rider on the wheel


2005 Harley Davidson


Screamin’ Eagle V-RodVRSCSEPristine Upgraded Screaming’ Eagle V-Rod 1250 cc OHC V-Twin 120 HP 5 Speed.

  • 1,250cc Revolution V-Twin engine / 120 rear-wheel horsepower
  • Electronic sequential port fuel injection
  • Vance & Hines exhaust
  • 5-speed manual transmission / Fresh clutch
  • Electric Orange and Black paint
  • Passenger’s seat and pegs
  • 2005-exclusive Screamin’ Eagle V-Rod that’s logged only 19,965 miles under just 2-owners
  • Sale includes service records, accessory receipts and a Dynojet dyno sheet.
  • rkmotors
The Fall

by: mldrgrl
Rating: pg13
Summary:  Hank’s story immediately following Runaway Bride**

**I haven’t felt compelled to do this for awhile, but this story is not going to make any sense if you haven’t read the last two installments.  Really, it shouldn’t make any sense if you haven’t been keeping up with this series, but at the very least, read the previous two to understand what’s going on.

The Leopard Cannot Change Her Spots
Runaway Bride

Hank portrayed himself as a pessimist most times, but in reality, he was an eternal optimist.  He could hope for something to happen for years, if he had to.  His on again off again decades long relationship with Karen was proof of that.  So, true to form, he hoped.  On the way to the airport, he hoped Stella was right behind him.  At the security checkpoint, he hoped she’d come running, maybe cause some sort of scene about cutting in line to join him and pull her badge out to frighten/impress someone.  Waiting in the terminal to board, he hoped she’d stroll up dragging her suitcase behind her.  Buckling his seatbelt, he hoped she’d be the last to board right up until the point the flight attendants closed and locked the door.  

Hope didn’t end there.  Going through customs at JFK, he checked the arrivals board and saw at least a dozen flights from London landing later in the day.  And there was always Laguardia to consider, and Newark.  He hoped she’d show up at the loft an hour or two behind him, catching the first available flight she could get since she missed theirs.  Because hope allowed him to tell himself she’d simply missed the flight.

Even calling her to leave a message on her voicemail that he’d made it in okay and he loved her gave him hope.  After all, her phone could be off because she was currently in flight, not because she was avoiding his call.  

Keep reading


Montebello Rd & Stevens Canyon Rd on my SC3 Adventure dual sport motorcycle

Coke Can (nessian version)

It was going to snow. There was no doubt about it, it was too cold to do anything but snow. I blew out a breath as the gas pumped into my jeep. I tried to keep my hands in my pockets so they don’t fall off as I let it go itself. I feel my phone vibrate, but I don’t pull it out. I still haven’t gotten to where I’m going.

Then again I wasn’t even sure where I was going. The dark clouds seemed to be following me though. Ever since I left I couldn’t shake them. But I couldn’t stay there, I needed space. There were too many ghosts; too much pain.

My phone buzzed once, telling me I had a message. I knew who it was, one of my brothers checking up on me. They were probably worried sick. I never left for this long without a note or a reason. I’m sure they knew why, they had to know why I needed time. I fought back the tears as I stood there letting the cold bite my face.

Life was unfair, I have always known that. I watched my mom die before she was even forty years old. I never even met my father. Life would never be easy, but I never thought it would be this hard.

The pump clicked off, snapping me back into reality. I closed the cap and then head inside to pay for my gas. It feels good to get inside and out of the cold. But when I step behind the guy paying my heart stops. There’s a Coke bottle in his hand, one of the glass ones. He stuck a straw in the hole, shattering my attempt at shutting down that part of my brain. My mind starts to race, the memories I tried so hard to forget come back all at once.

She was beautiful, I knew it before she even turned around. Her blonde curls were swinging in the wind as she threw her head back laughing. The lights of the fair illuminated her green jacket. She looked like she loved life and from what I could tell everyone in her life loved her just as much.

Rhysand pushed me towards her, my feet were frozen as she smiled at me. Her bright steel blue eyes drew me in. They were beautiful and yet she had an air of mystery around her. She giggled again as the brown haired girl beside her whispered something in her ear.

I offered her my hand, “Cassian Moten. Ferris wheel solo rider looking for a partner.”

She laughed again, then shook her head, "oh no. I don’t do the Ferris wheel Mr. Moten.”

I raised an eyebrow, feeling more confident as her friends watched, "and why not? I thought a pretty girl like you wouldn’t be afraid of anything.”

