Flash! Friday–Vol 2 – 11

If you’ve followed Flash! Friday for a while, you may have noticed I have a thing for mountains. And water. Having a little trouble explaining the parachutist, though. Wonder what Freud would say??  (Don’t answer that.)

Soaring in gracefully from magical parts unknown is warrior princess/judge Nillu Nasser Stelter accompanied by her gentle Pegasus-style obsession with character development and motivations. Want to know more? Check out her judge page. And you’d best behave; Nillu’s doing a back-to-back stint as judge and will be seen here again next week in her final turn of service. (Sheesh, was that ever fast!!! Look for the new judge panel to be announced the first week of March.)

Winners: Results post Sunday evenings. Noteworthy #SixtySeconds interviews with the previous week’s winner will post Wednesdays.  I (Rebekah) post my own stuff sometimes on Tuesdays or Thursdays “just for fun.” If you want something to eat, I’ve stocked the fridge for you, and no, sadly, I’ve no idea what’s in that plastic tub at the back. A science experiment, maybe?? Ignorance is bliss.  

Your turn!

Word limit150 word story (10-word leeway) based on the photo prompt.

How: Post your story here in the comments. Include your word count (140 – 160 words, exclusive of title) and Twitter handle if you’ve got one. If you’re new, don’t forget to check the contest guidelines.

Deadline11:59pm ET tonight (check the world clock if you need to; Flash! Friday is on Washington, DC time)

Winners: will post Sunday

Prize: The Flash! Friday e-dragon e-badge for your blog/wall, your own winner’s page here at FF, a 60-second interview next Wednesday, and your name flame-written on the Dragon Wall of Fame for posterity. 

***Today’s Dragon’s Bidding (required element to incorporate somewhere in your story; does not need to be the exact word unless instructed to do so, e.g. “include the word ‘błazen'”):

aging

***Today’s Prompt:

Parachutist @ Ft Lewis. Public domain photo.
Parachutist @ Ft Lewis. Public domain photo.
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102 thoughts on “Flash! Friday–Vol 2 – 11

  1. Haven’t done one of these in a while, but here goes….

    The avalanche (160 words without tile)
    @dmcahill

    The snow helps me keep their secrets, blankets them in white for the winter. I hear them talk to each other or their hearts about the beauty I provide, how communing with it brings them peace. But I know better. For peace comes when those wound up souls allow themselves a moment of release. This one chooses to fly down to earth for his. Others before him have found it hiking through my body – they call it a mountain. It’s funny the things they choose not to tell even those they love, for fear of that which cannot be unsaid. But I thank them for the wisdom I’ve gained from listening to the dark and wonderful secrets that colour their hearts. They have kept me company all these years. It has been so silent without her. But the avalanche that took her, my glorious mountain, my better half, robbed us both of a soul with which to grow old.

  2. It Was Worth It

    When he came home with a plan that airborne school would help us get stationed near home, I finally caved. Being fifteen hours away from treasured family, can change any stubborn woman.

    I had hated the idea of my husband jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. Hated it with a passion! That’s why I had always said no. Plus he was no spring chicken anymore. But the moment I saw those tiny specks get zipped out of that open plane, my heart did a one-eighty. I snapped a zillion pictures as someone on the ground yelled over and over in a megaphone, “Bend your knees and roll.” I watched in awe as it only took them a short minute to float to the ground.

    Finally, I spotted my husband running up with his gear in his arms and a twinkle in his eye. I smiled. “That was pretty cool, wasn’t it?”

    “Hooahh! And I get to do it again.”

    160 words
    @MeganBesing

    • I like the excitement you’ve built into the husband. He seems like a little boy again and I feel certain that’s what your character is seeing. You’ve captured the mixed emotions very well!

  3. A Big Jump
    At a hundred and twenty-two years young, Malcolm Potts had one birthday wish. It was ridiculous, and impossible and wonderful. It was even affordable. His grandchildren and great- grandchildren made good money, damn it, even if his own fortune was spent. What did he have to lose but the one thing that no longer mattered?
    There was such a thing as outliving your dreams. Malcolm had climbed Mount Everest at thirty. At fifty, he solo sailed around the world. He had traveled the globe with his second and third wives. He and his fourth wife settled on the beach in the dream house he’d always wanted.
    All that was left on his list was a parachute jump. His friend Bob had died a hundred years ago when a chute failed, but it was time to let that go.
    Then his granddaughter Eva surprised him by arranging everything. If only death could be this fun.

    154 words

  4. The Long Step

    Pablo knew his time had come, at last. In truth it had come years before, but nobody had wanted to take his hand and lead him to the mountain.

