Author Topic: A short story I wrote a few years back.......TSR2 content!  (Read 2524 times)

Offline Spellbinder99

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A short story I wrote a few years back.......TSR2 content!
« on: July 04, 2014, 05:47:46 PM »
Gosh, I wrote this and posted it on the What-If Modellers website 8 years ago! I thought as a contribution to this site it may fit in, apologies if you have read it before.

The Barn

Jim Shannon looked carefully up the road towards the Noles farm, noting the layout of the buildings and more importantly the size of the sheds that cluttered the view in every direction. Tommy Noles was an old family friend that had been viewed as an eccentric even when Jim was a boy, but welcomed just the same whenever he ventured out of his farm to town.

Tommy had served in the RAAF in WW2, but after the fall of Singapore the time spent in the Japanese POW camp had all but broken his spirit. When he returned home, he had never been able to pick up the pieces of his pre-war family life and had become pretty much a hermit, selling a few sheep and pigs to get by and from all appearances being pretty happy with his life.
The Noles family farm had been chosen as a site for a USAF training base early in the war, and the family quietly but firmly evicted to the nearby town for the duration. When they returned in 1945 they had a 6000 foot concrete runway where once valuable grazing land had lain and several large hangars blocked the early morning sun.

Tommy had done what most farmers did post war and bought in some retired Anson's and such to supply needed gasoline and hardware, and Jim remembered playing in the rotting hulks in the early seventies, his dreams full of daring pilots and evil Nazis. As a child, he had explored every corner of the farm, even the echoing hangers, all except the last one that remained firmly and resolutely locked, the windows painted out.
He had never asked why, though he had done his best to peek in over the years to no avail.

As with all children, Jim grew up and his memories dimmed, but the old airplanes on the Noles farm set a spark in him that drove him to join the RAAF himself in the early eighties and become and aircraft mechanic, a career he pursued for 20 years. That same spark gave him an attraction to old flying machines and he started writing about and researching the frail machines he had only known from pictures and fragmented parts.

Knowledge is a dangerous thing, it drives you to seek more and more and it was that drive that had set him on the road to the farm he knew so well after 25 years away.

It was such a simple thing.
He had been talking to some locals about the aircraft on the Noles farm, hoping someone had pictures of them as they arrived to include in a book he was writing about WW2 survivors. The local garage owner, a gangly taciturn man who said little unless pressed had mentioned that he had taken some pictures of aircraft on the farm in the mid sixties. Jim had been barely interested as his memories of the aircraft barely post dated then and he knew they were little more than tangled tubes and rotted wood soon after, but he had agreed to look at the photos.

They were not what he expected. The pictures were clearly taken on the Noles farm, Jim knew the layout of the dilapidated hangers by heart, but what they depicted was as foreign to him as a UFO. The blurry picture showed a white aircraft, sharply pointed at the nose and raised up into the sky, with angled down wingtips and pale roundels of pink and blue.
The hanger that it was being pushed into was he one that he remembered now as firmly locked , but he couldn’t for the life of him work out why the aircraft was there.

The garage owner said he had been out roo shooting and had seen the goings on from a distance and had thought nothing of it as Tommy was renowned as a hoarder, often bringing strange bits of machinery home from the government auctions. He knew little of aircraft and cared even less, only taking the photo as the futuristic shape had made him think of asking someone about it later, but he never did.

Jim enquired further and a few of the locals remembered a night in 1965 when thunder had been heard in a clear sky, but knew little else. He had searched on the internet for aircraft disposals in the sixties linked to Tommy Noles name, but to no avail.
As to the identity of the aircraft, well, Jim had his suspicions but he did not dare even voice them until he knew for sure

It was all this that put him on that road on that day. Tommy had sounded surprised and happy to hear from him, still sharp as a razor after all theses years and enquired as to why Jim was calling.

Jim took a sharp breath and spoke.

“Tommy, what was put in hanger 4 back in 1965?”

The pause was palpable as Tommy furrowed his wrinkled brow, but his answer was clear and firm.

“Best you come look Jim. My time is short, the cancer is taking me soon and the promise I made don’t mean much after 40 years….”

