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Falling from 12,000 Feet

Categories: Creative Writing Prompts Tags: creative writing exercises, creative writing prompts, writing prompt.

You’ve signed up to go tandem skydiving for the first time. On the plane, your instructor says he isn’t feeling well, but jumps with you anyway. When you jump, he passes out. Write this scene and the stream of conscious thoughts as you fall towards the earth.

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

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84 Responses to Falling from 12,000 Feet

  1. Jessica Chan says:

    I focused on breathing. On expanding my lungs with air. On slowing my racing pulse. I tried to focus. But the endless belts and buckles strapped to me kept me grounded, confined within the sounds of my drumming heart. The tightness of the harness was almost unbearable, but I found consolation in the fact that I was soon going to be flying.
    “Ready?” The tandem instructor approached me. Lean and tall, with dark curls and prominent cheekbones that framed his young face, he couldn’t have been more than 25.
    I eyed the clip in his hand that would combine our two bodies to form one entity whilst falling and nodded mutely.
    I turned my attention to the window of the Cessna 182, ignoring his spew of tales. A vast blueness surrounded us, bronze shadows cast over the clouds, the city a world away from us. I softly tapped the thick pane of glass that encased me within the hub of tin and metal. It was cold. Like the air had crystalized around us.
    A sharp clicking noise diverted my attention back to my instructor. Poised neatly against my hip, his deft fingers attached the final clasp. We were ready.
    The door opened with a swish, proudly presenting me with a loud roar the wonders of the untainted world. I awkwardly shuffled to the door, adrenaline pumping through me, my scalp slick under the helmet.
    “Ready?” my instructor shouted over the scream of the wind.
    I gave him a thumbs up.
    “Alright, 3,2,1.”
    Then we were falling. In one single step, I walked off into the abyss, my scream stuck in my throat, hands flailing, teeth gritted, careening, and plummeting towards the earth. My stomach was engulfed by my chest as I tumbled through the thick mass of white nothingness, seeing nothing, but feeling everything. Pain, fear, exhilaration.
    And then we broke through the fog of mist and left the land of the unknown. I saw the clear blue sky. I saw the tiny pricks of forests below me. I saw the expanse of sand and dirt unfold before me. I felt so free. So liberated. I savored the wind beating hard against my chest, I relished the sting of the icy air that entered my body as I gasped for oxygen.
    Suddenly, he went limp. I felt his head roll onto mine and I twisted my head to observe the nightmare that had taken over my dream. He had gone unconscious, legs flying out behind us blowing in the wind like clothes on a line. His grip on me had slackened and his arm bobbed up and down gently like a ship in the ocean.
    It was done.
    Almost over.
    I turned my face back to the ground, ready to embrace the last moments of my pitiful existence.
    I could feel something in my jean pocket biting into my skin.
    The vial.
    Tears sprung to my eyes as a sudden wave of remorse overcame me.
    “You killed a man.”
    It was necessary.
    “For your own selfish purposes.”
    No one would miss him.
    “He probably had a family. A family that cared for him and loved him.”
    Mine didn’t.
    “You deserve to die”
    That’s what I’m about to do isn’t it?
    I recalled the scene only a few hours ago where I had carefully poured the entire contents of the poison into my instructors drinking flask. Gauging the time it would take for it to finally disrupt his nervous system and shut down his heart. Watching him drink from the bottle.
    “And you didn’t stop him.”
    I’m being punished accordingly am I not?
    I continued my descent into hell, the ground charging towards me with new speeds. I could make out individual trees now.
    My hair had come loose from the helmet. Whipping and slashing at my face.
    I let out a scream.
    I couldn’t stop screaming.
    My voice echoed for miles around the canyon.
    Surely someone would hear.
    Surely someone would find the mangled ruins of my body on the ground.
    And maybe I would have a funeral.
    With people crying, and flowers. I’d like that.
    To be noticed.
    It was close now, the end. Months of planning had come to this. I was going to finally be free of the torture I suffered in my worthless life here on the planet people called a miracle.
    Almost over.
    The branches swept up to meet me, gliding gracefully to welcome me into oblivion.
    Almost over.
    I closed my eyes.
    Almost ov-

  2. bunk12bear says:

    The thing about the fear of falling is that it really isn’t falling you should be afraid of, not really. It was the hitting the ground part that did the real damage. However right now, hurtling towards the ground at terminal velocity, philosophy is the last thing on my mind. At this point I have two options either attempt to deploy the parachute and risk killing both myself and and my unconscious instructor or do nothing and hit the ground splattering like a bug on a highway windshield. I grab the cord close my eyes and pull, hard.

    Nothing,

    fuck.

    the ground is dangerously close now and I hear the blood rushing through my veins mixed in with the wind. I resist the urge to scream and pull the cord again. This time the chute opens up with crushing force and my speed drops drastically along with my sense of panic but I still refuse to open my eyes. Moments later I hit the ground, hard, I hear a snap accompanied by a intense pain in my leg and I finally allow my eyes to flutter open. I lie there dully and a paramedics come to detangle me from the life-saving contraption. I hardly them loading my instructor onto an ambulance and beginning to tend to me. By the time my mind clears up and time catches up with me I am lying on a stretcher next to the instructor. Suddlely something prompts me to try siting up. Bad idea, a nurse in pale pink scrubs forces me back gently and puts a mask over my face. Whatever I am breathing in makes me begin to nod off thankful for the rest knowing the amount of questions what will greet me as so as I wake up. That’s later, right now I simply fall asleep more thankful that I have ever been to be alive.

  3. Amyithist says:

    At first, I think this is some sick joke. I fully expect the instructor to pop back to life and tell me that he’s only kidding and not to panic, but it doesn’t happen. The roar of the engine fades to a sputtering gurgle as I propel towards the earth, the limp, heavy body shoving me further and further toward the green and brown squares below.
    Terrified, I pull at the parachute and pray that it opens. But it doesn’t. Another ripple of fear spears through my core and I feel the urge to lose it pressing at me, threatening to tear me away from my sanity then and there. I take a deep breath and try not to panic. That’s the worst thing you can do, right? Panic…
    I suck in another mouthful of air, but the high altitude makes it hard to get a real breath in. My head is buzzing with a combination of complete fear and lack of oxygen. Don’t pass out, I command myself. This isn’t the time!
    I’m nearing 1,000 feet above the earth now. What once looked like little dots were now becoming distinct objects. Cars zooming along the freeway, a tractor ambling through a golden wheat field, cows grazing in a pasture that looks as if it’s straight below me. I imagine how terrified the cows will be when my instructor and I come streaking through the sky and plow into their quiet little world and for just a moment I find myself hysterical with laughter.
    Everything they told me during the safety class has disintegrated in my mind. The only thing I can do is try not to pass out myself as we gain speed. I quickly realize we’re in free fall. I can’t fight off the panic stabbing into my chest as I fall further and further toward the ground.
    Just when I think all is lost, a miraculous thing happens. The sound is startling. I imagine that someone has set off fireworks and its exploded close by, but that thought quickly dissipates. Immediately following the sound, a force presses against my belly and yanks me back up into the sky. I gasp and grab at the chest strap; as if it’s going to save me somehow. I tilt my head and a feeling of complete relief floods through me. The parachute has deployed!
    I strain to see if my instructor has come to but his head is still tucked, telling me he’s not coherent. I struggled to remember the instructions during the class. Tuck and roll…don’t lock the knees… I go through the bumbling memory over and over until the ground glides up to meet me. My landing is anything but graceful. I nearly belly flop into the sea of green and I can hear the startled cows galloping in various directions. Pain sears through me. I think I hear a snap but if I’ve been injured, I can’t tell at this moment. My adrenaline is pumping. A few moments later, the second instructor and his student is racing toward me, yanking the instructor off of my back. I struggle to turn over and I scream as another stab of pain tears through my side. “Lay still,” the instructor commands. “Help is on the way.”
    “The-the parachute deployed on its own,” I stammer.
    The instructor nods. “It was the AAD. Automatic Activation Device. The computer chip detected that you were too low without deploying the parachute, so it sent a signal to deploy the chute. It’s an emergency back up for situations like these.”
    I watch in a new horror as the instructor begins to perform CPR on the lifeless instructor. “Is he…alive?”
    “Barely,” the instructor replied shortly. “I think he’s had a heart attack. I’m not sure. I’ve called 9-1-1. Help will be here soon.”
    I lay back against the ground, thankful to feel the tickle of the cool spring grass beneath my body. I just had to tempt fate…I had to test those void, black waters that line the shores of life. Tears fell down the side of my face and dripped into my wind tossed hair. I closed my eyes and waited as the wail of the sirens got closer and closer and closer….

  4. witweaver says:

    SKYFALL

    The gush of wind feels like death. They say your life flashes before your eyes when you die. Mine is speeding past to heaven at more than 10000 frames per second. I can hear my mother’s agonized cries; see my girl-friend’s tearful eyes. But they all dash past before I can ponder upon them.

    Panic. Fear. Adrenaline. Oh, what a rush! My heart pounds like that of a deer who knows he’ll be a meal any second. Regret. My emotional and physical beings are together in this free fall. Momentary euphoria. It feels like a crash course of an eventful life. Experience everything. Relish nothing. The only feeling that doesn’t linger even for a vestige of a second is denial. I am going to die…if I do nothing.

