Chapter 4 ... Marxival Panic
"What is it?" a man yelled
"How should I know," replied his companion
A woman screamed and her young child started wailing. Children were running in the Miracle's shadow and crying up to us.
"What's in it?" asked one child.
One of his friend replied, "I think its people..."
A gentleman retorted "That's preposterous! People can't be in that thing!"
"Are you sure?" asked a little girl "They're waving at us..."
And we were. Oscar had jammed the wheel with a rope, and had come over to the side with Martha and I to wave at the people below.
"Oh my! We're above our street, Faith" she said.
"Oh no..." I said noticing what Martha had said was true. Mother was watching from our door and she did not look pleased.
"That's my Faith" she was yelling, "When you get down Faith you're in for a good punishing!"
I looked over at Oscar. He looked quite concerned.
"Um, Faith... don't worry about this... I'll sort it out..."
"Thank you Oscar" I said gratefully. "So, where are we going to land this thing?"
"Land it? Don't you like being a sky explorer?"
"Yes, it's fabulous! But this thing isn't ready for a long airtime yet..."
"Good point... how about Kittleton Park? It's definitely big enough..."
"But that means flying across Marxival to the Kittleton district!"
"And? We had better get going...hop to it, savvy-mate! Martha you'd better strap up again, this could be rough"
Martha struggled back to her seat as the hull rocked. I tied a rope to the main support and then to my waist, so I could not fall and Oscar fastened a loop on his belt to a catch on the wheel column.
"Okay Faith, I need you to be a counterbalance, this thing's going to rock badly if we don't get some help on this, and if that happens, it's overboard for us." Oscar said.
"When I give the word, climb on to the wing, just watch out for the helix-blades"
"Right, I'm ready!"
"Good, now I'm going to turn Right!"
I clambered out on to the left wing, ducking beneath the whirring blades, which were supporting a lot of weight, and leaned out over the edge to the city below. My heart was racing as the whole ship lurched to the right.
"It worked!" I said, relieved. Then seeing what was ahead, I screamed. The Marxival Twisted Clock was a famous clock tower containing an enormous clock with written numbers instead of numerals in a twisted script and warped, brass words around it in the same style. On the hour, it would play a short tune a number of times instead of chime, but at 12 o'clock midnight, it would play an hour-long lullaby. It was also famous for being very tall and now a matter of feet from our aircraft.
I leapt to the other wing as quickly as possible as Oscar steered the other way. Martha shut her eyes, expecting the worst. A metallic clank sounded as the helix-blades rammed into the word 'Nine'. My heart skipped a beat and I held my breath, thinking that we would be falling out of the sky any moment. The Silencer on the main engine had been ripped off and hung redundantly from the clock tower before falling what seemed to be miles to the concrete road below. The wrenching noise of metal on metal made me feel sick, as if the Miracle was actually alive, and we were the ones hurting her so badly.
By now, at least half of Marxival stood outside watching our precarious maiden voyage. Admittedly, people were shouting and calling for the police, but the majority were cheering us on. I felt like a hero, but I was not. I was still me, just me in a whole heap of trouble...
The Miracle levelled herself and continued like a very loud poltergeist through the air.
"Do you think she'll survive if I cut the engines? We're making a lot of noise without the silencer, and that will make people even more upset than they already are!" Oscar asked at top volume.
"We floated before, didn't we? And besides, we have remote jets to guide us..." I replied, hoping I was saying the right things.
"Yes, it would be a waste of good steam if we didn't use it... so I'll cut our main engines and we can manoeuvre properly via jet! That makes sense!"
"What are you two up to?" Martha called, "I thought I just heard the words 'cut the main engines'..."
"We are going to cut the main engines." Oscar called back "We have enough steam-power to keep us up until we cross Marxival."
Martha went white as a sheet, "You're kidding..." she whispered and fainted.
"Great, that's just what we need..." I said looking down at Martha's pale figure.
"Don't worry about her at the moment!" Oscar yelled over to me, "We need to guide this beauty! You don't really want all our hard work to crash, do you?"
Oscar was right; we needed to get the Miracle to the park before we really did crash. I ran to the main controls and cut the engines. The helix-blades whirred to a halt and the pistons cranked into stiffness once more. We held our breath as we waited for the Miracle to sleep again, anxious to see what would happen when we were to complete our mission on steam and wind alone.