Cyril Rockandhammer

Yes, yes. Thursday I served up crap.

“Take another then.”

Cyril turned the camera sideways to get both Bogdan and the Terminus sign in the picture together.

“Nyet, nyet. I vant bus and people in picture too.” Bodgan waved his hand over his shoulder to the bus just loading in the street behind him. Cyril complied. It was Bogdan’s camera after all.

Bogdan Grigoriu and Cyril Rockandhammer stood at the center of Terminus: the bus stop. Well, Cyril squated because he thought it made a better picture of his traveling companion, nor was the bus stop precisely the center it was more the heart of Terminus. [I swear I’ll fix that]

“Stop waving dude. There’s no flash. Just hold still.” Cyril dropped from his squat to a kneel to get a steadier hand. Light from the bus backlit Bogdan and made it difficult to see the man in anything but a silhouette. Cyril exhaled and squeezed the button halfway till the mirror locked up. He pushed the rest of the way till the shutter popped open then clacked shut a noticeable portion of a second later. He checked the screen.

“This one’s good dude. Take a look,” Cyril groaned to upright and handed the camera to Bogdan.

The short man looked at himself and liked how the low angle made him look tall, made him look like an adventurer. Like his Father before The Skip. He held his cane—Cryil called ia a walking hammer—in his right hand not leaning on it. The long canvas jacket hung in such a way as to make him look stout not fat as he was. Even the buckled shoulder strap looked like he might have a rifle slung when nothing more than a satchel hung from it.

Even the people were well captured. A group of men and women waiting to load the penultimate bus out of Terminus tonight stood to his left. The interior lights of the behemoth fish of a vehicle illuminated the first man in line quite nicely. Atop the bus the pilot loaded crates of chickens and yegs along the back. The front two tires slayed out like bulbous rubber fins. Behind and above the last bus hovered waiting to land.

To the right a man stood in a doorway backlit by coal fire. Bogdan looked up fromt he camera screen to see the man was gone. In fact, three of the four people to that side of the picture were gone. Only the ticket man with the umbrella was still there. HE stubbed out his cigarette and vacated the alley too.

“Spaseeba. Ees good picture.”

“Dude,” Cyril gestured to the bus. The pilot hung out the cockpit door but his foot was inside stomping the accelerator. Steam flushed from the sides and rear like the breath of a dragon. “Let’s get out of the way.”

485 words on day 560

Partly Cloudy Sky

You can’t tell but I’ve switched to a blue font to write this in. The freshness of the green I raved a month ago wore off a week ago.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’m forcing the Termius thread, so I’m going to lay off that for a bit. As soon as I capture this non sequitur…

“Ye dinnae have a name?” Munro asked.

“I didn’t know I didn’t have one till you offered yours. Am I supposed to?”

“Yer Mum and Dad should have given ye one. Ye sure ye just dinnae remember it?”

She shook her head, looked confused, then nodded instead. “I’m not sure I don’t have one to remember.” I’m not even sure I have a Mom and Dad she thought.

“Mr. Cameron!” The rail of a man edged his face out the door of the cabin. His gaze fell on the no-name girl.

“I wasn’t listening in Ma’am.” He didn’t turn his eyes from the girl.

“Nae? Ye cannae do nothing but eavesdrop on this wee boat. When was the last time ye ran into someone with no name?”

“Two, maybe, three years after The Skip. Nine, ten, or so years ago. There was plenty there for a while.”

“I’m glad I dinnae have ye doing the navigating on this boat. Fourteen years past, Mr. Cameron,” Munro’s voice drifted, “Fourteen years past.”

Mr. Cameron shrugged.

“Lassie, I cannae have ye on The Maker’s Marcail without a name. S’bad luck. Pick one now.”

The significance of a name rolled over her like a Gulf Coast wave raising her body off the cool sand and pushing her to the warm beach. She couldn’t swim against it; couldn’t deny its force. The girl looked first to Captain Munro and then to Mr. Cameron. She didn’t expect them to give her a name or tell her how to find one, but they were there and they were easy to look at before doing anything else. Below her lay miles of junked planes and broken ships. Derricks and masts with wind-milling blades poked up alongside smoke vents and half-built chimneys. The uninspiring metal sargasso didn’t reach to the horizons but it may as well have. Mountains lay to the West, but only high enough to know what they were, not high enough to know what they were like or to give her a name.

The girl leaned out on the rail to look overhead. Ragged, but-no-rain-yet clouds clustered in chatty groups beneath higher dry-brush strokes of white. The scatter of purple and gray and white on blue appeared to mean something.

“OK, I have a name. Do I tell you?”

“Ye dinnae have to tell us to stave off the bad luck, but I’d rather nae have to call ye “ye” or “lassie” for the rest of this trip.” She smiled.

“Call me, Cloudy Sky.”

Captain Munro leaned out and looked up, but not before the girl glimpsed a frown. “That’s nae a cloudy sky, lassie. That’s a partly cloudy sky.”

The girl looked to Mr. Cameron. A grin split his softly wrinkled old face.

“OK, I’ll be, Partly Cloudy Sky then!”

“And fer short? Cloud? Cloudy? Sky?”

The girl sounded the names in her head. “Call me ‘Partly’ for short.”

508 words on day 556

The Safety of the Wheelhouse

“Mr. Cameron, warm up the guns if ye please.” The guant man dropped through the hole in the floor with a smile. Munro turned back to [main character], “Lassie, you go up with me. Best to keep as much metal between ye and their bullets as we can.”

[main character] tilted her head back and scanned the ceiling. Finding no hole above nor any ladder or stairs she turned over her hands and spread them wide to encompass the whole of the room in her question.

“Outside. Follow me,” Munro said. She grabbed up the coffee thermos and slung a black canvas duffle over her shoulder then stopped. “Actually, ye need to go first. Out this door and back to the left and around. Ye’ll see the ladder up.”

[main character] jetted through the door with her left hand grabbing the edge to help swing her momentum the right direction. Around the corner again she saw the ladder and dashed over the deck. The gaps in the railing disappeared with her focus on the ladder. Her hands hit the rungs welded to the bulkhead with a clong. They stung as she climbed, but she moved like a ratchet trying to reach the safety of the wheelhouse.

Her eyes drew even with the bottom edge of the door seal. The rungs had run out before she made it to the top. Shots popped below her. She shifted her weight to free her right hand and pushed on the door. It didn’t open. Another rat-a-tat rang below her. She tried to use the rim to as another rung but couldn’t get her grip.

Looking below her she didn’t see Munro on the ladder or on the deck. Where had she gone?

[main character] took another step up the rungs till she stood up on her left hand over balanced hoping to get a better angle on the door but expecting to fall back down. Reaching above her with her right she grabbed onto the [wheel-like door opening handle thing]. It turned; the door swung in.

It seemed best to stay low so she stayed on the floor pushed into a corner and under something. She’d left the door swung open so Captain Munro could get in but she hadn’t appeared as quickly as [maing character] expected. Munro’s face crested the rim with a smile. She shook her head with a snort. “Ye’re fast. Sorry to scare ye. We needed to be quick but not crazy quick. Take this.”

I’m forcing some of this. Need to relax.

425 words on day 555