Part Twenty-Two August 22, 2016
He waited for the wind to pick up. When it did he jumped. In Junior High, Tabby showed him an old video of Luke Aikins jumping out of a plane at 25,000 feet without a parachute and landing on a lit net two hundred feet above the ground. Norm now knew to spread his arms and legs as soon as he jumped.
“Lucky your different,” he heard Ms. Grady say from above him. He opened his eyes and instinctively rubbed the top of his head. “Try spreading your arms and legs next time,” she said.
“What did I do?” he asked, sitting up, and shaking his head to clear the fuzziness.
“You dived down head first. I lowered the net as soon as you stopped bouncing on it.”
“Why didn’t you tell me to spread my arms and legs?” He pulled off the Spartan Helmet.
“You’re only the second person we know of who has the strength and lightness to glide with a cape at low heights. He spread his arms and legs so I assumed you would.”
“The upward thrust of the cape when its spread would tear most people’s arms off at the shoulders.”
“Who else?” He stood and rolled his shoulders to loosen them.
“Softie. It didn’t last long and it was years ago when he was your age. We were at a different location then and we gave him a concoction to wipe his memory for the short while he was here, so he’s still alive. But you’re stronger than he is. I don’t think the concoction will affect you.” Ms. Grady leaned in closer so all Norm could see were her burgundy eyes and the dark freckles on her cheeks. “We know nothing about Softie’s parents, and nothing about your father but I don’t think you two are related. Also you have unruly raven coloured hair.” He saw her squint at his head. “Almost more blue than black. Your eyes are light blue with specks of green. To be honest, you’re unspectacular looking.”
“Thanks?” he said with a lisp. He shut his eyes and grimaced, “I’m sorry, I like your lisp.”
“It’s not going away.” she lisped with noticeable defiance.
Norm put his helmet back on. “Let’s give it another whirl.”
“Spread your legs and arms this time,” she said as they stepped up to the third floor.
“You always remind me to do things after the fact.” He said strapping on the Spartan helmet.
“What do you mean?”
“The seatbelt, the spreading of arms and legs. Is there anything else I should remember before I try this again?” His voice shook as he spoke and his legs trembled.
He saw her go to the rotunda wall to a console about the size of tablet and push a button. “Wait until you hear the net click into locked position.” She walked back to him.
“Stay back a bit,” he said.
“Why?” She moved closer to him.
“Because you pushed me last time!” He took a step away from the edge of the platform.
“You remember that?” she asked with a tilt of her head.
“Yes, back up,” he said making pushing movements with his hands.
“You look a little pale,” she said moving closer.
“It’s probably my average looks,” he grumbled. He inhaled deeply, turned and jumped off the platform with his arms and legs spread.