Eagle in the Sky (3 стр.)

Тема

the massive headland of the Robberg that thrust out into the sea across

the bay.

The playroom was scattered with the litter of last night's party, twenty

house guests and as many others from the big holiday homes along the

dunes had left their mark, spied beer, choked ashtrays and records

thrown carelessly from their covers.

Mitzi picked her way through the debris and climbed the circular

staircase to the guest rooms.  She checked David's door, found it open,

and went in.  The bed was untouched, but his denims and sweat shirt were

thrown across the chair and his shoes had been kicked off carelessly.

Mitzi grinned, and went through on to the balcony.  it hung high above

the beach, level with the gulls which were already dawn-winging for the

scraps that the sea had thrown up during the night.

Quickly Mitzi hoisted the gown up around her waist, climbed up onto the

rail of the balcony and stepped over the drop to the rail of the next

balcony in line.  She jumped down, drew the curtains aside and went into

Marion's bedroom.

Marion was her best friend.  Secretly she knew that this happy state of

affairs existed chiefly because she, Mitzi, provided a foil for Marion's

petite little body and wide-eyed doll-like beauty, and was a source of

neverending gifts and parties, free holidays and other good things.

She looked so pretty now in sleep, her hair golden and soft as it fanned

out across David's chest.  Mitzi transferred all her attention to her

cousin, and felt that sliding sensation in her breast and the funny warm

liquid sensation at the base of her belly as she looked at him.  He was

seventeen years old now, but already he had the body of a grown man.

He was her most favourite person in all the world, she thought.  He's so

beautiful, so tall and straight and beautiful, and his eyes can break

your heart.

The couple on the bed had thrown aside their covering in the warmth of

the night, and there was hair on David's chest now, thick and dark and

curly, there was muscle in arm and leg, and breadth across the

shoulders.

David, she called softly, and touched his shoulder.Wake up.  His eyes

opened, and he was awake instantly, his gaze focused and aware.

mitz?  What is it?Get your pants on, warrior.  My papa's on the

line."God.  David sat up, dropping Marion's head on to the pillow.  What

time is it?  Late, Mitzi told him.  You should set the alarm when you go

visiting.  Marion mumbled a protest and groped for the sheets as David

jumped from the bed.

Where's the phone?  In my room, but you can take it on the extension in

yours.  She followed him across the balcony railing, and curled up on

David's bed while he picked up the receiver and with the extension cord

trailing behind him began pacing the thick carpet restlessly.

Uncle Paul?  David spoke.  How are you?  Mitzi groped in the pocket of

her gown and found a Gauloise.  She lit it with her gold Dunhill, but at

the third puff David turned aside from his pacing, grinned at her, took

the cigarette from between her lips and drew deeply upon it.

Mitzi pulled a face at him to disguise the turmoil that his nakedness

stirred within her, and selected another cigarette for herself.

He'd die if he knew what I was thinking, she told herself, and derived a

little comfort from the thought.

David finished his conversation and cradled the receiver before turning

to her.

He's not coming.  I know.

But he is sending Barney up in the Lear to fetch me.

Big pow-wow.

It figures, Mitzi nodded, then began a convincing imitation of her

father.  We have to start thinking about your future now, my boy.  We

have to train you to meet the responsibilities with which destiny has

entrusted you.

David chuckled and rummaged for his running shorts in the drawer of his

bureau.I suppose I'll have to tell him now."Yes, Mitzi agreed.  You sure

will have to do that.David pulled up his shorts and turned for the

door.Pray for me, doll.

You'll need more than prayer, warrior, said Mitzi comfortably.

The tide had swept the beach smooth and firm, and no other feet had

marked it this early.  David ran smoothly, long strides leaving damp

footsteps in a chain behind him.

The sun came up casting a soft pink sheen on the sea, and touching the

Outeniqua mountains with flame, but David ran unseeing.  His thoughts

were on the impending interview with his guardian.

It was a time of crisis in his life, high school completed and many

roads open.  He knew the one he had chosen would draw violent

opposition, and he used these last few hours of solitude to gather and

strengthen his resolve.

A conclave of gulls, gathered about the body of a stranded fish, rose in

cloud as he ran towards them, their wings catching the low sun as they

hovered then dropped again when he passed.

He saw the Lear coming before he heard it.  It was low against the dawn,

rising and dropping over the towering bulk of the Robberg.  Then

swiftly, coming in on a muted shriek, it streaked low along the beach

towards him.

David stopped, breathing lightly even after the long run, and raised

both arms above his head in salute.  He saw Barney's head through the

Perspex canopy turned towards him, the flash of his teeth as he grinned

and the hand raised, returning his salute as he went by.

The Lear turned out to sea, one wingtip almost touching the wave crests,

and it came back at him.  David stood on the exposed beach and steeled

himself as the long sleek nose dropped lower and lower, aimed like a

javelin at him.

Like some fearsome predatory bird it swooped at him and at the last

possible instant David's nerve broke and he flung himself on to the wet

sand.  The jet blast lashed him as the Lear rose and turned inland for

the airfield.

Son of a bitch, muttered David as he stood up brushing damp sand from

his bare chest, and imagined Barney's amused chuckle.

I taught him good, thought Barney, sprawled in the copilot's seat of the

Lear as he watched David ride the delicate line of altitude where skill

gave way to chance.

Barney had put on weight since he had been eating Morgan bread, and his

paunch peeked shyly over his belt.  The beginning of jowls bracketed the

wide downturned mouth that gave him the air of a disgruntled toad, and

the cap of hair that covered his skull was sparser and speckled with

salt.

Watching David fly, he felt the small warmth of his affection for him

that his sour expression belied.  Three years he had been chief pilot of

the Morgan group and he knew well to whose intervention he owed the

post.

It was security he had now, and prestige.  He flew great men in the most

luxuriously fitted machines, and when the time came for him to go out to

pasture he knew the grazing would be lush.  The Morgan group looked

after its own.

This knowledge sat comfortably on his stomach as he watched his protege

handle the jet.

Extended low flying like this required enormous concentration, and

Barney watched in vain for any relaxation of it in his pupil.

The long golden beaches of Africa streamed steadily beneath them,

punctuated by rock promontories and tiny resorts and fishing villages.

Delicately the Lear followed the contours of the coastline, for they had

spurned the direct route for the exhilaration of this flight.

Ahead of them stretched another strip of beach but as they howled low

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