My eyes opened and I saw nothing but small slits of light surrounding me. My torso and other exposed body parts itched terribly. I felt a weight upon me ever so slight. Something was on me….burying me. I lay there frozen not from what was on me. Slight movement proved that it wasn’t anything that was going to trap me. I took a few moments to collect my thoughts. Had Festus added more blankets while I slept? When did I get to sleep? The haze of my exhaustion from the trip, the kidnapping, the rescue, the conversation with Smitty , the confusion of the file and what now appeared to be a quart of scotch I’d sucked down after reading it may have something to do with it. Then I heard the scream. It wasn’t human….more animal…pitiful. I began to move…easier than I originally would have thought and got to my knees. My eyes had yet to focus. The itching increased as the items softly fell off me onto the floor. Feathers. I was covered with feathers. I shook my head, half to remove the remnants that stuck to my hair and half to catch my wits. The single sad scream became multiple shrieks as my eyes began to pick up my surroundings. Bars. I was behind bars. Thin bars though that looked weak and easily bent. I felt a wave of nausea as I realized the ground beneath me was moving rhythmically side to side. Feathers blew around me in a slight whirlwind as the volume of the screams grew louder. I spun around in the confusion wiping my eyes to get a better look. Then as the last of the feathers touched ground and my eyes were back to 20/20 the screams ended abruptly. I looked around to realize that I was in a bird cage swinging from the ceiling in what looked to be a little girl’s bedroom. As I stood confused I saw the source of the screaming. At my feet were dozens of dead birds. Dead canaries to be exact.
Flash! I sat up quickly in bed covered with sweat. Another damn dream.
I looked at the alarm clock on the nightstand: 3:33 am. I needed some air….needed to clear my head. I threw on a pair of jeans and just tucked my nightshirt into the waste, opened the French doors to the balcony, and jumped.
Flying always helps me catch my bearings. It’s also a sure fire way to sober up…..well that and nightmares about screaming dead birds. That will work too. I flew around Founder’s Falls drinking in the late night sights and smells. I saw heroes zipping to and fro. The ones that tend to go out late night always make me laugh. They tend to be the anti-heroes. The dark brooding kind that are either reformed villains, dark magic mystics or monsters. Most of them though are just wannabe’s fed on a steady diet of emo and old horror movies.
After a few laps of my surrounding neighborhoods I shot straight up. (I love this part the most) I climbed to just where the air gets a little thin and hover in place, close my eyes and lean back. The ideal air mattress. I have to be careful here; I have fallen asleep a time or two and yes it’s the falling weightless dream come true. But over the years I’ve been able to find and almost meditative state where I can just think or not think. Just catch my bearings. I let my mind go blank….all anxiety gone. I stayed there weight free, thought free until sunrise and flew back home.
As I approached Pemiscott Hall I saw two figures lurking out front. I stopped mid-flight just out of their line of sight using the corner of one of the neighboring high rise apartment buildings and watched as the figures seemed to be casing the area. Well I wasn’t prepared for a fight but my head was clear now and I was feeling a little jumpy. I triggered the part in my brain that encased me in a bubble of sonic energy and flew full speed toward the stalkers. Surprise was my ally in this situation. The cool morning air felt good on my face. They had their backs to me. Maybe I’ll just scramble their thoughts long enough to call for back up. No too early in the morning. Maybe one of the emo types will be around. No daylight: their kryptonite. The two figures were costumed; I could see the capes. As I approached I realized they were familiar…friendly. Or were they?
I stopped about thirty feet in the air and hovered with them still oblivious to me. They were approaching the front door.
“Dear god, what now?” I called to them. Princess Grace and Frozen Passion. “What the hell did I do now? Seriously!” I asked as I floated down to meet the sidewalk in front of them.
Holding her hands up (a “I mean you no harm” kind of gesture) “Mental, we need to talk.”
These two were friends- good friends- but after the previous night I wasn’t really in the mood for girl talk. I like to pride myself on being proper. When raised in society you are bred to always be polite, even when angry or betrayed. It’s your best weapon. But it was early morning and my feelings were a little more than hurt. (I’d just realized that too, seeing them here at my family home.)
“You can apologize later, I don’t have time for this.”
“Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t come here to apologize.” Said Grace with the same proper tone that I had been raised with. “I did what I thought was right for the safety of our city and country.”
Looking a bit uncomfortable Frozen Passion looked at me, “Look, Mental, we believe you. Grace called me. She wanted to talk to you….. we wanted to talk to you. Please?”
“Why? What now?”
“Ms. Cambridge?” Festus said as he opened the door.
“Oh, I was out on a morning flight and these two were coming up…”
“Should I call someone?” he said. After all they’d kidnapped him too. Can’t say I blame him.
“No, Festus, they are friends.” I said in a way almost surprised. (I learned that tone from Nonna.) “Could you maybe put on some coffee? And a little breakfast?”
“Of course.” He said with a sudden spring in his voice. He was actually getting to be a butler for a change. He enjoyed that. “Ladies please come in.”
We sat at the breakfast table silent until we’d gotten our first swallow of coffee. Apparently none of us had gotten much sleep. The breakfast smells were intoxicating as we made small talk. (The quality of the coffee, what china pattern was this, beautiful day) Then an awkward silence that I had to break.
“What did you want to say?” Time to get to the point.