I, Effing Feline, would like to be serious for once, so no laughing or sniggering. Today, November 11, is the anniversary of the end of World War One. That war had a huge impact on the family of my pet human, Ed Hoornaert.
A hundred years ago, the family lived outside of Roeselaere, near Ypres and Passchendaele Ridge. Not one battle . . . not two battles . . . but five battles were fought in the family’s backyard. Grandpa Hoornaert was born amidst a battlefield. Family members suffered horribly. Constant bombardment turned Flanders’ peaceful fields into a muddy, bloody hell.
Perhaps because of the snippets of stories he heard growing up, Ed’s fiction often focuses on the true victims of war. Not the downed soldiers, who at least were armed, and had made the decision to follow orders and march into someone else’s country and shoot it all to hell.
No. It’s the civilians.
Escapee is one such work.
Enemies from the Proxima star system have invaded the isolated mining moon where Catt Sayer, a civilian pilot, makes her living flying supplies on a decrepit airship. She picks up a lone survivor, Captain Dukelsky. He wants her to fly her airship to the far side of the moon to attack the enemy’s base. She agrees . . . but only because she’s sure he’ll give up because of the moon’s cataclysmic volcanoes. Here’s the test she figures will convince him — flying over a mountain pass flanked by eruptions on both sides.
She had time now to answer Dukelsky’s question. “Riding the flow means I’m trying to catch a hot updraft caused by that volcano.” She nodded in the mountain’s direction, though she doubted he could see much from the couch. “You know the ancient myth of Goldilocks and the Three Bears?”
“What does that have to do with—?”
“Too close to the lava, and a big, old papa bear updraft will grab so fast we lose all control. We have to keep enough forward motion to maintain steerage, you know. Too far away, and a momma bear updraft won’t take us over the pass but smack into a mountainside, instead. We need a baby bear updraft that’ll lift us just . . . the right . . . amount.”
The cabin shook as though hammered. Some baby bear.
Effing Feline here again. Know what I think? Somebody should’ve sprayed a hose on those soldiers in Flanders. That, my friends, is the way to break up a cat fight . . . as I know from soggy experience.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.