Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Another Vignette from The Necklace

The small airship taxied up over the River chop to the village. My mother sent me to see to them, so I arranged myself where they came in to the Almofada leaf. They tossed me a line, as if I were a dockworker. I stepped to the side and let the heavy line thump off the top, green layer, bouncing twice before someone grabbed it and tied the craft to the central stalk. I ignored the whole proceeding. There were plenty of my people there to take care of it.

They let their loading ramp fall and I winced at the damage to the leaf. Oafs! That would take weeks of careful tending to repair! I bit my lip. I had a job to do.

Rasi. They were Rasi. Not good! Altisherpas would meddle and move on, but Rasi liked to take things over. Stay. Take control. I exhaled and waited. Mother would not have reason to regret her decision to choose me!

They came down the ramp, looking around as if they were envisioning their settlement all built already. Useless Carnivales! They have no idea what they have here! We can get this place for a song! We'll cut into the leaf and make pools for swimming! How tall can we build our resort hotel, do you think? Notches in the leaf edge will make wonderful piers for the recreational sail boats! Do you know how much money we can charge for a stay at our resort here?

The last one, a woman, looked over the side into the clear water. She knew! She could see, far below, the shape of the last airship where we sunk it. She could maybe even see the gleam of white bone! God in heaven! She's about to say something! I pointed my finger. From half a hundred blow pipes came the soft thup! of darts winging out. The Rasi staggered and fell, clutching at their throats, tufted all over like molting birds. I pointed again and twenty silent warriors dashed up the ramps. Screams echoed in the hull. I looked up at the machine gun in its turret - it looked straight at me but did not fire. They were not fast enough.

I finally exhaled. It was done. Another airship. More bones. I had not failed mother.

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