    Nobody wanted to say goodbye.

    But his wife had been gone so long that only the oldest children remembered her. The sickness had eaten her, and she’d chosen to take the Long Step early.

    Pablo had no dependents now.

    And so, one morning, he took his silent leave. He dressed simply, bringing only his stick. He slowly climbed the mountain road, savouring the air and the sky and the birdsong, the tang of sore muscles, the thump-thumping of his old heart.

    Finally, he reached the end. The Long Step beckoned, out into eternity.

    One final breath, and then…

    Peace enfolded him, like a closing eye.

    Surprised, the women at the mountain’s foot ran to catch the floating baby, newly reborn.
    ‘Who was due to Step today?’ they asked, but nobody knew.

    160 words
    @SJOHart

  5. Nerd Gets Girl
    (160 words)
    Crazy and restless and beautiful she was. Even back in High School, in stuffy old classrooms with musty old books, she seemed drenched in the scents of outdoors. Thank God she fell in love with me despite Shakespeare, and Chess, and History Club. Thank God an ageing Miss Fairweather always had a strict seating plan and too few text books. I happily leaned in at an angle that made my arm go numb and my nose run to share the same pages as her.

    Back then, she saw how tangled and clumsy I was and spoke first. She didn’t know how pretty she was which was a good thing for me and unfathomable to the guys who usually got the girl.

    Thank God, later, when she called me ‘Brains’ and sent me postcards from her adventures, I found the words. Words that brought me here in Historical re-enactment gear to wait for my crazy, beautiful bride to parachute in.

  6. “The Reason Why”
    Casey Rose Frank @caseycaserose
    159 Words

    For the briefest of moments, a few beats of breath alone, he is neither here nor there. He is about to be. He is about to be behind enemy lines, about to be in immediate danger, about to be running as soon as he hits the ground.
    There is no moment of time that he is not on the mission to save a member of his team but as his body races to once again meet it’s proper place on the earth, under dangerous terms, he wants to remember why.
    Inhale. Large brown eyes. Wisps of brown hair that have become unruly curls. A once gummy smile that now showed a few teeth. Exhale.
    Inhale. A son. His son. A life he has only seen in pictures and read about in letters. Exhale.
    Inhale. He fights, he plummets, he misses watching his son grow up, but it is for his son. For his future.
    Exhale.
    Enough. Time to land.

  7. Down to earth

    ***

    Falling fast, deafening wind hurting my ears; I fall through the cloud layer before tugging the pull-string and the parachute cloth unfurls and the cords become taught and…

    …silence except for the snap of silk overhead. I pull the chords on my right and the patchwork quilt of the landscape spins till I’m facing my target, two miles from the facility.

    Slowing down, wind begins howling then roaring again as I glide down to the forest clearing. I pull my legs up and land perfectly, landing with a gentle bump.

    I pull my goggles up and reel the parachute in, fold it and pack it away carefully. Pull my rifle out, eject the magazine, check it’s full, slot it back in. Haul the rucksack onto my shoulders, begin jogging.

    It’s only then that I notice a familiar dull pain in my knee, feel my leg clicking in and out of my hip.

    Maybe I’m getting too old for this shit.

    ***

    @theimaginator20

    160 words

  8. Wow, this looks like great fun! Here’s my go (107 words):

    Wild

    “Pete, will you let me see?”
    “He’s nearly landed.”
    “Let me see.”
    “He’s down,” Pete said, lowering the binoculars. “A mile south. Maybe less.”
    “Where do you think he came from?” Millie said, straining to scan the spread of pines below the cabin where the parachute had crumpled out of sight.
    “There’s smoke over there,” Pete said, pointing. “I reckon a plane went down.”
    “Wow. How long has it been?”
    “Must be nearly three years since that hiker.”
    “And he was bloody stringy. No meat whatsoever.”
    “Don’t worry, this guy’s army or something. They build them big.” Pete smiled at his wife. “Shall we go greet him?”

  9. The Contract
    @vbholmes
    160 words

    I feel Tommy Tomato’s foot push against my sacroiliac as I exit his WWII flyin’ coffin. I pull the dingle-dangle and open the umbrella that’s gonna stop me from mixin’ it up with the terra firma that’s comin’ up fast.
    I’m Sammy the Gat, hit man for hire. I’ve had some past contracts that’ve fast-forwarded my aging process, but this one’s a lollapalooza. First, I gotta hope I ain’t been seen by Shoeless Solly or his men. Then I gotta get into Solly’s compound, find the A-lister, pop ’im and take a quick powder.
    I ain’t no dumbo, I got a plan–so long as Belinda Beauvais don’t chicken out and leave me high and dry in the Alps.
    The one carrot I didn’t put inta the pot is this unexpected bozo with the ack-ack standin’ under me. Kablooie. The bodacious Belinda levels him with one shot and I’m on my way to collectin’ a cool half-mil from the mob.

