Well, ok, I'm trying to make up for lost time, perhaps, by posting two stories. One was written a year ago and the other is, well, just a little confection I thought of while re-reading the other one.
The perfect formation of Axis bombers seemed to stretch on behind him forever. Namon adjusted his view slightly and wondered what it all looked like now from up front. When he arrived in the front blister and reclaimed his seat on the right of the pilot he found that very little had changed. Ahead, the white, chalky cliffs of Dover seemed much closer. They rose right up out of the sea like the petticoats of some giant; all hitched up and yet still in danger of a good soaking. Beyond the cliff tops, the grassy green fields of England could be seen stretching into the mists.
There were patches of thin cloud and large shafts of sunlight were drawn through the cloudless areas to sparkle on the noses of the bomber fleet as they rumbled on toward their target. These shafts of light went on to spread a dazzle of bright little stars on the water below. Namon noticed how close they were now to the nearest bomber. He glanced at his pilot who only smiled and motioned for Namon to look.
Looking forward toward the glass nose of the bomber close beside them Namon was somehow startled to see movement. Men were moving in there. To Namon it reminded him of the first time he had held a fertilized egg up to a bright light. With delight he had seen the embryo move. Now he had known that the embryo was there of coarse and yet it somehow had surprised him to see it move. How easy it was at a distance, thought Namon, to forget that each of these whale-like behemoths carried five men. Until you got very close they were only flying machines.
Above the cloud in the bright sunlight flew the escorts. These much smaller fighters, some with one engine others with two, criss-crossed the slower bomber stream as they tried to stay with their charges. Now and then Namon lost sight of these higher ships as the brilliant sun or spotty clouds obscured his view. He would really like to get closer to the fighters today, thought Namon. Namon was about to say something about it to his pilot when lots of things began to happen all at once. The lead bomber exploded in a fireball that sent debris in all directions. In spite of himself, Namon had ducked. Seconds later the craft next to them was hit by the compression wave. Flack!
They were just crossing the coastline when all around them blossomed ugly little tendrils of smoke. There were sharp reports all around and the bombers nearest the bursts began to bounce in the ruffled air. Undaunted, on drove the bomber stream toward the target. Although Namon witnessed no more flack hits, he marveled at the courage of these men. Shortly, the flack stopped and he knew everyone in the bombers had their eyes scanning below and above for enemy fighters. They did not have long to wait.
Hurricane! Shouted Namon’s pilot. The first Hurricane tore from out of the sun above and sailed right through the neat formation to Namon’s right. Like a shoal of frightened fish or a flock of birds the bombers moved apart as Namon heard the tat, tat, tat of heavy machine gun fire. Even more British fighters struck from above to disappeared below his view. Several bombers were smoking now. Close behind the Hurricanes came the German fighters. In spite of the attacks the remaining bombers proceeded on. More Hurricanes fell like rabid wolves on the bombers. Some bombers showed signs of great damage and these began to jettison their bombs and turn for home. To Namon’s right, the bomber that had recently been so close fell away with both engines burning. As it fell over, Namon could see the bomb bay doors were open and he could even look into the wheel wells for a brief instant; then it was gone.
The target lay just ahead. Dropping out of formation, Namon’s pilot indicated that it was time for him to pick up the microphone and make the announcement. This he immediately did. “Your attention please”, he started. “If all crew and passengers will look directly ahead, and to the left you will clearly see the target of the German bombers. The target for today is an RAF airfield. Those of you who would like a historical tour of that air base directly after the bombing has stopped should move immediately to the transportation chambers. We will be transporting down in due course. Do not forget to wear the invisibility apparatus provided for all disembarking passengers. These are always found hanging to your left as you enter the transport chambers.
I have a brief reminder for all time passengers who will be continuing on with this tour of Earth’s “Battle of Britain”. There will be a multi-group tour of Winston Churchill’s underground command facilities and Number “10” Downing Street starting immediately after re-boarding. For those who are leaving us to return to your home planets, let me thank you for visiting 1940s Earth with us. It has been a pleasure to serve you. Please won’t you always remember Galaxy Time Tours for all your time travel recreational needs, and don’t you forget to recommend us to all your time traveling friends back home.
