March 18, 2007

The Crane (10 of 19)

Thread: Alpha and Omega

Mr. Alpha tugged at the cabin door to no avail. No keys. He wondered how easy it was to hot-wire a tower crane, not something in the standard Clothman skill set. He peered through the cabin glass; levers, collision detectors, load monitors… and a seat. He could have done with a little protection from the elements. The wind was howling up here and his jacket flapped around him like a superhero’s cape.

The fog was chewing on the ground, each successive bite removing another section from view. Soon it would be gone altogether, replaced with an illusion of void.

Mr. Alpha crept around the cabin and clambered up another set of steps that took him over the cabin and onto the jib itself. It stretched out in front of him, a sturdy, yellow shaft beguiling like a yellow brick road to nowhere. A red light pulsed on its side and cables snaked along its length. He climbed inside the jib where a crawlspace extended all the way to its tip.

As he crawled the metal grid beneath him shuddered. His thoughts were still off-kilter, emotions rampaging around, ripping up furnishings and upholstery. He tried to focus on Windermere than more… recent days. Despite the Keswick school suspending the operations of around thirty pairships for a local manhunt, Morgana was not found. The burden of tracking her down had then fallen to the idiots who could have stopped her, but failed to do so.

His career was on hold, thirteen Weave assignments and no more. It drove him insane – he would never make his twenty at this rate. Forever pubescent, the butt of jokes amongst the men of the Cloth. Would they ever find her? Would she allow herself to be found? Halfway along the jib’s length, he paused. Mr. Alpha tightened his grip on the mesh until the indentations it impressed on his skin became so painful that he growled through clenched teeth.

The crane conceded him no power, affirming only his impotence. He was just a pawn who could no more move backwards out of the situation than he could take the Queen. It had been a mistake to come here. He felt trapped in this beast machine and, instead of learning from the crane’s fearful beauty, he was actually in its gut, being digested.

He dropped his head to the metal mesh and stared through at the nothingness below.

He wasn’t going to think about it. He wasn’t going think about it, he wasn’t going to… the stain of sin stank at the back of his mind, demanding acknowledgement. The scum of it was buried deep under his fingernails. The passive smoke of it was absorbed in his lungs. The HIV of it was hooked into his bloodstream. Here was something that had been inevitable from the day that Morgana had escaped but there was no why. She had orchestrated a sequence of events that had no point.

Mr. Alpha smarted as a chilling wind blasted his face. He pulled himself forwards as the waves of bleak memory rolled over him, tossing him in their wake.

Posted by: The Harbour Master @ 2200

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