From high above the Palm Jebel Ali, down they swoop; and in a trice the Chocolate Raven thus appears in the passenger-seat beside the Platinum Raven, on the highway through the desert heading south to Abu Dhabi.
The Ravens look into each other’s eyes. Unsmiling. Taking information in. “Oh—the eyes,” murmurs the Chocolate one. “The eyes again…”
The Platinum one’s gaze narrows. “We know each other,” she accuses. She returns her attention to the highway ahead, then shoots a glance back at her new companion. “Have we met?”
The Chocolate Raven makes to nod, then shakes her head. “Well, not directly…” And for the first time they smile, still guarded, remaining ready for whatever may happen.
The Platinum Raven flicks a switch and the car’s roof slides back. She presses a button and music pumps hard and loud around them. From being mostly empty, the highway is gradually filling up with cars. The course of it ahead seems to rise and dip in turn, as if they ride the early slopes of a giant roller-coaster. Ever more crowded grows the road: advancing with a rush of cars in front and close behind them, the Chocolate Raven knows they cannot halt or escape but must sweep along, drawing ever closer to whatever lies in wait.
And there it is, ahead and above, looming into view, looking very like a loop-the-loop, around which the highway runs … yes, it is! One enormous loop of struts and lights, twinkling into sharpness in the night, like a grand suspension-bridge wrapped all around a Ferris wheel. The Chocolate Raven cries out: “How the hell are we meant to drive around a loop-the-loop? I’m mostly thinking of the bit at the top, where the car will be upside down…”
The cars in front, behind and either side are all accelerating, drawing closer in and whining loud, sucked ahead by some relentless pull. The Chocolate Raven glares at the Platinum one, thinking that perhaps it no longer matters if the latter even holds the steering-wheel or not: either way, their situation has the savour of a done deal.
The Platinum Raven’s voice is dreamy: “Yes, I was wondering if you’d noticed the loop-the-loop. I didn’t know if I should point it out.”
The edifice towers high above them, as the road begins a sharp curve up towards its base. The Chocolate Raven checks the speedometer and starts in her seat—a hundred miles an hour and rising still, as all adjacent cars draw ever closer in, each a metre away at most. The highway lanes have multiplied, ten on either side; the engine roar is deafening. The Chocolate Raven checks their speed again—a hundred and twenty miles an hour. Now the car is tipped back, its nose high above them. “Please,” she shouts above the din, “What shall we do?”
“This!” the Platinum Raven shouts, launches her hand up to the music-player, slams the volume up, then lands back down in the seat and flings her arms around the Chocolate Raven, squealing with delight and fire and terror and desire. They slide together, screaming, yelling, laughing, crying loud into the sky. A plane roars above them through the music, climbing steep, while they both blur together in a hot rain of mouths and hair and skin and hands and long legs and laughter, encircling each other.
Gigantic spokes slash the sky. Gears grind bass somewhere underneath, horns blare, lights flash, cars elongate into shrieking pipes and tubes. Her mouth like a horn kisses hers and sucks her in, fingers sunk in spumes of fountain flesh, her flashing eyes and hair that clings in mouths’ and bodies’ mingling. The sky is burning, a sea of flame (the clouds all scatter, now they ride the outside lane) while the moon upon the waters of the Gulf swings and shines below. A sunburst flowers as they come together, shrinking on the instant to the swirl of a tunnel where they streak down whirling in a chute of fluid white lion-horses roaring spinning in infinity from burning pole to frozen tropic: she, by choice exposed in too much access but with notional command; and she, wide eyes and overkill as usual, fainting weak with pleasure—
Freeways shriek and feedback whines, as the steam peels back from the sky above Dubai where a waterfall roars with tremendous fire, then blackout.
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