Friday, January 17, 2014

Short Story: Flight




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And now here’s a vignette. Enjoy, folks.

FLIGHT

by Kilawinguwak

 

She stepped into her room, peeled off her orange jacket, and slammed the door. There wasn’t much inside, neither her jacket nor her room, to speak of. The furnishings were bare; a simple wooden bed with a thin cushion, thin white sheets, and a pillow. A table with a chair on one side, with a cheap plastic lamp in one corner of the tabletop. Which was dusty, as if it hadn’t been used in weeks, but the bed was creased, as if she’d been lying on it just recently. A thin layer of dust could be seen on the small headboard.

She pulled out her chair, and eased herself into it. There was hardly a creak when she sat. She was very, very light. From a small purse hanging from the back of the chair, she pulled out a notebook and a pen, and started writing.

From outside her second floor window, she looked like she was studying. She looked like a college kid, a freshman, and she hunched over her notebook as if it were a term paper she needed to submit later that evening. She had a dark blue wife-beater on underneath the jacket, and it shifted slowly while she breathed. Her breaths came in short and slow beats.

She wrote for thirty minutes, taking small pauses in order to think of the next line, or to erase something she felt didn’t belong. She was using a red pen, and the ink, nearly dry, looked faded against the yellow of her notebook paper. Several times, she had to rub the pen over the back page of her notebook to get the roller loose. She sometimes wondered if maybe she should go look for another pen, but stopped herself.

When she finished what she was writing, she put down the pen, and read through the text on her notebook. Satisfied, she inserted the pen into the notebook, closed it, and put it in the middle of the table.

A cat started meowing loudly elsewhere in the house. She leaned back on her chair, listening to the caterwaul, lost in thought. She turned her head to look at the window; rays of the afternoon sun streamed in from outside, illuminating the dust in her room. She stood up, walked over to the window, and looked outside.

The window was not really a window. It was a frame of glass that couldn’t be opened, but it allowed one an ample view of the garden below. There were some bushes right under her window, lush with greenery. There was also a small bit of lawn between the bushes and the high wall that surrounded the house. A hammock hung in one corner of this small garden, slung between a drainpipe that snaked up to the roof a few feet away from her window, and to the stump of a tree that rested against the wall. It was currently empty.

She placed her hands against the window, pressed her face against it as well, and it shook a little under her weight. “Loose,” she said, and nodded. Satisfied with her survey of the outside world, she walked over to the opposite wall of her room, and opened one of the built-in closets. From inside, she lifted a small knapsack, and placed it on her bed. With a soft tug, she opened the main compartment’s zipper all the way, and exposed the interior of the bag.

Back in her wall of closets, she picked out several baby t’s and underpants, and a pair of cotton socks. She lifted each one up to the sunlight to get a better at it look before folding it again, and placing it on a pile at the foot of the bed. When she’d finished, she had about four shirts and five pairs of underwear. She carefully piled everything except for the socks into the bag, and zippered it shut.

After packing her backpack, she knelt down on the floor, and reached under her bed. From underneath, she pulled out a pair of brightly-coloured sneakers, a bit old from wear, and set them down on the floor beside her. She sat back on the bed, and removed the slippers she was wearing. She carefully pulled on the socks, pulling up each pant leg to get a better view of her legs as she did, and then slipped on the sneakers. She made sure the laces were tight before retrieving her jacket from the floor, and putting it back on.

Having finished dressing up, she hoisted the knapsack onto her back, stretched her legs a couple of times, and then stood still, listening. The air was still, and somewhere outside she could hear the trill of a grasshopper. The cat was done meowing. She walked over to her door, and pressed her ear to the wood. Nothing.

She walked over to the chair, and lifted it up. It was a bit heavy for a girl with her frame, but she discovered that she could lift it over her head with some difficulty. She placed it back down, and dragged the chair over to the window. She checked outside the glass again—the hammock and the garden were still empty. She smiled, and moved back a few steps.

Again, she lifted the chair over her head, and let the heavy weight of it fall against the frame of the window. There was a loud crash as she watched the chair slowly fall into and through the window, breaking apart wood and glass, sending shards flying all over the air both inside and out. The chair seemed to hang over the frame where the window used to be for a second before plummeting to the garden below.

She ran back to the door, pressed her ear against the wood again. She could hear muffed footsteps from far away. She turned to face the window, pressed back against the door, then started running towards the now empty ledge. When she was a few steps away from the window, she jumped forward, flying through the air like a neon fireball.

flight

Taken from Wilson Santiago’s photography blog.

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