No, really, I flew. Not as fast or for as long as I would have liked, my lack of confidence in myself and my capabilities wouldn’t allow that, but I still flew.
I balanced myself on the air around me; stretching my arms out to the sides and feeling for the resistance between the palms of my hands and the chi below which meant that I could press down and push myself up and away from the rooftop I was standing on, then willing myself to ascend further until I reached a height sufficient to evade my pursuers.
Having reached that lofty objective, I then rotated my body from the vertical to the horizontal, resting my body on the thermals which rose from below, and glided until I could determine whether or not I felt arrogant enough to will myself into something resembling momentum. I glided over to a tall tree nearby and then, spotting a bigger building across the park, I leapt off the branches and glided somewhat tentatively over to one of the window ledges of a secondary building which formed part of the parent structure.
The buildings all resembled school buildings; old Victorian things with orange and brown bricks, parapets and towers, round windows here and square windows there, tall buildings with high ceilings and narrow corridors. They were part of an estate owned by the rival organisation I had infiltrated, somewhere out in the sticks. Fortunately, some of the smaller buildings and the annexes of the larger ones had flat roofs.
Damn, but it had been weeks since I flew, and even then it wasn’t properly, just regaining control after almost a year of being grounded. Now they would be sending others after me, they would have more confidence in their abilities and they would catch up with me soon; I had better get a move on.
The last time I had flown was at a big fairground; it was a hot summers evening and the grassy fields and knolls were green, undulating over the landscape beside the winding river of clear blue water, itself feeding into a tributary network where families paddled and swam at the shores. The fairground itself was crowded with teenagers, twenty-somethings and families, all absorbing the last of the sun’s rays whilst the various attractions and tents were glowing with coloured lights which complemented the red, gold, orange and purple of the sunset. That evening I was looking for somebody who was in our group, and I was running hard; of course, when I run at my fastest is when I feel like the ground gives way under my feet and I am propelled forwards, my legs flailing in the air, and I have a brief window of time in which to take advantage of the situation and spread out my limbs to catch the air and stay there.
What a contrast – it is now an autumn day, and although it is not cold, the air is not nearly so supportive. Now, while momentum may get me in the air it won’t be enough to just rest my body on the currents; I need to put my mind into it. I can do it, I know I can, I’ve flown farther and faster than this before, I’m just out of practice.
No sight of my pursuers yet, but I can see them in my mind’s eye as they hurry through the labyrinthine corridors of the building I had just exited. I decided to jump-glide further up and across the face of the building until I could get higher up and get to the roof again.
The alarms were ringing now, and I could hear voices shouting directions to my location. I moved faster. I thought about how inconvenient it would be if they caught me; they would interrogate me to ask me why I was on their property, which offices I’d been into, what I had seen. I would tell them that I’d seen nothing, that the offices appeared to be very ordinary and honestly I didn’t really know what I was looking for. That was true, the organisation who had sent me to infiltrate this place had blanked my mind and left only enough knowledge to get in and escape, a vague set of feelings as to what I was to go and do and a sense of importance, nothing more.
I caught the edge of the roof and swung myself up. Looking around, I could see that behind this edifice there was the woodland and surrounding countryside from which I had arrived, that was where I needed to go next. I could hear footsteps clanging on a metal staircase nearby, I would have to risk flying up to the top of the central parent edifice now, or be caught and have to escape by brute force (if I could muster the strength needed) or risk being subject to whatever mind probe capabilities they may have (more likely, given my current state of mind).
I therefore sprinted forward a few steps and leapt into the air, my arms outstretched, pushing against the wind with my hands as I fell slightly, then willed the wind to push me up and up until I heard the voices right below me, “get him!” “don’t let him get away!”.
I carried on trying to will the wind to push me up, veering off to the side so as to evade anybody who might be on an intercepting trajectory, when I felt them close on my heels and I began to lose confidence and fall…
…then I woke up.