And as it’s Tuesday Tales time, I’m here with a new installment of Crippled Playthings. It’s moving along nicely, too.
Here, Henry gets to share a few personal musings before things get ugly. Only he doesn’t know how ugly it’s going to get.
Today’s Prompt: CITY
Be sure to check out the rest of the Tuesday Tales while you’re out and about!
From the air, New Orleans glowed. A city of magic, mystery and intrigue, Henry couldn’t help himself as he leaned against the rail and marveled at the sparkling blanket of gas lights and coal lamps beneath him. The dirigible’s turbines rotated around until the blades lay parallel to the deck, giving him a clearer view of the urban sprawl. As the aircraft sank closer and closer to solid ground the sparkles turned to bright orbs and between them in the early morning house movement began. Specks of scurrying energy turned to ants which in turn morphed into people, carriages, and the occasional horseless contraption.
Because of his condition, Henry never got to see the world. Those in wheelchairs – however advanced their tinkered accessories may be – were rarely able to travel with ease. This trip, however, promised to be the beginning of a new life.
Watching the waking New Orleans on the forty-minute descent to the landing pad, Henry told himself again and again that this was not wrong, that he was making no mistakes, that walking would be a dream come true. A dream he never dared to dream until recently, but a dream nonetheless. This place, so richly steeped in magic and tradition, offered a modicum of comfort, the smallest belief in the impossible. His nerves didn’t work. His muscles were worn and useless. But if there was a single place in the world that could make this better, it would be the makeshift home of the voudou priestesses.
Anxiety filled him as the ship touched down and technicians moored the anchors to huge iron bolts on the ground. The gangplank slid silently from its home beneath the deck and two-by-two passengers began to disembark. Sitting alone on the opposite side of the deck was the young woman in the wheelchair. She appeared as anxious as he felt, and as she wheeled herself forward her pressed the hidden levers on the steering bar attached to his own chair and took up a spot by her side.
“Beautiful city,” he commented, once again trying to draw her into conversation. She still refused to look at him. Henry sighed. He wanted to help her, but even with the change of scenery and the sense of excitement trickling into his bones, she seemed as unaffected as the moment she first boarded this great masterpiece of human ingenuity. He supposed his tinkerer’s sensibilities were what made him so amiable.
One day he would remember that not all people were good. Not that she wasn’t good – she just appeared to be part of the crowd that really needed saving. He wondered briefly as the wheels of his motor-chair hit the smooth stones of the walkway if he might be the one to save her. They were connected far deeper, he mused, than even he was aware. That much he could feel.