Threading a Needle

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The airship lurched sickeningly.

“Damn it, Lieutenant, is there a beacon?” I could hear the tension layered underneath Captain Morrow’s composure.

“No, Captain.” A tinny voice emanated from the brass speaking tube above the map table. “But we’ve got a fix on the station. We’ll get her locked in.”

Morrow clenched her hands on the edge of the table, then loosened them. She did this over and over as she stared out at the storm, and I suddenly realized that she must be reflexively grasping the yoke of her long-lost starship.

Gravity seemed to reverse itself for a moment. Jax yelped and scrabbled for a hold on my sleeve, clinging to my forearm with sharp claws until the ship righted itself.

“Apologies, Captain, but the old Dragon is a bitch to maneuver. It’s like threading a needle with a cincher cable in the dark. I’ve got –”

The ship spun sideways with a sharp jerk. Muffled shouts and curses streamed from the speaking tube. Since we were still alive, I assumed we were still afloat.

“We almost had it, Captain. Misjudged the angle of the anchor pole. One more pass, I think.” The breathlessness in his voice belied the calmness of his words.

“Acknowledged.” The Captain’s hands continued to flex and release, flex and release.

I closed my eyes, no longer able to stomach the dizzying flows of sand.

“When I was nineteen,” the Captain said into the near silence of the bridge, “I plucked the hat off the headmaster’s head from my Ember II skimmer. Not the smartest thing I ever did, but it got me into the Corps. I know what they say.”

Something in her voice made me open my eyes. She was looking, inexplicably, at me.

“I know what they say,” she said again, “but I earned that spot with some damned good flying.”

Another clang, another jerk. This time the ship held steady.

“I got it, Captain,” said the Lieutenant. “Hang tight while we winch her in.”

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This post is part of the Jade Dragon series. Though I try to make these installments enjoyable as individual pieces, I highly recommend that you read the series from the beginning to really get what’s going on.

This post was written in response to the Trifecta Writing Challenge weekly prompt:

You should write a creative response using the given word. You must use the word in your response, and you must use it correctly. Your response can be no fewer than 33 and no more than 333 words. This week’s word is:

BITCH (noun)
1: the female of the dog or some other carnivorous mammals
2 a : a lewd or immoral woman
b : a malicious, spiteful, or overbearing woman —sometimes used as a generalized term of abuse
3: something that is extremely difficult, objectionable, or unpleasant

20 thoughts on “Threading a Needle

    • Christine says:

      I have a feeling that the Captain is becoming the main character of this story, even though it’s told from Anna’s point of view. I hadn’t intended that, but it has opened up so many other possibilities and ideas!


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