    It’s time to act. The idiotic instructor has fainted or at least that’s the best I can hope for him. Somebody who has done this all his life is highly unlikely to die of the sudden rush. I might have if I hadn’t been in this struggle for my dear life. I’m not so scared of dying. I am more scared of that last moment of hitting the ground with a smack and being pounded to a mass of scattered flesh, bones and blood. The thought induces the feeling I hate above all, nausea. But being above all in mid air, I see the beauty of a fast approaching end – little things like pissing in your pants and vomiting from 10000 feet in the sky don’t really matter.

    Crap! I’m going to die. I have been struggling to open this goddamn parachute for a 30 second long eternity. More thoughts have crossed my mind than they do in 30 days of mind numbing work in the office. Optimism. If only I had paid more attention to the instructor before he had fainted. A cocktail of thoughts make my brain dizzy. I finally succeed in opening the parachute! Relief. But steering it is no child’s play either. There has been no semblance of balance during the last 90 seconds – that’s what I thought until now. We have slowed down a bit, but it’s meaningless because the ground is still rushing up towards us with the intent of a mad killer. And things are not getting any better with us spinning in random directions. I pull the left cord and it feels like a little more would have toppled us in the air itself. The experience of having corrected zero-errors in the physics lab all my academic life finally comes to my rescue. Or that’s what I wish to believe.Desperation. I quickly apologize to the Gods above and more importantly, the Gods below for my sinful ways. Humility. I pull both the cords hard and close my eyes tightly. Amen. Black.

    I wake up with distorted vision and see a white room with white walls. I am lying on a white bedsheet, when a man with a white beard, wearing white clothes, approaches me and asks me with a gentle baritone, “How do you feel my child?”

    Unable to speak, I wonder if I’m in heaven or in a hospital and slip back into sleep.

  5. michaeltngo says:

    Oh no! This fool of an instructor is going to cost me my life just because he underestimated his illness. Why must this happen to me? Why must I die such a stupid death? I knew going through this was a bad idea. I can’t believe I followed Marvin in doing this. At least he’ll live through this with his instructor not being a careless sick person. My friend Marvin will tell the tale of how he convinced his friend Michael to end his life by jumping out a plane. Oh, what does matter to complain now. I can’t believe it’s all going to end. I’m going to miss my whole family. My parents, sister, and cousins will all be gone without a goodbye. So this is what it feels like to be on the brink of death. Right now it doesn’t seem like sadness and regret, but free will of thought and gratitude of being able to live a life.

  6. writingghost says:

    Flying has always fascinated me. Even as a child airplane rides excited me more than the destination we were going to. So during a vacation in Spain, I was completely enraptured when I saw this big open field with a carpet of lush green grass,and people flying down from planes with multicolour parachutes trailing behind them.
    Skydiving! It was The thing for me. After basic training and signing some waiver forms I was finally in the small plane strapped on to the bench with my instructor James sitting opposite me,smiling and looking calm . As this was my first rodeo we were going to do tandem skydiving.
    The plane began climbing and at 10000 feet the ground could be seen only through the cracks in the veil of soft clouds,the people little larger than specks and the vast mountains of the Pyrenees range like a unsurpassable wall of black foreboding. We were to jump at 12000 feet and as the altimeter hit 11500 feet we got ready and climbed out of seats and started towards the edge. 
    James had lost some of his calm and looked uncomfortable in his neoprene suit.”are you okay mate?”I shouted across the sound of running motors and blowing wind to my instructor. He gave me a queasy thumbs up and we proceeded to the to the edge. 
    The altimeter hit the sweet spot and with a shot of adrenaline I jumped out. James followed suit and joined me midair. I was terrified and exhilarated all at the same time. The air rushing through my hair,the boundless freedom in my whole body coupled with the the breathtaking natural beauty all around me which I could see with a birds eye view was a thousand times better than any other high I had ever gotten.I was lost in the experience when I looked around to James with childlike glee,pointing towards the magnificent lake glistening in the sun and I saw his limp lifeless body floating in midair.In a blinding flash I recognised that my instructor had passed out! 
    The dream had turned into a phantasm. My hands and feet started trembling and I peered at the altimeter.To my horror I realised only 4000 feet remained between me and the hard ground that was growing bigger and bigger with each second.
    Nervous fear gripped me and was shooting down my body like lightning bolts. I was paralysed with fear,unable to comprehend what was happening to me. My stomach was doing summersaults and it felt like I was about to get sick. Trying in vain to stifle my soundless screams I got hold of my unconscious instructors hand and pulled him closer to me. The cold hard ground was nearing me and the screeching wind grew stronger in my mind. It seemed to envelope us. It was time to pull our cords and release the parachutes. I scrambled to get a hold of James’ cord on his backpack and pulled both cords simultaneously. We hit he brakes and suddenly slowed down. It felt like I had travelled through time and avoided a big disaster . From then on I held tightly to James’ hand trying to pull him closer into our original position. My fingers were white knuckled and my heart was throbbing wildly. Down below I saw crews of Support staff trying to make out what was happening. We soon landed and I felt many pairs of hands grasping at our suits and unbuckling us . The loud sirens of an ambulance were nearing. The paramedics arrived and soon I was partly hidden in swathes of blankets while the officials tried to understand what had happened 12000 feet above in the air I couldn’t think clearly and all they got was a few jumbled phrases out of me. This has been quite far the biggest misadventure of my life.

  7. johnd54 says:

    Adventure sports. That’s what I believed I was getting, a nice gliding free-fall, a few snapshots at the end and me with my arm around the brawny instructor like we were old wrestling buds, posed with a thumbs up. I would tell adoring females at a ski lodge one night over goblets of wine, how I laughed death in the face one summer day skydiving.
    A tandem jump requires full participation of the instructor – this one was named Big Jim – who looked like one of those hairy-backed fellows who might give spandex a bad name. Also there was a faint detection of alcohol on old Jim’s breath which I had convinced myself was simply projecting on my part: All manifestation of the neophyte skydiver. He seemd to have his facts straight on the way up to our ultimate altimeter hight, 13,000 feet.
    I could not get out of my mind, a story my dad told me about a training video which bombadier pilots were instructed to see during World War Two. A paratrooper had forgotten the particulars of a training jump over a field in Idaho. He had panicked and when they discovered him hanging from a tree limb, the part of his flight jacket just opposite the rip cord had been torn to shreds, in the soldiers panic to pull the rip cord, his fingers grabbed the wrong side. Dad had later found his rip cord no problem, but landed on the only rock in the field.
    Big Jim confessed to a queasy stomach and lightheadedness about the last hundred feet, but said it was “probably nothing.” It did nothing for my confidence, but motivated me to all of the safety procedures that one could possibly attend to when jumping. One thing they tell us beginning jumpers is that thinking about jumping and the moment that door finally opens are two very different matters. I tumbled out into the air, rushing against my head with a force like a typhoon wind and even with goggles the land seems to be more fiction than fact. It was as if you would never get there. I began to relax a little and yelled,”This is awesome,” to Big Jim, who seemed heavier than I imagined, and wasn’t there supposed to be some telltale tap on the helmet from Jim to let me know we were a success? Jims legs seemd to be flopping like socks on a clothesline. We went sideways a spun around and I knew then that the farm field below would soon come into sight like a bleak tidal wave. There was nothing left to do but stare, and take in the view of my last fall on earth.

  8. Socktastic says:

    I’m going to die.

    This is it. I lived an entire 20 years, accomplished absolutely nothing, and now I’m just going to die. Fan-freaking-tastic. I should have listened to my brother when he said, “The plane is working perfectly fine. What sane person would want to jump out of a perfectly good airplane?”

    I commented back to him that he could hardly call me sane, as I clicked “purchase” on the website for tandem skydiving lessons.

    So here I am, free-falling to my death because my idiot instructor decided to slam his head against the floor of plane on our way out. Seriously. How does an instructor with 30 years skydiving experience manage to slam his head against the floor that hard on a jump?

    Did I mention I’m about to die?

    The ground is rushing up to me, and I plummet ever closer as two lovers would after days and weeks apart. Come to me, Earth. Allow me to embrace you!

    Hahaha that would be almost poetic if I WASN’T ABOUT TO DIE.

    I wish I could think something beautiful. Write a eulogy. Come up with witty last words. Tell my family I love them. Remember how to deploy the god damed chute myself.

