Where Mary and her escort learn to fly…


Catch up with Chapter 28…

Start the series from the beginning…

“Mary Dryer is that you? What are you doing out here in Kansas?”

“Captain Forsyth? I can’t believe it.”

“You know this man?” Marshall asked with some shock.

“I do. He’s an acquaintance of my brother in law. Aren’t you?”

“How is dear Charles, and your sweet sister Janey?”

Mary bounced on her heels. She continued to block the sun as she tried to get a clear view of Captain Forsyth above them. He was a jovial older man with fluffy white mutton chops.

“How is it that we are out here, and you are having a polite conversation?” Marshall practically growled.

“Manners are always appropriate,” she responded.

“Quite right my dear, quite right. But your fellow here does have a bit of a point. How is it that we are both out here in the middle of well, in the middle of the middle?”

“It is an astounding story full of adventure and trials. I must say, it would take some time to tell it to you.”

“She could tell you all about it if we were up there,” Marshall pointed out.

“He is rather direct isn’t he.”

“Marshall Hunt where are your manners?” She chastised him.

“Do I have to remind you of where we are standing? We are not is a safe position to stand around and chit chat. Either your good friend up there has a refile and he can do some fancy shooting, or we need to go up there. What ever that thing is, we’d be safer on it.”

“This thing, as you call it is and airship!” Captain Forsyth proudly proclaimed. He threw his arms wide and then lost his balance as the basket he stood in swayed in the breeze.

The airship started to drift. Mary scurried under it, keeping pace. All thoughts of the terrifying saurans completely absent from her mind.

“Your air ship reminds me of the fantastical contrivances that Pythagoras Peters used to come up with.”

“You know old Py? Well, yes of course you do. That’s where we met the first time. I remember now. Fancy’s himself to be a gentleman inventor. Not sure I would necessarily agree…” Forsyth seemed to continue the conversation with mutterings to himself.

Busy as he was keeping an eye on the saurans darting around, Marshall had to scramble to keep up.

“Is there any way you can get this air ship of yours to hold still?” Marshall yelled.

“Hold still? Why I’m not moving you are.”

“Dear Captain, we are moving lest we loose you as you continue to drift. You called it a ship, might you have an anchor?”

“Smart thinking, Mary,” Marshall commented.

“Right, right, and anchor.”Forsyth began bustling about out of line of sight from the two on the ground. He leaned over the side of the woven basket, something clutched in his arms.

“Look out below!” He bellowed before dropping his bundle.

The anchor fell like the lead weight it was right next to Marshall’s face. He jumped before grabbing the excess rope and wrapping it around a rock out cropping. “That should hold it steady for a moment.”

Without having to worry about her footing, and having a conversation simultaneously, Mary took in the airship.

It resembled a rather enormous puffer fish strangled in a fisherman’s net, tethered to an excessively large laundry basket. Captain Forsyth scampered back and forth inside this long basket fiddling with ropes. There were so many ropes.

A set of fan blades rotated listlessly. She didn’t think they acted as a propeller of any kind. They seemed to barely be stirred by the air.

“It’s really quite amazing, don’t you think?” She glanced at Marshall, her eyes bright with wonder.

“I didn’t think you much went in for contrivances. I seem to recall you couldn’t get off that horseless driving contraption fast enough.”

“It was smelly, and it rattled about like an uncomfortable train,” she said with a sharp nod.

I don’t see any smoke billowing from this.” She gestured up.

“Oh look, I found a ladder. I don’t recall putting that there.” Forsyth continued to mutter.

“Did you say ladder Captain?” Marshall asked.

“Why yes, it it so I may disembark without landing.”

A swish sound caught both Marys and Marshalls attention.

“We need to get up there,” he said with some urgency.

“Captain, could we request to board by that very ladder? We seem to be in some peril at the moment,” Mary announced.

“Peril? Why didn’t you say, why I don’t exactly think a ladder is befitting a lady.”

“The ladder Captain! The ladder!” Marshall yelled.

A rope ladder unrolled in front of their faces. Marshall lifted Mary unceremoniously. She grasped on to the rungs. And stared down at Marshall.

“You don’t try to climb it with the rungs facing you. Twist it so it’s perpendicular to you. It’s less likely to swing out from under you. I’ll hold it for you.”

She hauled herself up the first few rungs and then clutched tight.

“You got this Mary, now get up there so I can climb up after you.”

There was a hiss behind him.

He turned to see a dark green sauran, about the size of hound dog. It had a frill of yellows and orange extended around its neck, and it hissed. “Shit, climb Mary, climb.”

The thing spit. A glob of ooze landed on Mary’s skirt that hung down just behind Marshall’s shoulder. He turned and watched in horror as the spittle ate a hole in her skirt.

She screamed.

Marshall kicked the anchor free and jumped on to the ladder. His hands a rung below Mary’s feet.

“Captain, can you make this air ship of yours go? We really need to get out of here!”

With another hiss, the sauran launched itself. Its teeth clenched around the bottom of Marshall’s boot.

He shook his leg, and then wrapping his arms around the ladder to a better grip, he began kicking at the small sauran. He didn’t mind the big, gentle ones, but he was really beginning to dislike these small raptors.

He kicked it loose. It hissed and screamed as if fell back to earth. The airship had, indeed, gotten them out of there, and it had climbed to great heights to do so.

Tune in next time to find out if flying suits Mary and Marshall.

©2023 Lulu M. Sylvian