A roaring v-twin engine rips through the midday sun as the black and chrome motorcycle cuts its way down a gravel road, the back tire kicking up dust and rocky debris in its wake. Perched atop the thunderous steel horse is The Tornado himself, Tommy Dylan. Tommy’s brown hair whips in the wind along with his wide-open leather vest, a pair of black wrap around sunglasses help diffuse the sun and dust that is constantly trying to invade his sight. Endless flat corn fields stretch out on all sides of the road, the ground yellowed from the recent harvest.
Rolling to a stop, Tommy eyes an intersection of perpendicular dusty trails. Was this the crossroads his grandfather told him about? The intersecting roads looked like so many in America, it was beginning to feel like he was looking for a needle in a nation-wide haystack. He knew about the one in Mississippi, everyone did, but it had been close to a hundred years since anyone made a deal on the Delta, the old timers will tell you that whatever was there had moved on.
The man they call The Midwest Maelstrom kills the engine and kicks out the stand for the motorcycle. Snapping his leg over the side Tommy takes another second to ponder if he had found it or not.
“Okay, let’s see if you want to make a deal or not,” Tommy mutters to himself as he walks his way into the middle of the intersection. Stuffing his hands into the pockets of his denim jeans Tommy stands idly in the center of the road, waiting. In his earlier attempts to find the crossroads Tommy used to think he was waiting for anything to happen, as time has gone by though he’s come to realize that he isn’t just waiting for anything to come along. He was waiting for something specific. Something that he wasn’t sure if he believed in or not. Growing impatient Tommy begins to call out and antagonize the silence of the empty backroads.
“Hello? Anybody home? I got a fresh soul for sale if anyone is interested.”
Not letting his impatience fester into anger, Tommy shoots a grin at the lack of a response and runs a hand through his hair.
“Yeah, that’s what I thought. Someday we’re gonna meet up and you’re gonna realize what you been missin’.”
With a sly grin Tommy walks back over to his motorcycle but stops to look over his shoulder as a sudden feeling of nervousness rushes into his stomach. Nothing there. Nothing was ever there. Tossing his leg back over the side, Tommy settles into the seat of his bike and turns the key to fire up the engine, but nothing happens as the ignition clicks. Puzzled, Tommy tries again but still the engine won’t turn over. Taking a deep breath, The Tornado scans his surroundings again. Green and yellow fields and rocky roads of some small town in America. Same as before, except this time Tommy sees something off in the distance. A small bit of gray in an otherwise perfect blue sky.
“What’s that that I see on the horizon? Is that a storm you got brewin’?” Tommy asks no one in particular, “Alright, let’s see what you got.”
Tommy reaches down and tries the ignition one more time. This time the chrome beast comes back to life and The Gravel Road Guardian rides off in the direction of the mounting storm.