Moonsong, Part II: The Girl with the Really Big Knife
14 September (cont'd)
My Bloody Valentine, Sometimes
See? I told you it wasn’t going to take too long.
Hey, you want a pro tip, Marzi? I guess it doesn’t matter if you want it or not, because you’re trapped in this notebook and gotta take what I give you. Bwa ha ha ha ha.
But seriously, this is going to be worth your while: fill a bowl with the thickest, blandest plain-Jane yoghurt you can find, then pour Whustor’s Cali-Calypso yoghurt drink concentrate on top (I think mango is the best flavor for this, but nectarine and grape work too). After that, mix. After that, eat. After that, shower me with thanks and tears of joy.
Yes, it really is that delicious.
And yes, I did have a nice big bowl of Cali-Calypso yoghurt after peeing, but you barely noticed, right?
Right. So no harm done.
Oh, and you’re welcome for the tip.
Now. You’re probably itching for me to get back to the story, so here we go.
In case you forgot what happened last, I spotted the wrecked aero from the air, but was so surprised and happy to find it that I accidentally lost control of my own aero and started whirlybirding to the ground. I mean, it probably didn’t help that I’d been steering with my knees instead of my hands, but the less said about that the better. Heh.
Anyhoo, I managed to get my hands around the CS-3’s stick and was really fighting to level things out, you know? But it was just impossible because everything was spinning around so fast and I had no idea which way was the sky or which way was the ground, or how far away from the ground I was. I thought I was gonna die for sure.
And then, the weirdest, most totally unexpected thing happened. You remember how the cemetery crows were circling my aero before? Well, a few seconds into my Great Tumble, I started to hear—no, to feel—these heavy thuds against the hull of the CS-3. For like a split second I thought the aero was imploding or some crap, but then I realized those huge, murderous crows were actually kamikazeing into me again and again.
They were trying to make sure I crashed. Probably so they’d know exactly where to find my body, so they could pick my bones clean before the cemetery ogre had the chance to chop me up and sell me with his stupid wedges of cheese. I was going to end up as food either way, which really bummed me out, but not as much as the thought that, after being eaten, I would be poop. And that would be the story of me.
I was so bummed out, in fact, that it took me a good while to realize I wasn’t spinning anymore. Heck, I wasn’t falling either. I was gliding. Sure, I was gradually decreasing in altitude, but it was a controlled decrease. And by that point, my Great Tumble had been so chaotic that my hands were nowhere near the stick. But if I wasn’t flying, then who?
I leaned over the edge of the cockpit to see if I could tell what was happening, and found a great black feathery cloud pressed up against the belly of my CS-3, guiding it away from certain doom. Wouldn’t you know, Marzi, it was the cemetery crows, trying their darndest to save my sorry butt. Now, it did cross my mind that the crows were saving my life because they wanted the pleasure of murdering me up close and slowly, but I didn’t let the idea poison my thoughts. I decided to think super positively from that point on. Because how could I hope to rescue somebody if I wasn’t super positive myself?
The crows set me down without a hitch, then they hopped about till they stood in a full circle around me, staring with really deep, intelligent, no-nonsense eyes. I’d heard from a few people that the crows of Saint Anthony’s could talk, so I said, “Hey, thanks for saving my life, guys. I really appreciate it. Like, really, really. ‘Cause dying? Gotta be honest, not a fan.”
The crows just continued to stare. Cold, silent, unblinking.
Like an idiot, I continued to babble on: “I mean, dying wouldn’t be so bad if you could, like, come back, right? But you obviously can’t, so....”
Silence. Not even the crickets wanted anything to do with me.
“So I guess I’m gonna go now? Oh, uh, one thing. I know you guys’ve already done me a huge favor by saving my life, but I was wondering if you could help me with something else? See, I’m looking for that other aeropilot who crashed, and I’m wondering if... you could... um. Okay, getting heavy ‘get lost’ vibes here, so I guess I oughta... okay, yeah, bye.”
I hurried away from the crows as fast as I could. Even with all of the fog, I’d been able to tell their beaks weren’t like normal crow beaks. They were long and sharp, as if they’d been borrowed from gigantic hummingbirds, and I could think of few things sucking more than getting stabbed in the back with one of those beaks.
But the crows did not skewer me as I walked away. In fact, when I turned to look at them one last time, they had all vanished.
