Reviews for Blind Landing
Sailor Centauri chapter 1 . 4/24
I really liked this story, especially the bit where Scott was telling Virgil about what had happened. When I was reading the lines close to the end of that section, I started getting that feeling you get when you read a good ghost story.

You did a really good job with this story. I hope you'll write more like it.
Loopstagirl chapter 1 . 5/31/2010
Oh wow, this was really great, i loved it! Spooky, but brilliant! I love how Virgil just got him to open up without doing anything, that was brilliant! really loved this!
cathrl chapter 1 . 11/18/2009
I liked this a lot as a plotline. Very plausible ghost story which really could go either way - maybe it really was Tom's ghost, maybe he could see just a little bit and shock and reflex action did all the rest.

I'm not sure about the format, though. To me the central part - Scott's tale - is too much a formal written-down story to be what Scott tells to Virgil on the spur of the moment, and yet the story does explicitly have him telling it, not having written it down.

But I did like the epilogue, reported by Virgil, with Scott handing the medal over...and I'm not sure it would have worked if the whole story was narrated by Scott.
Red Hardy chapter 1 . 11/16/2009
Sorry for the delay in commenting, Quiller. I actually thought I had done it the day you put the story up. Ops...

I was home for the weekend from Denver when the news broke that Scott had been shot down.

-Holy cow, what a way to open a story!

There were a couple of hectic hours of phone calls before we learnt that Scott had suffered only minor injuries and two days later we were told that he was being sent home on sick leave.

-When you are waiting for news like that, even a few hours can drag on for an eternity, and most times the imagination is a lot worse than reality could ever be.

We’d been told he was a bit shaken up – quite understandable when you’ve had your plane shot out from under you, but I was still taken aback when I saw him. He was wearing civilian clothes and dark glasses, but he had that tight, wary look about him. I know what that means in my big brother – that he’s clamping down real hard on some emotion because he can’t afford to let it out.

-Only a few sentences but the wording is so well chosen that I get a very vivid image of Scott. I can see him standing there and looking very unlike that totally confident, in command Scott we know from IR. I’m always in awe of writers who can paint such vivid pictures with so few words; something I haven’t quite gotten the hang of yet so I try to learn from those who seem to do it so well.

I think Dad had asked Grandma not to make too much of a fuss, though he might as well have asked her to stop breathing.

-LOL! I can almost see the look on Grandma’s face at that request!

-Okay, I think that scene on the porch was my absolute favorite part of the entire story. I could see it so clearly! I can’t honestly put my finger on what, exactly, makes it my favorite. It just seemed to really stand out. I’d bet money that if you asked Scott about that ‘conversation’, he’d swear that he and Virgil actually carried on a two-way conversation. And now that I’ve said that I realize one of the major reasons I loved this scene is that it shows the bond that Scott and Virgil have, and how well Virgil knows his brother. He knew that Scott really just needed him to be there and listen, even if Scott thought they were ‘conversing’. This one scene really epitomizes the special relationship Scott and Virgil have. Brilliantly done, Quiller!

We were on our way back. I don’t know if we got careless or if someone on the ground got lucky, but the first I knew was a blip on the radar then Tom’s shout of “Incoming!”

-Since this is Scott, and I just can’t see him getting careless in that kind of situation, my guess is someone on the ground got lucky.

There was a bright flash and the plane bucked like a horse that’s been stung by a wasp. Next thing I knew was that my eyes felt like someone had thrown hot acid in them. I was blinking frantically to try and clear them and wondering why I should be feeling so dizzy.

-Oh my gosh! How terrifying it must be to suddenly be blinded while flying! It’s not like you can just pull over and call for help.

Then I realised that Tom was shouting over the intercom. “Pull her up, Scott! We’re spinning into the ground!”

I felt like saying ‘You pull her up – I’m a bit busy here’ but even as I formed the thought, I felt my hands reaching for the controls.

-LOL! Nice touch of humor. Breaks up the tension but it’s very in character for Scott.

I digested this piece of news. “So I can’t see, and you can’t fly?”

“That’s about the size of it.” He paused for a minute then added, “want to swap cockpits?”

-If not for the fact that I’m 99% certain you wouldn’t kill Scott off, I’m starting to panic here!

“Yeah, we’ll make the Bezzies sorry they took us on!” answered Tom. “I can think of another reason for not ejecting too. The way this plane is behaving we can’t guarantee that both seats would work – and I don’t want to face your father or brothers and tell them I left you behind.”

-ROTFL! Tom has a very healthy sense of self-preservation! I like him!

“You fly, I’ll navigate.”

“Are you kidding?”

Tom’s voice sounded full of confidence. “Come on, Scott, you’re always saying you could fly a plane with your eyes shut – now’s your chance to prove it. Besides, can you think of a better plan?”

-I like the way Tom thinks! I’d bet money that Scott really could fly with his eyes closed.

Looking back now I don’t know how I managed it, but Tom’s voice giving me course corrections was a calming influence and before too long he told me we were lining up on the approach to the airfield.

-See, Scotty? I knew you could do it! Now all you have to do is land.

“Just think of this as one of those simulator tests,” Tom’s warm brogue came over the speaker. “The one where the swine of an instructor has simulated a night landing and a power short in your cockpit, so you have to rely on the talk-down.”