"I’m not afraid,” she defended herself, my hand falling back down beside me, “I just don’t like it, that’s all.”

I nodded, biting my lip as I stood there, "okay well let me get you a drink. A funnel cake? Let me win you a stuffed animal with my ability to knock down glass milk bottles.”

She shook her head slowly, still giving me that half smirk half smile that was driving me insane. I had never been so taken by a girl let alone a stranger before. I was the guy who played the field, but I knew the moment she laughed she was it for me.

Sometimes you just know these things. It was the spark that changed your life.

"Come on Nesta,” the girl beside her nudged her shoulder, “he clearly wants to get to know you. Stop being a big scaredy cat.”

She glared at her friend and then sighed as she looked back in my direction, “fine. Let’s get something to drink.”

We walked to a stand together and I ordered two cokes. She giggled, shaking her head as I handed her the soda, "so does Nesta have a last name?”

"Acheron. Why do you want to know me so badly?” She put a straw in the hole and took a sip. Her friends were watching, Rhysand was chatting with one off to the side. I smiled at our situation.

I shrugged, “you seem like a mystery. I like a good mystery.”
We sat down on a bench and she sighed, "I’m not a mystery you want to figure out, Cassian.”

"I don’t think that’s true,” I finished my drink and then smiled, “I bet I can get this can into that trash can. If I don’t I’ll leave you alone.”

She raised an eyebrow, "and if you do?”

"You go on the Ferris wheel with me.”

I didn’t wait for her answer. I put my hands up and looked at the can waiting for the crowd to thin out. Once the coast was clear I flicked my wrist and let the can fly through the air. It hit the rim of the trash can and then slid around like it was going to fall in. But before it did it hit the wall and fell onto the ground.

"Damn,” Nesta clicked her tongue as I blushed at my failure, “I changed my mind. I’ll go on with you.”

She threw her empty can into the trash can without trying and laughed when it landed in without a challenge. I shook my head, grabbing her hand before she could change her mind. I felt her grip tighten as we got closer to the ride and I smiled as she leaned into me.

Once we were sitting at the top, the lights were beautiful. Everyone was small and the town looked even more beautiful in the fall weather. My heart was beating faster than it ever had before as Nesta slid in close to my side.

She let out a slow breath, her grip on the bar loosened as she relaxed, "you don’t want to get to know me,” she whispered as the stars sparkled above us.

“Sir? Are you going to pay?” I shook my head, the attendant at the gas station called my attention as the memory faded away.
I stepped up to the counter, “sorry,” I whispered as I paid for my gas and then took my receipt. I was still reeling from the memory that I walked away from the door and through an aisle. My hands were shaking. I should be mad at her. I should be mad at the memory, but I wasn’t.

I kept walking, unsure of where I was going in this small store. My heart hurt as I tried to collect my thoughts and my emotions. This trip was supposed to bring me peace, help me heal. But in this gas station only a few hours from home it was doing the total opposite.

I sighed, turning the corner of the last aisle. I thought I’d go to the bathroom and pull myself together, but I stopped short once more.

There beside the beer cooler was a set of those big camping lanterns. This time I smiled as the memory came flashing back.

The cabin had been huge, it was their vacation house and it was bigger than the home I grew up in. She promised it didn’t matter, she wanted me to meet her parents. They were so excited to have me come along they went all out. The first night they cooked a big fancy dinner. Nesta barely ate a thing, but it was delicious.

Better than anything I had ever tried to cook for the boys and me.

Her mom seemed distant, she would glare at me and I could tell she was judging me. She didn’t think I was good enough to be with her daughter. That didn’t stop me, I picked up Nesta’s hand while we ate and held it tightly in mine.

The entire time we ate mother and daughter would glare at each other. I knew they both had a secret they weren’t sharing. Something that they knew and didn’t want anyone else to know. I could only hope it didn’t have to do with me.

Her dad was the opposite. He was so warm and welcoming I felt like I had known him forever once dinner was done. We talked about everything, he didn’t look at me like I was a scholarship kid. He asked my opinion and listened to what I was studying. I could see where Nesta got her personality from as I sat there with him.

Once dinner was over the storm started. It was late and her parents turned in for bed early. Her parents had set up the guest room for me. Nesta yawned and seemed tired, so I told her to go on up I’d follow. She shook her head and sat down beside me. She settled into my arms as we watched the dying fire.

