Velocity

Chuck at terribleminds has decreed we write 500 words of a story for someone to finish next week. I finished up at 401 words and left it open for whomever continues it. They could write the flashback, or they could write the conclusion. I suspect if I’m lucky, I could get both.

 

Falling.

I rush to you with my eyes open wide. I’ve protected you for years, but now you’re my undoing.

Worthless.

I gaze at the weapon clutched in my hand. My knuckles white with exertion. I cling to what’s familiar, but it mocks me. A tool for keeping the peace used in such a profane manner.

Futility.

I tried to stop them, but I wasn’t good enough. I did my duty with honor.

“Velocity two meters per second squared. Dispatching rescue drone.”

I snort at my ‘assistant.’ Or as much of a snort you can muster while falling. I’m reminded of a quip my partner said once: When trouble breaks out, the assistants break down. I kept up with all the maintenance, followed all the procedures. When the damn thing broke, I requisitioned a replacement.

I’d seen old videos of skydivers. They fall spread-eagle for maximum drag, but I’ve already reached terminal velocity. The problem is, they had a parachute. It’s been said, It’s not the fall that kills you, it’s the sudden stop at the end. It’s amazing what trivialities the mind conjures in a situation like this.

“Rescue drone deployed. Calculating time until intercept.”

It’s amazing I can hear the thing with the wind rushing over me. The sound is intense. If it weren’t for my cochlear implant, I’d never know if help was on the way. The implant inputs audio directly into my auditory cortex and detects the vibrations of the tympanic membrane in my ear when I speak.

“Drone inbound. Estimated time until arrival, thirty-seven seconds.”

Thirty-seven seconds.

“Assistant.” I said. “Access geolocation. Estimate time until impact.”

I hear the beep. “Five thousand nine hundred eighty seven feet until impact. Estimated time, thirty-three seconds.”

I feel tears briefly – the wind steals them and their meaning from me. The sky is so clear, I can see for miles and miles. Below, the patchwork of ground creates a mosaic. It would be beautiful if it didn’t mean my death.

Resigned to my fate, I holster my weapon. I suspect if the wind wasn’t biting my clothing, I might try to straighten my tie and jacket. If I have to be a corpse, I’d prefer to be a handsome corpse.

“Impact immanent. Reduce speed immediately.”

No shit. I think as I see less and less of the mosaic below. I squeeze my eyes and think about what led me here.

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About Mark Gardner

Mark Gardner lives in northern Arizona with his wife, three children and a pair of spoiled dogs. Mark holds a degrees in Computer Systems and Applications and Applied Human Behavior. View all posts by Mark Gardner

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