Jed Baker strode across the landing strip with his usual measured pace. His co-pilot Chas Blair was already checking the fuel and instruments.
‘There’s only a small window in the weather Skipper’ said Chas.
‘So are we ready for take off? Don Carlos is a fool if he thinks Felicity Fairdew’s family are going to stump up the ransom money.’
In the blue sky the cotton wool clouds soon gave way to a dark menacing cover, the little plane shuddered and the port wing dipped. Inside the cockpit Jed’s strong hand gripped the joy stick and his firm jaw remained set. Chas checked the map then peered through the rain lashed side window.
‘I can just see the castle turrets above the clouds, but to find the river, let alone the flat riverside meadow could be impossible Jed.’
‘We’ve faced worse than this fighting Gerry’ replied his friend.
They descended through the clouds.
‘We could use the road as a marker,’ said Chas ‘but in this weather we could mistake the road for the river.’
There was silence as the two men concentrated, then with a bump they landed on the green velvet of the meadow just as the rain ceased and the sky turned blue.
‘Well Chas, we can see our way to the castle now, unfortunately Don Carlos will be able to spot us.’
Still in their flying jackets they paced their way carefully across the meadow.
In the tower of the inner keep Don Carlos peered out through the narrow slit in the stone wall and laughed.
‘My old friends Pilot Officer Baker and Pilot Officer Blair; they will never make it up the sheer walls… and my dear Miss Fairdew, Colonel Fairdew has not responded to my messages. It looks as though I shall be enjoying your company for another evening. Perhaps the roast pheasant will tempt your appetite.’
Felicity Fairdew shook her long blonde hair and stared defiantly at him with her large eyes, her ruby lips remained set in a pout.
‘I shall not enjoy your company, nor will a morsel of food pass my lips till you set me free.’
The two heroes felt their way along the slippery, steep rock face of the extinct volcano the ancient castle was built upon.
‘It’s no use Chas, this mount is as impossible to climb as Mount Everest.’
‘But we can’t let Miss Fairdew down, I can’t bear to think of such a beautiful girl at the mercy of that brute.’
‘I think you have fallen in love with fair Felicity and a black and white photograph is all you have seen. You must not let romantic ideas cloud your judgment. Chaps like us can only admire gals like her from afar.’
‘The war’s over Jed, it’s time a chap like me settled down.’
Jed’s firm jaw dropped for a second before rejoining his stiff upper lip.
‘Settle down? What would happen to Double B International Rescue? No more talk now Pilot Officer Blair, it’s time for plan B, if we can’t climb up we shall drop down.’
‘Yes, it’s time to try the gallant old girl on auto pilot.’
The two men moved as swiftly as they could back to the plane.
‘Take over the controls Chas while I get my ‘chute on. If anything happens to me you’ll get your chance to be the sole saviour of the lovely Miss Fairdew.’
‘Nothing’s going to happen to you Skip and I’ll be landing two ticks behind.’
The plane bumped along the meadow and almost hesitated as it took off, but soon it was circling round the castle, higher and higher. A figure dropped out and a white parachute unfurled, shortly after, a second figure emerged and the little plane straightened into a descent.
By the castle keep the two airmen dropped, knees bending into a roll.
‘Okay, CUT’ said the director. ‘Well done boys, take a break before the interior shoot. Cameras One and Two I want you inside the Great Hall filming Jed and Chas as they break down the wooden door. Camera Three on Felicity’s face, Four on Don Carlos as he lurches drunkenly towards her.
Jed turned to Chas. ‘How do we break down that massive oak door? I feel as if I have no strength in my arms.’
‘No worries, special effects are dealing with that, we concentrate on our entrance, build ourselves up, imagine how we would be feeling.’
‘Method acting, new idea the director wants to try, we take the lead.’
‘The director is supposed to direct me, I don’t know how to take the lead… Chas, I think something happened when I landed, I can’t move my legs.’
‘Same here, I think I’m having a panic attack. We must pull ourselves together before they blast down that door.’
The director yelled at his assistant. ‘What the hell’s going on Pelham, what’s happened to Jed and Chas?’
‘It’s okay boss, I had to cut their strings, they got in such a tangle in the parachute scene. I’ll try and restring them during the tea break.’
The cameraman laughed. ‘Looks like poor Chas won’t be hitting the sack with Felicity tonight.’
By Janet Gogerty
Heroes is one of the lighter stories in the anthology
Hallows and Heretics