Flights of Antsy

I used to be able to fly. I would run fast; faster -scissoring my legs and gaining altitude till I could coast in the wind.

My airstrip was the front lawn of my childhood home, the one with the steep hill. Or, it was the field with trees by my junior high school so I could fly into them and hide from my pursuers. Once, I was over a desert landscape and flew out of my kidnappers’ helicopter, landing amidst skittering sands.

Yes, usually my dreams involved exciting adrenaline escapes from hopeless prisons. I was contained for how special I was with all my powers. Sometimes I knew I must get out or my parents and siblings would get hurt as threats to me.

I passed a few years dreaming in solitude, but problems began to creep in. One time, I had to escape and ensure I also freed my helpless child. In a later dream, I tried to run but was literally dragged down by three dependents. I searched around in panic, mentally calculating the odds and knowing that it was impossible with so many.

Now, I rarely sleep well enough for my mind’s movie projector to work. When I am treated to an exclusive showing, the picture is blurry or I can’t save the world because the chores weren’t done.

Even my imagination has become hampered by the sludge of the everyday.

Wilhelmina Winters: Thirteen

Wil felt lucky. Instead of the potential danger her briefing had warned of, she had only to secure this classified document. “N” would be pleased -or, at least, appeased– until Wil could ultimately locate and apprehend their mysterious informant.

She was unlikely to encounter armed sentries near the note, judging by the vacant and disused look of the place. The cold wind swirled light mists of snow from the drifts toward her exposed hands and face. No footsteps could be seen.

Wil was still concerned about the people inside, however. The doors were tinted, and locked, but someone might come close and see her through the glass. She couldn’t blow her cover again.

Setting her books against the wall, she inched around the corner carefully and slowly walked to the red table. Her footfalls echoed softly from the walls of the courtyard, as she placed careful steps amid cold wind burst whirls of old snow.

Wil tried to steal glances at the people inside the lunchroom inside the building. These were mostly bystanders, but the tall ones patrolling round the innocents were not. Those were informants.

She steadied her shivering limbs and teeth. She drew ever nearer her goal. She was close enough to hear the paper flapping against the brick imprisoning it. She could almost reach out and free it.

Wil checked the doors once more as she stepped over a yellow bench, and froze in cold and surprise. Just as quickly as the shadow appeared, it disappeared. But, Wil was left with the memory of two hands cupped around a face, against the door, the better to see her with.

Recovering quickly, Wil leaned over the red table, lifted the brick with her right hand, and extracted the fluttering paper quickly with her left. She grasped it as tightly as she could in her mittened first. She turned and exited much more quickly than she’d entered. This time, loud clomping and a slight squeak echoed back to her.

Not looking back, she retrieved her books and ran back around the school to the door she’d first used to get outside.

“Please, still be open,” She repeated to herself through chattering and exercised exhaling.

There was the door; she made it. Wil slid her left hand, clutching the note, against the door crack to feel for the slight opening her rock should have made.

“Oh, good!” She exhaled gratefully. The words hung a slight mist in the air. The rock was still in place.

Wil pried and hefted the door open with cloth hands. Kicking the stone to the side, she entered the school a bit breathlessly.

She looked side to side. She attempted to slow her breathing, elevated by escape and elation.

She’d done it. Mission accomplished.

 

Continued from Twelve.
Keep reading to Fourteen.

Wilhelmina Winters: Three

Lanky held the beer since Wil was, after all, still a child (Wil would argue that she was on the cusp of womanhood). The case was clutched to his midsection as he and Wil hurried past the checkout area and to the exit.

Wil remembered her grand entrance as they neared the automatic doors. The whoosh of their opening blew an exciting blast of icy wind against her as she exited, leaving the warm air swirling closed behind her. Had it been so long ago?

Now, the night was tense and dim. Her fate was unknown and they would have to hurry.

She followed her stepbrother’s large footprints through dirty slush, across icy patches, and through packed snowdrifts toward their getaway vehicle. Tiny crystals of snow glittered slowly through the dark, glinting in the high area lights and low car beams.

The diamondlike precipitation failed to distract Wil from her mission. Ice and snow dragged at her, but she pushed on. The grocery sack with their rations swung erratically in her mittened fist and her scarf waved behind her. Who knew when her enemies would notice the decoy she’d left in her cell? She had to keep up with her devoted brother, her rescuer, and get to their car.

There! She saw the familiar outline of the nondescript vehicle, puffing exhaust impatiently into the frigid night air. A man sat hunched and drumming his fingers on the steering wheel. This silent, tired-eyed driver would take them to her contact for the price of one case of beer -the case her only sibling had secured before freeing her.

Her stepbrother reached the car first, opened the passenger door, then lurched in. Wil turned to check behind her as she jogged. Surely those shadows in the store windows were their pursuers! Quick! -She reached the car and fumbled a bit to lift the handle.

“C’mon, Mina!” The gruff driver encouraged. She told herself his tone was edged with concern and not annoyance.

One last glance toward the store, and she carefully swung her bag and herself into the backseat.

The driver had asked her brother something before she got in. Wil heard his response, “No, no trouble.” They were going to be safe now.

 

Continued from Two.
Keep reading to Four.