    But honestly, the only thing I’m thinking is:

    I’mgoingtodieI’mgoingtodieI’mgoingtodieI’mgoingtodieI’mgoingtodieI’mgoingtodieI’mgoingtodieI’mgoingtodieI’mgoingtodieI’mgoingtodieI’mgoingtodieI’mgoingtodieI’mgoingtodieI’mgoingtodieI’mgoingtodieI’mgoingtodieI’mgoingtodieI’mgoingtodieahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

    And here comes the grou—

  9. Farnsley says:

    My boyfriend was the one that convinced me to go Skydiving. He knew that I was afraid of heights, but I don’t know why I agreed to do it. My boyfriend told me that I we would go and do it on my 24th birthday, 4 days away.
    4 days later, we were at the place to go Skydiving. As we walked in I told him that I was worried, when a voice came from behind us. “Nothing to be worried about, how can I help you guys today?”
    My boyfriend did all the talking, I was too nervous to even tell him that I loved him. They went through the basics of skydiving. Put the gear on us, and walked us out to the airplane to take us 12,000 feet up. As we climbed into the airplane, I got a weird feeling from the look on my instructors face. He looked green, like he didn’t feel good.
    It took a few uncomfortable ear popping minutes to reach 12,000. When we finally got to the top, the instructor walked over to me and attached our bodies together. Even with an expert, I still had a bad feeling. He still looked green, but now, it was worse. “You ready?” He asked me. I nodded, he opened the airplane door, and jumped out.
    I could feel the air in the hair, and the adrenaline rushing through my body. We were only a few feet in when I felt my instructor’s body go limp. My instructor had passed out 2 second into the dive. I thought to myself, “Did I tell my boyfriend that I loved him?” “When was the last time I said that to my mother?” “When was the last time that I had seen her?” My whole life was flashing before my eyes. I didn’t know what to do at this point. I tried to let out a scream, but nothing came out.
    I couldn’t make a sound, not even a little squeak. The instructor hadn’t moved, and earth was getting closer and closer. As I replayed all the happiest moments in my life, I started to cry. I didn’t want to die this way. I wasn’t ready yet. I didn’t want to leave my boyfriend all alone out there in the world.
    As I saw earth move closer and closer I tried to reach up for the parachute string, but I couldn’t find it. I didn’t know where it was. I tried to scream again, and finally, something came out. As I screamed louder and louder, my boyfriend’s instructor heard me. He swooped down, pulled the string, and made sure that we all made is safely down to earth.
    We landed on the ground, and I instantly ran to my boyfriend. I was happy that I made it and didn’t die. I was happy that I was still around for him, and in that moment, I realized what was important in life.

  10. LauraNobel says:

    Oh man I knew this was a bad idea, I should never have agreed to take my brother’s place as a skydiving instructor! I mean sure I had gone a few times, but I had never been the one in charge, the one who was going to pay the price if anything went wrong! If something did go wrong I seriously did not have the money to have someone sue me, I still needed to pay off my mortgage for Pete’s sake!
    The more I tried to forget about all the things that could go wrong in the next hour and a half, the more the bad case scenarios jumped out at me. Five minutes before we were supposed to jump I was a ball of nervous energy, my hands were sweating, I felt like I was dying of thirst, and my stomach was so tight I could hardly breathe. As I began to take deep breathes, the person sitting next to me in the cramped aircraft, the person I was supposed to be giving lessons to, asked me if I was ok, I gave a little shake of my head, and continued my breathing exercises. The man looked doubtful, but turned away from me to look out the dirt smudged window.
    Before I was ready it was time to do the jump. With shaking fingers, I fumbled my part of the tandem parachute on and helped my “student” into his. Calming myself, I slowly began to count down in my head. When I ran out of numbers, I launched myself into the air, as if in slow motion I saw a bird sail past, and the clouds part to reveal the ground hurtling towards us. My head began to whir, and the ground got fuzzier and fuzzier, before it all went black.

  11. thatkidwhowrites says:

    The sound of the engine along with the strong Spanish accent made listening to her instructor virtually impossible. For all she knew, he could’ve said he was about to pass out and she wouldn’t have known. Now that she thinks about it, he did look a little queasy, as his face began to turn turquoise. She looked out the plane and all she could see was a kingdom of puffy clouds sheltering her view of earth. That didn’t make her feel any better. She could barely breathe either – at 12,000 feet up in the air, she feared her childhood asthma was returning to take her life. Her legs jiggled back and forth with her knees clunking caps every 3 shakes. She took one last look at the bucket list in her left hand and looked back at her husband who was scheduled to take the leap after her. She gave him a quick peck on the lips and grabbed her instructor’s hand tight like a little girl who didn’t want to leave mom on her first day of school. Her instructor looked at her and made various gesticulations with his hand but she was so numb with fear she missed everything. At last he nodded, and in one swift moment he leaped, pulling her into the abyss with him. She let out a blistering shriek that was drowned out by the lasso of wind that whipped her across the face. She felt the jar of butterflies tip over and crack within her stomach – she was falling. Her arms were extended straight out and connected to the hands of her instructor. Her legs were spread wide like she was showing someone how to do their first belly flop. She looked down and quickly shot her eyes back up as the image of falling to the ground was too much for her to grasp. She squinted through the fierce wind at her instructor who was floating opposite her like a hippo sleeping in a pool. She felt his grip on her hands getting looser and looser as they approached earth. She noticed his eyes were completely shut and she was now holding on desperately to each sweaty thumb on both hands. A page turned in her head and her mind went completely blank. A lion awoke in her stomach and began to roar ferociously – she was going to be sick in mid air. Was this it for her? Was she really going to be the women that died in that ‘freak accident, sky diving?’ She couldn’t believe it. She glanced down below her, and in about 10 seconds – unless the earth shot her back up into the sky – was going to die. She took away her left hand and slapped back and forth begging him to wake up. Tears began to sneak out from her eyelids and plummet, like her to the ground. Suddenly, his eyes shot open and he pulled the parachute out from his bag. She let out a mixture of a sigh and a scream. She would live to see another day. She looked down again and noticed her feet lightly touching the ground. They wobbled together again and she fell back onto the wet grass. She stared straight up into the sky and chuckled. She turned to her instructor who was vomiting ruthlessly onto the ground. She began to laugh hysterically as the cool breeze caressed her face and apologized for the whips from up above. She would live to see another day.

  12. thatkidwhowrites says:

    The sound of the engine along with the strong Spanish accent made listening to her instructor virtually impossible. For all she knew, he could’ve said he was about to pass out and she wouldn’t have known. Now that she thinks about it, he did look a little queasy, as his face began to turn turquoise. She looked out the plane and all she could see was a kingdom of puffy clouds sheltering her view of earth. That didn’t make her feel any better. She could barely breathe either – at 12,000 feet up in the air, she feared her childhood asthma was returning to take her life. Her legs jiggled back and forth with her knees clunking caps every 3 shakes. She took one last look at the bucket list in her left hand and looked back at her husband who was scheduled to take the leap after her. She gave him a quick peck on the lips and grabbed her instructor’s hand tight like a little girl who didn’t want to leave mom on her first day of school. Her instructor looked at her and made various gesticulations with his hand but she was so numb with fear she missed everything. At last he nodded, and in one swift moment he leaped, pulling her into the abyss with him. She let out a blistering shriek that was drowned out by the lasso of wind that whipped her across the face. She felt the jar of butterflies tip over and crack within her stomach – she was falling. Her arms were extended straight out and connected to the hands of her instructor. Her legs were spread wide like she was showing someone how to do their first belly flop. She looked down and quickly shot her eyes back up as the image of falling to the ground was too much for her to grasp. She squinted through the fierce wind at her instructor who was floating opposite her like a hippo sleeping in a pool. She felt his grip on her hands getting looser and looser as they approached earth. She noticed his eyes were completely shut and she was now holding on desperately to each sweaty thumb on both hands. A page turned in her head and her mind went completely blank. A lion awoke in her stomach and began to roar ferociously – she was going to be sick in mid air. Was this it for her? Was she really going to be the women that died in that ‘freak accident, sky diving?’ She couldn’t believe it. She glanced down below her, and in about 10 seconds – unless the earth shot her back up into the sky – was going to die. She took away her left hand and slapped back and forth begging him to wake up. Tears began to sneak out from her eyelids and plummet, like her to the ground. Suddenly, his eyes shot open and he pulled the parachute out from his bag. She let out a mixture of a sigh and a scream. She would live to see another day. She looked down again and noticed her feet lightly touching the ground. They wobbled together again and she fell back onto the wet grass. She stared straight up into the sky and chuckled. She turned to her instructor who was vomiting ruthlessly onto the ground. She began to laugh hysterically as the cool breeze caressed her face and apologized for the whips from up above. She would live to see another day.

    Sorry it’s a little over the 500 word limit, my ending couldn’t have been cut short.

  13. Emma Charles says:

    I always wanted to pretend I was a dare-devil. I always dreamed that I’d enjoy bungee-jumping, base-jumping, or even skydiving, but now, standing at the open doors of Cessna 182, barely grasping the snippets of “I’m not feeling…” and “bad fish tacos” from the instructor, I’m terrified. My legs feel like jelly and my head feels congested and light. I’m a lack of an inhaler away from passing out but as we jump out, my instructor, Rob, beats me to it.
    His nearly constant hand signals have stopped and his arms flop uninhibited by my head.
    “ROB!ROB!” I scream uselessly as he wouldn’t have been able to hear even if he had been conscious. I take in a sharp intake of breath and the force of the wind unexpectedly entering my lungs causes a momentary lapse in focus.
    I reach around to the front of his suit, attempting to grab the small cord that would release the shoot. I’m not at all sure how high or close we are getting to the ground but at this point I could care less when we were supposed to deploy it.
    I yank hard at the cord and we immediately whip back, the motion jarring us into indecisive banks and dips. His meter unclips from his vest and knocks me square in the nose, blinding me more than the swirling scenery. My goggles have fled from my face, my vision blurs, and my eyes water. The wind whistles ever clearer in my vision and the few glimpses of ground I get rush towards us.
    I can see the ground crew down on the field moving like 90’s wind suit green and fuchsia ants, franticly moving up the field to assist us as we come in for an obviously non-regulation landing. As we near the ground, half-a-dozen sets of hands grab for us setting us down as gently as possible and unclipping the suits from each other in an efficient and practiced manner.
    They set Rob down on his back and I can hear emergency personnel approaching loudly. I begin to shake, and the air that so willingly flew into me during the fall seems elusive now. My vision grays and becomes unfocused around the edges. I know this feeling though; I experienced it before, panic. It’s a standard issue panic attack, just like you would read in medical texts.
    I curl in on myself tears streaming down my face and sobbing gasps my only meaning of retrieving air. I can hear someone talking calmly but firmly in my ear telling me to breathe. They bring an oxygen mask which I take with a shaky hand. I can hear Shanna, my best friend and moral support for this adventure, above my other ear, rubbing my back in circles and providing words of comfort.
    Finally I can breathe again and the tears have stopped. I ask the medical professional if they can help me onto my back and I spread out in the over-grown field. The tall stalks of brown grass frame the perfectly blue and picturesque sky from which I have just experienced the most terrifying experience of my life. It’s almost funny, how pretty it is. As if the sky is mocking my one attempt to be the dare-devil I’ve always dreamed I was.
    ____________
    Went a smidge over the word limit. This is my first submission on WD Weekly Writing Prompts. I used to write a lot but it’s been a long while. I’m trying to get back in the habit of writing regularly with the support of a writing community. :)

    • Kerry Charlton says:

      Welcome to the Writer’s Prompts, Emma. This is more fun than a barrel of monkeys. It will get your writing back in the groove, especially reading comments others post on your stories and other stories. Write each prompt as it comes along.