“So do you think they like me?” I whispered as she leaned her head back against my shoulder. I wanted them to like me, after all their daughter was very important to me.

“Yeah they like you. I just wish they realized I’m not five and you don’t need to stay in the guest room,” she huffed as she sat up straighter, “we’re adults.”

I tickled her sides and she giggled, "you’re barely an adult, Nesta. And I will sleep wherever you or they want me to. Although your mom didn’t seem to like me much.”

She sighed, choosing her words carefully, "she’s protective.”

Nesta hesitated when she explained her moms behavior. I didn’t think too hard about it, I just held her closer and kissed her neck. It didn’t matter, her mother could flat out tell me she didn’t like me and I wouldn’t care. Because I was here for her daughter and no one else.

That’s the thing about Nesta, she never looked at me like I was trash. She never cared about my small house or my sister tagging along on our movie dates. She loved the way we included her in our little family with ease. She seemed to understand that we needed her as much as she wanted to need us.

"So did you ever think a ride on the Ferris wheel would turn into this?” I whispered as the thunder boomed outside and Nesta shivered in my arms.

She laughed, “no. But I sure am glad I got on it with you.”

She turned to face me, kissing my lips softly. I loved kissing her. I loved everything about her. We hadn’t known each other long but hell I knew it was fate. There was nothing that could drag me away from her. Nothing.

Halfway through our evening of joking and laughing Nesta yawned again. I told her to go on up I would make sure the fire died completely. She didn’t fight me this time, she stood up and stretched. Her shirt pulled up as she stood on her toes and smiled at my eyes wandering to her stomach.

She giggled making me smile, "I love your laugh.”

Her blue eyes lit up as she stood there staring at me. She looked like she wanted to tell me something, but instead she just smiled, "your laugh is better. You and your deep voice. That’s the only reason I’m still around.”

Nesta leaned down and kissed my cheek and thanked me for being so kind to her parents, before heading off to bed. I watched the empty fireplace for a little while longer, wondering how a guy like me had found someone like her.

I settled into my bed a few hours later. I was about to turn my lamp off when the power cut out. I sighed, sitting up and letting my eyes adjust to the darkness. I didn’t want to sleep alone anyways and I remembered Nesta telling me about her nightmares. I got up and found the camping lamp her dad told me was in the closet. Apparently they lost power a lot when the storms rolled through here.

I wandered down the hallway slowly, hoping her parents room was in the opposite direction. There were more rooms than people on this floor and I hesitate between the last two doors at the end of the hallway. I couldn’t remember which one was hers.

The door opened before I could figure out which room belonged to Nesta. Her face was lit up by the lamp and she laughed softly as she pulled me into her room.

"I was hoping you’d come,” she whispered setting the lamp down on her nightstand and kissing me. I wrapped my arms around her small body and held her close. She relaxed in my embrace, her skin cold against mine.

Thinking back now her hands were always cold.

She pulled at my shirt, her eyes hungry. Ever since we met we could barely get enough of each other. I kissed her that first night after the Ferris wheel and that was it. There was no going back. She never hesitated to tell me to slow down, so this was new.

Before she told me she wasn’t ready. Now she seemed more experienced than I was. I pulled at her lip gently, “are you sure Nesta?”

She nodded as she ran her cold hands up my stomach, "I want it to be you Cassian.”

I didn’t need anything more to convince me. I laid her down on the mattress and pulled her shirt up over her head. I laid a trail of kisses down her stomach as her fingers ran through my hair. I couldn’t get enough of her. I would never get tired of feeling her body against mine.

I pressed a kiss to her temple as she curled up in my arms. I knew it was wrong to be so happy after finally sleeping with her in her parents house. But I was more than happy as she sighed contently in my arms. She drew a heart on my chest and then she looked up at me.

"You don’t want to fall in love with me,” she whispered, her voice breaking as her blue eyes held mine.

I pushed open the door and walked out of the gas station, my heart still shattered in pieces. She had been right both times, but that didn’t stop me. I got to know her and I fell in love with the blonde haired girl with the beautiful smile. I sighed as I climbed into the jeep and slammed my door shut.

My breathing was heavy as I tried to stop the panic attack that was coming on. I closed my eyes, squeezing my hands on the wheel as I saw her face. Her laughter played on loop in my head and it hurt to breathe whenever that happened. That stupid Coke bottle. That stupid memory. I had been doing so well.

