2nd Place – July 2023 (tie)

A Glimpse into the Future

by Gary Christenson

Wind swirled under my helmet as I drove my Harley toward our meeting zone in the mountains high above Colorado Springs. Today was my transformation day, if I survived the initiation test, and if Mountain Mama approved my request. I wanted to peek into the future because of my obsessive need to control events. Sucking in shallow breaths, I remembered my stressful childhood with two alcoholic parents.

I needed answers to many questions. Is my neurotic girlfriend worth the drama she creates? Is my job secure? What are the winning Powerball lottery numbers? And a hundred others.

Mountain Mama waved. She stood six feet tall, and weighed almost two hundred pounds, mostly muscle. A warrior. Her intense brown eyes radiated deep wisdom. Two decades ago, she toured on the women’s pro wrestling circuit. Long ago, she told me, “Fake wrestling, fake name, phony world. I got tired of the nonsense, bought a cabin in the Colorado mountains, went off-grid, and met several enlightened people. That’s when I learned the secrets of life.”

I parked my bike, strolled toward her, and bowed my head. “Howdy, Mountain Mama.”

“Jake, you ready for this?” She stared into my eyes. “Let me hear you say it.”

“Mountain Mama, yes, I’m ready for my initiation into subtle secrets and hidden knowledge so I can see into the future.”

“Follow me.” She led me up a rocky path, a quarter mile from the parking zone to a clearing. Five candles defined the points of a twenty-foot-wide pentagram with the apex at the top. “Your head should face north toward the apex candle. Relax and trust your inner wisdom. Or back out now. Remember, you influence and sometimes create your future with your thoughts and emotions. Also, you must pay a price if you want to receive insights into the future.”

“I understand, I’m ready.” I stood inside the pentagram and waited.

She lit the candles and a pipe. “The smoke is a mild hallucinogen that will release your subconscious strengths and fears. Take three deep drags, hold it, hand the pipe to me, and lie down. I’ll chant. Your test begins now.”

I sucked in the smoke. The hallucinogen smacked my brain, a triple shot of Scotch on an empty stomach. Moments later, my consciousness floated into an urban park. Lush and fragrant flower beds and green grass smelled like a tropical paradise. Empty streets and an eerie calm surrounded me. Calming music played in the distance. Birds flew from tree to tree, and butterflies fluttered nearby. Multi-colored hot air balloons floated like clouds in the soft blue sky.

A shiny Harley Softail sat in a parking space nearby. The sign attached to the handlebars read, ‘Jake. Take me for a ride.’ After swinging my leg over the seat, I pressed the start button. Hearing the signature Harley rumble, I smiled with pleasure. Music to my ears, comfort to my soul.

Feeling free, I rode toward a distant freeway. Cruising on a perfect day, in a beautiful city, on the best bike ever made, I let her rip. Several miles into my ride, three outlaw bikers emerged from a side street and blocked my lane, their machines idling. They flashed predatory grins. Dark, vacant eyes in ugly, misshaped faces reminded me of a ‘Bikers from Hell’ movie poster. No helmets, long hair, facial scars, black leather clothes, and tatted arms screamed danger. My stomach knotted as I slowed.

The center biker taunted me. “We’re gonna kill your ass!”

I believed the threat. Instead of stopping, I gunned the engine, laid rubber, and screamed around them, missing the curb on the opposite side of the street. Roaring engine sounds confirmed the bikers from hell chased me. Passing 100 mph, dodging cars, I flew up the freeway on-ramp, hoping to outrun them, but their bikes were faster. Seconds later, they caught my bike and tried to crowd me off the freeway. I cranked the throttle and sped away, knowing they would catch me. Are they armed?

At 120 mph, I pretended to ignore the upcoming exit. Instead, I roared around a slower car in the right lane. Leaning my bike right as much as I dared, I sped down the exit ramp, avoiding the dangerous pavement edge by inches. Only one biker made the turn. My odds of surviving a fight had improved.

The rearview mirror showed the killer approaching on my right, swinging a chain, ready to strike. I leaned left, backed off the throttle, and tapped the rear brake. He flew past me, allowing me to turn onto a side street.

Seconds later, his bike devoured the space between us. I searched for an escape. Nothing! An empty dirt covered playground containing monkey bars, a tiny merry-go-round, and a swing set lay before me.

Searching for steel to protect me from his chain, I slammed on the brakes and ran. He screeched to a stop near my Harley and strolled toward me, swinging the chain, grinning. The biker looked like an ugly, tatted-up, darker version of myself. I ran behind a merry-go-round that separated me from his swirling chain.

“Prepare to die, asshole.” The chain whistled through the air. “Give up and I’ll make it quick.”

Him or me!

Find protection! Darting behind a tetherball pole, I readied myself to leap as he advanced. He faked to his left. I jumped left, and he bounced right, swinging the chain. I lunged the other way. He swung the chain at my head. Barely missing me, it wrapped around the pole. He yanked with both hands to free it. I charged, side kicked a knee, pivoted, and kicked him in the pain zone between his legs. The biker from hell groaned and fell forward as I launched a vicious front snap kick to his head. He collapsed facedown onto the ground. I jammed a knee into his back, grabbed his chin and head with my hands, and twisted, breaking his neck. His body went limp. My hands shook as I stood, gasping for breath.

Moments later, the dead biker rose to his feet and smiled. “Bravo. You survived your initiation test.” Then his body and our bikes faded into the sunlight and disappeared. Alone, I panted on the playground and trembled. I wiped tear-filled eyes.

Stunned, I took two steps, light-headed and shaking, and collapsed back into the pentagram. I emerged from a hallucinogenic dream land while lying on the ground, surrounded by mountains. A woman stood nearby. My head cleared. “I remember. You’re Mountain Mama and I’m Jake.”

She focused on me with kind but penetrating eyes. “Very good. Tell me what happened.”

“I rode a Harley toward a freeway in a beautiful world. Three bad-ass outlaw bikers tried to kill me. I survived, and they faded into nothingness. It was an ordeal.”

“You passed. If you want to peer into the near future, I’ll open your energy centers and activate your pituitary gland.”


She chanted. I passed out. I woke with a headache, tried to stand, and collapsed. Mountain Mama gave me a hand. “Cup of coffee? You’re in no shape to ride.”

Coffee smelled heavenly and tasted even better. An hour later, I roared down the mountain toward home, smiling and humming.


Six months after my initiation, I had seen many glimpses of the future. My latest Powerball lottery ticket missed the jackpot by a single number and paid $10,000. I told my narcissistic girlfriend, “Hot damn. This looking into the future stuff works.” She gave me a strange look, and a present-day vision flooded into my mind. My mouth flopped open, and I glared at her. “You’ve been cheating on me. Haul your two-timing ass out of my house now!”

She shouted, “Yes, I cheated, but only because you’re fuckin’ nuts.”

Days later, I woke from a nap, panting and shaking. In the dream, I rode on a country road. At sixty mph, I missed a suitcase sized pothole by inches. Hitting it would have knocked my bike into the ditch and killed me.

Did I see the future, or was it a warning?

I meditated yesterday and received another vision. My vindictive ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend firebombed my house in the wee hours while I slept. I didn’t escape the fire. Trying to change the future, I started sleeping during the day and stayed awake all night. The next vision showed me burning to death after they hurled another firebomb through a bedroom window during daylight hours. No escape.

Now, I toss and turn, but seldom sleep. My left eye twitches. I drink too much, and my hands shake. Life sucks.

I’m ready to move to another state. The future is coming and maybe I can’t change it. Is this the price I had to pay?

Mountain Mama says I’m creating my disastrous future. That worries me even more.

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