a historical novel of the future

Carcass with a Cape – an excerpt from “A Burning Light”

Beau came to my house with a small raw hen and a pipe cannon larger than any he had made before. He obviously was excited about what he had planned for the hen and the pipe cannon. The hen was not big and could fit in his hand. Beau said he saw the butchered hen in the market and bought this bird already eviscerated, beheaded, and plucked. His mind quickly imagined it as a projectile and found a pipe for it to fit snugly in. He wanted to shoot it towards town.

We started laughing in anticipation. I created a cape and tied it to where its neck had been. Beau created a parachute for the hen.

“Where now?” I asked.

“The explosion room you showed me,” Beau answer. “Where else?”

“Anywhere but there. Truth.”

He laughed. “I try. Asking at worse will get you no. Where else?”

“The top of Landing Ridge.”

I took him to the trail that wound its way to the top of the ridge. The trees that lined both sides of the path thinned out close to the top, and that’s where Beau could see the view for the first time.

“Ho!” he shouted.

“No compelling? You always say compelling.”

“What? No. And you always like your high views, do you not?”

“Maybe. I can see how sorts fit together.”

Giggling, he pulled the hen from his rucksack and unwrapped the cloth around it. I made sure the cape was still secured. We then attached the parachute and stuffed it into the body cavity. Beau had added a small drogue chute to pull the main chute out.

He pointed the cannon towards the Split at a forty-five-degree angle for maximum distance.

The cannon went off, and the speeding hen arced through the air towards Aoustin, the ’s little cape crackling. Unfortunately, the main chute never did come out. The hen tumbled end over end and disappeared somewhere below, in the town.

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