My breath still came out in puffs, I didn’t bother turning on the heat. It wouldn’t help with the pain inside my chest. I hit the radio dial hoping it would help ease the pain. But it only made it worse as I pulled back onto the dirt road. The song that started to play was the old country song she loved to sing along to. She used to sit right there in the passenger seat and sing loudly off key with Faith Hill.

I looked over at the empty seat, that ache in my chest getting tighter. I didn’t get far from the gas station, not even a mile away when I had to pull over. The tears made it too hard to see, the knot in my chest even tighter than before.

Another tear fell as I leaned my head against the wheel.

“Come on, it’ll be fun!” She laughed as she tugged my arm and pulled me into the field. Her hair was covered by her red hat, her cheeks pink from the cold. I smiled as she led me out where the other couples were.

I wasn’t big on school spirit, but for some reason Nesta wanted to go to this football game. She was mesmerized by the homecoming court, her eyes glue to the girls wearing prom dresses in the freezing cold. She leaned in close when they waved and walked the track with their dates. I wrapped my arms around her tightly, my jacket swallowing her tiny frame. I loved her wearing my jacket, that’s the only reason I agreed to come to this game.

She knew it too, that’s why she always wore it when I was around. I was a sucker for that smile and her wearing my clothes. I shook my head, I didn’t want to dance in front of people. That didn’t stop her from dragging me into the middle of the football field with everyone else. Nesta didn’t care, she was already dancing on her own.

I smiled as her favorite song played and everyone grabbed a person to dance with. She pressed her fingers against my lips, “is that a smile Mr. Moten? Are you actually having fun?”

I laughed and pulled her in close as the snow started to fall, "not at all. But you, you look like you’re having the time of your life.”

She shivered as a flake landed on her nose and leaned in to kiss me. She wrapped her arms around my neck and pulled me in close. She held me tightly, as if she could keep this moment and hold onto it forever. Her eyes were closed when she pulled away. She leaned her forehead against mine and sighed.

Looking back now I realize we were so young. I thought we could take on the world together. We were high on big dreams and caffeine. We were the lucky ones, we had found each other before our lives truly started. I knew there wasn’t anyone else for me. Not since I stepped into that fair and heard her laugh.

I would’ve given her my life and spent all the years I had spread out in front of me with her.

I opened my eyes and looked at the girl I never knew actually existed. I smiled at her, not realizing how little time we had left. I would’ve appreciated every second, I would’ve memorized her face. I would’ve held her tighter, tried to freeze the moment and never let it go.

But I was young. I didn’t think I’d have to let go so fast.

"I love you,” I whispered as the song ended and we stood there for a moment more.

There were tears in her eyes as she pushed my chest hard letting her hands fall away from me, “I told you not to fall in love with me.”

She was actually angry, she wasn’t kidding. She walked off the field as the game got ready to go into the second half. I followed behind her, grabbing her hand before she could get far.

"What the hell Nesta? You aren’t serious?” My voice was hard as she shook her head.

She blew out a breath as the snow fell, her lips were almost blue, “you can’t love me. I’m a grenade.”

She looked pale, I assumed it was the cold. Her cheeks weren’t red from the wind anymore and before I could ask her what that meant she closed her eyes. I was still holding her wrist as it happened. Time seemed to slow down as she fell, my arms wrapping around her before she landed on the ground.

"Someone call nine one one,” I yelled as I forgot all about the game happening around us.

I wasn’t sure how I made it back home in one piece. One minute I was sitting on the side of the highway and the next my jeep pulled back into the town I never thought I wanted to see again. The song opened the damn and all my tears were pouring out now as I pulled into a parking spot outside the black iron gates. I hadn’t stepped inside since it all happened.

Saying goodbye once had been hard, I wasn’t sure I could do it again.

The sky was gray as I stood there at her grave. It was white marble, her mom had taken care of every detail. Nesta Acheron; daughter, friend. Two words summed up the life of the girl I barely got to know. She was more than that, she was the one I thought I’d never lose.

The dash between her birth and her death was too short. There was so much more she was supposed to do. There was so much love we were supposed to share. My heart was still beating inside my chest, but the truth was it was buried there with her. I would never love anyone the way I loved her.

I placed the flowers on top of her grave. The stone was cold against my fingers. I sighed, not even trying to stop the tears as they gathered in my eyes. Then I leaned down and placed the Coke bottle in front of the marker, in the corner where it couldn’t hurt the precious stone that cost more than my car.

“I miss you every damn day, Nesta Acheron. But I’d do it all over again, just to hold you one more time.”

