This is the start of a science fiction story I’m developing.
The Witch, a short story.
The good witch of the west arrived from the air in a bubble.
Farmer Giles was the first to see her. There was a clap of thunder, despite the clear blue sky, and when he looked up there she was. She rode down to him, dressed like a man but in shining silver, suspended under a silken bubble. She stumbled when she landed in the field next to him. He’d just finished plowing a quillet, and was turning his team for the next when it happened.
She removed the clear ball from her head, and put it on the ground next to her. The wind caught her silk and she was struggling with it, when she said to him, “I say, farmer. Can you help me with this?”
“I don’t speak French, can you speak English?”
She didn’t understand him either, so she tried again speaking one word at a time, “Can, you, help, me, please?”
He shook his head. It still didn’t make sense.
She managed to pull the silken bubble together into an awkward mess, and said, “First rule of survival is to never leave anything behind. You never know when you’ll need it.” She turned to the farmer again and tried once more, “Is there a village or town nearby?”
“Village, I know that word.” Farmer Giles said, then he pointed to the valley where a small cluster of thatched wattle and daub houses clustered around a stream. Smoke rose from the houses and filled the valley where it was trapped by a thermal inversion.
Understanding his gestures rather than his words, the witch bowed and said “Thank you.” After gathering her parachute into a rough bundle, she started to walk towards the village. It wasn’t easy for her to walk. The unwieldy parachute, awkward silver clothing and a decided limp from a twisted ankle, made her progress painful.
She hadn’t walked far, when the Lord of the manor’s youngest son rode up. He was followed by a squire. A handsome black-haired man, he was back from the university during the break between terms. Taking advantage of his time away from the drudgery of his studies and the ferocity of the professors, he was hunting with his falcon and saw the witch land.
He said, “Who are you?”
“What did you say?”
“Oh you speak the high language.”
“Your pronunciation is strange, but at least I understand you. Can you tell this idiot to help me?”
“Giles is not an idiot. He’s sound man, a leader in the village and in his tithing.”
“That may be, but I need help with my chute.”
“Fair Lady, you didn’t answer my question.”
The witch stared him in the face, something gentlewomen didn’t do as a rule, and said, “For that matter you haven’t told me yours.”
“I asked first, but I am Rupert. The youngest son of Lord Middleton. This is his demesne.”
She smiled and said, “Thank you, Rupert. I am Rebecca Sansome, a pilot and captain in the space corps.”
“The space corps? So the legends were real after all.”