“Which is totally fine,” I said to myself. “I can be alone in this cemetery, no problem. I’ve got something I’m doing here. I just need to focus on what I’m doing, get it done, get out, and everything’ll be peaches. Yep, peaches.”
A rabbit or something raced by my toes and I shrieked and jumped like thirty feet in the air. But then I slapped my hands over my mouth and tried to calm myself enough so that my heart wasn’t beating like a taiko drum.
Even though I’d lost my amazing flashlight, it was after only a few minutes of walking that I started seeing the knocked over headstones again. And then I saw the furrow in the earth, which was way wider and deeper than I’d thought. If I hadn’t been watching where I had been stepping, and had fallen in, I probably would have broken a bone.
I situated myself with my wrist compass and followed the furrow in a westernish direction, which I was pretty sure meant I was moving deeper into the cemetery. I followed the furrow deeper and deeper, making sure to keep one eye on my surroundings. I reached the crashed aero sooner than expected, and found it covered with so much fog that I couldn’t tell the make or model. Still, it looked large enough to seat two, maybe three. Had the entire crew survived? Or was I staring at a coffin? Thinking about any number of bodies inside, turning weird colors and rotting into goop, made me shudder.
I gasped as something small and sharp poked into the base of my spine. My first thought was that the crows had changed their mind and decided to make a Melodia shish kebab. But the voice hadn’t been that of a crow. It had sounded like a girl around my age. Had another Vauxhall’s girl come to investigate? Or maybe it was something else: I’d heard from tons of people that Stacey Krankehexe, Molly Saint-Jeanne and a few other girls were witches and held their coven meetings in the cemetery. Maybe I’d disturbed them. Both those girls were a little off. It wasn’t so farfetched of a thought that they’d threaten me with a knife.
“L-listen,” I said quickly, “I’m sorry I walked in on your coven meeting, o-or whatever it is I walked in on. I swear I’m not a spy. I’ve totally got my own business to take care. Just, um, pretend I wasn’t here and go back to, uh—to, uh, reading Baudelaire, or, um, let’s see, listening to Joy Division, or drinking church wine, or—”
“Shut. Up,” the girl said, and I felt the knife poke a little deeper into my back. It was then, Marzi, that I really got scared because I noticed the girl didn’t have a Vauxhall’s accent. I didn’t know what kind of accent she had. It was like this weird combo of Spanish, Greek and Irish.
“I’m going to ask you a very important question now,” said the girl. “If you give the wrong answer, or if you lie, I’m going to cut out your spine. Is that understood?”
“It’d be really, really awesome if you didn’t cut out my spine, um, ma’am.”
“Then let’s hope you give the right answer, hm? And don’t call me ma’am.”
“Now’s not the time to be a smart-ass, kid,” the girl growled into my ear. “This is serious.”
“Oh, I’m very aware of how serious this is,” I said. My throat was so tight, I’m surprised I was able to say anything at all. “I just babble stupid stuff when I’m nervous is all.”
“That’s probably a habit you should break.”
“Yeah, you’re telling me. So you said you had a question?”
“Don’t rush me, kid.”
“Hey, you’d be rushing too if you had a knife against your spine.”
“Sword, not knife,” said the girl. “And if I were you and you were me, I’d already be dead.”
“Then I guess, lucky for you, I’m just little old me and wildly incompetent.”
“You sounded a little too proud when you said that.”
“Not proud, just realistic.”
“We’re wasting time.”
“Yeah, that’s kinda my forte.”
“Quiet. Now answer truthfully: are you, or are you not a part of the Order?”
“O-order?” I said. “What, like for nuns?”
The girl sighed. I could detect relief in that sigh, which I guess was a good thing?
“You’re not a part of the Order,” she said.
“Yes, ‘hooray’. What are you doing in this place?”
“Aren’t you gonna tell me what the Order is?” I said. “Or, you know, who you are?”
“The first is clearly irrelevant at present, the second is none of your business. Now tell me what you’re doing here.”
“You know, I have every right to ask you the exact same question.”
“Too bad I’m the one with the sword.”
“Sheesh, yeah, I almost forgot about that.”
“Answer the question, kid.”
“Well, you, um, see that aero over there? Methinks the pilot is in need of rescuing.”
