My little random-lyrics-based pilot story Rainbows’ End had something of a sad ending, even though it was probably the best one possible given the circumstances. He could use a sequel where things actually turn out positive, and it’s high time he got one. So here it is!
Blue and white, green and brown pinwheel through my vision while g-forces pull me every which way, and I laugh at the thrill of it all, free in the skies I call home. I left that strange netherworld, that half-place, behind long ago, leaving a radio tuned to my personal frequency, and still we communicate, if somewhat infrequently, for I could not have stayed.
I sped away then like I’m speeding now, flying up and up until ahead of me the fog parted at last and the blue sky beckoned, endless, infinite, calling me into it. I looked back, once, at the fogbank I had left behind — and then I sped away into the air, into freedom, into forever. Familiar landscapes spread out below me, and I set my course at last for the lands I’d begun exploring, flying out in a new direction with no real aim in mind but to keep going forever.
I knew my old squadron were still in the area. Stunt pilots all, we were a strange bunch, no two planes or pilots quite alike, and as I found them and rolled neatly into a place at the back of the formation, I saw some familiar planes dip their wings to me in greeting among the strangers who had joined while I was gone.
I started out keeping it simple: you always do, in a new formation, before you know anyone’s capabilities, before they know yours. I tuned into their frequency and listened to the chatter, picked up on the news among my old friends, and when the formation split into smaller flights I knew I was finally free to push the limits of what I could really do, as I hadn’t been able to in so long. I flew up, arced over, looped and rolled and turned, danced between the clouds for the thrill of it and dived so close to the ground that if any one tree had been even slightly taller than I’d expected it would have taken my wings clean off. As I pulled up again I saw I had a newcomer to my solo flight, a stranger, but taking up close-formation position, and I laughed and ignored my own dictum of evaluating carefully before doing too complex a stunt with anyone.
We flew together, now following my lead, now following hers, and we maintained radio silence and flew by eye and by instinct until a lesser pilot would have been dizzy and pulled away. Spiral and roll and turn, looping through the clouds and down towards the earth, defying death itself and celebrating the freedom of life in the skies. And then to peel up and away, a wingdip of respect and back to our respective places in formation, ever-shifting, ever-changing, as we all fly onwards towards the distant blue horizon…