REDWING by Chris Harris

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SUMMARY: Redwing is an independent vigilante/ traveller and these are some of his experiences.


An eerie light filled the bay below as the moon hung powerless in the darkened sky. Above on the cliffs alone I waited; I knew they'd be coming soon for I'd seen them before. I'd seen their ugly play unfurl a thousand times, and tonight I would silence them forever.
Out to sea their prey approached. With mighty sails taut against the wind she laboured. Each hold lay full of trade to foreign lands, though wreckers spoil it would soon become; but not this night.
High amidst the rigging , lookouts hailed their warnings. Each passing port or light, a sign to navigation. Waves crashed against the bow exploding skywards with the gale. "Padstow Light", hailed the forward lookout, though mists and darkness would deceive.
Ashore and alone no longer, the bait was set. With carts assembled, their fires would soon be lit and the lives of those who held their treasure, extinguished. All blades were sheathed, lest the moon should touch their steel and forewarn the ship.
Among their preparations I walked. They couldn't see me as I was not really there in the sense that they were. I searched each face for signs of fear; there was none.
In all the thirty souls I'd never seen such evil. If they'd toiled in the fields with such vigour as they showed this night, or in some other worthy trade, the lives aboard the vessel they'd wreck would be saved. But these men were pawns of the devil himself, and their purposes were not in needing of an honest trade.
Ahead of where I stood, and in the direction to which I walked, stood two of the men. One gazed seaward, whilst the other boasted of how he'd use the riches they sought. Now was the time for me to feed upon the demise of such hatred.
I ran full of hatred myself now towards them. There was no sound or crumpling of grass as I pounded closer and closer. Targeting the boastful creature with his back to the cliffs, I launched myself skyward. Both feet struck together on the mans chest. Backwards he flew to his death below in winded silence as I fell unseen to the space where he'd stood.
His companion stood motionless. Then a new expression touched his face as he burned in the wide beam laser I held towards him. It was too late for a face full of fear and in want of mercy to save him now; far too late.
Raising myself on one elbow I peered into the darkness. Following their sounds, my eyes fell upon the shadows of the main group as they finalised their plans, "There", cried an observer, "There she is by the headland".
An inaudible gasp heralded the full majesty of the rigs sails as she came into view. Instantly fires were lit with the largest at first shielded and then not, to simulate the Padstow light.
Aboard ship the lookouts would not yet have witnessed the deception, for the vessel they had lured onto an altered heading was not their intended prey.
In towards the shore she turned, fooling those who would fool. Copied in every detail from the real vessel ten miles astern; shoreward sailed my holographic decoy.
How they busied themselves.

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