      You’ll be surprised how much anticipation you’ll have waiting for each week’s adventure. There are some “nut cases” writing here including yours truly. Kerry

  14. Marc491 says:

    Within 5 seconds the anxiety is replaced by exhilaration. At 12,000 feet the entire northern shore of Oahu is visible and my instructor Jax promised greater views during the free fall. At 115 mph the only thing you can hear is the whoosh of air blasting past your ears, so hand signals are vital. A simple gesture speaks a thousand words, and after giving photographer Tina a thumbs-up I savored the splendor of flying.

    Some would say I’ve always had a death wish, and while its true that the thrill of adventure always outweighed the fear of danger in my mind, the fact was death scared the Hell out of me – at least it used to. You see, despite eating organic and living a relatively clean life – other than my weed and beer phase in college – I still developed an inoperable tumor. The doctor gave me six months tops, speculating that the cancer was probably caused by years of ridiculous hours working on Wall Street, but the origin is irrelevant.

    Three hours after receiving the diagnosis I held a gun under my chin, but thankfully the clean freak in me despised the idea of splattering my brains all over the wall for someone else to clean. Then something clicked and my mindset changed, I was no longer afraid of death. Finally, after all these years, I could truly let go and live life. That’s when I made my list.

    I landed in Hawaii last Friday and wasted no time getting started. Free-diving with sharks, hiking an active volcano, peering over a 500 foot waterfall, bow-hunting wild boar, surfing Pipeline. Skydiving is only number 16 on the list and wasn’t even supposed to happen until next week’s trip to the Grand Canyon, but yesterday’s nasty wipeout on a 15-foot wave resulted in a dozen stitches, thus limiting my adventures to more civilian activities.

    So here I am, drifting over Paradise. From the corner of my eye I notice Tina franticly waving and pointing. I’m confused. What is she saying? Her impromptu sign language suddenly made sense when I realized Jax is passed-out! I peered at my altimeter – 2,000 feet. Shit! We were scheduled to pull at 2,500! The emerald blue bay was rising quickly, and for a brief moment I considered just letting “it” happen. It’s gotta be better than cancer, plus I hear the Grand Canyon is overrated. Oh well. Then I remember Jax. He’s only 25 and engaged to marry. Dammit, I gotta try! I struggled at first, but relaxed, took a deep breath, reached back and managed to yank the cord.

    The chute barely opened and made for a rather vicious landing that resulted in a broken ankle and some new stitches for me, and a nasty concussion for Jax. We made it, and we’ll both heal. What a rush!

    I can’t wait for my Grand Canyon trip next week, I hear Arizona is beautiful this time of year.

    • Kerry Charlton says:

      A really neat story, Marc. Written precisely and holding the attention of the reader all the way through. Not a wasted word anywhere. A swell read. The Grand Canyon on crutches should solve the cancer problem. Kerry

    • frankd1100 says:

      Well written… The underlying theme is described with authenticity. Adjust, eschew self-pity and feel every second.

  15. douglangille says:

    A liberal interpretation of the prompt and a little over-length. Sorry.

    FREE-FALL
    =========

    Josie pulled the visor down on her heads-up display as she entered the airlock. Her pulse was racing. She felt a trickle of sweat bead down the small of her back under the skin-tight jump suit. Darcy said she looked sexy wearing it, and she had to admit that it was flattering. Of course, he was just flirting with her, trying to take her mind off the suborbital dive.

    She finished her pre-excursion checklist, counted to ten to quiet her mind and pressed the button to initiate the sequence. The lock depressurized in concert with her suit’s inflation. When the exterior hatch slid open, she was momentarily disoriented. What seemed to be in front of her vertically was suddenly below her. She was prone, facing the world below with only a couple of straps holding her in place.

    Darcy was supposed to be going planet-side, not her, but he came down with an old-fashioned stomach flu. He was allergic to the medicine, so the poor fella had to suffer it out old-school, complete with the shakes and a tether to the john.

    He was in her ear now, reviewing the mission plan. Free-fall to the planet, engage her stabilizing thrusters at one-thousand meters and let the computer take control to manage a safe landing. She’d be able to collect the biological material that Captain Harris sent them to retrieve. Darcy would then simply pick her up with the skyhook on the next orbit, about six hours later.

    The acquisition window was tiny. There wouldn’t be another chance for months. This was a one shot play. She knew what was at stake. That was why she was going despite never completing a dive outside simulation. Lives back on the Nautilus were at stake. She nodded grimly to Darcy’s instructions.

    Normally, Josie would have been merciless in her teasing of her shipmate’s misfortune. She delighted in his suffering. It was part of their dance, she supposed. They’d been on their sortie mission for almost two weeks. That long with only one other person for company, trapped in a flying tin can, would either make you love each other, hate each other, or a little bit of both. She laughed at how teenage her behavior had been the last few days. It didn’t matter much. In another two weeks, they’d be back on the Nautilus and to the routine of their daily duties.

    She gave the verbal command to release the clamps and down she went. Josie’s stomach lurched at the suddenness of the motion as the planet’s heavy gravity snagged her like a whip. Her visor’s display counted down the elevation as she descended through the thickening atmosphere. At twenty-five thousand meters, it seemed like it would take forever to greet the surface.

    Darcy talked reassuringly to her through her headset. He told her a joke. Twenty-thousand. He told her she was beautiful. Fifteen-thousand. He told he loved her. Ten-thousand.

    Nothing.

    The communications link broke off. There must have been atmospheric interference. She likely wouldn’t be able to call him back until after she touched down and setup the signaling array. At the moment, she was all alone. She tried not to panic. The visor glowed with the words ‘Signal lost. Retrying…’

    Five-thousand. He said he loved her! How did she feel about that? They were colleagues, but the last couple of weeks had been so perfect. Just two souls passing time together.

    Four-thousand. Argh! She didn’t have a chance to answer him! Josie wondered what he thought. Did he think she hesitated because she didn’t feel the same? She wasn’t even sure how she felt. Why the hell did he have to go and say that?

    Three-thousand. The suit’s computer conked out. Shit. The soupy air must be heavier than the sensor scans reported. Eddies and currents, variable pressures, she theorized. Dammit. They screwed up.

    Josie screamed in her helmet. The oxygen consumption sensor light came on. She didn’t care. She was alone. Without the computer, she’d hit the ground like a stone. There wasn’t time to review the manual controls. She wasn’t even supposed to be on this dive! Darcy would never know! It was silly and impulsive, but she knew in her heart that she loved him back.

    The visor display lit up again. ‘Reinitializing…’ it said. Josie held her breath, ignoring her training to breathe normally. The display flashed once. Twice. Again.

    ‘Ready.’ The altimeter read fifteen-hundred, then fourteen. She readied herself. This was it. Only one shot. Was she even on course? Yes, the targeting sensor said she was still in the slot. Okay.

    At one-thousand meters above the surface, Josie gave the command to start the landing sequence. She collected the samples in short order, then pitched the emergency shelter between two outcrops of rock. With a flip of the switch on the signalling beacon, the waiting began. She could barely contain her excitement at seeing Darcy again. To touch him. To tell him she loved him.

    Josie’s heart soared.

    • Kerry Charlton says:

      Really great story, Doug. Very inventive, extremely imaginative. And a love story thrown in for good measure. Sounded very real and technological. A real heart-pounder. Made my stomach flip-flop with the free fall at 65,000 feet.

    • don potter says:

      I bought into the story, all the way.

    • starwatcher says:

      I liked the love story mixed in. You failed to follow the prompt, but you made it up with the content of the story.

    • smallster21 says:

      I saw the new Star Trek film today, and this kind of reminded me when Captain Kirk and Kahn jumped out of the enterprise to make it to the other ship and if they messed up they’d miss the small, little door and go flying out to space. Lol, but yours is quite different and yes, it is very inventive. I’m all hyped up on Star Trek today, so this was fun to read. I enjoyed it and your descriptions and continuity were great as always :)

  16. Scarly says:

    Tessa barely heard her instructor, Dave; say something about how he wasn’t feeling good. The roaring engine of the plane nearly drowned out his voice. As she realized what he had said as her head leaned back toward him with great concern. Dave felt her jump slightly and he reassured her saying “Hey it’s okay, I’m right here. Let’s do this.” She nodded slowly as he checked and adjusted the gear and straps, “12,000 feet here we come!” The door flew open and the brightness outside blinded her as he pushed forward and their daunting plummet towards the earth began. “Dave!” she shouted against the gusty wind that was blowing hard against her small frame. No response. Her heart sunk past her stomach, she frantically yelled again, “Daaave!” Still no response. Something was very wrong… he wasn’t even moving. Oh my God. He’s passed out she quickly assessed. Damn! Looks like I’m on my own.

