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Fuel Season 2: Episode 28 – The Bad Omen

Series: Stories of the Fuel Speedway

Blackcat sets his eyes on the upcoming big time relay race while contemplating his new teammate...

The raven has multiple meanings including loss, prophecy, death and lost souls

10th of May – Season 2

The one part of his craft that Blackcat had found hard to grasp at first was animal symbolism. The original Master Spell-Castor had found this ironic considering the name he'd chosen as his own: Blackcat. Eventually, he'd mastered his lessons in symbolism which was why he'd found himself currently fascinated with the raven.

 


FRUSTRATIONS OF A KING

Formula-X King, Solo Magubane stood atop the middle-stage hesitant. After all, he hadn't planned to be standing here when the night had begun. But he'd been encouraged to come out here and speak his mind by Glen so that was what he was going to do. "When I arrived at the Fuel Speedway tonight, Glenwood Jacobs saw me, he saw the look on my face and he asked me what’s wrong and I told him. When he’d heard what I said he said that he was going to fix the problem but before he did he wanted me to come out here and tell everyone because in F-X there’s no veil so here goes.

"The reason I'm so frustrated is because I believe that I'm being overlooked for the biggest event on the F-X calendar: the Second Formula-X Grand Prix. In fact, I believe the whole Grand Prix feature race is being overlooked because the Club Committee has said diddly squat about it. So at this time, I would like to invite the Formula-X Racing Club President and Vice President to the stage to fix the problem."

It was at this point that Moodswing and Glen came out to a mixed reception. Whether it was because of this reception or because it was the plan, Moodswing took another microphone and handed it to Glen to answer Solo. "Your Highness, I'm not going to mince words out here so first of all, I would like to say, on behalf of myself and the Club President that we are truly sorry for overlooking the title race at The Second Formula-X Grand Prix."

"Yeah, look I get that you're sorry and all that but right now, in front of all these people, the only thing I'd like to hear from you is how you're going to fix the problem."

Glen gave Moodswing a look before turning back to Solo. "What we're going to do is have a Number One Claimant race right here, tonight!"

While the crowd stirred, it was clear that this wasn't the answer they wanted to hear. Fortunately for them, it wasn't the answer Solo wanted to hear either. "You know what guys, that's not good enough. Look, by now everyone knows what it takes to make it here in Formula-X." The F-X King stuck out his thumb, "skill," he said before sticking out his index finger, "and popularity. Now I have both but for the feature race of the biggest event on the F-X calendar, I need someone who has at least just as much popularity in order to make this a must-see. Now there's only one person who currently has that much hype going for them: and that's your new mystery recruit." A hush fell over the crowd.

 


RIVALS AND PARTNERS

Penny Potgieter had never considered herself a jealous person, but for the past two weeks, she had been seething with the green emotion. She had not expected things to go down this way. She was the one that was supposed to walk into the Second Formula-X Grand Prix as Duchess of Drag, not Brenda Koek! And while she couldn't get her hands on Brenda tonight, she had been given a consolation prize: her sister Doris.

It was a 10 Lap Match Race meaning that Penny had ten whole laps to throw it in Brenda's face that she should be the Duchess of Drag, not her. Penny was happy to see that Brenda was in Doris' corner. The race started off hot with both racers feeling each other out and no clear leader in the first two laps. But as Lap 3 came about, Penny began to pull ahead.

Penny then held onto the lead tightly with Doris close behind, proving that she was not to be messed with. As Penny focused on staying ahead of her enemy's sister, she thought about how her hopes and dreams had blown up at Sunday Night Easter. Penny had a plan of being the most talked about racer on the 'Highway to the Grand Prix'; the biggest star in the franchise but without her title, that had all gone away.

And as if she'd been in her mind and vying for poetry, Brenda's sister pulled a move and overtook Penny, looking to take something away from her in her own right. Unfortunately for Doris, Penny was in no mood to lose anymore and recaptured the lead in Lap 7 and held it to take the race. With this victory, Penny hoped that it would be enough to get another shot at Brenda for the title despite having already exhausted her return race clause a week ago.

 


CONFESSIONS OF AN EX-GAMBLER

Juan van Zonder had been ecstatic when Toney asked to do an interview with him, but not so much when she said they were going to touch on his brush with gambling and debt. It was a dark few weeks in his life that he'd rather forget ever happened. But alas, a lamp had to be shined on it and he also felt that he needed to confess about it to keep from going down that dark road again.

"So J.V.Z., we understand that there was some underground gambling on the races right here in Formula-X, what do you know about that?" J.V.Z. was at first surprised that she didn't say how he was knee-deep in it before explaining how the system worked. "And do you believe this might have actually been a creative way for the racers to earn some extra money or were the bookies just taking advantage of the racers?" J.V.Z. was catching on that these questions were less about throwing him under the bus and more about throwing the bookies under the bus. J.V.Z. was happy about this development.

Toney then asked about earning legitimate money outside the franchise and if he had anything going on. "Well, they don't call me the 'Asphalt Artist' for nothing man. I've recently sold murals for lots of money. It might even be enough for me to overhaul my engine and start kicking some racer butt."

"Wow. Excellent. So what else can you tell us about your art?"

"Well my art used to be relegated to just graffiti and spray-painting surfaces but things have changed since I've ventured out. In fact, I credit F-X and my nickname for inspiring me to take up painting sidewalks as that's when the real money started rolling in."

