Monday, August 24, 2009

The Reserve

Lucy backed up the truck, keeping a close eye on Godfrey’s hand signals as he directed her through the opening in the massive stockade. A brief clatter told her she wasn’t steering true and had brushed one of the tall thorn bushes to either side of the entrance. She slammed on the brakes, causing the cage in back to oscillate slightly as it slid a fraction and then a fraction back, the heavy cables holding it in place drawn taut.

“She’ll take it. Keep going,” Godfrey shouted. Lucy resumed her cautious navigation of the entrance, ignoring the scrape of long needles on the sides of the vehicle.

Finally Godfrey gave a double-handed signal to stop and called, “Whoa!” With the truck positioned firmly within the gap, there was no way to get out of the reserve, except over the wicked hedge, or over the truck. Godfrey hopped onto the bed of the truck, shimmied along the edge a little, and finally hauled himself up onto the top of the cage, being careful not to push any fingers through the thick steel mesh.

The old man surveyed the area within the stockade, all one hundred acres of it. The land hereabouts was good, but he’d taken particular care to make his cargo’s temporary home properly lush, transplanting a selection of some of the finest plants for them to graze on. “Are you coming up here to watch the show?”

“I can see from here where it’s safe,” Lucy said. “I don’t want to fall into those damn thorns again.” Besides, I might be back to play later, she thought.

“Your loss,” Godfrey replied. He threw a couple of catches, then stood, a little unsteadily, on the roof of the cage. With a grunt he pulled up the cage door. Seconds passed, ten... twenty... then the pair in the cage shot out, legs and arms pummelling frantically as they flew directly away from the truck. Godfrey couldn't help but let loose a throaty laugh. “Go on!” he shouted after them, “Away Adam! Away Eve! And don’t make a bloody mess of it this time.”

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