The motorcycle roared ahead terrifying one rider and delighting the other. Sydney tensed every muscle in her body locking herself onto Pack and the earsplitting machine. Pack marveled as he maneuvered the Indian with complete ease. His hands worked the throttle, gear shifter and brake lever without any hesitancy. He could feel Elmer’s presence and took comfort in his skill and control over the motorcycle. This is so easy, thought Pack. I could do this in my sleep. He let his eyes close.
     Open your eyes, you fool! The scream exploded in Pack’s head. His eyes flicked open. You want to get yourself killed? Elmer demanded.
     “No, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize.”
     We need each other. Always.
     Understanding flooded through Pack. Elmer needed Pack’s senses: his eyes and ears. He was Elmer’s connection to the physical world around them. And right now Pack needed Elmer’s skills and knowledge. But who are you? Who is Mordun? He waited. But Elmer was silent. A nudge from behind alerted him to the dirt fire road up ahead.
     Pack formed the words silently in his head: Take the dirt road on the left. He heard nothing in return from Elmer, but his hands slowed the motorcycle and his body leaned into the tight left hand turn.
     The fire road was hard packed, yet plenty of channels and potholes dug out by rain and weekend ATV warriors pitted its surface. The old motorcycle's hard, skinny tires bounced over the ruts and holes shaking the teens without mercy. Sydney felt her stomach lurch and nausea well up in her throat. Pack felt no queasiness, his senses completely focused on Elmer’s excitement as he pushed the bike faster.
     “Look out!” Pack screamed into the pounding air.
     I see it, too. Just keep your eyes open!
     A rotted pine tree felled by a recent rainstorm rested across the road. Its sickly, mottled colored branches jabbed upwards like primitive spears. Pack loosened his grip on the throttle and applied pressure to the brake handle. But the bike charged on, his commands to his own hands completely ignored.
     No. We must not slow down now!
     The fallen tree was twenty seconds away. Fear gripped Pack and he craved to shut his eyes tight. Summoning every ounce of willpower he locked his eyes open and focused on the road. He still felt Elmer’s confidence and enthusiasm. Is this guy insane? Am I insane?
     The bike drifted far to the right. Pack saw an embankment rising along the edge of the road. Covered in tall grass it sloped up sharply before meeting the forest’s edge.
     “Yes, I see.” Pack hollered.
     The forest around them was a smear of brown and green blurred by speed as the motorcycle thundered forward. Sydney clamped her eyes shut and held a fierce grip on her friend. Don’t let us die, she prayed. The bike slid up the embankment, and with a sudden jerk, up into the air. Don’t let us die, she prayed.
     Pack rejoiced as the tree trunk passed beneath them. The landing rattled them both, but they hung on. Elmer’s spirits soared and laughter, both Elmer’s and his own, filled Pack’s head.
     A mile later Pack brought the bike to a halt in front of a single horizontal steel pole gate: the back entrance to Silverton Airfield. Sydney staggered off, fell to her knees and vomited. Pack pulled off his helmet and tossed it to the ground. He stood motionless, feeling helpless as he watched his friend heave. Shame washed through Pack. He had forgotten his friend in his own enjoyment of the awesome ride along the fire road. Pack sensed Elmer’s amusement over Sydney’s shaken nerves and anger sprang up within him. He focused his infuriated mind on the motorcycle champion and unleashed a cruel scolding. Pack’s head flinched as a cool sensation filtered through his consciousness. His rage dulled.
     Friends before anger. Go to her now. Pack did not recognize the voice that drifted through his head.
     He gently touched Sydney’s shoulder. “Sorry about the rough ride. You alright?”
     “Yeah. Just need a couple of minutes.”
     Pack helped Sydney up and stepped her over to the side of the road away from the pool of vomit. Sydney sat, pulling a tissue from her pocket and wiping her mouth. She stared off into the woods.
     “Sorry, Pack. Sorry I let you down. I was just so piss-in-the-pants scared.”
     “What?” This made no sense. That’s trash, Pack thought. He had risked Sydney’s life, had forgotten about her while he reveled in the ride’s excitement. He could have killed his best friend, and she’s apologizing. Tears welled up in his eyes. I’m such a jerk! Damn! I’m so stupid. These shoes….I’m going crazy. Pack was about to blurt his tangled fury when other words came.
     “Sydney,” Pack’s voice was easy and steady, “you have nothing to be sorry for. You did great. I am so proud of you for holding on. And I’m even prouder of you for trusting me. Your trust is the greatest gift. We’re best friends, Syd. What’s a little vomit between friends?”
     Sydney smiled. “You’re being gross.” She picked up a stone and tossed it across the road. “It was that cake, you know.”
     “I know.”
     “Let’s go find out what we can about Mrs. Wamdoffer.”
     “You want to leave the bike here and walk?”
     “Hell no. Get on.”
     Pack grabbed his helmet and they mounted the motorcycle. Just before he came down on the starter Pack silently whispered a thank you to the elderly soldier who had appeared to him and given him just the right words. Pack knew he was a man that understood friendship and fear. But what was he doing in his head?