The Rocketrix

“Amazing! I bet I could go as high as the Chrysler Building!” Jacob’s cheeks were rosy and his eyes bright as he landed.

Sybil looked up trying to imagine how high the Chrysler Building was. There were no buildings in the harvested wheat fields where they stood, but Jacob had looked very high up indeed.

“It’s my turn, brother.” Sybil reached for the rocket pack.

“People with placentas cannot use rocket packs,” Jacob said as he shoved Sybil’s hands away.

Sybil frowned, uncertain how to argue with her older brother. His use of an unfamiliar word kept her from solid argument. She said nothing, though she also suspected he had been vulgar to intimidate her.

After watching Jacob’s test flight, Sybil was determined to fly herself, even if she had to steal her chance with her brother’s new rocket pack.

There must have been something in her face that betrayed her feelings, for Jacob softened his tone. “Rocket packs are just too dangerous and unfit for girls. The diesel fuel smell alone is unpleasant and stains the lungs. The vibrations of the handlebars, the force of the propulsion on the back is more than a girl can handle. Trust me.”

She supposed he meant well.

Jacob locked the rocket pack in the shed with his supply of diesel fuel. He walked arm in arm with his sister back to the main house. “Mother will be cross, we are late for dinner.”

Early the next morning, before dawn, Sybil stole away to the lands no one farmed. She mounted the heavy dual cannisters onto her shoulders, securing the harness across her chest and waist. She wore borrowed leather gloves, an aviator’s helmet with protective eyewear, and her brother’s old pants tucked into her riding boots.

She only felt a little guilty for having sickened her brother’s dinner the night before. He would have sweats and stomach cramps, and essentially feel poorly for a couple of days, but otherwise he would be unharmed. He had been too preoccupied in front of the toilet to see her steal into his room and remove his key to the shed.

Jacob hadn’t understood her need to fly. She didn’t understand it either. Nothing had ever compelled her to disobey her brother before.

But, she would fly higher than the eagles on the Chrysler Building. She had to.

Sybil grinned as she grasped the handlebars.

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Genre: Dieselpunk
Wordage: placenta, mount
Wordcount: 399

Image: WestportWiki


  1. Yay dieselpunk!

    But I'm a tad confused. She's preggers? But young enough to not know the word placenta? Now I'm envisioning a pregnant twelve-year old. >.< Sorry. Just confused. Cuz unless she's preggers, I'm pretty sure she wouldn't be a placenta owner, yanno what I mean?

    Otherwise, good story!

  2. Well, for starters this is diesel punk, so I'm looking at characters in like 1931 when the Chrysler Building was the highest skyscraper in NYC. Not so much knowledge about [female] body parts then. I definitely intended for one or both of them to be ignorant about the body. Also, she's not pregnant, or that wasn't my intention, but it could be interpreted that way and her brother doesn't want her flying because of her 'delicate condition'. There are two other ways of interpreting this I think. One her brother doesn't really know female body parts and just used one (incorrectly) to insult his sister and she doesn't really know it either. And he's basically telling her no flying because she's a girl. Or two, he's referring to the fetal placenta and that he's calling her a baby and saying she is too young to go flying.

  3. Awesome. Man, you nailed this. it reminded me of Leviathan by Scott Westerfield. I thought she was pregnant at first until she didn't understand and then I thought what you said that he threw out a term he didn't quite understand. Great job.

  4. I really enjoyed this! It's cool to see dieselpunk done well. I kinda figured he was just trying to confuse her as well, especially because it worked, haha. I used to do things like that to my sister when we were younger, use big words just to keep her on her toes ;) Kids can be mean, can't they?


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