As the woman tumbled from the heavens a riot of colours and questions chased her. Was that the rainbow spectrum of the balloon? Where was the parachute rip cord? Would life flash before her eyes?
Around 700 feet, she resigned herself to the terror of a recurring drowning nightmare she’d had as a child. Her chest tightened and the panic rose like vomit in her throat. Wake up! Wake up! Her brain screamed, but no sound came out.
Seconds from impact a feeling of calm spread through her. Aware of a benevolent presence, she relaxed into familiar arms, arms that lifted her. And, instead of plummeting, her body now felt as though it were gliding, or maybe she was flying.
500 feet, 400 feet, 200 feet…
The woman who faced imminent death took one last look around.
To the right, the sky was the same blue as her mother’s eyes. In the foreground, gold trimmed puffs of cloud lingered next to the most luminous reds and oranges, as if birds were shedding their colourful feathers.
To the left, the trees were dancing slowly, half lit in red organza dresses.
The woman lurched to the right, missing the trees, and plunged into the frigid water. As her entire world turned to darkness, a final thought flashed through her mind: Freedom.
* * *
After twenty minutes, 24D hadn't returned from the restroom, so Chuck turned to 24F. "Howdy. My name's Charles, but most folks call me Chuck. What's your name? I'm going to merry old England to visit my grandchildren. Have you been to England? The motherland? I went once before on a training course. I'm in sales. Insurance, mostly. You got insurance? You should. Hm? Sure, go ahead. Might be a queue..."
Opening: Dina Desveaux.....Continuation: Anon.