Thursday, December 18, 2008

Father and Son See Things Happen

Where we left off...

Wally covered his eyes with one hand, pointing with the other - "Oh, look-!"

And now...

Allen looked above the destroyer. It took him a moment to see the object that had caught Wally's attention: a speck, coming in fast from the east, growing larger very fast. The destroyer must have noticed it, because its AA guns swung into action, spewing golden sparks towards the distant plane.

"One of ours, then?" Wally asked. "If this destroyer is one of the bad guys'."

"Beats me," Allen said. "Could be some third party's, for all we know."

The plane flew on, unharmed. By this time it was a sort of triangle-shape, still too far away to see any detail; a pair of smaller dots fell from it, plummeting towards the destroyer. The plane shot over the ship, momentarily out of sight; an explosion sent flames and smoke shooting up from the destroyer. Then, as the bomber re-emerged on the other side of the destroyer, gold sparks still chasing it avidly, another explosion erupted below; one of the bombs had undershot and hit the town. Allen looked away from the bomber for a moment, sizing up the damage on the ground; by the time he looked back, the bomber was plummeting, worried at by AA fire like a dog with a bone. It exploded before it hit the ground.

"That didn't work," Wallace said.

"What do you mean?" Allen asked. "They hit the destroyer, right?"

"Well, one, they only hit with one bomb," Wally said. "Two, the bomb that hit didn't do that much damage. Look!"

Allen looked. He couldn't see that much from his perspective, too far away and too low; but he could see that the smoke was dying away, and the destroyer was continuing forward as though nothing had happened.

"I hope the fire engines get to the site the bomb hit soon," Allen said, changing the subject. "It looks like a nasty mess." Smoke was rising thick and black from the impact site, over a mile away.

"Will they even operate today?" Wally asked. "With the destroyer looming overhead?"

"They'd better," Allen said. "If that blaze gets out of control, it'll burn down the fire station as surely as anything else."

The two, father and son, stood watching a while longer. The destroyer grew closer and closer, its shadow covering the better part of the town. Allen went inside to make sandwiches; when he came back, nothing had changed, except that the destroyer had gotten somewhat closer.

Midway through his second sandwich, the destroyer stopped. Allen looked up, startled. "Effects of the damage?" he wondered.

"No, I don't think so," Wally said. "I think it's going to-"

There was a distant, muffled thump - a sort of layered thump, as though a half-dozen impacts had occurred at nearly the same moment. Red traces bisected the sky, arcing away from the destroyer; then they were gone.

"-fire its cannon," Wally finished. "Like that."

The destroyer showed no signs of moving. Several minutes later, it fired again.

Allen finished his third sandwich, which he'd savored as long as he could. "Nothing we can do," he admitted. "I'm going to head in, see what the news has to say. If anything. You alright?"

Wally nodded mutely, still watching the destroyer. It wasn't clear what he was thinking.

Allen paused, unsure of what to say. "Don't worry too much," he said at last. "Nothing we can do. Best to just bunker down, don't do anything rash, and hope for the best."

Half an hour later, Allen came back downstairs.

Wallace was gone.

At first Allen was afraid that someone had kidnapped or killed him - with that destroyer looming overhead on its six metal legs, it was hard to have too much respect for the law. Then he realized that the minivan wasn't in the garage, and put himself in Wally's head.

"Oh god, oh god," he moaned. "He's gone to the destroyer."

He thought about what to do. Wally had left his phone at home. They only had one car...

Allen looked in the garage again, and put his head in his hands.

"God damn it, Wally," Allen said despondently. "When I find you... when we make it through this alive..." In a situation like this, he didn't feel that he could indulge in ifs.


Three hours later, Allen arrived at the closest destroyer-leg, too exhausted from the bicycle-ride to be angry. The minivan was there.

"Thank God," Allen said, breathing a deep sigh of relief.

Wally was not.

Allen looked up the length of the leg. A ladder led up it, with sections offset and enclosed in barred cages to minimize injuries from an accidental fall. Allen found himself thinking about what would happen if the destroyer began to move again while he was still climbing.

Under his breath, Allen admitted to himself: "It's at times like this that I wish I wasn't afraid of heights."

To be continued!

1 comment:

Calvacadeofcats said...

a likely tale, but not founded is cursimspect evidense