From Alpha Centauri to Betelgeuse, from the “Big Bang” to the present, from the crowning of the 1000 magical Kings of Sauradan 3 to the many deadly wars of Earth; we are always here to fill your every time travel desire. At Galaxy we truly believe there is absolutely nothing like a visit to the past to make your present more joyful and your future even brighter.
I hope you enjoyed reading "Namon". Ok, it is presumptive of me at best to think that you don't already consider me more than a little nuts. Well, if as yet you do not, perhaps the following true story will tip the scale against me for sure?
I wrote "Namon" (which of coarse is "No Man" spelled backwards)thinking all the time about an experience that my wife and I had one frosty night about five years ago.
We do not often have snow here in eastern North Carolina. We seldom have temperatures that fall into the teens and never for many days at a time. Five years ago we had a freak snow storm that dumped about 18" of the white stuff on us and temps dropped well below freezing and stayed that way for a few days.
This was an occasion not to be missed so one night my wife and I donned our seldom used cold weather gear and took the dogs and ferret with us out the back door. We tramped off across the backyard like some demented versions of Sergeant Preston of the Yukon. On we trod into the glorious snow cloaked pine woods surounding our rural NC home.
The snow was deep especially in drifts and there was no wind. All was still around us and the ice-like air was clear and almost crystalline. All we heard were the barking dogs and the tramp, tramp of our own feet. Now and then the ferret would shift his weight around reminding me he was happy with my progress so far and quite comfortable in my deepest, warmest pocket.
After 20 paces I was already getting a bit winded. However as my wife whom I now suspected had been working out for weeks behind my back had not yet broken a sweat I was unwilling to admit my sudden weakness. In the light of such unexpected and totally unappreciated vigor on her part I managed on for about half an hour. At this point I was delighted to find a likely excuse to stop for a moment and catch my easily seen breath. My steamy breath, in fact, had totally fogged up my glasses to the point that I was legally blind in most states and thus had every right to stop for a moment to clear them without dread of instant ridicule from my wife whom I had every right to suspect was now a closet sherper.
The happy dogs ran on ahead. Soon we knew they were off the path we were trying to follow and we could hear them tearing off after a deer or something bigger crashing away into the distance. I thought it might possibly be a bear but didn't dare mention this to my wife as that would no doubt cause us to have to move again. The word "bear" within hearing distance of my wife would have forced us into instant action. Trudging across the snow at a faster pace albeit in the opposite direction. I therefore kept my own council hoping it wasn't a bear now as it dawned upon me that my wife and dogs could run away much faster than the ferret and I.
We were standing in a large clearing in our little forest of pines and oaks that gave us a very good view of the dark horizon only from North to South. I removed Jaydee Fidget the ferret from his bed in my coziest pocket. No need for extra weight if there was a bear on our trail thought I, feeling guilty. I let him sniff around a bit before he indicated that he thought we might be crazy and wanted back into his warm spot. Ferrets love to be cool and cool creatures they certainly are. Cold with loads of white stuff covering the ground may be something altogether different to them.
Seeing and hearing no bear, I returned Jaydee to his comfortable pocket and completed cleaning my glasses. Just as my wife and I resumed our trek across the virgin snow drifts something in the otherwise black sky caught our attention. To this day I do not know what it was. It was far away, about 2 hands high above the dark horizon and traveling fast South to North. Not a sound was heard. It passed completely across the sky and out of sight in about a minute and a half.
To me it resembled a train's passenger car passing at night when you can only make out the lit windows. Whatever it was it made no sound whatsoever and traveled very fast. No doubt there is a mundane explanation for this thing. I haven't mentioned it to many and not one of those have figured it out.
As I wrote Namon tonight, I pondered this remarkable true event in our lives and I had to wonder if there were what passes for eyes and noses in some Galaxy far, far away pressed hard against those "windows" looking down on us that cold Winter's night as we stood there in the snow with our mouths wide open and the smoke from our hot breaths suddenly halted for a long moment.
Naw! That's just too crazy, even for moi.
"Blessed are they who expect nothing.
For they will not be disappointed." - Edmund Qwenn, "The Trouble with Harry"
[This message has been edited by Jolly Roger Too (edited 05-22-2002).]