Preflight checklist in the early dawn. Breath white over the fields, sun bright off the top of the opera house in the distance. Cold, but not so cold as it would be, up there. The plane was uninsulated.

In his pocket were fourteen letters, thirteen from the town and one from himself to avoid the ill luck. Love letters, mostly, of one sort or another.

Only seven came to see him off. “Luck,” said Dorian, and squeezed his shoulder. Even through the down jacket and the glove his hand was ice.

Chuff of motor.

Up into the blue. Town flat like a map, buildings miniatures, train tracks like a Christmas toy. High enough and he caught the sun, flash, over the horizon. The airstrip still in Earth’s wide shadow. Looking down on the curve of the earth he was in love like he’d never been before.

Higher still. He lost control before he lost consciousness. When the engine stalled and the plane tilted over toward the ground, the trees through the windfoil looked like spears.