kite came to a halt only a few feet away.
not understand how the kite could fly in the night winds, but he didn't
care, for the kite's tail was now dangling tantalizingly in front of
him. He leapt and found a fistful of silk. He whooped in triumph as the
tail lashed itself around his forearm like a striking whip.
died as the kite began to drag him, powered by the irresistible force of
the night winds, onto the crest.
screamed Oliver over the roar of the winds. Bits of leaf and twig
blistered his cheeks. He dug in his heels and fought back, knocked from
one side to another as the winds beat at him. He pulled as hard as he
could. But with the night winds powering the kite, Oliver couldn't win.
winds tearing at him, he struggled up the crest, expecting at any moment
to be hurled away. But no matter how ferociously the winds blew, the
kite held firm, pulling him higher. He passed the jumping marker, hardly
noticing it. His mind was filled with cautionary tales told to
Windblowne's children, stories of how the night winds could take a piece
of straw and drive it into the trunk of an oak tree like an arrow--or
into the body of a foolish child who defied the night winds.
had nearly reached the peak, dragging Oliver just behind. He felt nearly
at the end of his strength. The kite loomed over him. The two moons
instant, the night winds slackened, just enough for Oliver to gather
himself for one last pull.
winds blasted back in all their fury. The tail snapped taut and pain
tore through Oliver's shoulder. The kite shot into the sky, and Oliver
went with it.
flooded him. He had never learned to kite jump, and yet he was, leaping
out from the crest, legs kicking. Already he was too high to let go of
the kite, even if he could. His only chance was to hang on and attempt a
and Oliver rose rapidly, the barren ground racing below. Oliver saw
moonlight glinting off the granite marker.
though replaced the terror: I'm going to come close to the record.
Now he was
flying faster, still rising.
going to BREAK the record!
granite marker sped by in a blur. Oliver would have yelled in triumph if
certain death had not been seconds away. He was hurtling straight toward
the oaks, a hundred feet off the ground. The kite continued to rise. The
oaks came near, then passed beneath them, the tips of their highest
branches brushed Oliver's legs.
down, he saw the treehouses of Windblowne, now far below, and a light
escaping through the trees where someone, woken by the winds, moved
restlessly, unable to sleep.
passed upward into a chilling mist, and Oliver could see no more.