Jylouna let her head bang down on the oak desk. A sound resonated through the air, almost like a gunshot. Any bystander would think she gave herself a concussion, but Jylouna – having done this several times already this evening and was becoming an expert – knew better. From this position, she could smell the dried ink on the paper, stale like old bread but sharp as a knife. Security inks have the most peculiar smells, she mused to herself, then opened her eyes and saw the blur of white beneath them. She raised her head slowly and leaned it on her fist.

The plans were all wrong. She could feel it under her skin, like a foreshadowing virus. Battle tactics were one thing, and the general was quite adept at those. There were even rumours of territory gained on the front, but if this war repeated its general patterns, then the Malaians would gain it back in a couple months anyway. They were too evenly matched. But while the general had thus far proven himself in the field, Jylouna had certain unspoken doubts about his aviation knowledge.

She traced her finger over the black-blue markings as though they were bruises on the perfect paper. He had accounted for the wind, she gave him that much, but there were no indications of the migratory patterns of the birds, or the bats. From practice, she already knew that they would be flying into a curtain of fruit bats and barely missing a flock of blood bats. This time of year, migratory patterns were particularly important, as the winds were setting in and a lot of the birds would be moving closer to the oceans, where the land and seas were very rich this time of year. In the dead of night, the flying ‘v’ of migrating loons were like natural missiles, and they could theoretically tear the balloon of her Mosquito to shreds.

She glanced over the plans again and, for good measure, let her head fall again. When dusk came, she would meet her charge and have to follow these plans exactly or else she’d find herself on trial for insubordination and espionage. Probably witchcraft, too, since that seemed all the rage these days. She raised her head and looked at her hands, felt the warmth on her fingertips. Of all the corporals and lieutenants and everyone else in the army, she was the most powerless of all, for she had to hide who she was and fall a subordinate to a man who thought he was clever but may be leading her to her death.

Goosebumps rose on her skin and she rubbed her hands up and down on her arms, warming herself. May all the gods and goddesses be with her with the sun fell. Whatever happened, would happen, and if the gods were with her, it would happen for the most holy of reasons. She had to be patient and trust in them. And if it was indeed her time to die, why then, Death would stop at nothing. She shivered, and tried to push the thought of Death from her mind, but it rolled around in her mouth like a lead musket ball she couldn’t spit out. Jylouna rubbed her temples and rolled up the flight plans.

Tonight would come, and her fate would be revealed then.


Word: Tactic. || Time: 15 minutes. || Character: Jylouna Martin.


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something to think about

"You know, I don't know if you'll understand this or not, but sometimes, even when I'm feeling very low, I'll see some little thing that will somehow renew my faith. Something like that leaf, for instance - clinging to its tree despite wind and storm. You know, that makes me think that courage and tenacity are about the greatest values a man can have. Suddenly my old confidence is back and I know things aren't half as bad as I make them out to be. Suddenly I know that with the strength of his convictions a man can move mountains, and I can proceed with full confidence in the basic goodness of my fellow man. I know that now. I know it." ~ End of Act I in the musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

competing for the house cup

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