Standing on the hotel’s flat roof, Ben can see far into the Vermont hills.  Right now he’s looking north where a narrow dirt road winds down an especially steep hill.  A cloud of dust rises into the air as horse-drawn wagons filled with farm families head into town.       Ben shades his eyes from the noon sun with his left hand as he turns to look down into the village square.  It’s the opening day of the 1850 Orange County Fair.  Satisfied with the size of the crowd already gathered, he beckons with his right hand across the roof to a strange figure of a man who appears winged and bird-like.
      The bird-man hesitates for a moment.  He appears uncertain and confused, but slowly he makes his way towards the boy standing at the roof’s edge.       Ben calls to him with a voice both reassuring and tense with excitement. “C’mon, Cal, don’t be afraid. You gotta remember what we’re doing.  It’s for the Professor — we’re doing this to save the Professor.”
      At the mention of the Professor, the bird-man raises his head and peers about him, less uncertain but still wary.
      The sounds of the crowd milling in the town square grow louder as more people arrive.  It makes Ben eager to put into motion the plan hatched only days before to save the Professor.  He calls again to the bird-man, who has stopped half-way across the roof.
      “Don’t be scared!  Remember, you always wanted to fly!”
      At the mention of flying, Cal raises his arms.  His attached “wings” flutter in the light breeze that blows across the rooftop.
      When Ben sees this, he reminds Cal of the serious reason they are standing three stories above the town on the biggest day of the year:  “You know the Professor saved you, now you gotta save him.”
      Cal nods his head slightly but doesn’t speak in reply.
      “C’mere,” Ben says.  He motions one last time, “Come over to the edge here where you’re gonna jump.”
      Cal carefully crosses the roof to Ben.  Together they lean out and peer below.
      “Look at all those people, Cal!  They’re all here for the County Fair.  They don’t know it yet, but they’re gonna see you fly!”
      Ben grins widely at Cal, whose face seems empty of thought or feeling.
      Suddenly Cal’s eyes light up.  It’s as if everything Ben has been saying finally has taken shape in his mind.
      Ben notices and relief spreads across his own face.  “Okay. I’m gonna hook you up to this wire like I told you.  See how it runs across the square to the new train station?”
      Their eyes follow the slender black line of the telegraph wire as it drops from the hotel roof.  It stretches diagonally across the square to the new depot along the gleaming train tracks.
      Once more the excitement and chatter of the crowd reaches up to them, causing Ben to fidget with worry.  He scans the crowd below.  His corn-flower blue eyes dart every which way, yet always return to the county jail at the northeast corner of the square.  Ben is looking for the face of his twin sister, Becca, but he can’t find her.
      “Where’s Becca?” Ben fumes, “and why ain’t she ready yet?”
      Silently Cal stares ahead of him, his eyes riveted to the wire.  It’s as if he can see a small piece of the future hanging just out of reach along its slender black thread.  An involuntary shiver rises out of him, causing his wings to rustle.
      When Ben hears the rustling wings, his own anxiety mounts until he says, “Oh, I’m getting nervous.  I just can’t wait any longer!  Let’s go, Cal, start flapping those wings we put on you.”
      Slowly Cal begins to raise his arms up and down in a flying motion, as Ben cups his hands to his mouth like a megaphone and shouts to the unsuspecting crowd below.
      “Hey, everybody!  Look up here!  Look up here! He’s gonna fly!  HE’S GONNA FLY!”

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