Excerpt from Lost Angel, continued...

      The cabin heater blew gas fumes into the cockpit, which made Kane regret the bacon and eggs he’d had for breakfast, but didn’t raise the sub-Arctic temperature. Kane was wearing high-tech boots, insulated coveralls and a wool cap and he was still cold. He had a fat, Air-Force-surplus 50-below parka behind his seat, but there was no way he could put it on in the tiny cabin. Unless he shoved the pilot out of the airplane first.           
      The airplane banged its way through another set of air pockets, lurched sideways, then dropped like it was falling off a table, straightening out again with a jolt that set off a cacophony of shrieks and rattles. Kane’s forefinger stroked the scar that ran from the corner of his left eye to his chin. I’m accumulating quite a collection of nervous habits, he thought.           
      “That’s some scar,” the pilot said. “How’d you get it?”           
      Kane gave the pilot a look that made the younger man shrink back in his seat.            “Cut myself shaving,” he said.           
      “Hey, I didn’t mean nothing,” the pilot said.           
      “Just fly the plane,” Kane said.           
      He used the edge of a gloved hand to scrape at the frost on the small window in the passenger’s door. The washed-out winter landscape below was white, with streaks and patches of brown or gray.           
      Looking at so much empty space made Kane feel light-headed. I got used to small spaces inside, he thought.           
      To the right, he could see a flat, snowy, meandering, bluff-lined track that he took to be the Copper River. A little farther along, a smaller river angled away to the left.            “That the Jordan?” he asked, pointing.           
      “Yeah,” the pilot said sullenly.           
      The pilot slouched in his seat, one hand on the yoke, like a kid cruising a low-rider down a boulevard. He had sharp features dotted with acne scars and long, curly blond hair that needed washing. He was wearing a leather jacket over a Slayer T-shirt, jeans and cowboy boots. He seemed not to notice the cold.           
      The plane gave a series of sharp shudders. Kane cursed and gripped the sides of his seat with both hands.           
      “Easy, Pops,” the pilot called. “You’ll give yourself a heart attack.”           
      Here’s a guy who doesn’t stay down for long, Kane thought. I could strangle the little snot, but who’d fly the plane?           
      The bouncing continued for another 10 minutes, then Kane began to see clumps of lights: a small patch on one side of the Jordan River, a small patch on the other and, farther along and higher up, a blaze of bright, industrial lighting.           
      That would be the Pitchfork mine, Kane thought.           
      Even though it was not quite noon, the winter day was dark enough to make the lights stand out sharply. Kane knew that the Glenn Highway ran through one of the groups of lights, but he couldn’t make it out in the dim light.           
      “Almost there,” the pilot said, sitting up and putting the small plane into a steep bank.           
      Three sharp gusts of wind tried to stand the airplane on its head, but the pilot got it around, around again and lined up with an unlighted runway that had been carved out of the snow. He floated the little plane down and bounced it to a stop next to a Chevy Suburban that was idling at the side of the strip.           
      “Rejoice, you’re in Rejoice,” the pilot said, killing the engine. 

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