  10. The Mission
    Dan Radmacher @radmacher
    160 words

    The last thing you expected when you volunteered to stick your mind in a machine was how alive you would feel.

    Your real body, abused for decades in service to your nation, has seen better days. But this machine they put you in, it makes you feel like you’re 18 and invulnerable again.

    As you parachute down into the snow-covered mountains of Afghanistan to take out another enemy, what’s surprising is not how alive you feel, but how human.

    You feel a heart beating in your chest and your pulse pounding in your ears. The adrenaline flows and you have to steady yourself just like you always had to before a big op.

    They wanted you for your training and experience. And you gladly volunteered.

    What you didn’t understand until now was that the hardest part of this mission would be the end, when you had to leave this and return to the aging husk you used to call you.

  11. The Romantic
    (158 words)

    The sycamore pod that Art threw from his pick-up flatbed spun lazily in the air. Mirroring the hypnotic descent of the parachutists dropping out of the sky. Art lay back, watching the skydivers attempting to defy gravity, sipping away at his bottle of whiskey, toasting each one in turn.

    He was glad to see them. Harbinger Point, a remote locale, of dead trees and panoramic views had been Lara’s favourite place. They had even begun their courting here, back in the day when people used such words. If she was here now she’d be demanding to parachute, yet there had been obstacles to most of her dreams, be it money, time or Art himself.

    Yet here he was, without her, two weeks since she had passed. Art took another slug of whiskey, this time with a handful of pills. He retched, holding it down, forcing another cocktail down.

    Before long he was free falling back to her.

    @imageronin

    • It must have been hard to think of himself as the barrier to her dreams, but she obviously loved him to give up those dreams for him.

  12. Erin McCabe
    @disturbiakiss
    160 Words

    This is a judge entry put forward for reading pleasure only.

    Tender Peak

    For centuries every day has been the same; the sun rises and ignites me, I sparkle, as if made from millions of constituent parts, but in truth I am one and alone.
    Animals graze under my shadow and drink from pure waters trickling down my ridged body. Over the ages I have witnessed their numbers swell, observing them at play and in death throws, yet never have they noticed me, for I am merely mountain.
    Today was different, today I saw a large animal floating inexplicably on the breeze, bigger than any bird, it looked right at me, arms outstretched, eyes wide with expectation.
    My old heart ached as it plummeted and landed hard in a crumpled heap. For hours it barely moved, predators were emerging and I did not wish to sense its terror or see its inquisitive beauty torn. I shook and shuddered to protect it; I only hope it knew my avalanche was both death and love.

  13. Body of Truth
    Margaret Locke (@Margaret_Locke / margaretlocke.com)
    158 words

    These bones aren’t what they used to be.

    I used to long for them to melt, to lighten, to give me the physique of a dancer, rather than the water buffalo to which my classmates likened me.

    I used to wish they would disintegrate, disappear, rendering me invisible, hiding me from the anxiety of adulthood and making it on my own.

    I used to pray, when the kids were young and the needs were high, that I could jettison this body somewhere else, anywhere else, so that I could just be me again.

    Yet these bones have traveled continents. This body has loved and been loved, water buffalo or not. This flesh has covered me in times of sorrow and times of joy.

    I am my own parachute now. I am my own safety net. I know myself, bone-deep.

    These bones aren’t what they used to be. They are stronger. Wiser. Better.

    And for that I give thanks.

  14. A Jump into the Unknown
    by A J Walker

    Denis was being punished by the buffeting wind, but was still marveling at the snowy mountains to the north, as he plummeted earthwards towards the dark carpet of spruce. He couldn’t remember ever feeling so exhilarated throughout his long life.

    John’s parachute far beneath him was approaching the clearing and he could see Stephen over to the right, who’s chute had opened a little earlier. He was becoming increasingly focussed on the pack on his back.

    Out of the corner of his eye he could see the plane circling back, with the other three club members no doubt getting ready to jump. Steve and John’s parachutes had opened safely, and Denis was nervously ready to pull his cord with all the possibilities going through his mind.

    The first jump of the Octogenarian Russian Roulette Club was as exciting as it got. He felt young again as he made a silent prayer, crossed his fingers, then tugged hard on the cord.

    (160 words)
    @zevonesque

  15. Beautiful Up Here
    160 words
    @Donnellanjacki

    It’s beautiful up here!

