ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is spillover from the November 8, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] sweet_sparrow. It also fills the "excitement" square in my 11-1-16 card for the Fall Festival Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Cassandra thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.


"The Peter Pan Maneuver"


Cassandra did her best
to take care of Groundhog
after his momentary flight.

She sat with him and
held him and kept him warm.

Then she noticed him
plucking fitfully at his pants.
"What's wrong?" she said.

"I may have scraped my knees
after all," Groundhog said. "I think
they're sticking to the cloth."

"Okay, see if you can peel off
your jeans -- gently! -- while I get
my first aid kit," she said, using that
as an excuse to turn her back
and give him a little privacy.

When Cassandra turned back,
she saw that Groundhog had gotten
his pants down around his ankles,
revealing two small scrapes where
the points of his kneecaps had
crashed into the pavement.

The bruises were rather larger
than the sluggishly bleeding abrasions.

"Shoot," said Groundhog. "That looks
worse than I expected it would."

Cassandra frowned over the contents
of her little first aid kit, which was stocked
for minor cuts and scrapes. "I don't have
gentian, or even first aid cream because
the bandages are medicated," she said.

"I have both in mine," Groundhog said,
so Cassandra got the bigger kit
out of the powder room.

Kneeling in front of him for access,
she carefully cleaned off the blood,
covered the scrapes with cream, and
finally used liquid skin to protect them.

"Better?" she said, looking up at Groundhog.

"Yes, thank you," he said, and then
pulled his jeans back into place.

Not long after that, Highliner arrived,
so Cassandra got up and let him in.
"Congratulations," he said quietly.

"Yeah, I guess," said Groundhog.
"I can't really ... feel it yet. I only know
it happened because Cassandra told me.
I still feel the same as I always have."

"Sometimes it takes practice,"
Highliner said. "How about
going down to the gym?"

"Okay," Groundhog said.
He put his hands on his thighs
and pushed himself upright.
"I can't make any promises, but
I'm willing to give this a try."

"That's all I ask," Highliner said.

After they got downstairs, Cassandra
was startled to discover that someone
had attached mats all over one of
the auxiliary gyms to cover the walls,
the floor, and even the ceiling.

"When did this happen?" she wondered.
Usually they were bare for handball,
racquetball, and related games.

"Once you called me, I called here
and asked some friends to mat the room,"
Highliner said. "I hoped we'd need it."

"Okay, what are we doing?"
she asked, since Groundhog wasn't.

"I'd like to try the Peter Pan maneuver
with both of you," Highliner said.

Groundhog flinched. "If we must."

"No, it's not obligatory," Highliner said.
"I suspect it would help, though."

"Is it that bad?" Cassandra asked.
Butterflies stirred in her stomach.

"It's not bad. It's just a basic exercise
used for encouraging someone's Flight,"
Highliner said. "Flying with a passenger
is difficult or impossible, but it's easier if
the other person has Flight. We hold hands,
then I extend my power over you, and
with luck, yours will respond."

"That sounds cool," said Cassandra.
"I really miss being able to fly. How do
you feel about yours, Groundhog?"

"Ambivalent," he said. "I'm nervous,
but I think I'd like to know what's going on."

"All right, lie down on the floor and
take my hands," Highliner said.
"Let's try for a spark now."

Each of them took one of
his hands, and Highliner
pushed up just enough
to lift off of the mat.

Nothing happened to
Cassandra or Groundhog.

"It didn't work," she said, disappointed.

"It doesn't always," said Highliner.
"Switch positions and we'll try again."

So they tried different configurations,
first with Cassandra in the middle,
and then with Groundhog.

It was that last which actually worked,
the power sparking from Highliner
through Groundhog to Cassandra,
so that it lifted all three of them
a fraction of an inch off the mat.

Groundhog gasped, his fingers
suddenly digging into Cassandra's hand.

"It's all right, we're safe in here, and
the ceiling is padded," said Highliner.
"Even if your Flight turns back on,
there's nowhere for it to go."

Cassandra could have told him
that logic didn't work on these fears,
but instead she just rolled on top
of Groundhog to hold him down.

"Thanks," he said. "I'm sorry
that I'm such a mess right now."

"You're doing much better than
the first time we tried this, let alone
the vertical hops," said Highliner.
"You're only anxious, not panicking."

"Vertical hops?" Cassandra asked.

"That's when a passenger stands on
a flier's toes, and the flyer goes up
a short distance," Highliner explained.
"It's a little easier to do than Peter Pan,
but being upright means farther to fall."

"Let's just stick to this," Groundhog said.

So they practiced the Peter Pan maneuver,
floating just barely above the mats, while
Groundhog struggled to overcome his fears.

Meanwhile Cassandra was excited, although
she tried not to rain it all over Groundhog.

Simply being able to feel Highliner's talent
rippling through her body made Cassandra
more hopeful that her own would return.

She could sense it fluttering inside her,
like a baby bird on the edge of the next.

Highliner pushed a little harder, and
Cassandra and Groundhog both drifted
about an inch above the padded floor.

"All it takes is faith and trust ..." she said.

"... and a little bit of dust," Groundhog said
with a soft chuckle. "Yeah, I know,
try to think happy thoughts."

