I’m not sure how I got lucky enough to hang with such incredible writers every Tuesday, but I’m sure glad I did. Fabulous writing everyone. Again.
Thanks again @robhollywood for guest judging this week. I know it was tough!
Our five finalists are as follows (in no particular order):
As we get more and more entries, I’m going to try to make voting easier by posting the five finalists’ entries here in this post. But Do NOT miss all the fabulous entries from all the other talented writers who conspired to give Rob a stress headache this week.
Poll’s on the right of the page. Good luck everyone!
by Chris Blanchard, @blanchardauthor
I Can Still Fly
It’s an amazing sensation. Almost like falling, except that it’s controlled, gentle. Every time I go up, I feel like I am touching God. My granddaughter looks at me as I try to explain this to her. She’s only six, she doesn’t really get what I’m trying to say.
“Is it really like that, Grandpa?” she says. “Do you really touch God? I want to touch God. What’s he like?”
I smile. “No, little one, I don’t actually touch God, not physically. I think that my soul touches him, though. You should ask you father, I bet he feels that same way when he goes up.”
“Yeah?” she asks again. “I want to go up. When can I go up?”
“Well, one day,” I said, “when you’re older. You’re just a bit too young to go now.”
“Can you take me?” she asks. “Can you take me up, the next time you go?”
I have a brief moment where fear of making her angry for saying no and a strong desire to do whatever this beautiful little woman asks of me. I look over at her mother, my daughter-in-law. She nods slightly. I smile down at my granddaughter.
“Sure, honey,” I say. “How about right now? I’m still in my uniform.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah!” she squeals, and jumps into my arms.
I hold her in one hand, point another up to the sky, and then jump up. We’re in the air instantly, and I take it slow, so she can see and experience everything. It doesn’t take long before her house is toy sized.
I may be too old to be an active super hero, but I can still fly.
By: Jeff @pfallerj
“You’ve got nothing to worry about. The plane practically flies itself through turbulence like this,” he said.
I bit my lip and nodded, certain the pilot sitting next to me on the aisle of the Economy Plus section was sick of me flinching at every little bump. His $5 earbuds sat in his lap, still in their packaging. He had missed nearly half of the in-flight movie, which was some ridiculous romantic comedy featuring Meg Ryan and some young actress who had no problems tossing her clothes at the sight of Matthew MacCoughnehey. All of the players completely oblivious to the rocking and rolling of our 747.
“Thank you,” I managed. He nodded and patted my leg.
“Don’t worry about it.”
If I hadn’t been flying to get married that weekend, I probably would have considered flirting with him. He was cute. And at this moment I absolutely loathed my fiance for making me choose a destination wedding in Alaska.
The things we do for love.
I looked out (why they had stuck someone who shits their pants at the thought of flying in a window seat I’ll never know) in an attempt to calm myself, to look at something that wasn’t moving, to lose myself in the inky blackness of the stormy night sky.
The slow, methodical blinking of the lights on the wingtip was calming me, until the pulses matched the beat of my heart. Thump.
Like a white hot knife from nowhere, a bolt of electricity arced from the heavens and hit the wingtip, leaving a painful afterimage burned into my retina.
My heart was back at it.
“That’s…not good,” I heard the pilot say, before I blacked out, not knowing if I’d ever make it to the altar.
By: Becca, @inkmuse
Jessica still hadn’t found what she was looking for. That perfect moment in time. She toted her camera through the park and snapped several failed attempts: a young man playing frisbee with his golden retriever, a little pig-tailed girl eating an ice cream cone, a large oak with bars of sunlight breaking past the leaves and branches.
Crap. It’s all crap, she thought.
She sat on one of the park benches, defeated. He shoulders slouched forward and she held her camera in both hands between her knees, though the neck strap would have kept it from shattering to the ground, along with her dreams.
If she didn’t find that perfect photograph, she’d be fired. In a sense it was her own fault. She hadn’t given much effort over the years. Her boss was riding her on this one thing—a photograph to capture the essence of humanity.
She laughed at herself. Yeah, me capture the essence of humanity. What a load of crap, she thought.
As she was browsing through her photographs, thinking the tree was perhaps her best shot so far, and hardly qualified unless she wanted to get fired for expressing herself in an unconventional way—again—a homeless woman sat beside her.
“Hope you don’t mind,” the lady said, settling in. She reached inside a small pouch and retrieved a small loaf of freshly baked bread.
“No, not at all. I was about to get going anyway.”
The lady smiled, the bread crackling as she broke it in half. “I come here to feed the birds.” She handed half the loaf to Jessica.
“Oh, I’m not a bird,” Jessica said. Her face heated with embarrassment as she realized how foolish she sounded. “I mean. really, you should keep this.”
Jessica started to hand the bread back, but the woman lifted her hand and shook her head. “No, no. You need it more than me.”
The lady turned away from Jessica then, but didn’t leave the bench. She just sat there, crumbling sections of bread and tossing it to the ground in front of her.
Birds flew from all over and landed to eat the small meal. Jessica stood there, staring at the loaf in her hands, and then back to the lady. A smile cracked though and the stress fell away. She helped the old lady feed the birds, then walked a few feet down the path, and took a photograph of the kind woman on the bench, the birds in flight, and the very essence of humanity.
“You were in it, and Jack, but he didn’t look like Jack, he looked like a dream Jack.”
“Yeah,” she said, barely taking in the nervous gabbling that flowed from her friend.
“So anyway, we were all in this car, and the sky was really red, like, I dunno, like the most intense sunset, like, ever.”
She looked up as the seatbelt sign came on and checked the clasp. She glanced into her friends lap. “Seat belt time.”
“Oh God, I don’t think I can do this.”
“You can, just remember to breathe, in, out, in, out. That’s good. I’ll do your belt. Carry on with the dream.”
“Errr… yeah… we were all in this car and there were these signs by the side of the road saying there’d been an accident- oh God is that noise normal?”
“Yes, it’s just the engine warming up. Then we’ll start moving slowly towards the runway, okay? You were telling me about the signs.”
“Yeah… and I tried to stop the car, but the steering wheel didn’t work, and the brakes didn’t work. There was a traffic jam up ahead, and we were going to crash – why is that steward talking on the phone? Is there a problem?”
“No, he’s telling the Captain that the cabin crew are ready.”
“Oh, okay. Yeah, the car crashed, and I went through the windscreen, and it was so vivid – it didn’t hurt – but it was like I could feel the glass breaking on me and I thought, this is it, I’m going to die, but I felt really calm. And I thought about Freddie, and who would feed him, and then I was flying!”
“Yeah, I went up in the air and – what was that bang?”
By: Noelle Pierce, @noellepierce
The wind tickled my nose and it took me a moment to figure out how to breathe in the rushing air. A feeling of weightlessness flooded me as I soared higher. The ground below became distant, all the landmarks looking like toys.
This is what it feels like. The elders had warned me, but they couldn’t really describe the power, the speed, the ecstasy of gliding along the currents. My stomach roiled as I twisted my body to dive, turning with my arms out to my sides. I pulled up just before I collided with the treetops and resumed my horizontal drift.
I couldn’t believe I was finally flying. It was worth the wait.
Suddenly, a shadow blocked the sun and I looked up to see an eagle. I gulped—this would be the end of me.
But at least I got to fly.