Tommy would say no more and arranged to meet Jim the next day at the farm.

Jim woke early the next day and as he drove the familiar drive to the Noles farm his heart beat loud in his ears. As he rounded the turn next to the farmhouse, he saw Tommy’s bent form sitting on an old kero tin, his hands expertly forming a cigarette.
Without a word, Jim got out of the car and joined Tommy in front of the hanger doors, a huge brass padlock with the familiar British MOD arrow stamped into it.
As he inserted the key, Tommy’s head bent and he started to speak…

“They came late one night Jim, some important looking Brits in a big black Humber….Government looking, you know?
They said they needed to keep something here, something important, something that needed to be saved…an airplane”.

He took a puff of the fag, his hand still on the key.

“They said I shouldn’t tell anyone, that this place had been chosen because it was away from the world and because I was considered a man to be trusted. But it has been forty years Jimmy and I will be gone soon and I need to tell someone, even though they have paid the money into my bank all these years….”

“I kept my word, but you need to see…”

The key turned in the lock smoothly and Tommy dropped it to the ground and with Jim’s help the ancient wooden doors slid back squeaking and groaning. At first Jim could see nothing inside apart from dim shapes in the painted over dark because of the harsh Australian sun shining in, but as they moved in he could see it.
Long and lithe, full 90 feet of dusty white painted metal, the tires had sagged flat against the ground over the years and the golden Perspex had aged black under the dust. Dusty green tarpaulins covered the wings, the flaps seeming to droop under the weight as Jim looked on in awe.

“But why Tommy, why is it here?….I thought they are all gone?”

Tommy looked with weary eyes at the aircraft and seemed to consider every word before he spoke.

“They said that the Pollies had demanded them all gone, that they had to destroy every one and that they didn’t want to see that happen. This one had come out to Woomera to try out all the new weapons, to sell it to our Air Force, but the axe had fallen before they could start. The pilots that flew it in said it was the best airplane they had ever flown and that they wanted to see her live. Jimmy was one I think and….Roland? The other?”

He dragged on his cigarette and continued.

“They told me that they had fixed it so the world would think that this one had been destroyed on a gunnery range, that no-one would come looking for it. Jimmy took me for a ride in it one day you know? Late at night, so no-one would see, but they bloody heard, didn’t  they! Rattled windows for miles around! The bloody thing was like the wind, as smooth as silk. So they parked her and painted over the windows and left.
And I never told anyone till now….and they never came back.”

Jim walked over to the aircraft and looked in awe. He brushed his hand along the flank between the short delta wing and the big tail planes and forty years of dust fell away to reveal the white paint and the serial number in big blocky pale blue numbers..

Tommy cackled and in a cheery voice said, “They said she was to be called the Eagle, but to me she will always be XR221. I will take that to my deathbed!”

Jim looked at the shape of the TSR.2 and smiled as he stroked her side.
“Time to see the sun again girl…..time to be famous….”

Jim almost didn’t want to look away, but he heard Tommy pulling at a tarpaulin on another dark shape in the gloomy hangar and as he looked around it slid down to reveal another white fuselage but this time emblazoned with a roundel in bright red and blue. In a daze Jim focused on the roundel and saw that what looked like peeling paint was actually a saw edged maple leaf.

Tommy spoke softly…

“Always thought Arrow was a silly name for an airplane……”


Cheers

Tony D

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: A short story I wrote a few years back.......TSR2 content!
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2014, 08:14:45 PM »
Oh, nice one! 8)

As a fellow Aussie & whiffer, I love it! ;D
« Last Edit: July 07, 2014, 09:49:03 PM by Old Wombat »
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Offline mrvr6

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Re: A short story I wrote a few years back.......TSR2 content!
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2014, 02:16:33 AM »
how i wish this were true!

Offline elmayerle

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Re: A short story I wrote a few years back.......TSR2 content!
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2014, 02:54:03 AM »
That's a fun one and wish it were true, especially if the Arrow was RL206, the first Mark II.

Offline Cliffy B

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Re: A short story I wrote a few years back.......TSR2 content!
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2014, 10:27:29 AM »
Awesome!!!!  8)
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