-Ooh, great idea, Tom! Yup, I like him… you’re not gonna kill him off, are you?

As soon as I got my breath back I reached out and killed the engines. In the ensuing silence I could hear the sound of approaching sirens. The backlash of adrenaline washed over me at that point and I started to laugh. “Well, Tom, I’ll not say that was my best landing, but you were right – I can land this baby with my eyes shut!”

There was only silence in reply.

“Tom? Tom!”

-Oh crap. I’m getting a bad feeling here…

Just then I heard someone fumbling with the cockpit catch. Fresh air washed over me as the canopy opened, making my eyes sting again. There was an intake of breath – I guess my eyes must have looked as bad as they felt.

“Captain Tracy? Can you stand, sir? Shall I call for the medics?”

I recognised the voice of my mechanic. “I’m OK, Jake, apart from my eyes. But can someone check on Tom? I haven’t heard from him since we landed.”

-Okay, I’m relieved that Scott is back on solid ground but you are seriously starting to scare me. That wasn’t a hard landing at all, why is Tom suddenly silent?

I heaved a sigh of relief. “Thanks, Jake. How’s Tom?”

There was a pause, then Jake climbed into the ambulance and put his hand on my shoulder. “Sir, we could see the damage to your plane when you came in to land – that’s why we scrambled the crash team. The whole back cockpit’s been blown away. Tom’s not there. He probably never knew what hit him.”

-WHAT? Aw, man… I sorta, kinda had an inkling it might be something like that when Tom suddenly went quiet once Scott had landed. But that was a GREAT set-up! If this hadn’t been a Halloween story, I would’ve thought right up to this paragraph that maybe Tom had just passed out when they landed. That was brilliant. Sad, but brilliant!

Scott had swung round now to face me and was leaning forward, rolling his beer can between his palms. “The psychiatrists are telling me I’m suffering Post Traumatic Stress and are queuing up to give me their theories on what really happened. One told me that maybe my eyes weren’t too bad initially, that it was lack of immediate treatment that made them look so bad by the time the medics got to me; another talked about ‘survivor guilt’ and a third says my subconscious used Tom’s voice to talk me down to give me confidence. But I know the truth.” He tipped his head back, draining the last of the beer. “My CO says he’s going to recommend me for a medal. Someone deserves a medal for what happened out there – but it’s not me.”

-I’m with Scott. I absolutely believe Tom’s spirit got him back down on solid ground safely.

Six months later Scott was awarded his medal at a ceremony with full military honours, attended by the Air Force top brass and all the Tracy family.

What nobody but me knows is that a week later, Scott flew to Ireland, where he gave his medal to Tom Maynard’s widow. Did he tell her the truth? That her dead husband had talked him down from beyond the grave?

That’s something only the two of them know. Scott doesn’t tell me everything.

-What a perfect ending! I absolutely love that Scott gave Tom’s widow his medal. That is exactly the type of person Scott is.

I also love that while Scott shared so much with Virgil, there are still some things he keeps private.

What a wonderful story this was, Quiller! I’ve read it several times since it was first posted for the challenge and I’ve enjoyed it every time. It just gets better with each reading, despite knowing what the outcome will be. That’s the mark of a truly great story! Thank you so much for sharing this with us!
McHammy chapter 1 . 11/14/2009
Oh spooky! What a great little tale, ideal for Halloween.

Well done.
ejb chapter 1 . 11/13/2009
Nice sort of 'Twilight Zone' story that I like. Good twist at the end and using Virgil to tell the tale showed the close bond between him and Scott to a maximum.

Well done for a really spooky read.
Ms Hobgoblin chapter 1 . 11/13/2009
Hi quiller!

I loved this story. You had me from the first paragraph. Good old Virgil, and everyone was in character.

Tom was an awesome twist at the end.

More please :)

Hob x
jendarra chapter 1 . 11/13/2009
Absolutely fantastic. What a great story, I totally believe that it was Tom that got Scott back.

More like this please.
Mirvena chapter 1 . 11/12/2009
This is my favourite Quiller offering to date, I think! I'm not always a supernatural fan, but I like the fact that this had multiple possible explanations. Scott opts to believe his friend talked him down, and who's to say otherwise? And I love the idea that Virgil just has to sit there and Scott cracks; he knows him so well! Nice one, Q.
Shaz1 chapter 1 . 11/12/2009
lovely story! write more like this please :-) xx
mcj chapter 1 . 11/11/2009
Happy 40th story Quiller!

Congratulations. That's a milestone in itself.

I am delighted to see this story posted in a more reader friendly format. It is now so enjoyable for me to read. Thank you :)

I very much like the interaction you display between Virgil and Scott as the story progresses and the final line is just classic. It jolts us all back into the reality that despite their closeness, Scott and Virgil are two completely different individuals. Those words are the glue that makes the story great.

I certainly hope to be around to see you write your 50th story, Quiller. Thank you for sharing your gift with us all.

Yours in writing

sammygirl1963 chapter 1 . 11/11/2009
What an awesome story. And yeah, I totally believe that it was Tom who talked Scotty down...his winman taking care of the pilot!