    She fished around within the neckline of her suit and pulled out a small thin rod the size of a q-tip, which resembled a pen, and quickly scanned the area around and below her. The air was as clear as a glass of water, no sign of movement on the ground, only a forest of trees and a safe house that sat in the center of the very spacious plot. She held the silver object to her mouth and spoke into it. “Area clear. No targets found. How long do we have?” A male voice responded, “You have approximately 5 five minutes to get in and get out. Over.” Tessa pulled the cord, released the main parachute, landed feet first, and caught the dead weight of Dave by falling to her hands. She quickly rolled on her side and unfastened the equipment, checking her partner over. Someone knocked him out… the pilot. Tessa swiveled around and glanced at the air, no sign of the plane. “Damn our cover is blown, they know we’re here. They slipped Dave something. It was the water bottles from the pilot.” She snarled angrily, Dave you had to mess up didn’t you. She left hers on the plane. She swiftly tore off her suit, rummaged through all of the secret compartments in their gear, and pulled out a few handguns and knives. “Alright I’m going in by myself. Take care of Dave.” Tessa finished pulling him near the safety of a shrub. She tossed the transmitter into the dirt, turned north, and began her trek through the dense forest. The receiver cackled with static, Tessa vanished into the trees. “Cut! That’s a wrap folks! Perfect!” Jamie reappeared through the trees and went to help Tyler up. They laughed and talked about having burritos for lunch. The director joked around saying that they had better bring enough back for the entire crew. Videographers, make-up artists, the producers, and other people on the set scurried around to clean up and get ready for lunch and the next scene.

  17. PhantomRider says:

    The instructor was referred by my cousin Tom, the retired US Army Ranger. The school was run by Jon Mason, another former Ranger. I was assured that Jon was a top-notch instructor and ran one of the safest jump schools in the country. And Tom would be waiting for me on the ground with a bottle of Jameson to celebrate.

    Walking toward the door of the plane, the question that I used to ask Tom popped into my head. Why would any sane individual WANT TO jump from a perfectly fine aircraft? And yet, here I was, living up to a personal challenge to face my fears and try something new.

    As we got to the door, I could feel the wind rushing past the door and the vacuum effect nearly pulling us out the door. Our safety checks were complete. I was securely harnessed to Jon so that all I really had to do was ‘enjoy the ride.’ The only thing left was that final step out the door of the plane.

    I suddenly had two thoughts. First, I should have had the bottle of Jameson here in the plane. Second, the final step was probably going to end up being a gentle shove by Jon.

    We jumped from the plane and I began to feel that rush of adrenaline that accompanies any dangerous act. As we plummeted toward the earth, I started to enjoy the free fall – which was to last only a couple seconds – and understand the attraction of skydiving. Then I got a feeling that there was something wrong.

    “Jon, how long does our fall last?” There was no answer. We were supposed to be able to communicate through the radio headsets in the helmet.

    “JON! JON!” No answer, still. Definitely a problem! What the hell was going on? Why wasn’t he answering? Then I remembered him saying he didn’t feel well, but was okay to jump

    This is going to be the last thing I ever do. I’m going to die. I’m going to watch the earth get closer and closer until I finally just bounce, breaking most every bone in my body and shutting down every organ.

    Then I remembered where the ripcord was located, just in front of Jon’s right hip. All I had to do was reach back and pull. I reached back and kept trying to grab the cord, but it was flailing in the wind. I could feel time running out as easily as I could see the ground getting closer. Finally, I was able to get a grip on the ripcord and pull. The chute opened. I felt the sudden pull upwards and the feel of being a child in a swing.

    I wasn’t completely sure how I was going to steer to a safe landing, but then I heard Jon through the radio headset. “Hey there. Did I miss anything?”

  18. Barouches says:

    I had thought I might have to abort, but as we climbed in altitude tiny beads of sweat were appearing on Tyler’s upper lip. I imagined his scalp under his helmet was probably already becoming slick, and he knew he was in trouble, but the gung-ho bravado that was the norm for sky jumpers wouldn’t allow him to admit that he wasn’t feeling right, and that maybe we should do this another day.
    “Ya ready big guy?” I said slapping him on the back.
    “Yeah, ….yeah.” He said in such an uncertain manner that I was concerned that he might actually attempt to back out.
    “Alright! Let’s get this show on the road! I don’t want to lose my nerve! Let’s do this!”
    Tyler shook his head in affirmation, and I could see he was having trouble standing, but he did, and attached his harness to mine with uncertain, clammy hands. I could feel his weight shift clumsily and could tell he was going down quickly.
    “Hey, listen….” Was all that he had time to say, but we were already attached, and I acted as though I had lost my balance, and launched my full weight at the open doorway. Once we were freefalling any tension I had felt melted away, the rest would be cake. After just a few seconds I checked on my package.
    “Hey, how you doing back there?” No answer. I reached back and pinched him hard in the side. Still no response. Good, the chloral hydrate had kicked in at just the right time. Time to go to work.
    “’Ground’, this is ‘Stork’, package is wrapped up and ready for delivery. Over.”
    “We copy ‘Stork’; base is clear, we are on site waiting for the package. Remember, fragile delivery. Over.”
    “Roger that, ETA is…” I took a moment to calculate, then continued. “…six minutes. Over, and out.”
    I reached around, deployed the chute, and grabbed the steering line and the toggle; it was awkward, but didn’t give me any trouble. I had been a paratrooping and tactical logistics instructor, and could have done loopty-loops in this thing if I had to. However, for Tyler, I had put on quite the performance as Allen Green, a middle aged man trying to recapture his youth by trying skydiving for the first time. Why all the trouble?
    Tyler’s dad, Thor Mansley was a crushing threat to my hire. He was scheduled to testify before a grand jury, and the disappearance of his son might be just the motivation needed to change Mr. Mansley’s mind about that testimony. All I had to do was deliver the package, and get paid. Easy stuff really.
    As I reached the ground I pulled on the toggle and landed so softly it wouldn’t have cracked an egg. From the woods by our landing site emerged the pick-up team. I don’t know who they were, and nor did I care. My part was done. Soon I’d be home cracking open a cold one.

  19. calicocat88 says:

    Maybe the word count should be upped to 1000?? :/

    He wasn’t the first man she had murdered. As soon as Crystal had stepped foot on the plane she felt the waves of anger and hostility rolling off her so-called instructor. He looked nice, attractive with dark hair cropped short around his childlike face. Too bad for him Crystal had been born with the ability to sense people’s emotions. And she was good at it. So good that she wanted to get away from the burden of always knowing what someone was feeling. That was why she decided to go skydiving, make it look like she had accidentally fallen to her death. It was just a lucky break that the instructor, who she was going to have to kill anyway, was sent to murder her.

    Falling out the sky was incredibly peaceful. No feelings, no emotions other than her own. She had managed to detach the instructor’s body from her back and she was now drifting alone, the icy wind beating hard against her body as if it were trying to hold her up in its arms. A part of her—a small part—wished that someone would try to save her. Her mother hadn’t done a very good job of that when she was little. Her mother didn’t save her from her father then. She doubted she would care if her daughter died now.

    Crystal had closed her eyes, letting the images of clouds and Heaven fill her mind when she was distinctly aware of a tiny presence underneath her ribs. The feeling pulsed as it grew, burning throughout her chest.

    “No,” she thought frantically. “Not now. Please.”

    She tore open her eyes. The green patches of earth underneath her were becoming larger and getting dangerously close. Someone was near. She could feel them, feel their panic, their concern, their…

    Something was wrong. Her chest flamed angrily as if someone were jamming a hot poker into her heart. Whoever this person was, they weren’t normal. Not like most people who radiated their feelings in little featherlike touches. This was nothing gentle. It was forceful and hungry.

    As Crystal drew closer to the earth, she could see the wide, green landing field and two people standing beside a large vehicle. It looked like a military Hummer. She fumbled in her pocket for the syringe whose contents she drained into the instructor’s neck. Maybe there would be just a little bit left…

    There was a strong whoosh as she met the height of a four story building, knocking the syringe from her hand. She was so close to the people now that she could see that they were both staring up at her, one had their hands raised.

    Her breath was suddenly knocked out of her lungs as an invisible wall slammed into her face, heaving her body and slowing the impact. However, it didn’t keep her from pounding painfully face-first onto the ground.

    There was a dull thud beside her and she rolled her face to the side to see the instructor staring back at her with his dead hollow eyes. She knew she had killed him, but it didn’t keep her from screaming.

    “Get up,” A pair of strong hands, male, lifted her from the ground. “You’re all right.”

    Crystal stared through the hazy black pain filling her eyes; her chest was a blazing house of terror as she looked from the two men in front of her. Both were tall and thin. The one that had jerked her from the ground had matted brown dreadlocks and seriously bugged out brown eyes. He was radiating some resentment. The other was just a boy, close to Crystal’s age with thick shoulder length blond hair and a really bad attitude.

    “Can you breathe?” the man asked. He smacked Crystal on the cheek. “You’re the girl, right? The one with all the…feelings?” he grimaced. “I’m Emerald Shock. We know what you are and what you can do. So don’t go freaking out. We’re not the ones you need to be afraid of.”

