Saturday, April 27, 2013

Prompt: Life Flight

The EMS techs are more concerned with keeping me alive than sparing me any more pain. They probably don’t mean to jostle and bounce the stiff board onto the gurney, the gurney into the helicopter, the locks and buckles to keep me safe—safer than the last seat belt.

I am in a delirium of pain. Every inch of my skin feels hyper-sensitized to the brush of clothes, the cold of metal, the rough straps across my forehead, chest, hips and thighs. I want to pull away from each feeling. I can’t move at all.

The copter blades begin to turn. I move my eyes enough to track them through the open door. Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh-whoosh-whoosh. Wha-wha-wha-wha-wha… My eyes stop tracking and stare at the blur. We lift, swing, steady, rise, move forward. My eyes roll back.

I hear the dishwasher in my kitchen. No, the washing machine in the laundry room. Wait, it’s someone mowing outside. I’m sprawled on my bed, napping on a Saturday afternoon.

“Kelsey? Stay with me, honey.”

Huh? My eyes open, but I’m so tired. I can’t quite focus. I try to sit up, and I can’t move. Panic. A hand on my chest. A hand on my forehead.

“Kelsey, honey, stay still. You’re okay. We’ll be there soon.”

I remember. I remember, but I’m not ready. I drop it behind me before it comes fully into my mind. I’m not ready. I’m not ready. I feel panic pushing against my chest. From the inside, pushing against the steadying hand resting on the outside.

“Kelsey, I need you to stay calm. Stay with me, girl,” the calming voice that goes with the face I can’t quite see. I slide my eyes to look out the door again. I can’t focus on the face, but I can see each blade as it slices through the air. The white stripe that defines the front edge. The flare along its length, the curve at its end.

I close my eyes. I want this to be a dream. I want to wake up on my bed, drool across my cheek, cat against my arm. Mowers outside.  

Dogs in house:
Dishwasher rhythm
Time writing:
20 minutes
April word count:


  1. Prompt: Life Flight

    Cavla squinted her eyes in the bright sunlight and angled her head down, watching only the tan ground in front of each step of her clawed wingtips. She had seen light before, filtered through webbing and reflected down along long pipes to the deepest reaches of the nest. But the feel of wind, so forceful and _full_, was nothing like the small drafts that wound their way through the tunnels. The smell of the air was strange: everything was fresh, like food, and so varied--it smelled like she stood in the midst of a feast.

    She turned to look behind her. Her mother and father were no longer visible through the trees, plants whose identity she knew through drawings in her lessons, but which were so much taller and rougher than she had imagined. Her stomach flipped and her new, stiff feathers raised. She had imagined for so long her first flight--what if it, too, was different?

    And how could it not be, in this strange, open world? She resisted the urge to close her eyes and crawl forward in the comfort of darkness. Besides, it did not actually work--the sun was so strong it shaded her dark with a peachy sheen. She turned her attention to the rough ground and resumed her approach to the edge.

    _You'll know it when you get there_, her father had promised. Soon, the trees in front of her thinned. The tan before her steps halted in a sharp line, replaced with a fuzzy blue-white.

    She crawled right up to the edge and peered over. It was like the ground turned sideways and headed straight down...and down and down. Her vision pulsed in excitement. She raised on her legs, filled with desire to feel this all-empassing wind catching on the strong, straight feathers which had replaced her down.

    Before she had time to contemplate, she squatted and leapt. She spread out her wings and the wind pushed back. She arced and banked, and was soon spiralling up. The world spread out below her--blue-white to one side, tan and green to the other. She could now see the small cluster of her parents and other relatives near where she had left the nest. Something sparkled through the blue-white, like flashes of sun from below.

    She turned towards it, letting herself drop gently. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw her father take flight. He might have been saying something, but it was too thin and far away to make out past the rush of wind. She stretched her neck out, looking for a return of the sparks.

  2. I like the immediacy of present tense in yours. And I loved the description of the helicopter blades starting up. Also liked how she clearly knew what was going on in the start, but it faded from memory and then was repressed by the end. Very real.