    I can see a flurry of snowballs, over there, and I even hear the laughter as our snowman’s head topples off!

    And although the sun is really quite dazzling, I can still see that icy patch, where my marriage cracked and failed, and there’s the steep, drifted path that I trudged, for so long after.

    My children are as everywhere as sunbeams! Sliding gleefully down slopes, or -there!- gliding expertly down pistes. Except…

    There is something strange about being at altitude. People seem to go missing, up where the air is thin and the sunlight almost unbearably bright. It feels frightening, to be among the clouds. To be upon the earth, yet somehow not upon the earth…

    But look, some kindly strangers have appeared. They smile, and call me ‘mom’, and make sure I’m sitting comfortably; that I’m secure.

    And I smile too, and soon, my feet don’t even touch the ground!

    It’s beautiful up here!

  16. “What Aging Does”
    Kristen Falso-Capaldi
    160 Words
    @kristenafc

    My grandfather once parachuted from a burning plane, now he watches TV and grumbles at the president.

    My sister is in high school; she rolls her eyes and scowls at everyone.

    That’s what aging does.

    Next week I will be eleven.

    It’s August. I get up early and run barefoot across the wet lawn.

    That’s what being 10 means.

    We go to Dawson’s Bakery to order my birthday cake. My mother is all excited, do I want pink frosting or white?

    I shrug, “Don’t care.”

    “I swear, you are so ornery – just like your sister.”

    How could she say that to me?

    “Hey, Cassy.” It’s Derreck Dawson from school. “Want a free cupcake?”

    “No, thanks,” I say, but he’s already handing me a pretty one with a daisy on it.

    “Cute boy,” my mother whispers.

    I scowl at her, then look down, careful not to drop the cupcake.

    “I want white frosting,” I say. She smiles.

    I roll my eyes.

  17. Doctrine Be Damned

    Conventional special operations doctrine held doing a covert insertion was best done under cover of darkness. The preferred method a HALO (High Altitude Low Opening) drop. Such a method greatly decreased the odds of the delivery aircraft being detected as well as providing the paratrooper maximum opportunity to select a secure landing site. So much for conventional doctrine, Zed mused as he bailed out of the door.

    When he’d been tapped for this mission, the briefing had made it clear there was no time for delay. The eco-terrorists at the logging camp had no interest in negotiating their demands. They could and would shed blood if their demands were not met by the deadline.

    Thus, Zed would be deploying in broad daylight with no backup…no on-ground assets. His mission? Exterminate the threat with extreme prejudice and free the hostages.

    Spiraling in for his landing, he allowed himself a wry chuckle. Yeah, he was definitely getting too old for this stuff.

    160 words @klingorengi

  18. Nothing to be Afraid of
    147 words
    @WendyStrain

    Everyone I know is jumping out of airplanes to prove they aren’t as old as their birthday says they are. It’s the new thing.

    Me?

    Don’t need to. Jumped out of an airplane once. It was to prove I could overcome a fear of falling. Didn’t hurt that the plane was falling anyway. It was either fall with a chute or fall with a hunk of useless metal.

    Worked though. Haven’t been afraid of falling since.

    Aging. Now that’s something different. Haven’t ever tried that before. A few more hairs are gray this morning, a few more aches climbing out of bed. I hear the horror stories, breaking an ankle on the way down the stairs, children who never call anymore.

    Here I am, just beginning the fall, criticizing those who are already close to the ground. Maybe there’s something left to be afraid of after all.

  19. Andy Smart (@strohsandy)
    Edmund Hillary Never Did This (160 words)
    For Matt, Reaching sixty years old was like climbing a mountain carrying a backpack full of cinder blocks. First his knees had gone bad. Then his back. His right shoulder, then his left. But he’d made it: the first male in his family to live past fifty-eight. He’d summited his personal Everest. But now what? Everything below him—his kids, his wife, his car, his job—was getting old, too. Nothing, and no one, took the luster of the sun like they used to. And, though now a conquering explorer, Matt had to go back down to them. Remembering the last sixty years was like staring down the trail he’d just come up. How long he’d walked, how cold he’d been, the spots he’d camped. He couldn’t do it again, in reverse, just to reach the ground. But he couldn’t stay at the top. Instead, Matt quietly stepped off the mountain, pulled his parachute, and let the jet stream work.

  20. Bored Reckless.
    150 words
    @rfmaraz38

    John watched his bored-at-seventy-three wife fall gracefully from the plane. The chute opened. She wasn’t bored with him or their marriage; she simply craved excitement.

    Always the same with Jody. Always John holding his breath until it was over and everything mundane again.

