The world was watching him now. His mother and his father, his sisters, his friends, and most of all, all of the United States of America. His radio let out a noise, and a voice traveled through the cockpit. "Can you hear me, Orion I? Ian, can you hear(more) me, over."
"I hear you loud and clear," Ian said. He nestled in the soft mesh seat of the cruiser, and flicked a series of switches, checked the gauges, and smirked. "To think, we'll be the first colony on the Moon. It's insane."
His co-pilot laughed, a red-haired woman, smiling happily, her face covered in freckles. "Will you miss it?" she asked after a moment of hesitation.
"Of course I'll miss it. It's all I know," Ian slowly pulled down a lever, and tittered away at the console in front of him. "But think about it like this. We're the settlers of a new generation. The first of our flock to spread our wings and soar into a new tomorrow," Ian gave his co-pilot a beaming smile. "Now all that's left is to take flight, and don't look back, cause you'll miss what's in front of you."
There was a crackle over the radio. "The world's listening, Orion I."
Ian laughed. "You hear me back home? Spread those wings and fly," he nodded when he got the okay over his communication radio. "Godspeed Planet Earth, don't get yourself into too much trouble now."
The radio clicked off.
"People will never forget what you said today," his co-pilot said, her eyes wet with tears.
Ian nodded, "It doesn't really matter. We can't look back now, can we? There's the countdown," he said. "Buckle up everyone, we're about to fly high."(less)
I don't know how to explain it, but ever since I was old enough to walk, I knew that I could fly. There was no obvious evidence; I tried and tried again to jump off objects ranging from fences to the low branches of trees. Every time was a(more) failure. "Maybe if it was higher" I thought. Despite the youthful immortality that possessed me, I was too scared to jump from higher.
I kept my flight a secret from my family and friends. I knew that they wouldn't understand. I slowly distanced myself from any friends I had, and built myself a tree-fort in the lumbering oak tree that sat out back. Every day after school I went into my hidden sanctuary and quietly watched the birds enviously. I thought about meeting new people with the same ability as me.
Eventually I decided to take the leap. My family had drove down from our house in Vienna to go canoeing on the Potomac for my 13th birthday. As soon as the trees gave way to the beautiful Potomac river, I knew that I would jump off of the Key Bridge. When my parents went to rent the canoes, I snuck up and away towards the bridge. I went to the middle and looked over the edge. I could hear my dads voice calling but I refused to answer. The open air was calling to me. Knowing that if anyone saw me they would try to stop me from completing my destiny, I quickly climbed up past the guard-rail and took a leap of faith.
Everything was exactly as I had imagined. The rush of air past my face. The plummeting feeling. I opened my eyes to find myself no longer falling, but taking flight into the beautiful autumn air.
It's everything they said it would be, and more! The colors are more vibrant than ever and every sound is a symphony orchestra tantalizing my ear drums. And the shapes! Oh god, the shapes!
They are the most wonderful geometric objects that dance and shuffle before my very(more) eyes. I feel as though they must be impossible objects they way they shift and shuffle between multiple spacial dimensions.
Time itself has bended to my very will. It ebbs and flows at whatever speed I desire as I recount the beautiful moments of my life. And the regretful moments...
But with a flash, a great light appears before me. It is warm and glowing and fills my body with wondrous emotions. I feel content.
At that moment, my body feels as though it has catapulted through the air. I am travelling at a speed that my senses themselves cannot keep up with. Everything is rushing past me and I feel as though I am rocketing through space itself!
An intense shocking pain jolts my entire being and for a brief moment I glimpse back up to the top of the high rise before my mind guides me back to that warm, peaceful glow. (less)
Jim's glanced up at the attendant on the PA system without lifting his head. Why do they always wait for me to get engrossed in this dumb game before calling my seating group? Jim sighed, powered off his phone, and rolled his head aroun(more)d in an attempt to shake off some of the tightness in his neck.
As he stood up and gathered his things, he lazily glanced at the various travelers around him, and he couldn't help but smirk as his thoughts made snap judgments of the travelers around him. Why do large women like that wear shorts? And how did this Drew Carey look-a-like end up with this bombshell? And why is everyone rushing to the front of the line? We have seat numbers. Did I miss the announcement about the in-aisle race?
Jim sighed, feeling frustrated at his own meanness. Maybe he'd have a drink when he got inside.
As he awkwardly shifted and lurched toward the back of the plane, a small sigh of relief left his lungs as he passed the open seats next large woman he noticed earlier. "A little luck," he chuckled to himself. But as he passed, he noticed her eyes were red and puffy from crying. She sniffled a bit as she rummaged through her purse.
He turned his head backwards towards the front of the plane - there was no line, everyone had already taken a seat. There were 3 seats left open on the plane, his aisle seat in the last row, to the back...and the two seats open next to the woman.
