Author's note; This is a sequel to my recent Birds of a feather. I am posting it separately as it is not part of the original story, which can be read as a stand-alone. However, you WILL need to have read the original before reading this.
I hardly ever write sequels, but LMC asked so nicely and by the time my Muse and I had had a discussion about why a sequel to this particular story would be impossible she had already given me the idea.
My Muse then insisted I get out of bed, fire up the computer and write it down... at 1am in the morning.
Sometimes I hate my Muse.
Once again, my thanks to ITV as the current copyright holders and Gerry Anderson and his team for the inspiration.
The shrunken figure of the old man lay on the bed, surrounded by his wife, their children and grand-children. The old woman reached for his hand, wrinkled and spotted with age, threading her fingers through his in a long-familiar gesture. Her other hand brushed the wisps of grey hair back from the forehead, away from the once-blue eyes that were now almost closed. No words were spoken; all the good-byes had been said. This was now a time for watching and waiting.
Scott Tracy woke and jumped to his feet, shaking his head. That had been one weird dream. He began to walk, then broke into a jog which in turn became a flat-out run. He couldn't remember the last time he had run like this, just for the sheer thrill of feeling his muscles and joints moving like a well-oiled machine while his feet kicked up dust from the bare, rocky ground.
His pace ate up the miles and he hardly felt out of breath when he reached a line of sandstone cliffs. Laughing to himself, he set his fingers into crevices and began to scale the rock face, giving no thought to the drop below him. His brothers had always teased him about being a 'mother hen' to them, but he was the first to admit that he was not averse to putting himself at risk for the sheer buzz of adrenaline that it gave him.
He reached the top of the cliff and sat down, leaning back against a sun-warmed rock as the view, the reward for his labours, spread out before him. It was now late in the afternoon and over to his left the sun was nearing the horizon, casting long shadows across the desert plain. At the edge of his vision to his right a flash of light caught his eye and he turned to see the sun's rays reflecting off some bright object in the sky. He watched it growing larger as it approached and, as recognition dawned, he scrambled to his feet with a smile of delight wreathing his features.
The mighty bird soared over his head, the sunlight reflecting off its silver body. It turned in the air and dropped to land beside him, giving a small shake to settle the metallic blue wings in place as they folded against its body.
Scott reached up his hand to stroke the shining feathers on its neck. "Hallo, my beautiful girl. It's been a long time."
The bird lowered her head until the hooked red beak was level with his chest and gave him a gentle nudge.
Scott steadied himself, chuckling as he did so. "You want one last flight, huh? For old times sake?"
In response, the creature extended one leg forwards.
Scott stepped onto the proffered claw then vaulted onto the bird's shoulders, burying his hands in the silver plumage. As he took a firm grip, he could feel powerful muscles tense beneath him as the bird prepared for flight.
Then the Thunderbird launched herself away from the ground, carrying her pilot out across the desert sky, towards the setting sun and into legend.