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At the end of a long journey, lightning flashed outside my window…I need more control.
My hand jumped to Mulberry's forearm and squeezed. Shutting my eyes, I struggled not to picture the small plane cracking in half, my body flying through the air, still seat-belted to the beige leather chair; Blue, his paws grasping at empty space, disappearing into the bruise-colored clouds.
The small jet shook and our pilot's voice, smooth and steady, came over the loudspeaker, "Sorry about the bumps. We'll have you down in Miami in about twenty minutes. Just hold tight."
Mulberry put his hand over mine. "Don't worry," he said. "We'll be there soon." He smiled, making his crow's feet crinkle. Mulberry's eyes were deep emerald with ochre and flashes of gold. I tried to smile back but could tell I was just giving grimace. Mulberry handed me his whisky and soda. I finished it off.
The ice cubes danced in my empty glass. Then we were suddenly out of the clouds. Below us the ocean was close, steel blue with white caps cresting each wave. The city's skyscrapers looked like towers of mercury in the storm's eerie light. Raindrops clung to my window, streaking across it as our speed pushed them aside.
Hugh was somewhere down there in that city, a flat landscape made multi-dimensional through the efforts of man. My stomach lurched as we dropped through the air, my seat belt pressing into me. Blue whined softly and flattened himself even further onto the floor of the plane.
A giant of a dog, Blue has the coat of a wolf, the snout of a Collie, with one brown eye and one blue. Both of which were trained on me at that moment. My fear was freaking him out. Closing my eyes, I tried to imagine the turbulence as a gentle rocking but it didn't work. An ice cube jumped out of my glass landing on the carpeting. Blue, his belly still flat on the ground, inched his way toward it, then his tongue stretched out and pulled the cube into his mouth. He crunched twice before looking back up at me, now hoping for more whisky-flavored ice. I couldn't help but smile at the expectant look on his fuzzy face.
We touched down with a jerk that sent my heart racing one more time. But as we slowly taxied toward our hangar the storm seemed suddenly minor. Just a breath of wind fluttered across the puddles, turning them into shimmering mirrors framed by the dark tarmac.
"All right Ms. Rye," our captain's voice came back on over the loudspeaker. "Sorry about that descent, but we got you here safe. Thanks for flying with us, I hope we'll have you back real soon."
As soon as humanly possible. I didn't want to be here, but Hugh was in trouble, and if there was one person I cared about in this world it was him.
He was a tie to my murdered brother, a shared memory bank. I would do anything to help Hugh.
P.S. The dog does not die.
**Beware: If you can't handle a few f-bombs, you can't handle this series.**