She warned me, time and time again she told me not to fall for her. Her kisses weren’t a promise she could keep, she knew it the night we met. She was already dying the day we met, the day I felt alive for the first time in my life.

It was cancer, stage five. It had gotten to her bones. There was nothing she could do, she had accepted that long before she ever met me. The chemo had stopped working so she stopped letting it destroy her body. She didn’t look sick, but then again I didn’t know what sick looked like. She embraced life and never once felt sorry for herself. She thought she was scared, but she was the bravest person I knew.

Nesta held on when the ambulance showed up. I held her hand as they drove to the hospital. She would squeeze my fingers every once and a while to let me know she was still there. Her blue eyes weren’t as bright, I could see the life fading from her. She was fighting so hard to stay with me.

Her hand tightened in mine as I sat there watching them attach lines and try to save her. She pulled the breathing mask off and smiled at me. It wasn’t her usual smile, there was less spark behind it. Tears were in her eyes, but she was more than calm as she looked at me.

"I didn’t want to let myself fall in love with you,” she whispered as I leaned in closer to hear her soft voice, “I didn’t want to hurt you. I don’t want to leave you.”

A tear slipped down my cheek as I kissed her cold skin. My heart was breaking into a million pieces as I realized the truth, "I know, it’s okay. I love you Nesta.”

She smiled slightly, before wincing at the pain she was in, "promise me you won’t hold onto me. Let me go and find someone else to share your smile with. Let another girl fall in love with your attitude and your laugh.”

I nodded, "I promise I’ll try,” I whispered as the paramedics pushed the oxygen mask back on her face.

She pulled it off once more, “I love you too Cassian Moten. Thank you for giving me the best gift I never thought I would get to have.”

They forced the mask back over her mouth. That moment I knew I was lucky to have found her at all. I smiled, I put on a brave face for her. I didn’t want her to know I was about ready to fall apart. I wasn’t ready to lose her, but I knew that I didn’t have a say in how this ended.

I brought our hands up to my chin and kissed her fingers as the machines beeped and all hell broke loose.

"I will always love you,” I whispered as the wind picked up. I closed my eyes and for a moment I thought I could hear her laughter.

Before I turned to leave the snow started to fall. I shivered as I looked back at the Coke bottle one last time. I would never forget that day, when I felt my life begin.

I knew I couldn’t out run her ghost. She would always be with me, I’d carry her in my heart and never let her go. She taught me to love and what it’s like to be loved. She gave me the greatest gift in the world. I only realized it after it was too late. I never got to truly thank her for finding her way into my life.

Life is unfair, there’s no denying that. But knowing what I know now, I’d still buy her that Coke. I would still find a way to make her laugh. Even if I knew the way it would all end, I’d do it all over again. If that was the only way I ever got to know her, I’d hold her in my arms and never ever let her go.

Nesta Acheron was my first love and even though I promised her I would love again, I lied. I would never love another person the way I loved her. She took my heart with her in the short time we had together. And even though I knew I’d never get it back, I wouldn’t change a thing.


Tron Cycles Coming to WDW’s Tomorrowland by 2021

The Disney Blog reports: “Tron – our highest-rated attraction at Shanghai Disneyland – is coming to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida! 

“The new Tron attraction will sit in an entirely new area right next to the Space Mountain attraction at Magic Kingdom Park. 

“[T]he TRON Lightcycle Power Run attraction at Shanghai Disneyland is a coaster-style attraction where riders board a train of two-wheeled Lightcycles. It offers access into the energy, lights and excitement of TRON’s high-tech universe and is one of the most thrilling adventures at any Disney park.

“The plan is to open the Tron attraction in time for Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary in 2021.”

My opinion? Let’s do it!

While Tron is hardly the company’s most popular or beloved franchise, neither is Song of the South – and that’s doesn’t diminish my love for Splash Mountain one bit. Also, I kinda like the extended space-age skyline that this will give to Tomorrowland. Plus, from the looks of the concept art, THE PEOPLEMOVER AIN’T GOIN’ ANYWHERE!!!

Unforgettable (Grayson)

Based on the song Unforgettable by Thomas Rhett


And I bet right now you’re probably thinkin’
That it’s crazy I remember every detail, but I do
I can still smell your perfume
Girl, that night was just like you


You and Grayson were out for a drive, enjoying the beautiful fall weather. The windows were down, the radio was up, and you were driving up and down all the roads in your town, not knowing where you were going, nor really having a destination in mind.

