Photo by James Lee on Unsplash

He plunged into the sand. Not hard, but with enough force to scrape at his pants. If his knees had been bare, they would be scratched up all to the moon by now. That was what happened a couple days ago, so, he had learned and bandaged his extremities.

Atlas picked himself back up again. The problem had to be in the gears operating the flap of the wings. He might have tightened them too much. He went back to his workbench, took it off, adjusted the tension and put the straps back on. He made sure to add a little lubricant around the moving parts, in case that was the issue.

About twenty blinks to get the reinforced tubes attached to the pack again, and make sure the cursewater was flowing freely to and from the feather pendant.

He finished putting it on and started up the steps carved into the side of the cliff again. This was a place swimmers came to jump into the sea, but no one really came in the middle of the night here.

Puzzled crossed her arms. “I know I said I wanted to see you fly, but sometimes I worry when I see you throw yourself off that cliff there, fail, and go right back to do it again. Even I’m not that cruel.”

Atlas just shrugged. “How else do you expect I will get it to work? It won’t fix itself. It’s a process. If I don’t go through the effort of doing this part, one of us will be paying the price for it when it fails.”

His sister jogged up the steps after him to continue the conversation.

“We could probably find another grey-market levitation artifact as a backup.”

Atlas stopped to think about that for a moment. “Yeah, but where?”

Puzzle grinned. “I know some people.”

“Cool. You do that, and I’ll keep working on this.”

He bent his knees to jump, and soared off the edge. The gears engaged, and the wings flapped. He went farther, but they still weren’t getting enough lift. Atlas’s mind worked overtime, trying to gauge if it was the aerodynamic design of the wing shape or if the cursed water needed a stronger concentration to get more lift.

His thoughts ended the way they usually did, but this time he made it to the water and dropped in with a splash. He rolled as he went in, held his breath and surfaced again easily. He stumped his way back up to the cliff, dripping, double-checking none of the connections had gotten jarred.

Puzzle just shook her head. “Let me take a turn. You dry off and go oil your tools or something.”

“Oil my tools?” Atlas smirked. “That’s not what you do to-”

She grabbed at the pack and began to pull it of f one of his arms aggressively. “Yeah, yeah, I don’t care, doubledome. It doesn’t matter, just give it to me.”

He was miffed. “You could ask nicely.”

She just smiled sweetly. “I could.

“Here.”

He passed it over, and went to sit on the bottom step at the base of the cliff as she took each stair two at a time at a run. He couldn’t do that if he tried, not unless he wanted to look foolish and slam his face into the rock.

Even her dive was more graceful. Atlas tilted his head up and got to see the metal rods and plates glinting in the moonlight. Puzzle also met her landing in the water, just like him and trudged back.

“You know I didn’t change anything that time, right?”

She shook her head, spraying him with water from her fur.

“Can’t let you have all the fun!”

Published by Watercolorheart

Artist, animator, painter, writer, aspiring musician. Working on short stories for an animated series called Sparse. Pen name Lyn Mitre.

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