See Part 1 for Disclaimers.



Thanks for coming along for the ride. I hope you'll continue to bear with me as it takes far less time to read a section than it does to envision it, write it and get it edited. As always, comments, suggestions, praise, criticisms or other forms of feedback are accepted and desired. I'm begging here - Well, maybe not begging. But, I seem to stay at the grind when I get encouragement and writing really is tough for me to stick to. So, please, if you've got a thought about the story, I would really like to hear it. Just drop me a word or two at: Dreams2Fly Thanks and enjoy.


Part Ten

Lee suppressed a shiver as he scrubbed at his face. Instead of dropping, the temperature had climbed just enough to ensure that the precipitation was an ice cold rain that had soaked completely through his clothes in the first ten minutes after the sky had opened up despite the mesh they had erected to deflect the majority of the water. Another shudder seized him as he stared at the director's monitor where the last take was showing.

"Damn," he muttered, fighting the feeling that his chest and shoulders were trying to collapse in on themselves.

Lee glanced at the waiting children - four boys and two girls - huddled as closely together as the horses on which they sat allowed. They, at least, were completely sheltered from the rain and warmed by the three turbine jet-like heaters aimed at them. Still, their scenes were in the open and they were nearly as drenched as he was. The only thing that really saved them was the period-accurate wool highland costumes they wore.

Lee sighed fighting yet another shiver then directed his voice to where Jackie and her handlers were keeping the horses steady for the children. "Alright. Set them up for one last run. Either we hit it or we don't, but we need to get these kids inside." He continued the thought under his breath, "And before hypothermia makes me totally incoherent."

Jackie nodded then turned and began to lead the horse she held out from under the shelter. Lee squinted through the rain, waiting for each handler to indicate that his or her charge was in position. The script called for the horses to converge as they came toward and past the main camera at a speed that could later be made to appear to be a full gallop. To give the effects wizards enough footage to produce the final effect, the riders had to begin their approach from about seventy yards away.

Lee glanced behind him while he waited to ensure that the entire path the horses would travel was clear. He brought his attention forward again just as the handlers began to signal that they were in position. When he saw Jackie, the last to report, signal that she was ready, Lee keyed the mic on his headset.

Lee hunched his shoulders as much as possible to help him survive the delay of this last run, and then spoke the command that would begin the final shoot of the day, "On the set!" Even those who weren't wearing headsets heard him and, almost instantly, the chatter around him silenced.

"Lights." The entire area before him was instantly lit by several flood lights that would augment the limited daylight. "Balance?" he asked.

"Set," three voices reported back to him almost simultaneously.

Lee nodded absently as he glanced around the area one last time. The air was still, the only sound being the hiss of the rain, as if even nature was holding its breath in anticipation. "Cameras?" he asked into the silence.

"Rolling," the three voices replied, this time slightly staggered.

Lee glanced at Rollin, the young intern who stood fidgeting at his side. "Mark." He spoke into his mic, but directly to the boy as well.

Rollin's head snapped up at the command. He hesitated a moment before dashing out to the center of the area where the action would soon take place. Holding the electronic clap board as far out from his body as possible, he announced in a loud, clear voice, "Scene twenty-four C, take thirteen." He touched a button on the side of the slate and the gate snapped down, making a sharp clack that would allow the different rolls of film to be synchronized later. Lee nodded his approval as the teen scampered back to his place.

Lee gave the whole set one last look. In addition to the main stationary camera, two more cameras on long booms would catch the action obliquely from above. The three camera configuration was one that Lee preferred because it allowed him to shoot action sequences with minimal risk of the sorts of inconsistencies that tend to crop into multiple takes of the same scene. When additional takes were required, the footage from all three cameras were usually kept and used together.

Satisfied, Lee called out the final command, "Action!"

At the very instant that Lee spoke, the entire area was flooded with a silver light that left afterimages in his eyes. The smell of ozone that accompanied the flash lifted the hairs on Lee's already goose pimpled arms and nape. Despite the surprise, the handlers continued their motions to give their horses swats to set them moving.

Oh, shit, Lee barely had time to think an instant before the entire valley was deafened by the crack and boom of thunder that seemed to originate directly over their heads. He could do nothing but watch in horror as one of the horses reared, nearly throwing its suddenly pale faced rider from its back, before taking off at a full gallop headed right for the set.




~Continued in Part Eleven~

©April 2005