"Air Raid: A Steampunk Story"

by ~VertFey

"EEEHHHH…OOOOOOEEEEHHHHH……" I jerked up, grabbed my knife, and tugged my little sister to my chest.  I rolled out of the bed to a crouch even before I was fully awake enough to think Air Raid.  Slippers. Lana’s feet would be cold and tug, tug, blanket off the bed. Glass might be flying. What else had the Masters said to do?

  The noise, the noise was loud. I curled up against Ammy, covered my ears, started to scream.  ”Make it go away, Ammy!” I managed to say before I started to sob. I hated the noise. It scared me. Always scared me. But Bear would make it better. He always made things better. I turned my head a bit to look at the bed, but Bear was gone. My breathing became rapid and panicky. “Where’s Bear?” I needed him. Now. 

  ”We have to go, Lana.” Slippers flap when you run. It’s really annoying. Blankets make it hard to see the door, which is even more annoying.  And little sisters who don’t run are the most annoying of all. Maybe the siren was just a drill like at school, but I didn’t want to get a bad grade, and I needed to get Lana somewhere safe, just in case. Just as I pulled it open there was Lana’s mom. She stood in the doorway regal and curt, “Bombshelter, now.”

  I couldn’t hear them. Between the noise and my hands, I couldn’t hear much of anything. But I knew Ammy wasn’t taking me to Bear. He needed me. I started to try to wiggle out of her arms. I had to get down. “Bear, where is Bear?” I said between my sobs.

  In a moment, she was going to be out of my arms. She’s only 4, and I’m 6, but she’s really really strong, especially when it comes to her teddy bear.  Sliding through the slick blanket and through her mom’s legs, she churned down the hall as fast as she could —which for being 4 was really fast. Lana’s Mom grabbed and missed blocked by the servants rushing for cover. It was up to me. 

   Running is hard to do when you have your ears covered. Crying doesn’t make it much easier. But Bear need me. Mom had taken him away to be cleaned. After which, he normally ended up on my bed. Like always, when Bear got lost, he always found his way home to my bed. “Bear!!!” I  called. “I’m coming!!” 

   I took a breath, pausing before trying to run after her. What the grownups didn’t understand was how useless it was to catch her without Bear. She wouldn’t come, just kick, struggle, and bite. If this wasn’t a drill, then those Zep-a-lin things they talked about in school would be here at any moment. So where was he? Hadn’t he been out on the clothesline after his cleaning? I ran down the back stairs, dodged grabbing hands, and glanced quickly out the window. No Bear on the line. Panic.  Without Bear, I’d lose Lana. Where was Bear?

  I turned the corner into my room and looked on my bed. Bear wasn’t there. I ran to the drawer where I sometimes kept him, and he wasn’t there either. The noise seemed to be getting louder, and there wasn’t anyone here. Where was Ammy? I was scared, and I didn’t know what to do without Bear. I couldn’t leave him, but I didn’t know where he was. Maybe, he was under the bed. I quickly scrambled under the bed, but he wasn’t there either. Curling up, I started to sob. I didn’t know what else to do. 

   They must have taken him inside so he wouldn’t turn into one big bear shaped ice cube in the icy weather. The Laundry. I skidded round a corner and crashed through the laundry door. 
   There was Bear, half in and out of the wringer looking as though his guts were being squeezed out by a torturer. Apparently, he had not gotten all dry the first time, and the laundress had been the midst of trying again when the siren went off. I spun the handle until he rolled the rest of the way out. It’s probably just a drill; probably. I told myself as I none too gently yanked Lana’s treasure of treasures from his doom.  Now back round the corner, up the horribly tall stairs.
   Now to find Lana. Where was she? Her bedroom, Maybe?  Dull thunder thudded in the distance.  It wasn’t important. Instead, I listened for sobbing. “LANA I HAVE BEAR!!!”I screamed at the top of my lungs. I skidded into the bedroom. Screaming noises, but no visible Lana. The bed, I crawled under it.  There she was blond curls stuck to wet cheeks. “Lana baby, I have Bear. It’s ok, sweet. “I stuck it right under her nose so she could see it and snuggling beside her began to pat her back. “Its ok, Baby Sister. It’s ok.”  I wiped her cheeks trying to stop the tears. Another roll of thunder.

  "BEAR!" I reached out with one hand and pulled him to my face, making sure he was blocking out the noise. My sobbing stopped instantly though tears still ran down my cheeks. I curled into Ammy. "You can make the noise stop now, Ammy." I told her since she had the power to do anything. She had found Bear when he was lost, so she could make the big awful noise go away too.

  I covered her ears hugging her close even as the thunder shook the house. A horrible sucking sensation snatched away all my air replacing it with hot light that filled even the shadows under the bed.  The windows in our room and all over the house imploded. The next roll of thunder, I never heard. Warm wetness slid down my neck. I didn’t move I was so frightened, but at least Lana’s heart still beat beneath me.

Finally, the yucky noise stopped.  Life was good again. I had no reason to be scared. I had Bear, the noise was going away now so I guess Ammy had done something. Well, there had been a moment when the noise sounded like a thunderstorm, and then the things went all weird. But besides that things were okay. Well, except for the fact that Ammy was squishing me and making it hard to breath. I tried to wiggle away a bit. “Move,” I whined. I didn’t like being pinned. “I don’t want to be squished flat.” 

To be continued…

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