You looked over at Grayson, who had a goofy smile on his face, causing you to smile at him.

“What are you smiling about?” You asked, turning down the radio.

“I’m just thinking about you, which always makes me smile,” he laughed, “but more specifically, the night we met.” He said, placing his hand on your thigh.

“The night we met? Wow, that seems like it was so long ago.” You said.

“Well to me, it seems like it was just yesterday.” He said.

“I remember, it was at Santa Monica Pier, and we were both in line for the ferris wheel. We were both single riders, so they put us in the same car so they could get more people on the ride. We sat on either side of the car, not looking at each other, both of us uncomfortable as hell. You sat there staring out over the water, and I was so enticed by you that I couldn’t let the ride end before I asked for your name and got to know you a little bit. I finally mustered up the courage to ask you your name and then we struck up a conversation. You said you were visiting from out of town, and said you were planning on moving in with a friend, and I told you that Ethan and I had just moved here. We ended up riding the ferris wheel with each other like three more times, and then we hung out for the rest of the night, playing all the games, and I won you that stuffed monkey from the ring toss game. And then you made a joke about how it reminded you of me because of a face I made earlier that night.” Grayson said, pulling up to a stop light and smiling over at you.

“I still have that monkey sitting up on my desk.” You said. “I cant believe you remember all of that. But how? It was almost two years ago. I can barely remember what we did last weekend.” You laughed.

“Of course I do. You probably think it’s crazy, but I remember every detail of that night. That night was unforgettable.” He said. You couldn’t help but smile and feel giddy. 

Your heart fluttered at the fact that Grayson had remembered pretty much everything about the night you met. He continued talking about that night, from the clothes you had on, to the perfume you were wearing, the things you talked about, the lame jokes you made.

“It was the absolute best night of my life, and it’s something I’ll remember forever and will always be glad to share the story.” Grayson smiled.

Reaching New Heights

Based off of this request from @bughead-fanfic-wishlist

A/n: Okay so I wrote this and then went back to the original request and realized it varies ever-so-slightly from the prompt. Sorry! Also for the record Bughead isn’t dating in this fic - that’s what makes the hand holding so fluffy!

“C’mon Juggie, it’ll be fun! Please?”

Jughead glanced up at the giant wheel before him, the lump in his throat growing. He wanted to say no. He wanted to say hell no. But when he turned to look at Betty and caught sight of those beautiful green eyes staring back at him all thoughts of protest vanished.

“Okay.” He nodded, his voice tight. “Let’s go.”

Betty clapped her hands together and hugged them close to her chest, ”Yay! Thanks Juggie!” She flashed him a megawatt smile and dashed off toward the line. Jughead took a deep breath before following behind.

Betty and Veronica had gotten it into their heads that going to the yearly carnival was something they had to do, and promptly invited Archie and Jughead along. It wasn’t long, however, before Archie and Veronica had coupled off and ditched the pair, leaving them to fend for themselves. Not that Jughead was complaining about spending time alone with Betty. Well, he wasn’t complaining right up until she asked him to get on the death trap that was the ferris wheel, that was.

Not nearly enough time passed before they were handing their tickets to an employee and being locked into the giant metal cube that somehow passed for a carriage seat.

The ferris wheel lurched forward with a terrifying grind of the gears, causing them to rock back and forth. Jughead wrapped one hand around the edge of the seat in an attempt to steady himself, his knuckles turning white at the intensity of his grip. 

They began to go backward, and Jughead watched with increasing anxiety as the distance between his feet and the ground grew. They reached the top and Betty giggled with glee, stretching her arms out in front of her and nearly giving Jughead a heart attack.

“Isn’t it beautiful?” She asked, eyes searching with wonder over the vast expanse of the carnival below them. People were mingling below, running between fried food stands and carnival games and other various rides. It was dusk now, the last remnants of sun lingering in the sky, various lights flickering on to offset the coming darkness. Even through the dizzying fog filling his head, Jughead had to admit it was an incredible sight.

He was finally beginning to relax on their second time around when the gears suddenly came to a grinding halt. 

“What is it?” Jughead’s voice flooded with panic, “What’s happening?”

“I’m sure they’re just stopping the wheel to let someone on at the bottom. We’ll be moving again soon enough.” Betty assured him.

“Attention Ferris Wheel riders!” A voice came through a bullhorn below, “We are experiencing a minor technical difficulty. You are safe! The ferris wheel should be running again in just a few minutes. Please remain calm! We thank you for your patience.”