    “I can’t trust you,” Crystal said, and her eyes clicked with the blond boy’s. It was him all the weird feelings were coming from. She didn’t trust him at all. “Leave me alone or you’ll both end up like him,” she nodded over her shoulder to the dead instructor. “I can promise you that.”

    “What you’re going to promise is that you’ll come along with me without screaming,” Emerald Shock said. “I’m not going force you to believe me. Either you come willingly or—“

    “Or you’ll make me?” Crystal said. “What, you think killing me is going to scare me?”

    “Torture might,” he said and his eyes gleamed. “And that’s exactly what they,” he pointed to the instructor, “want with you. It’s what they want all of us for.”

    “Us?” she said.

    “Subliminals,” the boy said. “People born with an unnatural ability to do things with their minds.”

    Something inside Crystal’s mind clicked. “You saved me. You didn’t let me die.” Suddenly a rage took over her and she lunged forward clawing at the boy. He didn’t flinch.

    Shock held her back, laughing. “I wouldn’t do that. If you’re going to mess with any other Subliminal don’t make it that one.”

    “What did you do!” she said. “What are you?”

    “I control things,” The boy said and she thought for a moment his eyes changed color. “That’s all you need to know.”

    Crystal backed out of Shock’s arms but reached out and touched his shoulder. She could feel his heat, his anger, resentment, sadness and loss—she could feel his honestly and his reluctant binding to his destiny. She looked up at him and tucked her hand away. “Where do we go from here?”

    Shock raised an eyebrow. “So the girl with the feelings can think for herself after all,” he exchanged a quick look with the boy. “Are we clear on the terms?”

    “I’ll have her soon,” the boy said. “We’ve been watching her for a while. She doesn’t suspect a thing.” With that he left and drove off in the Hummer.

    “She? You mean me, don’t you?” Crystal said. “Is this the part where you take me to your lair and rape me and then cut my body parts off one by one?”

    Shock didn’t laugh. “That’s exactly what would have happened if your little suicide attempt had been successful. Those men would have used your body anyway. And don’t assume everything is about you. There more of us out there.”

    “Who are ‘they’? They know about us?” Crystal said and for the first time in her life she knew that she was right. This guy, he was like her. There were more like her and he was…okay. She might be okay. She had been being chased for quite a while from those strange men. And this Shock character didn’t seem like the type.

    “They’re the same people who want us all,” he said. “Don’t exist and you should be fine.”

    She narrowed her eyes. “Who was that boy? I couldn’t feel anything from him. His emotions were…difficult to read.”

    “Forget you ever saw him,” Shock said. “As far as today goes, I saved you. Not him. He doesn’t exist. Your old life doesn’t exist. It’s a new start from here on out.”

    “Non-existence,” she said, and caught herself smiling. “I can deal with that.”

    • douglangille says:

      Bahhh! Suicide and guilt?! I can think of far easier ways to “off” myself. Although, this would be extremely effective. Nice way to use the prompt as a wrapper.

    • starwatcher says:

      Great! That’s all I can say. 1000 words? How ’bout a whole book? LOVED IT. At the end I was left with I want more, no, I NEED more. I need to know what happens to Crystal, Shock, and the mysterious boy. Very unique characters with distinct personalities. There was mystery and suspense. It was great.

  20. don potter says:

    “He’s dead,” I scream while plummeting toward the earth from 12,000 feet.
    “Please be alive, please.” I beg and try to free my arm from the grasp of the instructor, who left the plane in tandem with me on my first free-fall jump.
    “You’re supposed to be taking care of me not the other way around.” Reasoning alone is not going to get me out of this predicament. I say a quick prayer and ask for a cool mind as the speed of the fall seems to escalate.
    “Jimmy,” I say to the instructor. No response.
    “If you can hear me, say something,”
    A muddled groan indicates he is alive. I remember Jimmy said, “Without a parachute, a body will travel 12,000 feet in about a minute. That’s why it’s such a thrill.”
    How much time have I used up? It seems like an eternity. Do I still have time?
    I roll away from Jimmy. He is frothing at the mouth. I am totally on my own.
    I try my rip cord. Nothing happens. In my panic the rest of Jimmy’s pre-flight speech comes to me. “If your chute doesn’t open, don’t worry. Just return it and get a new one,” Jimmy laughed heartily, as if it were the first time he told this little joke.
    “It’s no laughing matter now, is it Jimmy?”
    The ground raced up toward me.
    “Got to find a way to get his chute open,” I say to my unconscious jump partner.
    His hand is tight on the rip cord. I attempt to pry it off. No luck. I pull Jimmy’s arm away from his body and it engages the release mechanism.
    There is a flapping sound as the parachute flies out of the pack and over our heads. But I fear we are too close to the ground for the canape to fully open. I brace myself for the impact and say another prayer.
    A sudden gust of wind drives us into the waiting arms of a nearby tree. There is the sound of branches breaking as the leaves envelop us. Hopefully the large limbs will keep us from falling to the hard ground a story or more below. It does. We are safe until help arrives.
    As I ponder what just transpired, Jimmy seems to be coming to.
    “What happened? Last thing I remember is clearing the plane.
    “You passed out, the chutes didn’t open and we ended up in this tree. Good thing too, we both could have suffered some bad injuries or worse.
    “How did you like your first free-fall jump?” Jimmy asks.
    “I was too busy trying not to get killed,” I reply.
    “Well, as soon as someone gets us down from this tree we can go up again so you can enjoy it this time.”
    “No thanks,” I say. “My skydiving days are over. As a matter of fact, I’m not even going back and return the cute that didn’t open for a new one.”

  21. smallster21 says:

    FREEDOM IS A BITCH

    Hmph, interesting. The high school looks like a cardboard box, wait, much smaller, a monopoly hotel. Haha, monopoly. I’m always the shoe. I tell them it’s for kicking them in the ass. Those were good times. Huddled around the card table, playing the never ending game with my faithful banker slipping me orange bills under the table. 10 year olds are easy to bribe with promises of beef jerky and skittles.

    Ben’s head rests on my shoulder, slobbering on my neck. I’d really prefer a no slobber skydive as I enjoy the view, the sun blinking through the clouds, tiny ants marching to their ant holes after work. Looks like rush hour.

    Damn this parachute, it’s chaffing. Wonder when I should release it? Don’t want Ben waking up a pile of mashed potatoes now. His wife wouldn’t like that. I look up and there’s my lady, wailing loud enough to put the Banshee out of business. Fucking bitch. Wish I could reverse this engine and go shove my fist in her mouth. Only here because our friends booked this trip last year. We made last minute changes to the hotel arrangements. She took the room. I slept in the car.

    Cindy says I’ve made her life hell the past few years. I was only in prison for five months. A slight felony charge, no biggie. But, there’s also the shit ton of debt. Oh, and my cancer, that’s a bummer. Cindy must not know Tammy Wynette or she’d know to ‘Stand by Your Man’.

    Wonder where my kids are? The girls were in Florence last month, and the boy’s probably getting fucked up, stoned, drunk, pretending to be a rock star. Wonder if he’ll straighten out. Suppose I’ll never know. Or, maybe I will. I’m not sure how this works.

    Did I tell my daughters I love them? Wonder if they love me. I admit, I was never there. I tried to make up for it, but I guess you can’t buy love.

    What religion am I now? Should’ve stayed Catholic like my girls. Wait, fuck, no, that wouldn’t be good. Definitely know where that ticket goes. Cindy’s Lutheran. Wander what their views are on this kind of thing. Maybe Ben knows. Oh, wait, I drugged him.

    The ground is getting closer. I kick my legs like a little kid. Did I just squeal? That wouldn’t be manly. Oh, what the hell, doesn’t matter now.

    “Woooooeeeee!”

    That shut the dumb bitch up. I look back, her parachute has released, the instructor is gesturing madly. Probably should release the parachute now. Holding the drogue in one hand, the harness in the other, I take a deep breath, and…

    Success! Cheers for me! I look back. Ben is floating safely above, his head lolling side to side.
    Wait! The note! Where did I put that damn thing? Oh, in my pocket. It catches the air in Cindy’s path. I look towards the ground, almost there. I look back and Cindy is…bitch. I expected wild eyes, remorse, fear, but nothing, just a vacant stare. She catches the note, crumples it up and throws it down after me.

    Bitch.

    The tree branch slams into my spine, cracking, then…

    …darkness, ears ringing. Not dead yet? Fucking impossible.

    I’m definitely a mushy, soggy pancake, the kind you douse in syrup at Denny’s and abandon too full from the rolls. Rolls. Hmph. Always hated rolls. Ruins a perfectly good dinner, because you know you won’t stop at one.

    Can I feel anything? Nope. Nothing. Nada. Besides my thoughts continuing to jibber jabber, I’ve ceased to exist. Descartes would beg to differ. I think therefore, I am. Well, I’m thinking, but I don’t think I am. Wouldn’t that be a shitter? Hooked up to a machine, trapped in darkness, talking to myself for the next thirty years or whenever bitch pulls the plug.

    Hell no! Whosoever is out there, God, angel, demon or Devil, I don’t care who comes to claim me, you get your ass up or down here right now!

    …fuck.

    • Kerry Charlton says:

      There are so many emotions in this stream, I reread your story six times to reveal them; Good times, Anger, Remorse, Disappointment, Doubt, Regret, Finality, Forgetfulness, Fear, Forgiveness, Anticipation, And Resigination. All in one story, incredible. The mere mention of God and Angels at the end of the story, means there is nothing in the MC’s life that God wouldn’t forgive. If brain activity can cease before physical death then why not brain activity after death, for surely the angels will come.

