#sunday Weekend Writing Warriors: The Burning Sky #11


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The Burning Sky #11

We traveled at a good pace for a time and the need to find a campsite became acute as the sun began to tick down to the horizon and the shadows grew long across the countryside. A simple, cleared patch on the side of the road might have to do, but if I found my way through to a path or logging road deeper into the woods I’d feel safer and any Family looking for me would too.

Upon contemplating my thoughts the moments before the dingus and I had crossed paths, I sang aloud with gusto a few sky shanties whose recollection did not cause me pain—I couldn’t say why. Except perhaps they came from my days as a cabin boy when that sky of memory was clear and blue, not the burning sky of my nightmares, the one from which we all fell, but did not all survive.

Dammit. The songs died in memory, leaving only their sweet taste on my tongue. I fought the return of the past, fought the maelstrom it brought with it, but in the end I had to let the terror have its way. I pulled the steam coach to the side of the road and let the past have me.


#8sentencesunday Weekend Writing Warriors: The Burning Sky #9


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The driver screamed curses at me in angry counterpoint to the dingus’s mad beeping. We came to a stop with a thump as the front right tire and most of the caravan behind landed in the ditch, nearly jackknifed in two. I glanced back; my little house was tipped, but not going over as yet.

“Right. That’s it for you.”

I stopped the engine, snatched up the dingus, and popped the boot. I wrapped the blanket around it and stuffed it into the already full space—my winter gear mostly, so it had a soft nest. I shoved it deep and cursed myself for not leaving it to its own fate. I unhitched the caravan, and after a brief tussle, heave-ho’d it back onto the road, straightened out the Penelope, and got the two hitched back together again.


#8sunday Weekend Writing Warriors: The Burning Sky #8



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The Burning Sky #8

Footloose and fancy free for a time, until I got to my destination, Montpelier, where a message or two would be awaiting me, I hoped. Anything more urgent would find me, and so far, that hadn’t happened; both Family and the Sky Service fared well enough without me. My passenger, too, ignored me; facing forward, I had to assume, it squatted on its long spider legs to see over the dash, but appeared content.

At a crossroad, a signpost declared  Montpelier to the north and Burlington to the west. I looked to the mechanical, now with three legs propped against the dash so it could see, I supposed. I made a mental note to look for an eye, some kind of sight sensor, but it reminded me of a hound I once had, suddenly alert. Yet it made no motion of which direction it preferred, so I kept to my path.

Within a few moments, flashing lights and high-pitched beeping nearly sent us into a ditch. Half deafened and mostly blinded, I  panicked and swerved, then over corrected to avoid a drover and an empty cart, by my own god of luck…


#8Sunday, Weekend Writing Warriors: The Burning Sky #7



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The Burning Sky #7

Lords of the Sky, it could be anything—an assassin, a broken messenger, a bomb, or a rich child’s toy. And me being me, Jonnie the Gypsy King, former first engineer of the decommissioned airship Helios and curious as a herd of cats, I became a cog in the mechanical’s story.


I trotted back to the Penelope, fetched the crank, and got her running again. I double checked the hitch, rattled the door of my caravan to ensure it was locked and slid behind the wheel of the steam coach. I drove a little ahead of the mechanical and rolled to a stop. No one but the dingus and I had been on the road for hours. Looking both ways, east to west, no one else moved, by car or horse cart, on this sleepy Sunday afternoon. I picked up the mechanical and deposited it in the front seat of the car, where I’d previously laid a cloth to protect her interiors. Behind the wheel once more, we got underway.


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#8sunday, Weekend Writing Warriors: The Burning Sky #6


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The Burning Sky #6

I took a few steps forward on instinct, and it stopped moving its parts. I halted, and it moved restlessly. When I turned and took a few steps back to the Penelope, a flash of light blinded me, and I dropped it. Thank the gods for the goggles—it only took me a moment or two to blink my sight back, as the beastie scraped and hitched itself in the direction it was determined to go.

The flash of light was not an effective self-defense, but it got the point across.

This way. My way.

Maybe it was returning itself to its owner?