Prompt from Thinking Ten: On location Monday: In the meadow
Emma dropped the hammer and sank down into the grass of the meadow. She leaned against the rough wood of the fence rails. The smell of freshly hewn timber mingled with the early spring air, and the sounds of the men in the village were carried to her on the breeze. They were hoisting felled trees onto wagons pulled by draft horses, and Emma could almost taste the humid air around the animals.
This life in the countryside had changed her in ways that nights spent in Eddie's neighborhood never could. But that didn't mean she longed for him any less. It had been five months since she'd last seen his golden eyes and rich coffee skin, felt his tender palms caressing her shoulders. Let herself tumble heart first into his soothing basso.
What hadn't they tried back in the village? Eddie'd promised to play tunes for her on the show he put out from the South Side station he and his band set up. It was a pirate radio station, and she was living with the pirates now, right? So why couldn't anybody bring up Eddie's station out here? Hell, even Mr. Tesla came out here sometimes to help the villagers stay connected and informed about what was happening in the cities.
She'd have gotten up to go have a talk with the old wizard, but sitting down against the fence was all she could muster. Her back sang to her like a youth choir in the throes of adolescence. Every muscle felt ready to break like a schoolboy's voice.
"A little change of pace from your society digs, eh, sister?" Brand said from where he sat a few feet farther down the fence line. His hammer was on the ground beside him, dropped after he'd finished pounding in the last pin that would hold the rails to the posts they'd sunk the day before.
"You know it, buster. What I wouldn't give for a hot bath and some of that grub they dish up at the speakeasies."
"You and me both, sister. You and me both." Brand said and then leaned back and looked at the sky. His eyes opened wide then. "Hey," he said to Emma, straining like a tramp full of hooch as he got upright again. "Looks like our time's up out here in Camp Belly Acres. Government ships."
Emma looked in the direction Brand was pointing and then staggered to her feet in her own drunkard's dance. He was right. Two silver-gray cigars floated steadily towards them in the Eastern sky. That meant they had to pass over Chicago's airspace, and since they were still in the air, that meant they were full of government men.
Brand had his hammer and was slipping through the fence rails. Emma followed and they moved off together towards the treeline. Their gait had them limping and hopping around the uneven ground of the meadow. At this rate, they'd make the trees, but their motion was so exaggerated, it was one chance in a thousand that they'd make it there unseen.
"I hope that wizard isn't just talking hokum, Brand. That aether veil business made my skin crawl, but it just sounds like a fairytale now that we're on the lam again."
"Trust me, sister, I'd be saying the same thing if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes. We just need to get back to the campsite. Larson's still there, unless he got called off for a delivery. We can use his gear to get behind the curtain. No way the government men can spot us."
"And if Larson did get called off? What then?"
"Then we hope Tesla's got a lightning cannon in his back pocket."