By that time, though, Cassandra
was starting to get a headache and
from the frown lines, so was Groundhog.

Highliner set them down gently and
checked to make sure they were okay.

"If you want to take some blue chamomile
and go to bed, I can have Yona sit with you,"
he offered. "I'd do it myself, but right now
my superpower might rub yours raw."

Oh, so that's what Cassandra was feeling.

"Yeah, that sounds like a good idea,"
she said. "Aidan told me that the blue
would help my superpower to heal."

Highliner insisted on them taking
the elevator upstairs, even though
both of them could still walk.

He stayed with them while they
dug out their bottles of blue chamomile.

The taste still made Cassandra grimace,
but she rather liked the scent of the oil,
musky-grassy-flowery on her skin.

It made her drowsy, but it soothed
the headache and cramp of her power.

"Thank you both for being here for me,"
Groundhog said, hugging Cassandra
and Highliner. "It helps a lot. I'm
going to lie down and take a nap now."
He disappeared into his bedroom.

Yona arrived with Shay in a baby sling,
and gladly sat down to watch them,
shooing Highliner away at last.

Shay gave a plaintive squeak, and
Yona scooped out a breast for him.

The soft slurping of the baby
made Cassandra even drowsier.
She curled up in the afghan on
the couch and drifted to sleep.

* * *

Notes:

A first aid kit for minor injuries is best accompanied by a guidebook. In addition to all-purpose kits there are ones designed for specific categories of problem, which is really convenient anywhere there's a pattern of specific injuries. Cassandra's kit focuses on minor cuts and scrapes.

This is the large first aid kit. At this size, which is recommended for big households and/or anyone who sees a lot of everyday injuries, it's important to have divisions such as trays or pockets, so that everything isn't just jumbled loose in a giant box or bag.

You can customize a first aid kit for your own needs, which is especially useful if you are making your own. This supplier allows you to make one online. People with superpowers or other special needs have to account for that in stocking their kits. The go-to first aid supply for soups is blue chamomile, but beyond that it varies.

The body is represented in the brain, but not evenly. These homunculi demonstrate the proportions. Thus you can see how easy it is for Groundhog to overlook skinned knees, when he has scrapes on his chin and hands that hurt more because those areas are richly supplied with nerves.

Skylark Apartment Building in Onion City is old and full of character. Its advantages and disadvantages balance out to a rate that is neither bargain nor extravagant. The basement is the recreational floor with the more physically active function spaces. The exercise room has treadmills, free weights, punching bags, and assorted bodybuilding machines. The auxiliary gym is subdivided into two 40x20 courts for handball, racquetball, and related games.

Mats come in different sizes and styles. They can be fitted to line a gym. Skylark has this kind of equipment because the building is designed for people with Flight or related superpowers.

Peter Pan began as a book and turned into a movie. Some people like to make pretend fairy dust. The movie contains some scenes of Peter Pan flying while holding someone's hand.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-12-28 12:25 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] lone_cat
"like a baby bird on the edge of the next."
Interesting image, but it looks like it should be "nest".

(no subject)

Date: 2016-12-28 05:45 pm (UTC)
siliconshaman: black cat against the moon (Default)
From: [personal profile] siliconshaman
Ouch! Poor Groundhog.. although yay for progress!

(no subject)

Date: 2016-12-28 06:54 pm (UTC)
thnidu: plus sign (plus)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Yeah!

Re: Yes...

Date: 2016-12-29 03:46 am (UTC)
siliconshaman: black cat against the moon (Default)
From: [personal profile] siliconshaman
And hey, baby steps, right?

BTY: the story this and the prior one inspired is up, here

(no subject)

Date: 2016-12-28 07:08 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2016-12-28 07:41 pm (UTC)
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
From: [personal profile] mdlbear
Thank you! I'd somehow managed to miss that one.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-12-28 07:43 pm (UTC)
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
From: [personal profile] mdlbear
This is so hopeful for both of them!

Lovely!

Date: 2016-12-29 01:40 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
Cassandra is settling in very well, and I'm happy to see her with growing skills. I'm having my own ECR day, which makes it hard to untangle the reactions to offer more coherent feedback than: I had to reread the poem immediately, just to continue to feel immersed in the world. Complex, but all positive, and blurred together like an early Matisse.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-12-29 03:25 am (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
Gorgeous. I have long enjoyed a meditative breathing exercise that involves systematic muscle relaxation and deep breathing while lying prone on a firm padded surface, while visualizing floating a bit ... it must be so much better to do that while *actually* physically floating! Not for Groundhog, maybe, but LOOK LOOK LOOK what he did, he *used Flight* on purpose and SO DID CASSANDRA! :)

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2016-12-29 04:36 am (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
\o/ \o/ \o/

(What's an emoji for 'flying?')

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2016-12-30 02:00 pm (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
~~o~~ ?

(Think bird head on, with squiggly wings meaning movement)
Edited Date: 2016-12-30 02:00 pm (UTC)

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2016-12-30 04:00 pm (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
I like it!

(no subject)

Date: 2016-12-30 01:59 pm (UTC)
technoshaman: Londo Mollari having a Memorex Moment (squee)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
YAY FLY!

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
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