I stood and watched as Jetblade (yeah, that was what I named my drone) sat on the recently mowed lawn at the backyard of our home. The backyard had an expanse of space for a full-length football field with trees that surrounded it, and I used it to practice how to fly the drone when I was first gifted the drone by uncle Jud on my 10th birthday.
Then, I was a bit of an amateur in flying a drone, and it would collide with trees or get entangled with their leaves and branches, leaving it with one or more broken blades to fix. Sometimes, it was the battery or the panel that got the hit and later be fixed.
But now, I had practiced how to fly the thing and had become pretty good at it. For the last few months, I hadn’t crashed it or had it collide with any object. The feeling I got while flying the drone was exhilarating. Uncle Jud knew I had a passion for planes and seeing myself as a pilot and flying different passengers on board to different states, countries, and continents was something I had ever wanted.
On that day when I turned 10, he had brought the drone home sealed in a big carton which was wrapped with a foil and had it given to me by himself with the whisper in my ears, “Make us proud.” I had wondered what could be inside the big carton and when it was time to unwrap my gifts, the carton was the first. The drone came with a handwritten note which read thus: prove to me that you could fly this thing and I might make you a pilot…
That was the only motivation I needed to be good at it. I wanted to let him know that I loved to fly a plane; I wanted to let him know that I loved to be a pilot— an excellent one—and the hunger was there. I wanted him to believe in me. But that wasn’t all that was contained in the note, …I will give you just a few months to practice how to fly it, let’s say six months, and I will be back to watch you fly it, and if I am impressed, I’m funding your pilot school.
But two months after my birthday, before the six months mark, I had perfected the art of flying the drone and couldn’t wait to fly it before him. I was so obsessed with the drone and the promise he made to me if I impressed him that I dreamed of flying a real plane every night when I sleep, and I would wake up filled with adrenaline to be better than I was yesterday.
I had called on him when the sixth month reached to witness me fly the drone before him, and by God, I knew that with what I have learned and practiced so far, he would be lying to himself if he wasn’t impressed.
I dragged a lungful of the late afternoon air and put on my special effects goggles on. The remote controller of the drone was clasped in my hands, steady. Dad and mom were standing in the verandah watching me and ready to see me do what I had been doing before them; what I do best. Uncle Jud was standing with me on the lawn, feet slightly parted, and hands on his back like a teacher supervising his students during an exam or a quiz.
“Sure you are ready for this, kid?” he enquired, “I mean I could still give you some time if you aren’t.”
I smiled with contempt. “I’ve never been surer in my little life, Uncle.”
He ruffled my hair with his big palm and said, “Okay, kid, show me what you got.”
He smiled and walked off the lawn and joined my parents. I powered Jetblade, It responded and droned on. I allowed it to drone for a few seconds, calming my nerves while it, knowing that any slight mistake—which wouldn’t be happening because I had practiced for six months—would cost me a lot.
“Let’s get this done!” I huffed and pressed the button for it to levitate.
It did, and while it lifted off the ground, I let it gain height while I watched via my goggles. It reached a certain height and was satisfied and ready to fly. I pushed the button forward and watched as Jetblade lurched forward while I beamed. I was sure my parents were smiling, too.
I flew Jetblade in style around the backyard and even performed some stunts in the air to impress uncle Jud further. I wasn’t concerned with knowing if he were smiling like I knew my parents would, all I was after was to impress him.
I tilted the remote and made the Jetblade fly towards where they were. It was then I saw his face, and I couldn’t seem to understand if he was impressed or not. He looked indifferent and was casting a studious stare at the drone which seemed like he was directly looking at me.
Then I willed Jetblade to fly higher into the sky and while at it, I did some stunts; it twisted sideways (right and left) and flipped backward and forwards and then I controlled it to stable on the air, but before it could stabilize, Jetblade was knocked off.
I gained stability almost immediately, and just then I realized what had hit Jetblade; it was a hawk. I could see its feral glare on Jetblade now with its peak ready to strike. It flew towards Jetblade with full rage. I tilted Jetblade to the side, it missed by an inch, but one of the blades on Jeblade cut through its feathers. It infuriated the hawk because when the hawk returned, it had one thing in mind; to destroy.
I controlled Jeblade to tilt to the right, but it was too late, the hawk had gone for the camera, and I was left blind, what happened next was oblivious to me, I only heard clawing sounds on metals, a crashing sound, and silence.
“Noooo!” I shrieked and pulled the goggles and turned to where uncle Jud was, but he had gone—literally unimpressed—I bawled, my parents wept.