• Vol. 08
  • Chapter 01

Fly Away

In his head were all manner of fantastical ideas and he drew them, daily and manically, on the walls, the doors, the windows with permanent marker. He wanted Liz to see the visions he had, to make her understand the urgency. If they didn’t go now, it would be too late.

But she just shouted at him: “Frank! What on earth are you doing?” over and over until the sound of it, and the pressure of it, hurt his head.

Yesterday, she’d even tried to scrub off the ones on the windows because, she said, the neighbours would think they’d lost their marbles.

“Why permanent marker, Frank?” Her voice shook with anger, or the motion of her scrubbing, or both. Frank thought she would put the window through.

“Here, Liz,” he’d said, grabbing her hand and pulling her over to the chimney breast, where the majority of his diagrams and drawings were scrawled. “These are the main ones, the main designs. I think this one, with the large double wings, will be enough to lift us.”

It had caused Liz to throw the dirty, wet rag at him and storm out, so he sat on the floor for a while, with his head down on his knees, thinking how on earth he could get her to see.

When he’d met her, she’d been the strong one. There was no doubt about that. Like all women, battling through a world that was all for men when you really looked at it. But she weathered it, and bore two children, and endured so much.

He’d put her through so much.


Fly Away

But now, he had a chance to put it right. These drawings and diagrams were the blueprints of the machine that was going to fly them out of here. He felt the danger. Felt it in his head, at the very core of him. Something was trying to eat him alive, with needle sharp teeth eating into his brain. Like a wolf feasting on a lamb.

It would only be a matter of time before it came for Liz. He had to build the machine as soon as possible so they could fly away. He couldn’t take her away through the front door and in the car, because he didn’t recognise anywhere out there now, and he couldn’t figure out how to start the car.

But he had to get her away, because it was the only way he could hold onto her, and all the things they had shared over fifty-five years.

He heard someone come back into the room while his head was still in his lap. He felt a cool wisp of air as they sat down next to him.

“I’m sorry, Frank.”

He felt the warmth of a hand on his cheek, lifting his face, his head, until he was looking into eyes so blue they were triggering something, some memory he could barely grasp.

“Where’s Liz?” he asked. “I need to fly her away from here.”