    Jody reckless in grammar school where they first met and John fell in love with her. Numerous reckless incidents in high school and college.

    On their honeymoon Jody tackled a bank robber sprinting to his car. His gun went off and creased her forehead. The scar was her badge of honor.

    At forty she bought a motorcycle and raced it. At fifty an avalanche missed her by yards as she skied.

    Other incidents, all risky, some would say life threatening.

    But she had promised. After this jump, no more excitement. She would embrace boredom.

    John watched and held his breath as the chute collapsed and Jody plummeted.

  21. (First time trying a piece of Flash! I hope this counts as a story…)

    National Dragon Reserves had a strict no-magic policy. This was more to protect people than the dragon. Air-dropping was not a dignified way to deploy a Park Patrol Wizard but it was clever considering Alexandria’s target, Hector, was also a Wizard.

    Alexandria drifted through the crisp, alpine air, and her worst fears came to life. The area shook with the roar of the dragon.

    The idiot had cast another spell!

    Alexandria was still dozens of feet up but she cut herself free anyway. When she landed a blazenly dressed man bowled her over before she could recover. Hector stopped long enough to cast a spell on Alexandria’s feet, but her knife made short work of the trap. Alexandria didn’t waste time on magic when she caught up to Hector. Instead kicked his knee out and kept running with a smug grin.

    When all was said and done, a wizard was only as good as their hundred yard dash.

  22. The Final Mission

    The parachute blossomed open, he swore as every muscle and bone in his body jerked painfully. The ground rushed closer. his bent knees absorbed the impact of landing. He jogged off to rendezvous with his partner. “Aging is hell Kid.” He grunted out in greeting. “Don’t ever let anyone tell you different.”

    “No problem Pops.”

    “Let’s get that arrogant s.o.b. who thinks that money can protect him.”

    “Target 10 o’clock.” Bang! The sniper fired his rifle. “Eat lead and die m.f.!”

    “Target terminated.” The spotter said.
    “A good day’s work KId.”

    “Thanks Pops.”

    “I’m retiring today Kid.”

    “You’re too young Pops!”

    “I’m pushing forty Kid, to old for a Drop Commando. We knew the rules when we signed up. I want you to do it.”

    “All right Pops.” Tearfully the youth raised his rifle to his partner’s head and pulled the trigger.

    157 Words karnemily@yahoo.com @EmilyKarn1

  23. Seconds Like Hours

    @SVBookman (159 Words)

    Carolyn ran like the wind, trying to reach the Elementary where her new family was and where the alarm bell had just been sounded. Seconds passed like hours as she pushed herself to move even faster. She felt the wind rush over her face and hair and remembered it had felt just that ecstatic and breathless the one time she skydived and her cord had refused to come out for a few precious seconds. Now, it was Sheila and the four girls who could be suffering at the hands of the night crawlers. Carolyn aged.

    She realized it was only mid-afternoon. If it was them, why were they out in the daylight? Then, a horrible thought struck her: what if they were dying from the intense cold of winter and had become restless or even panicked? What if they had abandoned their old ways because of starvation?

    She rushed even harder, her breath losing the battle to keep up.

  24. Life Time

    I am as tall as the trees and as old as the mountains. I know you; I rule you; I am you.

    You fight me, deny me, and long for my passing. There are days when I have treacle-trickled through grief and darkness and then, when you stop to greet me, I am gone in a blink of your expectant eye. You long to turn me; travel to unravel the mistakes you made.

    I am father, mother, sister and brother. The family smile, the face of each child. Your grandfather’s wit, your daughter’s full lips. I kiss you, caress you, then cause you such stress that you cuss and you pace ’til I’m etched on your face forever.

    Let me be. Let me sail through this world at my own momentum; soaring over the tree-tops, exhilarated by the rapier wind.

    Stop. Look at the view.

    Take your time.

    150 words
    @_sarahmiles_

  25. The Chosen

    The ancient trees reached up prickly arms to the blue white sky, waiting. Above them, icy peaks of jagged stone towered, watching. The air was chill. Darcy’s breath hung in the air as she floated downwards. The parachute was old; patches held its aging cloth together, just barely. Memories filled her mind, of watching others make this journey. This year, she was the Chosen.

    Only eighteen years of life seemed unfair, but so was famine and drought. She reached into the pocket of her trousers and tied the bright scarlet ribbon to the strings so they could find the discarded ‘chute when the time came, then her silver knife sliced through the stings one by one, until she hurtled toward the hungry ground unfettered.

    The rain began in the village and crops began to flourish as Darcy’s life seeped into the soil that joined with the Otherlands.

