Sunday, 10 February 2008

The Kimberley: Part 4

Grandad Tom decided that we should stay in our bolt-hole for eight weeks; to me it seemed like a life-time. For the first few days I sank into a deep depression - probably not helped by our diet of chocolate bars and crisps - and always seemed to be crying or on the verge of crying.
Grandad Tom kept himself busy. On that first morning he fumbled around in the dark until he had found eight industrial flashlights complete with batteries. He then announced to the world at large(namely me): "Let there be light!" and switched on one of the torches. I was momentarily blinded by its brightness.
In a far corner of the storeroom, hidden from view by the metal shelving, he dug a primitive latrine.
Day after day he struggled to keep our lives as normal as possible. He gave me small chores to do. Small things to keep my mind occupied. On the fourth morning he asked me to sort out the pile of old books under the bunks.
That's when I found my salvation.
The third book I pulled out was a heavy hard-backed tome. The deep maroon covers stained and warped with years. Embossed on the front in gold lettering was the legend: A History of Flight by W.D.Browning. Each page was also edged in gold, and a narrow black silk ribbon was attached to the spine: to be used as a book mark.
It was the epitome of all I loved; the written word and flight.
I opened it up with something resembling awe.
On the flyleaf somebody had scribed in ink. To my darling daughter Kimberley on her sixteenth birthday. May all your dreams have wings. Mother.
I turned the page and from that moment on I was lost: lost in the legend of Icarus and how he had flown to close to the sun; lost in the conclusions of Roger Bacon, an english monk, who discovered that air could support a craft in much the same way as the sea could support a boat; lost in the complex drawings of Leonardo Da Vinci's intricate flying machines; lost in the trials and tribulations of brothers, Wilbur and Orville Wright; lost in the adventures and disappearance of Amelia Earhart; lost in it all. Lost, lost, lost. Until one day Grandad Tom found me again and I had to step out from the pages of the book. Step back into the real world once more.

All that happened fifteen years ago.
By some miracle, some quirk of fate, me and Grandad Tom survived the worst halocaust the world had ever known. When we stepped out of that storeroom a decade and a half ago, it was to a nuclear winter: everywhere shrouded in ice and snow. But we coped. We pulled through. Us and a handful of other people, we set to work to put our lives back on track. It was an uphill struggle, a continual steep climb, but we never gave up. Through it all I nurtured my dream of becoming a pilot.
Three years ago myself and Grandad Tom returned to Andersen's, we walked through the ruins without a word passing between us; memories in our eyes. It was the planes that upset me the most, bent and buckled beyond recognition. It was then that the first tiny seeds of an idea began to grow in my mind. To anchor themselves with fragile tenuous roots.
If I truly wanted to realise my dream, then my dream would have to turn into reality.
The very next day I started to put my dream down on paper.
When push comes to shove, it's amazing what can be achieved.
Sitting on the grass bank now, my back leaning up against the building behind me, I watch my grandad slowly make his way up the hill towards me. I smile. We have been through so much together, me and Grandad Tom, and this is the pinnacle of it all.
My grandad sees me and waves a hand in greeting. "Hello Davey lad. All set?"
I nod and get to my feet.
Grandad Tom comes to a halt about ten feet away from the hangar. "Come on then lad. What are you waiting for?"
With a wide grin on my face I fling open the double doors. Inside is my dream. I bend down and remove the chocks. Grandad Tom takes up his position. With a heave-ho we trundle the small two-seater plane out into the early morning sunshine.
The Kimberley.
May all your dreams have wings.



Ello said...

That's a great story. I love the ending. My only criticism is that it felt rushed in the end, as if there could have been more to it but you felt ending it was more important. Perhaps it is a selfish point on my part as I would have loved to have read more, but I do think it felt rushed at the end. Still a great story.

Vesper said...

I missed when you posted part 3, but like that I got to read them together.
Akasha, this is beautiful, powerful, very moving, and well written. I very much enjoyed reading it.

sheoflittlebrain said...

I love the ending too, but like ello, felt that it needed a little...something..maybe scrounging the parts..something...
Be that as it may, a suspenseful story with a hopeful ending, and as always, well written:)

Monique said...

Akasha, submit some of your short stories to: Tears In The Fence, 38 Hod View, Stourpaine, Blandford Forum, DT11 8TN Dorset.

This magazine publishes poetry as well as short stories and I am sure that your stories are good enough to go into that high quality magazine.

The woman who decides what short story goes in, is a very good friend of mine but I promise you that I will not say anything and that your story will get in on its own merit.

Good luck ... LOL and Hug

Akasha Savage said...

ello & sheoflittlebrain: I know what you mean...I myself feel the story needs a bit more added to it. I wrote it about three years ago for a competition. The story had to be about a relationship of some kind. Although it didn't get placed, it was short-listed. Grandad Tom and Davey are always in my mind, I liked them lots. Sometime in the future I want to bring them out of suspended animation again and develop their story more. I've even thought about turning it into a novel. Thanks for your comments. :)

vesper: thanks for your lovely comments. Glad you enjoyed it. :)

monique: thanks for that info...I think I will do as you suggest and send them one of my stories. I have been a bit lacking in sending things off later...wrapped up in concentrating on my novel in progress. :)

onipar... said...

Very cool. Sorry I haven't been posting along the way, but I've been here. :-) Any plans for this piece?

Akasha Savage said...

Hi onipar. I'm thinking of perhaps developing it into a novel at some stage. I want to do more with the characters of Grandad Tom and Davey.

Simon Key said...

hey Akasha,
loved the story, and tend to agree with comments 1,3 and 5(yours!). I love the idea of you taking the characters of Tom and Davey and filling them out. You developed them so well, and I was hooked and that's a very clever thing to do in such a short space of time. There's so much you could do with them and I suggest you knuckle down and start writing straight away! You owe it to your fans.

sheoflittlebrain said...

What a wonderful idea for these characters! I hated to let them go in an uncertain world and on the brink of great adventure..
I'm visualizing you writing that!

Akasha Savage said...

Aaah thanks everyone! Your comments mean a lot to me. :D

I am really busy concentrating on my novel-in-progress at the moment: Dark Secrets at Ravens End. Determined to get the second & third draft finished by the end of the year (fingers crossed).

I'll be posting again in a few days. :)

Monique said...

Just to let you know that episode eleven of Middle Ditch is going to be posted tomorrow.