Monday, 14 November 2011


The weathered man sat, face down cast, asleep with his back against the cold steel of the strange vessels hull. His battered stetson caked so heavily with brown dust that its true colour had been swallowed up in the ether of his past. Small plumes of the fine powder would shake loose from the his well loved duster coat when ever the turbulent winds outside would buffet the airplane about. Accompanying the man in the cramped confines of the cargo hold where several crude wooden crates housing half a dozen sows and several dozen poorly fed chickens.
The only other human passengers on board where two men dressed in the finest cuts of cloth New York had to offer and a young woman no more then twenty years old also dressed smartly. The slim man in the fine cloth seemed transfixed with the young lady, whom herself seem only concerned with keeping the contents of her stomach firmly where it was. The second gentleman, the thicker set of the two, seemed unable to draw his attention away from the earth baked man.
He watched as the man slept and wondered with wild fancy at the mans past. He guessed him to be somewhere between fifty or sixty years of age. However even that estimate is being rather generous thought he. The years had not been kind to this weather beaten fellow. As he pondered his fellow cabin mate the plane was shaken by yet another violent up gust, behind him he heard the girl retch but the dusty man slept on unperturbed. As the airplanes engines overcome their tribulations and their high pitched whine returned to a gentler note he heavy set gentleman noticed that the mans duster had fallen away at his hip. He could now see the old Colt Peacemaker tucked firmly into its holster and the belt laden with ammunition. There seemed to be another belt that crossed the first and the Heavy Gentleman's mind could easily fill in the picture of the other pistol sitting at the mans other hip. The man is a relic.
The Heavy Gentleman had heard tales here and there of old gunfighters from out west. Men that had been unable to adapt to the civilisation the rest of the country had bought them across the Appalachian's and Mississippi. These lost men would usually dissolve what remained of their lives, seeking their final peace, in the bottom of a bottle. However this old throw back to the 'wild' days gave no smell of such a lifestyle. Unlike the stench most men that followed that path gave off.
What is this man doing here, wondered the Gentleman. Their airplane was bound for Pakistan hailing from Bangladesh. How had this man come to be here? So far from the country he would seem at home.
A sharp flash of light broke through the Gentleman's thoughts as well as the those of the other two better dressed passengers. However it was not until the thunder broke around the aircraft that the Weathered Man stirred. Suddenly his face was no longer hidden by his hat, his pale blues eyes where wild and alert. However old the man had appeared at first, was a pale estimation of the age that some how existed behind his tired eyes. Yet the Heavyset Gentleman, still peering through stunned eyes, took note, no matter how old this man may appear, God seems to still favour him with some measure of vigour.
Towards the rear of the airplane the Slim man could be heard comforting the Girl. Flight was still a new experience to most and many found the sensation unpleasant and some what disconcerting. The Heavy Man had turned his back on the Weathered Man only briefly to see if the Girl was alright, when he again turned around the Man in the duster was now gazing out the small window in the hull, his look steely, he gave nothing away, except maybe an underlying sense of sadness.
There was another flash and this time the thunder came rolling all around them within only a fraction of a moment. The Weathered Man's face seemed to be growing dark and ominous before the Gentleman's eyes. It was then however that he realised that it was not the Man's face that was growing dark but the sky beyond the glass.
As the cabin was again enveloped in another tumultuous clap of thunder the co-pilot burst through the door that lead to the cockpit. The look on the man's face was did nothing to instil those present with any sort of confidence as he spoke:
' You fine folks better wedge yourselves into some nook or cranny. Otherwise hold on to something dearly tight.' The flustered co-pilot could barely breath, however he managed to take enough air to follow up his initial statement with, 'We are caught in one of the worst looking storms its ever been my misfortune to come across.' 
Out side a terrible scream broke out, burrowing into the passengers ears.
'And by the sound of it, we just lost an engine.'

To be continued...

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