Davis and May
The pursuit of the metal bird was not going quite to plan. The tiny airship built for one, with wings flapping and engines roaring, was faster than it originally let on. May guided November’s March as best she could to position the dangling ladder above the target, but the target was wildly uncooperative.
“Stay still!” May shouted.
“I don’t think that will work,” Winston said. He gripped the airship’s guard rails and peered below.
Davis was much less appreciative of the metal bird’s erratic flight path. He volunteered, in a moment of insanity, to climb down the ladder and be the one to grab the pilot of the bird. He thought it would be a much easier task that it turned out to be.
Winds wiped against his face protected only by a too-small leather skull cap on atop his head and a pair of thick goggles over his eyes. He dreamed of a warm cup of coffee and sitting near the hearth in November’s March’s lower deck as soon as the pesky pilot was apprehended. The night was darker than usual and tracking the little devil proved difficult.
“Can I get a flare or two?” Davis requested as loudly as he could manage.
Neither of his crew mates above heard his plea for aid.
“Knuckles,” Davis muttered. He meant it as a swear, but was unsure why that word above all others was said in spite.
May lurched the airship forward, sending the ladder flailing in nearly depositing her husband on the prairie a hundred feet below. The engines sputtered and the wooden deck rattled as the ship moved faster than it had ever been before. Winston reveled in the experience, trying not to smile too widely as the situation was quite dire.
The pilot of the metal bird was manufacturing explosive devices that had already been used in the destruction of an island manufactory to the south and accidentally ripped apart the entry way of a popular tavern in Villa Clonna. The clay pots that had brought on such devastation were provided to sky pirates and mercenaries; not exactly the folks that Winston wanted to be in possession of an advanced weaponry.
As Winston thought on the matter, he delighted himself with an idea most brilliant in ending the engagement.
“Keep us steady, May!” He called out as he ran below decks.
“That did not really change the plan,” May replied. Winston was well away by the time she spoke.
A moment later Winston emerged from the under deck with a thick wound rope and a table clock that had been in Davis’ family for generations. May pondered the scene but could not piece together Winston next move.
She wished she had figured it out sooner.
Winston placed the clock, a heavy mahogany and gemstone piece built by the hands a Swiss master as a payment for services rendered, but never spoken of, by Davis’ great grandfather, inside the rope and began to spin. The rope and clock picked up speed, twirling faster and faster before Winston let out a blood lusted scream and ran to the side of the airship.
“Winston wait!” May shouted in vain.
Winston let loose the rope and the clock sailed out of its confines. It raced downward, pulled by gravity and the sure will of its thrower to hits the target, until it finally collided against the metallic shell of the tiny ship’s turbine engine. The dent in the shell caused the blades of the engine to stall, still attempting to turn and spin with great force. Thick black smoke poured from the broken ship. It was soon in Davis’ lungs as the wind carried it to the dangling adventurer.
As Davis coughed and spat to relieve himself of the smoke, flares lit the sky once more. Under the light of the flares, Davis looked up to see the metal bird no longer flapping. The pilot frantically hit the engines, only causing further dents and damage, but Davis could understand the sentiment. The metal bird slowed and began to drop.
“Faster May!” Davis shouted upward. He extended his arms, hoping that in the light of the flare the pilot would see the opportunity for rescue.
Novemeber’s March picked up speed. Davis felt his words were heard this time which made him feel a bit better about braving the wind and smoke. The ship raced for the falling metal bird. The ladder bobbed back and forth with no particular rhythm developed yet.
“Hold your hands out!” Davis screamed at the pilot.
He saw the pilot look down and back up, hesitating about what sounded better; plummeting or capture.
Davis waited with his arms out and fatiguing fast for the pilot to make their choice. The ladder was above the pilot now and the distance growing with each passing second.
“Just jump, ya’ fool!” Davis had lost his patience.
The pilot complied and leaped from the fledgling metal bird. The shove of the pilot’s lift was all the bird needed to succumb to gravity’s wishes and it fell fast and hard to the grassland below.
Davis caught the pilot in his hands. The pilot, in a long black coat and a mask that covered the entire face, was heavier than expected. Davis was dangling upside down and quickly losing his energy.
“Pull us up!” He screamed once more.
Winston turned the ladder’s crank and brought the two aboard November’s March.
Davis huffed and massaged his arms that felt like they had been through a fire.
“You,” Davis said before taking a number of shallow breaths, “you have a lot of explaining to do.”
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