      If you have doubts as to the quality of this stream, then why would I reread it? It’s actually spine-chilling with the amount of emotion displayed.

      • smallster21 says:

        Wow, thanks Kerry :) I’m happy you read it several times and provided such an interesting interpretation. I didn’t think of those emotions while I was writing it nor after, so thanks for pointing them out.

    • douglangille says:

      Jeebus! I don’t know whether to laugh at the inner monologue or shout in horror at how this ended up! Awesome read!

  22. nelleg says:

    Act Calm

    “Welcome back everyone. We’re here with award winning actor Harbor Jones. He is best known for his role in the film Avacodo: The Untold Story. It’s great having you here Harb.”

    “Thanks Dave. It’s great being here.”

    “So what’s new? Have you been up to in any projects since Avocado?”

    “We just started filming a sequel called Guacamole: The Real Scoop, it should be out next summer.”
    Wow, I can’t wait. It should be exciting as the first one. Did I read some where that you just had a birthday?”

    “Yeah, I just turned forty.”

    “So, did you do anything special?”

    “I decided to go skydiving, and I tell ya Dave it was something I’ll never forget.”

    “Heart stopping, breath taking type of thing?”

    “I think it was a little of both. I decided to go tandem diving with a well known instructor named Leroy Dalton of Dalton Aviation Crew.”

    “Yes, I’ve heard of Leroy. He has taught a lot of star how to skydive. I thought I read his obituary last week.”

    “Yes Dave you did.”

    “Oh my, don’t tell me…”

    “Yes, Dave he did. Strapped right to my back at 12,000 feet.”

    “How did that happen, I mean what happen?”

    “Well, you see Leroy and I went up and shortly after we were strapped together, the color went out of his face and he started sweating. I asked him if he felt alright and he said he felt find just a little tired but nothing that an 86 year old man can’t handle. I took his word for it, heck he’d been jumping since before I was born. So we jumped and I looked up and Old Leroy was out cold.”

    “What was going through your mind?”

    “I was thinking that I should’ve got a stunt man to do my 40th birthday jump. Actually you would be amazed at all the stuff that goes through your mind: Did I Leave the coffee pot on? What’s the boiling point of water? Can cockroaches actually survive without their heads?”

    “Really? That’s what you were thinking?”

    Of course not Dave, I just can’t say on T.V. what I was actually thinking. Long story short I reached up pulled the cord, the chute deployed and we landed quite hard. I sustained several gashes, bruises and three broken toes. Well I guess I don’t have to tell you how it ended for Leroy.”

    “Amazing story Harbor! We have to take a break. When we come back maybe we could get Harb to show us his toes.”

  23. sparmentier says:

    I close my eyes. I feel your weight. I feel the rush of air on my face, my exposed skin. I love it. I am aware it will end soon, but I don’t want it to. My neck begins to hurt because you are so heavy, heavier than I am by far; some point of pressure there is distracting me. Is this real? Is this real anyway? Where am I – really? I breathe deeply and cough, a little too much and then jolt, followed by ease, by joyful floating. I love this, pain in my neck and all. What will I do with him? This baggage? How do I collapse and roll, with what? A 170 or 180 pound backpack? Are you dead? I don’t think so. Will you wake up? Will I hurt you? Not much, I hope. Oh no, oh collapse, I can’t roll, you’re on top of me. My arm – you smashed my arm. Oh my God, you’ve hurt me. You’re awake and disoriented, but otherwise fine. My arm is bent in the wrong place.
    You ask me, “What happened? We aren’t in the right place.”
    I tell you, “You passed out or something. My arm hurts and looks funny. You were no help. I did my best.”
    You get up and walk away. Then I pass out.

  24. starwatcher says:

    As I fell, I first calculated how long it would take to fall to my death. 27.3 seconds. Great. I twisted my body so I could vaguely see my instructor, Garth, yes the Viking from the Capital One commercials. He was out cold. OK I have about 18 more seconds.

    I went through the various designs of parachutes that I had seen. I quickly reached behind me and felt around. Nothing. About 10 more seconds. I checked other areas around my instructor and myself and each time I felt nothing. Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

    “Is that what I am, nothing?” I asked the wind, the only one who caught my words.

    The wind’s answer,”Wwhhooo,” as the wind flew past me as if to say, “Who are you?”

    “Nothing,” as I went limp and gave up. But wait! I felt something! It was right there by my leg! I quickly pulled the handle. I kind of landed on the ground, and by landed I mean fell on my face. I got up and fiercely cried out to the wind, “I am not nothing! I am alive!”

  25. thebaseballman2003 says:

    This is great. This is just great. The first time I ever try skydiving and this asshole passes out. At first, I thought he was fooling around but no. He is really out cold. If he was feeling sick, he should’ve kept his ass in the plane and we would have to reschedule this jump for another day. Better point, I should’ve kept my ass in the damn plane if he was not feeling so well. Now, I’m falling from a height of 12,000 feet and I have no clue as to when I’m supposed to pull this thing they call a “Rip Cord.” My glasses have fallen off my face and my nuts feel like there in my neck. I guess this would be a new take on the phrase “choke on these nuts.” I can’t even begin to imagine how my ass is going to look when they have to peel me off the ground, if there is any of me left to peel off the ground. The day started off so well. I had just woken up in my girlfriend’s apartment with her right next to me. We had some good old-fashioned morning sex and had breakfast in bed. I put my clothes on and gave her a kiss good-bye and told her I would see her tomorrow. I went to the local convenience store to turn in a lottery ticket that won me $450. I took a drive on the highway to get to the airport for today’s skydiving. The instructor was a nice guy and really seemed to know what he was doing. Then we got in the plane and came up here for a nice dive. Of course, I was nervous but this was my first time doing time be he reassured me that everything was fine. That’s when he said that he was starting to feel sick. I should’ve realized that from that moment things were going to get a hell of a lot worse if I did jump out of the plane with him. He told me that he would be fine and like an idiot, I believed him. Then we jumped out of the plane and the next thing I know, he passes out. I’ve had so many things I wanted to do and places I’ve wanted to go. Unfortunately, none of those things will come to pass. All I have left at this moment is a question. What happens when it all turns black? Will there be that light at the end of tunnel or will I just faded into oblivion? I just…
    “What happened? I must’ve passed out.”
    “Thank…you…God. When do I pull the cord?”
    “Now!”
    “You don’t have to tell me twice.”
    I pulled the cord and felt a big sigh of relief when I saw that large parachute open up. You know, skydiving is not that bad. I’ll have to try it again sometime… but I can guarantee that it will not be with this sick-as-hell jackass.

    • swatchcat says:

      So the last conversation is between the instructor waking and the parachutist? At first I thought he was dead and it was God but reread it a few times and got the context. It’s going to be interesting to read more of what we all think would run through peoples minds when falling to possible death. Nicely done.

      • thebaseballman2003 says:

        Thanks. I appreciate that. When I was coming up with this, I realized that every person would have a different reaction to this scenario, so I wanted to come up with something funny.

    • douglangille says:

      “Choke on them nuts.” I heard the phrase before, but not its etymology. Nice read.

  26. peggyann says:

    Our velocity had climbed to 130 miles an hour as the clouds came toward us. I was having trouble breathing but I knew the freefall would last maybe another 30 seconds before Jerald deployed the main canopy. We punched through the clouds with a gush of cold air and we were floating, the face of the Earth a static topography below. It was beautiful. My sense of time was altered but shouldn’t we have our parachute opened by now? With Jerald behind me, not moving or saying a word it was hard to tell how long ago we left the old Cessna 182.

    “Jerald, where is the chute?” I yelled. “Hey Dipwad, can you hear me?” I screamed a little louder. Silence. Why couldn’t he hear me? OK, time for the big girl voice, I’m getting scared here. “HEY JERALD!” my throat felt the tear of capillaries bursting. My elbows were now moving like pistons as I tried to jam them into his torso behind me. No response. I threw my whole body into it, kicking my legs as I threatened him. “Come on you sonofabitch wake up. I’m gonna kill you you freaking idiot. If I could only get to your stupid head I’d be poking your eyes out right now. “I’LL GET YOU BETTE MIDLER…” I screamed as the scene from the Simpson’s flashed through my mind. Funny the things you think of when your heart is threatening to evacuate.

    Crap. He must have passed out or be dead back there. I couldn’t reach or see his face which was probably a good thing because it would be clawed to smithereens by now. Well I picked a fine way to celebrate my 50th birthday. Oh yeah. I just HAD to top my sister’s big 50th adventure of commandeering the neighbor’s camel in the middle of the night for a little spin around the pasture in her underwear. That ended badly enough with a broken wrist and a face full of thorns. But I was pretty confident that the grease spot we’d make in a minute would take the cake for showboating this time. At least she could stop planning how she could show me up on her 60th birthday. Or would she?

    Something looked different. The ground was getting closer. It hadn’t looked any different forever and now suddenly someone had turned on a zoom lens. Wait. Didn’t someone say something about how I could open the parachute myself? Yes, somewhere here…. I started yanking on every available anything within reach that I could find. The buildings were getting bigger, faster now. Come on baby. I know you are here, where are you stupid dumb opener damn you SHIT. WOOSH. The red and white canopy erupted from the pack and I went limp. Gad. I think it will be awhile before I try to top this.

