Strapped and harnessed like oxen, we are led in a sombre parade, my feet faltering on the uneven ground, refusing to give in to a stumble. The mood is solemn. A bitter taste fills my dry mouth, adding to an extreme feeling of nausea. Above us the chaffinches and blue tits taunt the line of humans with their freedom as they fly effortlessly between the branches and celebrate their soft landing with the ongoing chorus of the dawn.

We are bundled into the transport unceremoniously, and all push our bodies hard against the seats, holding ourselves as stiff as corpses to disguise the trembling within. Instructions are barked at us but fail to find responsive ears. My lips try to frame objections, yet my voice is imprisoned within, and no sound emanates. There is nothing I can do now to prevent the inevitable anyway.

My name is called. Time to leave the other wretches. A man at the door brings out the tethers. “Can my hands be free?” I plead.

“Of course,” he says, but I am disconcerted when he grabs me from behind. At least it keeps me on my feet; prevents the indignity of collapsing into a crumpled heap. His mouth is right up close to my ear now as he utters what I am convinced will be the last words I will ever hear. I am rigid with fear by the time he pushes open the door.

I jump, or he jumps, or we both do. I am not entirely clear which. All I know is that the feeling of relief is immediate. This is the best experience ever, and I understand why freefalling is so called. Arms outstretched, I sing back to the birds, elated, not interested in the inevitable reunion with the ground below. In comparison to that initial descent, the opening of the parachute and the encouragement and congratulatory words of my attached instructor are mundane.

I land, exhilarated of course, but also ecstatic in the knowledge of having achieved my secret wish: at long last to do something my sister has never done.

    4.5 2 votes
    Post Rating
    Newest Most Voted
    Inline Feedbacks
    View all comments
    Margarida Brei
    Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
    1 year ago

    Great tension build up. I was utterly surprised to discover they were parachuting.

    Sandra James
    Sandra James(@sandra-james)
    1 year ago

    Wonderful build up, Susan. I was expecting a prison camp or similar and reminding myself how lucky I am to live in a free country – then the twist. I really didn’t see it coming. Well done and I imagine many people in that situation would feel just like that.  ? 

    Marianna Pieterse
    Marianna Pieterse(@marianna-pieterse)
    1 year ago

    I thought it was a scene of slaves being lined up and forced into some sort of carriage or something. When the ‘instructor’ whispered in the protagonist’s ear I wondered what dreadful thing he said. I never expected the twist at the end. Brilliant story!

    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    1 year ago

    Wow! Susan. Your story really surprised me with a beautiful twist in the end. And the build-up was great. Very well done, Susan. 

    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    Reply to  Susan Dawson
    1 year ago

    You’re welcome, Susan.

    Christer Norrlof
    Christer Norrlof(@christer-norrlof)
    1 year ago

    I, like other readers, was thinking about prisons and treatment of slaves up until the end of your story, Susan. Congratulations to the success of your intentions! If I compare your description of your protagonist’s experience with my own when I was parachuting, it was the opposite. I was excited about it until a few minutes into the adventure, when I became nauseated and just wanted to get back down to earth.… Read more »

    Bella Minyo
    Bella Minyo(@bella-minyo)
    1 year ago

    The whole time I was reading your story, Susan, I thought it was like a gladiator-type battle they were all afraid of! You can imagine my surprise when they were just parachuting, but I don’t blame them for being nervous, parachuting can be scary! It was a wonderful story to read!

    Last edited 1 year ago by Bella Minyo

    Recent Comments

    Selected Authors may submit comments (5 Credits)x
    Scroll to Top

    Sharing a Post

    Why do my friends need to SignIn to read the post I shared?

    Actually, this is a voting security feature. During public voting, only club members can read posts submitted for that contest. Since anyone reading the story is able to vote (click the Like button), we reserve these capabilities to members who SignIn. Before we implemented this security feature, people were voting multiple times and making the public voting process unfair and out of balance. To fix this, our staff finally decided to allow only members who SignIn to read the stories. Membership is free and easy, and ensures our club is safe, secure, and family-friendly!