    159 words {not including title}
    @Angelique_Rider

  26. Second Jump (156 Words)

    He’d made this jump before. Then the night had lit up with anti-aircraft fire, and he stood in the plane with Jack and William waiting for the light to turn from red to green. Only boys they had been, their hearts slamming against their chests, their bodies so pumped with adrenaline that they barely felt the cold air. And when the door opened they stomped in unison, terrified yet exhilarated. Ready for battle. Uncomprehending.

    Now all that is past: the blood and horror, Jack’s fast grin and bright blue eyes, William’s soft voice when he spoke of his family, his home. There is just wind and sky, forest and mountains.

    He feels only the sway of his body beneath his canopy as he descends effortlessly. Frosted mountains surround him as the verdant earth grows closer, and he sees now what he couldn’t then. There is no glory in war. There is only the futility of death.

  27. Second Chance

    The voyage had not gone well. Dark matter interference had caused severe turbulence near the Pillars of Creation nebula. In the few nanoseconds of lost gravity, Hope had died.
    Joshua and the commanders had debated for the rest of the long journey. They wanted to return to the remains of Earth to find a female. Heartbroken, he wanted to continue.
    Some three hundred ships, each with a fertile couple, had been sent out to earth-like worlds. Once settled, the supply ships would make rounds, assisting and ultimately reporting the most habitable. The human race would thrive again, with lessons learned too late.
    When at last they arrived at their destination of Terradise, the planet was even more pristine and beautiful than they had thought possible. Joshua chose to jump. Even if the supply ship never came, he would grow old alone on the vast untouched world, making it his memorial and tribute to Hope.
    @auraburrows
    154 words

  28. With Bloody Feet On Hallowed Ground
    160 words

    The icy wind nipped at Joshua’s skin, clawing its way beneath the layers of protective clothing that he wore but he barely noticed it.

    Even from his vantage point he could feel the forest’s hunger rising up to greet him like a wave and Joshua clung tighter to the chords that kept his parachute secure.

    All he needed to do was make it to the other side of the woods and he could find aid for his friends.

    At first it had seemed so easy but after Matthew then Isaac vanished into the trees, they’d learned that there was more to this place than met the eye.

    For Joshua, it was worse. He could feel the hunger, the soul deep craving, that oozed from the trees and it called to him.

    But the villagers said the trees were aging…slowing.

    Joshua wasn’t sure if that was a good thing because age brought wisdom and cunning.

    Below his feet, the trees waited.

  29. Sky Fall
    147 words
    @TinmanDoesBadly

    Bond had been sent on this mission with just two days to go to retirement which, as any cop in any film could have told him, made him practically a walking gravestone.

    So it’s no surprise that as he parachuted in over the Alps he was held up by the thermals, and so overshot Blofeld’s secret base and plummeted instead into a dense forest.

    He hit a tree with all the force of Wile E Coyote hitting a canyon floor, then pinballed from branch to branch, each one slapping his face like some beautiful spy that he had slept once with and then left.

    Luckily his plunge was halted just five feet from the ground, and he swung gently, like a Christmas bauble poked by an enraptured child.

    The elderly Bond had dressed warmly, lest he catch his death, and was being held up by the thermals.

  30. Aging Gracefully
    By: Allison K. Garcia
    159 words

    I don’t pretend to be young. You’ll never catch me getting plastic surgery. I earned every wrinkle and stretch mark and laugh line. Attempting to erase the past is a never-ending, futile battle. No one can escape time. It is ever-present, ever-pressing.

    I don’t desire to escape time. I embrace it.

    Every moment, I live to the fullest. Knowing it could be my last, I breathe in the air around me. I take the day moment by moment. I feel the wind whipping through my greying hair, I notice the way my joints creak as I twist and turn, I stop and stare at the clouds, , the trees, the stars.

    I enjoy every sunrise and every sunset. I listen to the song of the birds, of the crickets, of the leaves.

    In every lifetime there is good and there is bad, times of struggles and times of joy.

    Focus on life, embrace the moment, and you will see.

  31. It’s All Done With Computers Now

    I threw Ronald Reagan off a cliff once. God-awful president, but that boy could really take a punch. Eastwood too; we fought right through the Seventies and he always remembered my name, a true gentleman. Reynolds though, well, the less said about him the better.

    Stuntman’s a dying trade nowadays. Why throw yourself out of an airplane when they can hire a bunch of pixel pushers to make it look like you’re freefalling? My grandsons are up on all that business, but I don’t like it. There’s no weight to the bodies when they drop, bouncing round like cartoons. I tried to show them how to take a real fall, but I cracked my hip and had to use a cane for months.

