The Gravity of Flight

December 25, 2009
Tamra looked up, her hands twiddling with a brass chain hung around her neck. Huge golden air transports hung above her, their lifting fans circling slowly and gears as intricate as clockwork clicking underneath the passenger compartment. The rounded surfaces shone with gilded coils against the clear cold sky. People packed beneath the graceful hovering machines. Today was a big day, a grand day. At last the great magician Vanier’s invention would be tested. No more would the men of earth be bound to the ground!


The world shivered with the combined excitement of the crowd, and Tamra’s own apprehension. She told herself that she shouldn’t have worried, her father did not know she was here. She could not be caught by him. Finally, one of the transports drifted downwards, causing the men below to scramble out of the way, their feet slipping on rough cobbles. Looking around, Tamra examined the slouching, shabby buildings. They stood propped up by dark slats and beams of wood. Faces stared out of windows, admiring the flying beasts. Everyone had wondered why the magician had chosen to debut in the crime-ridden outskirts of the city. She was glad, however, because this was the only was she could go.


The flying machine finally touched down softly, its golden features contrasting pleasantly with the stone road. People surged around Tamra, pushing from all sides. She suddenly felt trapped and vulnerable. Her soul screamed at her to flee, to fight, to do anything to escape these crushing masses. But her eyes and her mind were captivated by the intertwined doors gradually pulling open. A tall, skinny figure stepped steadily onto the exit ramp. The entire congregation became quiet. Tamra’s heart stopped pounding.


The inventor was old. His hair was raised and feathery, and his face thin like that of a scholar. Deep purple robes fell formlessly around his stature, but he stood straight, unaided by cane or servant. His lips were set in a thin, proud line, and his eyes burned with conviction. The crowd held still in his vision, and Tamra’s hand fell from the chain. Then he spoke.

His words twisted around each other, creating enticing ideas. The magician’s voice was like a sweet taste in the mouth. It filled with content, and pulled the listener into its depth. The crowd as one leaned forward; Tamra felt breath on the back of her neck. She swayed from side to side, the avenue suddenly seeming narrower, the old man’s words seeping into her mind. She felt none of the usual fear, or anger, just peace. Lazily she looked around, drunk on words that she couldn’t decipher but were so nice. Guards, closed in on the crowd, and she saw them, but didn’t react.

Her mind was a river a soothing light. Nothing was as important as Vanier’s voice. But, as she gazed at the satisfied crowd, one face pulled up a small amount of feeling. It nagged at her, trying to get her to think, but she couldn’t seem to make herself. The words pulled her down. Then suddenly, she recognized the face. She panicked, struggled against the spell that was not embracing anymore, but restraining. The bonds held tight to her, but her awareness was back. Tamra wrenched herself free and slipped quickly through the crowd.

Just as she sneaked past the last of the drunken city folk, a hand grasped her cloak. She kicked out behind her and her leather padded foot hit metal. The guard stumbled back. He looked as surprised as she was. But as she turned, three more charged on her. Tamra notice with vague fear that they each held many leather ties in their hands. What were they doing?

One of the guards lunged forward quickly and grabbed an arm in a vice like grip. She pulled away, but the first soldier held her around the waist and began to tie her hands behind her. The other two stepped over to the edge of the crowd and began binding them. They offered no resistance. Confusion and anger mingled inside of Tamra, and she opened her mouth to cry out. Before the sound could be uttered, however, a giant rumbling was heard. One of the air transports was falling to the ground. Its gears creaked and molten fire escaped from the compartment. Tamra watched, frozen in place, as the mammoth contraption sank to the ground.

The inventor’s incantations stopped, and everyone snapped back to themselves. The machine plummeted towards them, and the magician attempted to flee, throwing himself into the masses. But he was too late. The massive bulk dropped upon its grounded brother, and they both burst into the flame. Tamra threw herself to the ground and felt the heat rushing over her head. Red light exploded underneath her eyelids, even through her protective hands, and screams pierced her ears. Then there was only darkness, and silence.





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Junebug said...
Mar. 9, 2010 at 8:33 pm
Excellently written! Suspenseful - kept my interest to the end.
 
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