Jim awkwardly forced his luggage into the compartment above the woman's row, and squeezed into the aisle seat next to her
"So, ah..." Jim awkwardly mumbled. "How's your day going?"(less)
At five years of age, the boy is short in stature. He wears a blue basketball jersey, the lack of sleeves making it even more apparent he has yet to lose his baby fat. A mop of bright red hair shoots chaotically from his head, and his face is(more) littered with freckles. Against his hip he holds a brand new orange basketball, roughly twice the size of his head. He looks up, mouth agape, at the mammoth basketball hoop in front of him.
The boy had recently come from a basketball game he had attended with his father. For the boy the experience was almost surreal. Giants, more so than men, bounded up and down the court, passing, dribbling, shooting. Occasionally one of the players would achieve something that would cause the boys eyes to bug and his jaw to drop: the slam dunk.
The boy could not stop contemplating the wonder he had seen, so immediately upon returning home he grabbed his basketball and stepped out onto the concrete that made up the entirety of his small backyard. He had asked his father to lower the hoop as much as possible, but he did not tell him of his intention. Once the dad had stepped inside, the boy placed a chair in front of the hoop.
The boy lowered his head and produced a scowl of determination from his freckled face. Basketball in hand, he took one large step then another followed by a step up the chair and subsequently off it. He raised the basketball above his head and, as he began his descent, the boy slammed the ball through the hoop.
Falling to the ground, the boy scraped his knee and let out a scream. But the scream was not of pain, but rather of victory.(less)
It happened every year. But that didn't make it any less special.
Every since he was one years old, Tommy had always had a fascination with birds. It was the only thing that would make him happy, calm him down. He was a fussy child.
Every year,(more) his dad would take to the beach, where they could see the birds migrate south for the winter. Tommy loved that. His dad overcame a childhood fear of birds, because his son loved them so much. It became their thing, the thing they bonded over.
And then one year, it stopped. Tommy's dad moved out. Tommy didn't go see the birds every year, despite his mom's offering. No, he now only saw the bird in his dreams. And that haunted him.(less)
The hiss of the lighter filled the silent air as the joint was lit. She sank backwards into the couch cushions, taking the harsh inhale, and holding her breath, hoping this would be the hit. The haze drifted over her eyes, and she felt herself relaxing, like every muscle(more) unwinding and every care meandering out of her heart like the smoke from her mouth.
She passed the joint. She didn't actually like him; she was, as she liked to say, "passing the time." Her last break up had devastated her, emotionally and financially, even though she had initiated it. But now he was there - attractive enough, willing to listen (for a brief period of time), and a reliable source of free mind-altering substances. Even if he was a dull narcissist, his shortcomings could be looked past for the time being, except maybe the shortcomings in bed.
He passed the joint back. Another inhale, a three count, and an exhale. A sip of cool water to refresh the dry throat. Another hit, hold, and pass. He reached out a hand and ran it through her hair, tracing it down to her shoulder. Sober, she would have recoiled with obvious disgust, but high, she accepted it indifferently. She knew the routine - in about half an hour, he'd want to have sex. She would oblige, and it would take too long. He'd fall asleep after, and she'd grab a gram for the road and leave.
She always dreaded the sex, devoid of any intimacy on her end, and probably on his. She knew he had others.
But for now, she was taking flight, her worries and cares melting off her like an ice cream cone in the summer. There was no future, no past, just a present, diaphanous and fleeting. (less)
"Look," said Orville, "I think we need to rethink this."
"What's we rethink?! We know it works! We saw it crash," said Wilbur.
(more) "Yes, we saw it CRASH. It may have flown once, but whatever's left - we won't gleam any information from it. We should go back to the original plan."
"The original plan? Those old wooden, two winged failures? We were studying bicycles, Orville. This is an AUTOMOBILE."
Wilbur stared at his brother, covered in grease and several strange substances that had yet to be named.
"We wanted heavier than air flight. This is as heavy as it gets."
"I just wonder," said Orville, staring around at the crashed alien space craft, "if it isn't a little out of our range."
They'd found it when a prototype of theirs had crashed into a stand dune, as usual. But this time, it dislodged a hunk of sand and revealed metal. Further digging led to a door. Their minds had run wind with the possibilities, and an inquiry into the mechanisms of the thing, the ship, revealed it followed some sort of logic. Although the logic was beyond them. It was beyond mankind.
What it was, was Lowell's canals. It was one of Wells' tripods. Only this one didn't have legs.
And that drove Wilbur mad.
"We need to have proof of concept for our backers," said Orville, "Count Zeppelin is showcasing his flight by the end of the year. We need an aircraft. This train is leaving."
"Hah. Trains. Who would need trains..."
Wilbur stared at the misshapen skeleton in the center of the room. It gave no answers. Maybe, thought Orville, it had simply found the ship as well. Maybe they'd flown it here, only to crash.