    Now the youngest one, she‘s a real little daredevil, flinging herself off the porch like that. Her Mom went blue when she heard, but it was okay.

    Wasn’t like I’d set myself on fire again or anything.

    160 words
    @Karl_A_Russell

  32. As the Ground Approaches
    (160)

    You’re flying, floating, falling. Scary, exhilarating, forever suspended in mid-air.

    It’s so easy to ignore the approaching ground as the wind plucks at your clothes, buoying you up while nature shows off its splendor. The mountain changes from vibrant green, to oranges, yellows and reds, to a cover of white snow as you reach the bottom.

    Parachutes soon open in an attempt to slow the inevitable.

    Admittedly, the reckless angle themselves into power dives, refusing to pull the cord on the ‘chute, careening into the mountain, oblivious of the color changes.

    The unlucky fall as cords snap through external forces, causing them to land sooner than expected, robbing them of the view.

    Most manage to catch an errant current and glide slowly and gently to the ground with nary a bump, enjoying the change of seasons nature provides.

    Regardless of how fast or slow, cautious or reckless, the mountain steadfastly cycles through the seasons as we head for the ground.

  33. Destinations

    Tom’s childhood had been dream-filled; flight featured. Parachutes, wings, air-borne transport. Adulthood fulfilled in the form of The Programme. He sanctioned his departure decision by virtue of its merits – not just for him; for his family’s fulfilment. The amalgamation of new values with old.

    The money spoke volumes; had bought their future. Small print bypassed, signature on the dotted line, take off before processing, consolidation or fitting together of facts. There had been time enough for thought once the ground lay at distance – sole speck, form and focus of Tom’s concentration. Destination homeward bound, if wishes were ships. Current location, somewhere space, coordinates unknown.

    Tom’s eventual return brought him back to earth, family oriented, service debt paid. Awareness grew upon him slowly; inexorably. The realisation time had turned without him. Landscape desolate, deserted, they were departed; markers in their stead. Sole sign of Tom’s payment rendered.

    Tom wished for wings strong enough to bear him homeward. One last destination. Always.

    @FallIntoFiction

    160 words

  34. The Way Back

    Five more days.

    Ashton had spent decades studying. When he’d finally finished his calculations, his heart had stilled with hope he’d barely dared to feel. He’d checked and checked again, and then he’d started gathering supplies.

    Tired, blistered hands pulled the mound of silk he’d painstakingly stitched together closer. All he had to add were the ropes he’d woven together. Then it would be time to climb.

    He was haunted by his last jump, floating over pristine peaks of snow, caressed by golden light. He saw it in his dreams, and in his nightmares. He’d been young and for those precious moments, finally at peace, safely suspended by a sky-borne jellyfish over unparalleled beauty.

    Until a force he’d given his life to understand had ripped him from that harmony.

    Five more days until the anniversary of that interrupted jump, a hundred years from now and thirty years ago.

    Five more days, and his only chance.

    Ashton had to be ready.

    (160 words; @AriaGlazki)

  35. Slipping the Surly Bonds

    Once I was the raw recruit on his first jump; then, I was the instructor, the guy everyone had to impress. Eventually, the officers used me to shame the timid ones into jumping.

    “If that gray-hair can do it, why can’t you?”

    Then, the time came for my last jump. I wasn’t spry enough anymore to climb into the aircraft, a big dent in the armor of my pride, but this was too important. I let the younger guys lift me inside.

    That quiet time before the jump is the best. The aircraft vibrates like monks chanting a mantra. In my thousands of jumps, everything went exactly as planned. This time would be no different.

    Floating now, I eye that mountain, the soft bed of its snow. A good place to rest these old bones forever.

    My hand finds the quick-release, and I fall unfettered now, arms wide, into that embrace.

    @Unspywriter (Maggie Duncan)
    153 words

  36. Spirit of The Ancient One

    The drab chute collapsed as the soldier found ground. The spectral warrior of the Nisqually watched from the trees, a venerable sentry among ancient sentinels. He had seen so many. Uniforms marching through time and across his ancestral home. The Cowichan in their scalp headdresses came from the north, British Shakos arrived by sea and the round eyes in Chasseurs crossed the mountains. Now they dropped from the sky. The bird soldier bundled away his wing and mounted an iron pony sent to fetch him. The spirit warrior continued his watch and remember the way it was before the invaders.

    High above the spirit of the mountain looked down. It saw the man of flesh zoom away. It watched the spirit man keeping vigil. It had seen so many. Flesh beasts who pretend to rule rock, giant cephalopods, the mighty mastodons, invasive men, they came and went. The mountain alone remembered the way it was before the invaders.

