Long before the shadows cast their cold umbra on the landscape, the ground reverberated with the slow thump-thump of the distant engines beating their death-march into the air. As far-away propellors cut the air to ribbons, birds fled, horses and goats grew uneasy, and dogs hid beneath porches.
The shadow of the fleet blanketed the countryside, darkening rye fields and ponds. The shadows leaped and swam across farm houses and towns like playful dolphins in the bow wave of a tea clipper. Farmers looked up, startled by the slow, almost stately procession of airships in the daytime sky above them.
They were headed for the city.
Gripped by the awe-inspiring sight of the massive, graceful silver angels above, frozen by a lack of understanding, nobody raised the alarm, nobody alerted those in the city. Simple people stood, watching the parade of airships make its slow, steady way toward the bustling metropolis.
Later, as pillars of black smoke taller than Babel rose above the remains of the once vibrant city, the airships returned, a host of beautiful silver angels of death, their work done, returning home.
The cold shadow of death raced across the plains, across rye fields and ponds. Across farm houses and towns. Overhead, propellors cut the air to ribbons, and engines thumped a war-drum beat into the air.
And then the shadow passed. The sound of the engines and the propellers faded to silence. The sun shone again, and birds filled the air with song again. Horses and goats went about the business of horses and goats, and dogs came out from beneath porches.