Short Story The Mail Run (Runner Up Let’s Talk Magazine Short Story Competition 2015)
There is a muffled whirring sound like a bee stuck in a glass and the left hand propeller of the American Mitchell bomber jerks a quarter of a turn, stops, and then jerks another quarter. The bomber grunts like a prize fighter before bellowing into life. The pilot starts the second engine and the noise echoes across the Suffolk airfield scaring a flock of crows out of the nearby trees. Despite the warmth of the summer’s day Guy is wearing a thick wool lined leather flying jacket over his RAF blue and his hands are shaking. He settles his tall, thin frame down into the cramped space behind the pilots and carefully bends his artificial leg into the sitting position. He stows the briefcase of documents he has to deliver behind his seat.
‘Comfortable?’ The Captain asks, his Texan drawl sounding in Guy’s headset over the racket of the rapidly warming engines. He is a big solid man and an experienced pilot even though he is still only in his late twenties.
‘Welcome to American Army Airways,’ Al the co pilot cuts in. ‘Sorry there’s no tea.’
Al’s accent is softer; he is from Boston and has a thatch of straw like blonde hair and a wide grin that wins over the girls at all the dances.
Guy nervously holds up a thumb hoping Al does not notice the tremor in his hand.