  27. RMiddleton says:

    Great, the one time I decide to do something out of my comfort zone, this happens. I have pretty much fast coursed my way to my death. Falling, so much falling, and this dude on my back will not even know when we hit the ground. This should be the other way around. I should be the one passed out and he should be the one awake, saving us in time before we go splat on the ground.

    Let’s go skydiving, my brother, Robert, said. It will be great, he said. If I am still alive after this, I will hug him so tight and tell him how much I love him. Then, I will choke him.

    Hey! You guys to the left of me – can you not hear me screaming? Can you not see the fear on my face and the frantic waving of my arms? CAN YOU NOT SEE THE LIMP DUDE ON MY BACK?

    Oh god – I am going to die. I will never see my family again. No more late night phone calls to my mom to tell her about the silly dreams I have. No more weekly bookstore trips and coffee dates with my brother. No more concerts and camping with my dad. I am not ready to leave them. They are all I have in this world. Whenever I need them, they are always there. No! I am not ready to die. There is too much in life I have not done or seen. Oh no . . . this is it, isn’t it?. Mom, Dad, Robert – I love you. I love you. I love you.

    OW! What in the world was that? Why do I feel like I have been yanked? Am I dead? Is that how it feels when you ascend up to heaven? No, that’s not it. The dude! He woke up! So, does this mean I will not die today? Oh my goodness – I am so happy I could pee myself! Uh, well, too late for that, since I have already accomplished that task. Never in my life have I wanted to touch the ground as much as I do right now. The first thing I will do when we land is hug the ground. Then, I will hug the dude, make sure he is ok, and tell him he needs to retire from this gig. Lastly, I will hug my brother . . . and kindly knee in him the balls.

  28. Kerry Charlton says:

    RAW INSANITY

    ‘Just because George H. W. jumped from a plane at eighty didn’t mean I had to do the same at my age. How in hell did I get myself in this predicament?’ I thought.

    My jump instructor tried to comfort me.

    “Don’t worry about it, Kerry. The DC-3 that’s taking us is older than you are and will probably crash before we reach twelve thousand feet to jump.”

    “That’s fine Arnold, you rotten SOB, Just because I married your steady girl, fifty years ago, doesn’t mean you have to blame me for it. After all, you got Mary Elizabeth.”

    “Speaking of Mary, would you like to swap, Kerry?”

    “Up your ass, Arnold.”

    ‘God help me,’ I thought, as I pulled Arnold, my life-long buddy from kindergarten, up the ramp of the two engine, piece of garbage we were to fly in.

    Sitting in a window seat, I noticed the co-pilot swinging a large wrench at the starboard engine. Clanging of metal to metal, made my teeth hurt. The port engine started in a cloud of smoke, engine flare and a resounding back-fire. Obviously, it needed a little wrench hammering of its own.

    Roaring down the runway at ninety, both wings flapped like ironing boards from W. T. Grant 5 and 10. We lifted off the runway like a goose with a double hernia and by some miracle and a little seat-lifting from yours truly, we leveled out at twelve thousand feet.

    “I’m a little dizzy,” Arnold said, as he opened the door of the plane to one long step to death.

    ‘Okay, let’s cancel,” I said.

    “No, no, I’ll be alright in a minute, he said.

    I felt the tandem straps tighten as Arnold put his shoulder to me, pushing me out of the plane with him.

    “Shit-a-monkey,” I hollered as I saw Arnold’s eyes close and he passed out.

    ‘Twelve thousand feet,’ I thought. ‘How many seconds do I have?’

    I reached out and slapped Arnold across his face. No response. I though briefly if I had enough time to strangle him before we hit ground. At least he would die first. I did find my pull cord and jerked it hard. One chute opened above me and slowed our descent.

    “Damn it to hell, you jerk-ass, wake up,” I shouted.

    No response again. I looked down, seeing us fall at thirty miles an hour toward a large athletic center with a cinder track.

    ‘I’m going to break every bone in my body and that rotten bastard won’t even have a scratch on him,’ I thought. My harness lifted me with a jolt and I looked up, seeing the second chute unfurl.

    “I’m sorry, Kerry,” he said. “I felt sleepy and took a little nap on the way down.”

    Two hundred feet above ground, I started slugging Arnold, to his face and body. He hit back and fists flailed on both sides as we landed into the arms of four men waiting for us.

    You guys are too damn old to fight any more,” Harry said.

    Harry [The Wart] Thompson, Bill [Dry Bones] Draeger, Bobby [Bo Jangles] Henderson and Charlie [Snot Nose] Stanton, our four closest buddies from high school, gathered around and hugged us.

    “Welcome to Gables High 50th High School Reunion, they said.

    • swatchcat says:

      Enjoyable story about two friends. Love the description of the plane and the nicknames of the friends waiting at the reunion. Nice.

    • don potter says:

      Boys will be boys.

    • smallster21 says:

      We lifted off the runway like a goose with a double hernia, haha! Nice visual. Shit-a-monkey? Haha. This was funny. The conflict between these two characters really makes this an entertaining story. I could picture Kerry punching Arnold as they descended, and it was enjoyable.

      Love this line: “I’m sorry, Kerry,” he said. “I felt sleepy and took a little nap on the way down.” Great example of having a character react to a dangerous situation with unexpected subtlety.

      • Kerry Charlton says:

        Thank you smallster. I spent many an hour in a DC-3. Actually flew one for a few minutes in ROTC. It reminded me of a goose at that time. It flew by itself without an auto control. When I tried banking it, it felt like a pregnant elephant with large ears. By the way, The DC-3 was built in 1939 and they’re still flying, certifiable insaneness.

    • douglangille says:

      Grumpy Old Men go skydiving. Awesome. Lots of detail, Kerry. Great read.

  29. swatchcat says:

    Ode to Streaming consciousness

    “’Hey wake up, Mister, please wake up,’ I yelled and tried to reach backward and shake his head. Than I thought, ‘Dumbass your falling a million miles an hour and with a deadman strapped to your back how the hell do you expect him to hear you all I hear is wind and air everytime I try to move I …ssshit….’, Dud’s it was crazy. I was falling, tumbling.” I told my friends about free falling 12,000 feet and almost dying. They all just sat starring at me with their mouths hanging open.

    Then Michael chirped, “No, really Penney, what were you thinking? What was running through your mind?” I thought about it and remembered the bits and pieces of pure nonsense that ran through my head before something made me remember the training the guy told me to do in case of an emergency.

    I wonder how many of me stacked on top of each other would equal 12,000 ft high, what that would look like, ha ha that would be crazy – Jack and the beanstock no Penney and the bean stock what would happen world record most penney’s stack head to toe, wait what does that have to do with the fact that I am falling to my death with the a hunched back made out of a human unconcious? Wow my cheeks hurt wait think think mommy mommy mommy hey look at that field oh trees no trees bad really bad you mother fucker Im sueing your ass as soon as I get down down wait theres something I needed to remember what time is it look at the meter your watch how long have you been dropping dropping wait I don’t want to drop pull pull now no wait is it time no pull its an emergency what if I brake pull pull now hey look theres the run way pull pull pull holy shit…

    “It’s amazing what goes through your mind in a few seconds. Instinct actually did kick in and I’m sitting here today because of that training.” I told my friends as I lay in the hospital bed with a few broken bones. I wasn’t going to tell them all that but I did tell them about the bean stock thing and calling for my mommy, they laughed of course. It was the part after I pulled the cord that I will never forget and that was mine all mine to look back on.

    When the shoot opened and we slowed for a bit before hitting the ground, oh, the ground is really hard, I thought about my life and why I even needed to go skydiving…
    God really never again will I purposefully do something like this again I promise that I will talk to my mom and dad and I promise that if you get me out of this I will go to church somemore and those 12 step things I will absolutely do those and please give me the okay for just one more good hard drink and I will quit oh and I love everyone and please get this guy off my back I know what it feels like to carry a chip now and this is definitely more then my chip….

    “Guys, all I remember before hitting the ground was yelling that I was sorry.”

  30. exiledcrusader says:

    My fiancé told me it was a bad Idea. I knew she was right but I couldn’t back down. I was determined to go sky diving. When I got to the school my instructor wasn’t feeling well. Now she is unconscious as we free fall toward the ground. I am certain I am about to die. The wind is screaming in my ears I can’t slow us down. I already pulled both cords and nothing happened. I bet my instructor pack the shoot not her best move. Why am I thinking about all of this meaningless crap? I should be thinking about Kira my fiancé, my two brothers, and my parents. My last moments should be with those I care about. But all I can think about is the earth hurdling toward me growing ever closer. I never should have done this I’m only thirty much too young for a midlife crisis. I should still be sleeping next to Kira but I told the guys that I would jump from an airplane. So that means I jump from an airplane or I would never here the end of it. It’s hard to say which is worse knowing I am about to die or all the harassment from the guy if I hadn’t gone. I guess dying is probably worse. Damn it I’m doing it again come on Frank think about what’s important. My parents are going to be devastated we already lost my sister last year to cancer. O God the ground is getting closer!! At least they still have Jesse and Tom they should be fine. I wonder if she is going to wake up before we hit the ground. Maybe I should flip over so she lands first. That might cushion the fall so I could live. Wait who am I kidding we are both goners. What really suck is I paid for five jumps and this is my first one. I saved money by purchasing a package but only jumping once make this really expensive. Here I am off on another tangent. I can see people down there man I am really close to those trees. I love you Kira, Mom, Dad, Tom, and Jesse. Oh No I think I left the stove on……….

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