It's the summer of 1940.
All of Europe has fallen in the face of the Nazi onslaught. Britain stands alone, next on the list of foes to be conquered . . .
William is a fighter pilot with the Royal Air Force. Sophia is a girl who William happens to meet in a pub before he is to go back off to war in the defense of this small island nation. The time they have together is necessarily brief, but perhaps their love is the flame that will see them through the darkness to come.
Here is an excerpt for this short story:
“What’s it like,” Sophia asked as they were walking down the pavement. High above the sky had faded to a deep dark violet turning to shades of reds, oranges and lavender among the clouds near the western horizon. The first twinkling of stars were becoming visible. “To fly? To just go up past the clouds where even birds don’t go?”
“It’s ... indescribable.” William wore a look of such a depth of humility as he gave thought to it. They had stopped by the entrance to someone’s elegantly crafted flower garden. It was a splash of color in the deepening twilight. The wrought iron archway had grown thick with creepers. “I’m not a poet. I don’t have words. When I fly ... I just feel … free. Like there’s nothing that can touch me.” His fingers softly stroked the soft skin along the curve of her cheek. “There’s nothing in the world that I can’t do.”
He leaned forward slowly and captured her silken lips. He tasted that first breath of her surprised excitement. For a few brief moments their mouths moved together in thoughtless harmony. For those few brief moments they were alive. The air that pressed down on them felt heavy with it. Felt … warm. Inviting. Home and hearth and a soft, warm bed.
She smiled at him as he pulled away. Her voice was soft. Like a thought that had grown wings. She felt as if she were being held up by his arms. “I think I can fly.”
He was looking at Sophia like a man enchanted. Like something had unexpectedly redefined the universe into something indescribably wonderful. The fingers of one of his hands were still discovering the soft contours of her cheek. “I think we both can.”
* * * * *
England stretched on forever. It was like a portrait, but far more vibrant, more alive, than any portrait could have ever been. The verdant colour of the trees and wide fields canvassed everything with unyielding life, unbroken with the exception of the few gravel roads that creased the landscape with hints of pale colour. Short and stout rock walls or wire fences lined many of these roads on either side.
The six lonely Spitfires glided high above the pristine landscape on the wisp of a dream. Six tiny aeroplanes against a clear, unbroken sky.
Scanning the landscape ahead, William began to make out dark shapes moving against the backdrop ahead and slightly to the left. Large lumbering aircraft moving together like a small herd of bison, like fat hawks gliding slowly on the thermals high above the earth in search of prey. The six RAF Spitfires were at an altitude at least two thousand feet higher.
“I see them,” said William, gesturing downward with his whole arm so the pilots flying in formation off to either side of him could easily see. “Heinkels. Ten o’clock low. I count ... twenty-three.”
“Tallyho,” said Wes. “Turkey-shoot. William, Michael, you take the rear starboard. McDonald and I will take the port. Blair and Osborne, hold back a bit and keep an eye out for any fighter escort.”
Two of the rearmost fighters banked off to one side and began to gain a little more altitude. The other four split into pairs, drifting off to either side, and then suddenly each pair healed over, trading wing for wing and went into a shallow dive down toward the formation of Nazi bombers . . .
. . . the guns flashed. Tracers lashed out at the English Spitfires diving down on them, making bright streaks across the blue sky.
About Michael L. Preble
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Published April 1, 2011
History, Romance, Literature & Fiction.