Serial Saturday: Nightmare Engine of Doom Part 9 – The Crash

I came to with the sensation of drowning, and thrashed desperately as I tried to draw a breath. I could hear a great deal of shouting and screaming, along with crashing and tearing noises, which didn’t seem consistent with drowning, but still I was unable to breath.

“Shh, keep quiet, you daft oaf,” someone hissed.

My eyes fluttered open, and I was treated to the unpleasant sight of Enzo’s bearded face looming over me. “Stop thrashing around,” he whispered. Why he was whispering was hard to imagine, given the cacophonous din all around us. I could barely make out what he was saying, in fact. That was hardly my main concern, however, since I was quickly suffocating. Although I could not breath properly, it came to me that I was smelling a stultifying smell of oil and garlic, and I realized that Enzo was holding a hand over my mouth in an attempt to keep me from crying out. For a small man, though, he had large hands, and he’d managed to cover my nose at the same time, cutting off all my air. He was also stronger than he looked, and it took a supernatural surge of strength on my part, born of desperation, to throw him off.

I gasped in a massive lungful of air as I sat up and pushed Enzo away, then glanced around. It seemed as though the Spirit of Omaha had hit the ground in a relatively gentle fashion, although I had a vague recollection of much crashing and shrieking from within the steerer’s cubby, or whatever it was called, as we slid along the airfield. The whole passenger compartment of the airship seemed relatively intact, actually, although it was hard to tell for sure since the helium envelope had largely deflated and settled over the thing. Much of the shouting seemed to involve the organization of passengers and bystanders to get other passengers out from under the envelope.

“How did we get out?” I asked.

“I dragged you out before the bladder collapsed,” Enzo said, “once you’d shrieked yourself into insensibility.” He was still ludicrously whispering, as if he was afraid we’d be heard by one of the people racing past and shouting at the top of their lungs, and his eyes darted back and forth constantly, making him look terribly guilty. “We have to get out of here,” he hissed.

“Why?” I asked. Now that I could breath, I was feeling a variety of aches and pains from our precipitous landing.

“Those stewardesses seemed annoyed for some reason,” Enzo replied. “Almost hysterical. They blamed me for hijacking the airship so I could crash it in Winnipeg, if you can believe that.” I couldn’t work out whether Enzo’s sense of wounded indignation arose from the fact that he hadn’t intended to crash or the fact that his hijacking had been intended for Saskatoon. “They went running off, shouting about gathering the authorities,” Enzo continued.

“Oh,” I said, seeing the problem. It would be hard to explain Enzo’s actions, since he barely seemed to understand them himself, and any entanglement with Canadian authorities risked my cunning plan to convince all and sundry that we’d been killed.

“Well, we’d best be off,” I said, rising painfully to my feet. Nothing seemed to be broken, at any rate.

“Here you go,” Enzo said, handing me my tool bag and reaching up to brush off my jacket. “I think a train might be our best bet for reaching Saskatoon.”

I was spared hearing him repeat ‘Saskatoon’ again by a shout from across the airfield. We looked up, across the chaos of shouting, running figures to see a stewardess and several uniformed figures running toward us and gesticulating.


Copyright © 2011 SM Williams

~ by smwilliams on December 10, 2011.