Miles had no idea where he was. He seemed to be floating through a ridiculously clear, incredibly blue, and rather warm sky. No clouds were in sight, and the earth was far below - a nearly featureless expanse of gray, with occasional darker or ligher spots, vague wrinkles, and dots of white scattered at random. This was clearly impossible, he thought to himself.
Bad idea. Those two years trapped in an MIS department should have taught him not to think.
Like a lead zeppelin (or a coyote suddenly aware of having run out of cliff), he fell from the sky. The flat gray disk below grew quickly. Suddenly he seemed zeroed in on a black dot, which rushed up to swallow him whole.
He blacked out even before impact. He hit with enough force to deflect the center of the object 4 meters straight down, whereupon it undeflected and threw him 25 meters back up into the sky. After a few more bounces, he finally stayed put, spreadeagled with a mixture of fascination and terror on his recently rebuilt features.
He awoke, the universe bouncing him gently off rubber walls. There was no noise other than an occasional, dull slapping which came from everywhere but overhead.
What was overhead?
It appeared to be a huge, fierce Amazon, long hair flying in some unfelt breeze, the sun directly overhead hiding her fierce face in shadow. The wicked battle axe she held was arcing down to cleave his brain halves from each other far more efficently than the company psychoanalyst had ever done.
He opened his parched mouth to scream, but the axe missed him by a full two feet, hitting something with a meaty THUNK! near his head. The Amazon dropped tiredly down beside him. The sun was in his eyes, and salt spray slapped him wide awake.
Meesh stared at him. For days they had been adrift. She wasn't really sure why or how, because she was certain she had set out sailing alone in a sleek little craft - not with Miles in an empty, black raft. She was sure he had only recently fallen out of the sky, and had awoken raving, even though this was clearly impossible (falling from the sky, not the raving, which was not only possible, but likely). Of course, not being able to see Galveston was also clearly impossible. But here they were.
The oar had shattered when she drove off that mongo shark the last time. She thought dully that perhaps if she threw Miles to it, it would be happy and go away. No, came back the glum reply, it would probably be back tomorrow in a worse mood.
Miles sat up. There being nothing to say, he said nothing. Silently, he pulled a krill doughnut from his pocket and showed it to Meesh. Delighted, she nearly snatched it from him, and gobbled it down in two bites. She raised a canteen to her parched lips, and swallowed deep. She passed it to Miles, who took a careful swig.
"Heh. Have all you want. Rains every evening. Water I got - just no food."
"Oh." Glug, glug. "Too bad."
"How many doughnuts do you have?"
"That wasn't a doughnut. It was a designer emergency radio our marketing department wanted me to try out in the desert next week." He stared at her, a bit awed. "Guaranteed indestructible. Kevlar. Titanium. All sorts of neat stuff. Was it good?"
For an answer, Meesh just groaned and threw herself back against the side of the raft. Even this way, starving, sunbaked and unbathed for days, she was beautiful. Miles had to again remind himself he was happily married. Or had been, weeks ago. What had happened in the time since then? Did Sharon exist? Did the kids? The dog?
"Especially the dog. If it's gone, maybe this is all worth it," he mused aloud.
"Nothing - just free disassociating..."
"Not on my boat you don't!" She grabbed his arms as they started to float away and stuck them back on. Miles chewed casually on a toenail, and Meesh began her daily ritual of counting her hairs.
As the sun set, they both collapsed into the bottom of the boat. A moment later, Meesh slapped him hard and sat up. "You men! That's all you ever think of!"
"Huh?" His jaw, at least, was wide awake.
"Sleep! For days I'm out here alone, and now you show up and you want to sleep!" She looked as if she might cry or kill him, he couldn't really tell.
"Sorry. What did you expect?"
"Songs! Sing me to sleep or something!"
As Miles sat up, unable to think of anything to sing at the moment other than Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines or maybe DOA, the grandaddy of all tsunamis stood up beside the raft. Awed past speaking, he simply grabbed Meesh and threw her to the floor, holding her tightly, and praying hard.
"Happily married, huh?" she giggled, until the wave hit the boat. They managed to ride out most of the wave, but suddenly Miles was torn from the raft just as the moon reappeared through the mist of the receeding wave. She could only watch helplessly as he slid beneath the waves, writhing, trapped by his belt on an antenna of some strange craft they had neither one noticed, as it silently dropped beneath the surface.
"NOOOOOOoooooo!" she screamed. She beat on the sides of the raft, great sobs racking her body. Finally she collapsed across the gunwales, arms trailing carelessly in the water, occasional whimpers leaking from her exhausted body.
It wasn't that she was worried about Miles so much (he was a friend, but he was a big boy, after all) it was just that he had been holding the compass and canteen...
Go to next chapter.
Last updated: 29 Jun 1994
Copyright 1989, 1994 Miles O'Neal, Austin, TX. All rights reserved.
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This copyright may be freely used, distributed and modified subject to the conditions noted above in the preceeding paragraph. Miles O'Neal <roadkills.r.us@XYZZY.gmail.com> [remove the "XYZZY." to make things work!] c/o RNN / 1705 Oak Forest Dr / Round Rock, TX / 78681-1514