Wednesday 21 June 2023

#WEP #JUNECHALLENGE - Close Encounters of the Third Kind. My #flashfiction, Gone in 60 Seconds

 Hi! Welcome to the June WEP challenge, Close Encounters of the Third Kind using the sci-fi movie as the prompt. 

I'm sharing a nail biter I wrote in 2010 and have never shared on my blog. I think it encapsulates a close encounter. I hope you enjoy it! Let me know what you think in the comments.


 Gone in 60 Seconds


I panic.

Forget everything I’ve been taught.

Okay, 60 seconds of free falling has been sweet, but now the parachute is supposed to take up the slack, but guess what? Yep. Just my luck. The shanky thing gets itself stuck and here I go, free falling, free screaming, heading for the ground at a great rate of knots.

Tug! Tug! Tug!

It’s stuck all right! I lose all hope of hearing that thunderous whoosh, seeing that gentle puff of parachute silk billowing above me. Nah, this time it’s just me, the sky and that old enemy, gravity. I’m no longer floating. I’m dropping towards the ground like a lead ball, faster, faster. I force my eyes open again and try to reason with myself. I probably have another 60 seconds before impact.

Think! Think! Think!

 I manoeuvre my body back into the arch position which isn’t easy when my limbs are stiff with terror. In training I’ve been shown how you can direct your flight in free fall, so with a great deal of effort I pull my arms slightly back at the shoulders and straighten my legs as I’ve been taught. My heart begins to thump again. The adrenalin rushes through me.

I know what to do and I do it.

I move backwards by extending my arms and bending my knees like I’m trying to touch the back of my head with my heels. From this position I can make a left or right turn by twisting my upper body slightly. You might be wondering why I’m bothering but I’d been told in training for my solo jump that you can survive a free fall from up to 50,000 feet if you stay in control and hey, I’m only at 11,000 feet so I must be in with a chance, don’t you think? A survival float, they call it. Choose your drop zone. I know I’ll have a better chance of survival if I land on a nice soft spot. Or in deep water. Or even on a car or a rooftop. Anything but cement. God, not that…

 My tactics seem to be working. I have slowed my speed and am heading towards the beach. Of course I can’t hear the waves crashing or the seagulls calling or the surfers cursing when someone drops in—all I hear is the sound of wind screaming in my ears and my desperate prayers ‘…help me, help me, oh God, oh Godddd...’ About 30 seconds to go.

You know how they say your life flashes before you as you drown, well, I’m drowning in wind and extreme velocity. My life is flashing before me like a flickering movie in fast forward.

I see my children, their trusting baby faces. I see my daughter’s triumphant smile smeared with my bright red lipstick. I see my son’s joyous high five when he won his soccer game. I flash on their birthday parties and am sorry I won’t be there to share any more. Nor will they share mine. Today they’ll be waiting for me to come home from ‘Mummy’s air jump all by herself’ so they can yell ‘Surprise! Clever Mummy!’ I see my husband, his face white with shock when I told him I intend to go solo for my thirtieth. ‘That’s far too dangerous!’ he’d yelled. ‘For God’s sake, you have children. You can’t keep jumping out of planes! You’ll be sorry!’

I’m sorry now. I wasn’t then. The one time I’d been determined to do something just for myself, look what happens! Any moment now. Yikes, here comes the ground, faster, faster.

I’m aware of the beach flashing by. It always lifts my spirits, gives me strength.

I won’t make it. The waves, too far away, in and out, in and out, the rhythm of life. Ah, life. Relax! Relax! More chance if you relax! Bend your knees! Aim for that soft, billowy sand just ahead. Dip shoulder to the left, get ready for impact. Drop zone. Drop zone. Sand dune. Yes! Careening towards me-colours blending-whirling-blue-green-sandy-use balls of feet-point toes-swish-thwomp-roll-bounce-cover head-arms-close-to-ears-use elbows-to-protect-head-hold-tight-grassy-knoll-coming-thump-thump-thump-that hurt-ooh-ah-blessed blackness…

 ‘Hey! Over here! Quick! She’s alive! Call Emergency!’

©Denise Covey 2010 – Fast Fiction – Gone in 60 seconds


WORDS: 705


Please click on the list in my sidebar for more entries in our June writing contest. A win could get you published in WEP's 2023 Anthology.

WEP's next challenge is going to be beautiful! Based on the movie Chocolat. Please join us for this sensory feast!

Wednesday 7 June 2023

#IWSG June 2023 - ...if I could no longer write.

 "You are hereby sentenced to ten years' hard labor."

My fingers clenched into my palms. My heart hammered in my ears. What did 'hard labor' mean? Would I be roused from my bed each morning at dawn in the freezing snow and chain-marched to a field to smash rocks?

"Your imprisonment will be a warning to all those who hold seditious thoughts, who write seditious thoughts. Activists like you will be silenced."

Yes, silenced so dictators like you can wreak havoc on my beloved country, with no oppositional voices heard.

"Every book you  have written, every placard that bears your name, every podcast, every social media post will be eradicated in this political purge. Every dollar you have made from your heinous words will be taken from you as the spoils of crime. What do you have to say for yourself?"

"Nothing," What was the point? Anything I said would be twisted and turned against me. 

"During your imprisonment you will have no access to pens, pencils, paper, iPad, laptop or any other writing paraphernalia. I repeat, your voice will be silenced. You will have ample time to think, to attend reinvention classes and change your ways."

The judge's vicious words flowed over me. I was already in my head, imagining what I would uncover in ten years and write about, exposing this dictator and his henchmen to the world. They could take away what they saw as my 'writing paraphernalia' but they could never take away the most important, the thoughts in my head. 

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Thanks for visiting for the IWSG. Please click HERE to read more entries.

The awesome co-hosts for the June 7 posting of the IWSG are Patrcia Josephine, Diedre Knight, Olga Godim, J. Lenni Dorner, and Cathrina Constantine!

And while you're here at mine, please consider yourself invited to write for the WEP June challenge. DETAILS HERE on June 1.
Do anything you like with the movie challenge, Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Ideas HERE. Guidelines only.