“Really? Is that your professional opinion?”
“My ‘professional opinion’? Maybe I’m jumping to conclusions here, but I think you’re the one being a smart-ass now.”
“Such bold words.”
“Not really. I came here trying to help and then you come along and stick a sword in my back and start being mean. What is that?”
“I’m not being mean,” the girl said tiredly. “I’m being cautious.”
“Cautious?” I said. “What’s there to be cautious about? Look at me. I’m a Vauxhall’s girl. And not a very good one. If there’s one person one Earth you could be totally careless around, it’s—”
“Alright, I get it,” said the girl. “I’m sorry for being ‘mean’. Now just... just get out of here, kid. It’s too dangerous—”
“Uh, no offense, but out of the two of us, I’m probably the one with a better idea of why this place is so dangerous. And why do you keep calling me ‘kid’? Are you a forty-year-old man or something?” She wasn’t poking me in the back with her sword anymore, so I turned around to face her...
...And Marzi, I swear to you, I’ve never seen a more beautiful girl in all my life.
Now you know why I was blushing.
I guess I oughta describe what she looks like, right?
Crackers, I really wish I was a much better writer than I am because I really don’t want to bungle this up.
Okay, so. The number one most beautiful thing about her was her hair. It was so long and shiny and luscious, like waves of midnight spilling over her shoulder. And her skin was dark olive and smooth/flawless enough to give Professor Zhang a run for her money. And her eyes were so large and really deep brown and really intelligent-looking, and both hard and soft at the same time. She wore a form-fitting black waistcoat and a white lace cravat tied into a pilot’s knot, and held a rapier that’s basket hilt was an elegant mess of gold and black. She also had an enormous wood stock rifle strapped to her back that was as gorgeous as everything else she wore.
“Oh, good gosh, you’re the pilot, aren’t you.”
“It certainly took you long enough to figure that one out,” the girl said with a little sigh. “I suppose we’re in the middle of my rescue, then?”
“You bet your overcautious butt we are,” I said, barely able to contain my excitement. “So are you, like, hurt or anything?”
“Does it look like I’m, like, hurt or anything?”
“You’re right. Stupid question.”
“The question was fine. It was the timing that needed work. But so you know, I’m... functional. Mostly. Just a soreness in the back of my neck. And in my thumbs.”
“That must’ve been one heckuva landing you did,” I said breathlessly. “Did the cemetery crows help you?”
“You know, the cemetery crows—?”
“I don’t know anything about any crows, kid. And as for that landing? I’ve had harrier. Now listen, nice as it is to stand around chitchatting with you—”
“The name’s Melodia,” I said. “Melodia Song.”
“Right. As nice as it is to stand around chitchatting with you, Melodia Song, if we don’t get out of here right this instant, we’re both going to be in a lot of trouble.”
“Oh, because of those Order dudes?”
“Yes, because of those Order ‘dudes’. So it was grand meeting you, Melodia Song, but have a nice life.”
“Wait, but I don’t even know your name!”
“Does it matter? We’re never going to see each other again.”
“What? You can’t just say that—!”
The words in my mouth withered away as the sound of Icarus Cloud Engines suddenly hummed above me. It was impossible to see anything in the fog, but those engines sounded pretty darn heavy. Nebula 7s at least.
The unseen aero began to decelerate, then I heard the hiss of the landing gear and the chlunk(!) of the gravity locks. Great swathes of fog swirled a few yards away as a bulky shape slowly settled onto the grass.
“Hell,” the girl sighed. “We’re in for it now.”
“The Order?” I said.
The girl nodded grimly. “The Order.”
“So... now we run? Or is that hide?”
And then the girl smirked at me, and I didn’t know whether to swoon or be scared.
“Do I really look like the type of girl who runs?” she said.
“Uhhh, you were getting ready to book literally like a second ago.”
“That was for your protection, Melodia Song. But now that they’re here, and now that they’ve seen us, I’m going to fight.”
Okay, Marzi, I gotta stop here.
Why, you ask?
Well, because this moment in the story makes for a tons better cliff hanger, don’t you think?
Also, I reckon the bones in my writing hand will crumble to dust if I don’t take a break.
I’m gonna go have some more yoghurt. Is it too late at night for yoghurt?
Let’s just pretend I don’t know any better.