"Beautiful. Well thanks, J.V.Z. for regaling us and we hope that things really do turn around for you as far as racing is concerned."

 


THE TWELVE ROUNDS DERBY

When King Solo had foolishly challenged him to this race earlier in the night, Thawn Oberhauser took that as proof that he was an idiot. Not only was he challenging a man who'd won a 12 Rounds Derby before (the first ever in fact), but he was effectively putting R6000 in his pocket. Not to mention he was also giving him another shot at making history alongside the fact that he was the Gauntlet Runner of Gauntlet IV: MotorMania at the Second Formula-X Grand Prix.

It had all started when the King had bumped into Thawn coming back from the Middle-Stage. They'd shared some intense words before he'd challenged him out of nowhere. And since he already had the Club President and V.P.'s knickers in a bunch, he'd gotten his wish for this first 12 Rounds Derby. It had been a stupid move and when the gunshot went off, Thawn was going to prove it.

However, when the gunshot indeed went off, it was King Solo who was out to prove something as he took the lead and then proceeded to lead the first three laps, taking his first three rounds. However, not to be outdone, Thawn captured the lead in his own right in Lap 4 and then proceeded to defend dominantly, taking five rounds of his own. I told you this was a mistake, he thought. Unfortunately, King Solo took back the lead in Lap 8 just in time to take his fourth and followed it up by taking Lap 10, evening the score to 5-5 going into Lap 11.

Thawn would try to rally going towards the end of Lap 11 but to no avail, as King Solo took his sixth round and followed it up by taking his seventh and final round to take the derby and the R10 000 winner's pot as agreed before the race. Thawn was livid. This was not how he'd wanted to begin his build-up to Gauntlet IV. It was like someone had cursed him. He was going to have to do something about this if he wanted momentum before the Grand Prix.

 


THE FEATURE RACE WINNER'S CIRCLE

Darcy Stevens felt nervous and she didn't know why. They'd won tonight. She looked over at her teammate for the night and saw that Styles Sithole looked just as nervous as she was. Was there something in the air? Why did it feel like this was just the calm before the storm? Perhaps it was because their other teammate, Touch Mkhize had decided against joining them in the Winner's Circle.

"So Stevie, Styles, we all know that you two have been rivals in the past with the run up to Gauntlet Three coming to mind, but now, tell us what it was like teaming up with each other to take on Temper, Fiona, and Jim Kieck."

It was Stevie who answered. "I think luck was not on those guys' side." Stevie didn't know why she'd said that, basically implying that Styles and her didn't get along and that it'd been a miracle that they'd won.

"Did it not feel sweet especially to defeat Temper Kunene, Stevie?"

"Definitely."

"And Styles, how did it feel to have a victory right here in the feature race of Fuel. Do you think will go to great lengths to prove that you belong?"

Styles smiled. "I think it certainly does because remember, there was a former King on the other side. But I also agree with Stevie and think that maybe one of Fiona's spells backfired considering that they had control for most of the race. But it all fell apart at the end so that's that."

As Stevie stood there, listening, she pondered Styles' words. What had happened in that race? Because Styles was right... they'd had it won before it fell apart towards the end. 

 


TOUCHING BASE: BLACKCAT MATHUNZI & FIONA

Touch had seen it earlier in the day but had made nothing of it, but now, sitting here across from the so-called "Spell-Castor", Touch was convinced that the raven had been a bad omen. This guy was up to something. Fortunately, Touch had his day turned around when he got word through his earpiece about something just as Touching Base went on the air.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I've just gotten word that a request I made earlier tonight has just been granted. As some of you may know, Glenwood Jacobs has officially sanctioned the four-way relay race for the Second Formula-X Grand Prix but with a twist: he will be choosing the pairings of the challengers to Longitude & Latitude's Relay Baron titles. Well tonight, I will not only be hosting Blackcat Mathunzi but also his surprise partner. But now, without further ado, let's bring on Blackcat."

Blackcat came onto the stage with little fanfare. They then waited for Touch's other guest who was revealed to be none other than 'The Feline', Fiona. Blackcat immediately lost it. "No. No, this can't... No. This cannot happen. I rid myself of this loser two weeks ago. I will not lower myself to teaming with her again."

"Is that why you cursed my race tonight?" asked Fiona, dropping a bombshell. "I saw the raven, Blackcat. I know what it means."

Blackcat was speechless and Touch was loving it. Blackcat eventually spoke up. "The bad omen wasn't just for you. It was for all those that had wronged me." Blackcat then named Thawn, the entire relay division, and the F-X King (for looking down on the rest of them) as people that he had called on the bad omen for. "If you paid attention, you would have noticed that all of them have had bad luck since Sunday Night Easter."

This was gold. It was rare for Touch to not have to invoke the drama out of his guests. But when the silence went on for a bit too long this time, Touch intervened. "Well despite this friction, I should tell you that Moodswing has sealed this race in stone. You two will be teaming up together."

It was at this point that Fiona shocked them all. "Well after you defeated me at S.N.E. I have to admit that I might have been wrong. I am willing to follow your teachings again if you’ll have me."

It took a moment for Blackcat to recover from this but smiled when he did. "If that's the case then I guess it's time for me to lift the bad omen so we can get to work."

While Touch wanted to roll his eyes at all this hocus-pocus, he couldn't help but acknowledge one thing: he may have thought all of his occult stuff to be rubbish... but it definitely was entertaining!

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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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