For just a moment, he forgot he couldn’t fly. The push of the rudder pedals against his boots vanished and the constant ‘hum’ of the engines at his back faded into his own heartbeat. Before him, the infinite horizon of the universe that dared him to pierce it. Below, the pure white snow was as serene as it was deadly in its frigidness. Few were the creatures that dared wander such idyllic woods in such cold. Even fewer were the humans that settled such a remote paradise of ice.
Canting to his left, he started a slow turn around a particularly wondrous cluster of trees that was trying so very hard to reach out and touch him. “How long have you been looking up at the sky? Do you ever wonder if its a wasted effort, to grasp for something you can never have?”
“Didn’t copy, Galm One. Please repeat.” A voice intruded from his radio, shattering the distant euphoria of the moment and snapping him back into his helmet.
Taking a slow breath, Cipher gave both his hand a flex on the control stick and throttle of the F-15C that now skated through the wintry night like the roaring apex predator they were together. “Just looking for moose, AWACS. Standing by for threat vector.”
“Copy that. Bogeys bearing zero-niner-six at five-thousand. Cleared to engage, Demon Lord!”
He snapped the Eagle into a tight roll, pointing his nose toward a starless patch of sky. Even if he couldn’t see them, her radar chirped immediately with four blips, far away and moving fast toward him. Towards their own deaths.
“Locked on. Galm One; Fox Three, Fox Three!” She shook around him as the long-range missiles on the F-15’s belly detached and fired. Four embers of death screamed into the darkness, vanishing for only a moment until the night sky was broken by four new stars. Each fueled by a doomed man, a broken fighter, and the cursed ignorance of never knowing who burned then out of the sky.
My (slightly delayed) submission for last week’s Mid-Week Image Challenge. Honestly, the picture was so gorgeous, I keep wishing I were standing there right now, in the dead silence and the biting cold. Where I could look up into the beyond and wonder if anyone or anything is looking back at us.
I hope you all enjoy.