    158 Words
    @ToddStrader

  37. Leap of Faith

    As I grew up, I would aggravate my mom, saying, I don’t believe in God. It made her cry. I joined the army at 18, and her letters promised to keep praying for me.

    From there I went to jump school. The instructor was a Christian, at least I think he was. He kept describing the equipment in Christian terms. The chute was salvation, the lines up to the chute were prayers, and the pull cord was repentance. That sort of thing.

    On our first jump I hesitated. “What’s the matter son? Lost your faith?”

    “I don’t believe in God, sir!”

    “Let me teach you faith, boy.”

    I felt a shove and then I was airborne. Repentance grabbed a hold of me, I looked up at salvation and used prayer to control my descent.

    It seemed silly before my life depended on it, but now it made sense. It was time for me to write my mom an apology.

    159 words
    @CharlesWShort http://www.christianflashweekly.wordpress.com

  38. Conversation on a Cessna
    (159 words)

    “Time,” explained Bill as he inspected his military surplus chute, “is relative.” Einstein proved that time slows down for a moving observer, relative to a stationary one. A skydiver hits one-twenty miles per hour in free-fall before his chute opens. When he lands, he’ll have aged slightly less than his friends on the ground.”

    “Is that why you skydive?” I shouted over the propeller roar. “So you don’t age as fast?”

    Bill waved his wrinkled hand dismissively. “A few femtoseconds don’t matter to me.” He threw open the door. “This does.”

    I peered out open door, past the high-wing of our aircraft. Deep green conifer forest carpeted the ground below. A lone majestic peak, sunlight glistening off her snowy surface, held back the alpine skies. Bill the treasure-hunter and I saw this world as only the birds usually do.

    “Magical, isn’t it? Keeps you young and alive!”

    He leapt. I followed. One way or another, we’ll never grow old.

  39. High Maintenance

    The titillation of spending a romantic getaway in the mountains had vanished a second after the wing caught on fire.
    “I can’t believe you suckered me into that old rickety plane!”
    George had claimed to be one of Colorado’s best pilots.
    “I said I was sorry.”
    “Tell that to the plane. Oh wait, you can’t. Because it exploded! Along with my Louis Vuitton luggage!”
    I heard his sigh from fifteen feet away.
    The amount of anti-aging cream I needed after this would be astronomical but that thought quickly evaporated the moment I looked past my Jimmy Choos.
    “George! We’re gonna get impaled by a tree!”
    “Don’t worry. We’ll figure something out.”
    I opened my mouth to tell him that this would be our last date when the image of being trapped in a tree as he walked away flashed through my mind.
    “Georgey, I’m scared!” I reached both hands out to him. “Please baby, don’t let me die!”

    158 words
    @CaitlinStatus

  40. An Evening at the Coffee Shop
    (159 words)

    I pushed through the coffee shop’s door and needed my shoulder to shut it. The storm wanted to come in too.

    The smiling employees must’ve thought, “This guy, again…”

    A girl at the counter asked how my skydiving adventure was. I said, “Exhilarating,” and carried off a steaming mug before she could ask, hadn’t it been canceled due to weather?

    Yes. The universe doesn’t want anyone being impulsive.

    It’s discouraging to notice the regulars dressed the same, and more when I realize I’m no different. It’s discouraging to recall that Fitzgerald story where he said a person only has one thing to say.

    A spotlighted stage commands this dim room. Open mic night. Twenty-somethings, channeling some yesteryear bohemian spirit, perform their bits. It’s easy to imagine their parents having done these, and that within a year they’ll abandon them for real jobs.

    Fighting on, I brainstorm a bit for next week’s open mic, a monologue entitled “Zucchinis Play Pinochle.”

  41. Please note this one is just for fun, I missed the deadline this week as I was otherwise engaged in the spectator sport of watching my daughter being born! This one is dedicated to my beautiful wife Lauren and our new bundle of joy Neve 🙂

    My Parachute

    I stand at the precipice, staring into the great unknown. When the journey began all those months ago it didn’t look so high, but now we’ve reached the summit it feels like a long way down to solid ground. There’s no way to know when we will jump, only the certainty that we will. Despite all the preparation, when the moment comes it still feels sudden. There is a push, some screaming, and then we tumble. The horizon spins, there is nothing to grasp, no point to orient ourselves, just momentum to move us along. The descent feels like it will last for eternity, that we will grow old in free fall, that a hard landing is inevitable.

    Then I remember I have you. You are my lifeline, my saviour, my parachute. With you I can find stability, land safely, hit the ground running. Wherever the wind takes us, you will guide me. With you I can float, forever safe.

    160 words
    @todayschapter

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