“Or not.” Betty sighed and relaxed back into her seat, “At least we have an incredible view.” She gestured toward the land in front of them. They had stopped at the very top of the wheel.

Jughead’s grip continued to tighten on the carriage, his breath shortening with each second. Don’t look down, don’t look down, don’t look down - crap.

Jughead’s heart stopped when he caught a glimpse of the tiny people below him. He startled and jumped in his seat, pressing his back as tightly as he could against it. His hurried movements caused the seat to swing even more, sending his stomach flipping.

Betty laughed at the unexpected sway, somehow finding joy in the cause of Jughead’s terror. Jughead attempted to laugh with her, but it sounded just as uncomfortable as he felt.

“Jughead?” Betty looked at him, her face registering with concern, “Are you okay?”

“Fine.” He squeaked.

“Jughead, are you -” Betty asked, her smile was laced with equal part concern and amusement, “are you afraid of heights?”

“Not heights, no.” He muttered, “Falling to my death? Definitely.”

Betty smiled at his ability to make a quip despite his apparent mood, “You’re not going to fall to your death.”

“You never know,” Jughead deadpanned.

Betty paused for a moment, as if considering something. “If you’re so afraid of heights,” she finally asked, “why did you agree to get on the ferris wheel with me?” Betty’s eyes were trained on him.

“Because you wanted me too.” He responded simply. 

Betty assessed him, eyes landing on his hand wrapped around the edge of the seat between him. After a moment’s hesitation, she reached out her hand and placed it on top of his.

Suddenly, a group of kids in the carriage behind them started kicking around, sending a slight tremble through the wheeled structure. Frightened, Jughead instinctively flipped his palm over and locked his fingers with Betty’s. He pulled her hand into his lap and gripped it way too tightly, his face paling in fear.

After a few moments Jughead’s heart rate began to settle, not entirely but enough for him to become aware of his heavy pulse against Betty’s skin. He looked down and registered that they were holding hands, the panic instantly returning.

“Sorry.” He began to pull away, certain he had crossed a line. He loosened his fingers, only for her to respond by tightening her own.

“It’s okay.” She squeezed his hand reassuringly, a slight pink tinging her cheeks in cool night air. “There’s nothing to be afraid of Juggie.”

Jughead’s stomach flipped, but this time it wasn’t the heights making him dizzy. 

At that instant the ferris wheel began to turn once more, and Jughead let out a large exhale in relief. About thirty seconds later they were back at the bottom and Jughead scrambled back onto the safe and secure land.

“Oh thank God.” He exclaimed, falling onto his knees. Betty began to giggle at his dramatic display, her laughter only intensifying when he shot her an unamused look. 

“I’m sorry,” she managed, “I just - I never thought Jughead Jones would be afraid of heights!”

He crossed his arms and pouted, knowing his display rivaled a toddler’s temper tantrum. “It’s not funny.” He grumbled.

Betty cocked her head to the side and gave him a grin, “Oh come on grouchy pants,” she swatted at his arm playfully, “you can’t seriously be mad about this, can you?” She bit her bottom lip and batted her eyelashes, twisting her toe into the ground in an act of exaggerated innocence.

Jughead rolled his eyes, unable to hide the smile blossoming across his lips, “I guess I can forgive you. But you’re gonna have to buy me something delicious and fried. You know, to make up for the emotional damage.”

“Alright fine,” Betty happily replied, “Let’s go get you a churro.”

They walked away from the wheel, falling into comfortable conversation as they allowed themselves to be enveloped by the ambiance of the carnival.

Neither of them mentioned that they were still holding hands.

Okay so here’s the thing about GR.  As a character, I mean.  A character, concept, antihero, figure in a fictional work.

If he’s playing the role of a side character?  Yeah, yeah the whole “rage-filled demon with no character development” thing works splendidly, because in that situation he’s more of a plot device than anything else.

If he’s a main character?

GR needs character development.

I think that’s the thing that I find the most frustrating about him.  He’s a delight when portrayed as an unchanging force of nature, but that’s only if and when he’s used as such.  If you’re gonna make him a main character, you gotta treat him as a main character, not just relegate him to “badass inferno demon that never gets any development.”

That may be the reason why he’s stayed a B-list hero for so long, quite frankly – Marvel wants to keep him as a dangerous force of nature, and to make him a main feature character would be to lose that by necessity of making him a… well, a character.

