Gabe In A Pickle
Mount Barker, South Australia
A huge solar flare—the largest for millennia—erupted, spewing ions and isotopes into space.
Different-paced streams of material collided, generating shock-waves that moved at over twelve hundred kilometres a second. A strand of this roiling wind gusted past a warped wormhole, straightening it and knocking it back into its proper place.
In a city lockup, an angel sensed the change and grew restless. ‘Is anyone there?’ he called.
‘Oi! Mate,’ the duty constable spoke through the cell door, ‘pipe down! Court in the morning so get some shut-eye.’ Yawning widely, he returned to his office and stood, looking at the huge wings sprawled across the desk. Their luxury intrigued him. Lightly, he ran his hands along them. Must have cost a mint. They were heavy, too. He lifted them and carefully placed them on a shelf. Above him, the wall-clock quietly ticked. Only one o’clock in the morning. It was going to be a long one. The fairy in lockup had finally quietened so he stepped out into the night. A lightning flash far to the north made his hair prickle. He hated thunderstorms. Definitely time for a burger and chips. The young policeman shuddered, crossed the road and walked briskly to the big M on the corner.
Back in the holding cell, sudden urgency tugged Gabe from his bunk. Visions assailed him: of chaos; of a tunnel in space; of clouds twisting with argent violence, demanding his attention. He needed to be back at his house in the hills.
‘Let me outta here!’ he yelled. All was quiet. He called again. Irritated by the lack of response, he threw himself hard against the back wall of the cell and exploded into the dim-lit city. Wings! He barreled back inside, smashed through into an office, snatched the streams of feathers from a shelf—ignoring the coat—and sped back out. For a second, he gazed wildly about. Buildings buttressed the sky in all quarters but one. There, a range of hills reared against the wavering red glow of an aurora. Gabe set his sight on this and ran.
The whoop of sirens lent wings to his feet. He fled into a side-street, ducked behind a pallet of boxes and waited for a stream of police-cars to pass. In the silence that followed, he caught the hum of a vehicle approaching from the other direction. For a second he waited, then sprinted from his hiding place, out and across the main road just in time to haul himself onto a bus that had stopped to let a passenger alight. Puffing, he validated his for-all-emergencies ticket and flopped onto a seat near the middle door … and was most amazed when the bus, which had been heading in the right direction, turned left, stopped to let the only other passenger off, and then turned left again to carry him away from his home in the hills.