidding.  After all, weren't vampires most famous for turning people... into monsters. That's when Thawn saw Stevie again and smiled. She'd be perfect. 

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Copyright © All stories are Copyright © 2016-2020 by S.T. Kubheka (also known by the pseudonym Bernard "Beesting" Bayede). ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This story or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

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