(To be clear, I’m talking about the possessing Spirits of Vengeance – not about their unfortunate hosts.)

Zarathos almost got development at the end of the 1973 run, but it was denied him at the last second.  Noble Kale got development, but it was retconned by way of Marvel refusing to publish the very last issue of the 1990s run and instead continuing the story as if 50% of it either never happened or was simply a big fat lie.  Zarathos returned in the 1990s run as a completely different character, and then again in 2001 as YET ANOTHER completely different character… and yet AGAIN, did it again in 2006.  In that self-same 2006 run, Noble Kale practically doesn’t exist, and indeed Noble Kale might not actually exist by virtue of the “truth” about his identity being retconned at the end of the 1990s run.  In 2011, Zarathos stops having a personality altogether and is relegated to “demonic weapon that whispers probably-Latin gibberish in the host’s ear.”  And in 2013, Eli Morrow takes the stage as “the curse,” a mass-murdering Hollywood-style Satanist psychopath with no real chance of redemption.

The thing is, these are all fascinating interpretations of the Ghost Rider.

And all of them explore what’s being felt and experienced by the Ghost Rider’s host.  Johnny, Danny, Robbie… even Alejandra, who I’ve got my reservations about because of the whole “I’m the Ghost Rider and I’m only 18 years old” thing.  All of them have personalities, all of them are sympathetic… you wind up rooting for them and enjoying their victories, mourning their losses, and hoping beyond all hope that somehow, some way, they get some form of justice for what’s happened to them.

But every one of these stories either ignores or undoes the potential of what might happen if a curse develops a conscience.

Who says a demon can’t have a dynamic personality?  Who says an angel can’t, or a Spirit of Vengeance, or whatever the current explanation for what a Ghost Rider currently is, can’t have a dynamic personality, likes and dislikes, the chance to make a choice?  The chance for character development, or – far be it from me to even suggest it, but – a redemption arc?

Marvel has tried again and again to reinvent the wheel on the Ghost Rider, but the thing that they always seem to come back to is “Ghost Rider is nothing but cold vengeance embodied in rage, no more.”  Eli is the first Ghost Rider to even remotely break that cycle (no pun intended), and for that, I love that he exists.  He enjoys things, he’s got a snappy, sassy personality.  He’s very human, twisted and disgusting though he may be.  I just worry that, by virtue of being written as wholly unsympathetic, he’s going to stagnate and go right back into that vicious cycle (again, no pun intended) of the Ghost Rider being wholly incapable of character development.

That’s what happens when you’ve got a world as expansive and varied as Marvel Comics’.  You’ve got eight million concurrent issues and stories, characters appearing in different runs that are supposed to take place in the same world that make no sense when compared to one another.  Characters CAN’T have development, or that completely changes the ball game, and they can’t make constant cameo appearances in other comics without contradicting key story elements in their main series.  And guess what – this happens a lot, anyways.

Really, though, the bigger problem is that Marvel Comics is still trying to use the same formula: a million different universes, having crossovers constantly… instead of individually developing storylines and seeing them through to the end, featuring character crossovers every now and then as non-canon specials.  You want a strong, compelling character?  Start and end that character’s story with that character, and don’t make that character’s story rely 80% on what’s happening in all of the otherwise irrelevant series that you’re running.  If I’m interested in Ghost Rider’s story, I shouldn’t have to read random issues of Wolverine, The X-Men, and several independent comic runs just to follow a central plotline in Ghost Rider’s story.  Because that’s one hellishly fast way to lose your reader base in confusing absurdities and contradictions, and guess what?  It’s happened before.  It’s happened multiple times, and even now, it’s happening again.


ALL of the Ghost Riders have the potential to become incredible characters, with compelling plots.  And y’know, all of them HAVE that at their cores!  But it’s all been muddled in the distractions caused by Marvel being more focused on selling “WHOAAA CHECK OUT THIS CCCRRRRAAAZY CROSSOVER” rather than on letting their characters’ creators develop those characters’ stories as they should be able to.

Screw that noise.  I am determined to get Zarry some character development, even if it’s all done as a fan project.  It’s been 45 years (GR turned 45 this year, in August – go figure!!  I missed his birthday! D:).  He needs to be treated as a character, not just as a curse for the host to carry.  And call me crazy, but if any of the most successful reimaginings of comic book franchises are anything to go by, the most successful way to do so is to tell his story from the beginning to the end, without deviating from that path along the way just to make a few extra sales on crossover promotions.