What’s this? A secret admirer. How cliché.

Arianna closed the card that was attached to the single rose left on her porch this Valentine’s morning and set it on the table. She did not have time to worry about school boy crushes; she had more important things to do.

She tossed the rose aside and looked in the mirror to adjust her goggles. Her hair was out of control. She slicked it into a tight pony tail, tightened her brown leather corset, and flew out the door.

Today was the 10th annual nebula racers relay. This would be the first year Arianna was competing, but she had plenty of experience, her brother was champion the first 3 years of the competition after all. She jumped onto her steam powered hover board and floated in line next to the rest of the competitors.

As she was completing her final inspection of her board before the race, the Skylark brothers glided in on either side of her, Rykin on the right in his dark vest with matching dusky hair draped over his eyes, and Henrik on the left sporting his favorite pilots cap and full of energy.

Could it have been one of these boys who left her the rose? She had not given it a second thought earlier; but now, surrounded by them, she was intrigued. She had always been great friends with Henrik and they had so much in common, but Rykin had such mystery about him. No! She cannot be distracted by this now, not when she has trained so hard for this day.

All the contenders were lined up. She looked at Rykin who was staring straight ahead and then to Henrik who gave her thumbs up and a smile. She squatted down waiting for the signal to start the race. The steam whistle blew and they were off.

Arianna squatted as low as she could and dropped down the cliff hovering down a rocky path. Already she was meters ahead of the pack. She didn’t look back; she had to plot out the quickest course. She saw a tunnel broken through one of the larger mountains. It looked like a tight squeeze, but she could
make it.

She ducked under the roof of the tunnel and avoided the obstacles. Abruptly, a dark figure sped above her. How did he even fit?! Arianna could see the light at the end of the tunnel fade into darkness as Rykin passed through ahead of her. He turned back for just a moment, long enough to knock a rock in her path with the end of his board.

Did he really think he could stop her? She leaned forward going head first through the small gap that was left behind. She did a complete flip catching her board and throwing it back under her feet in time to balance and continue forward.

Just as she was gaining speed to catch up with Rykin, his board began smoking. He must have broken something when he hit that rock. He was still keeping pace with her for the moment. Rykin swerved in front of her to use her board to sustain his. Arianna couldn’t control her board with him overtaking her. They were nearing the end of the course, when swiftly Henrik flies in at full speed and knocks Rykin off his board losing his own in the process.

Henrik started to fall, but Arianna caught his hand. He secured himself on her board as they crossed the finish line.

The crowd cheered, the race had two champions this year. Arianna and Henrik smiled at each other held hands and raised them into the air for the spectators. She looked at him and he said “Did you like the rose?”

About the Author

My name is Laurel Schlitt. I recently discovered Steampunk and have become addicted. I love historical fiction, fantasy, and science fiction. I also love empowered women, romance, and fashion. Steampunk has all that rolled into one.The best part about Steampunk is that is can be anything you dream.