A Bit of Short Fiction: She Hated Long Flights

Just a little bit of fiction. I started this a while ago, thinking more might develop, but so far it hasn’t. The idea came from one of my photos. I’m just going to throw them both out into the world instead.

“Surface”
She hated long flights. Even with the extra leg room and elbow space of the first class cabin the feeling of confinement was acute. The headache wasn’t helping.

“Ma’am, would you like another drink?”

Katharine look down at the glass sitting on the armrest. Empty. She didn’t remember finishing the whiskey.

“Yes, please,” she said. 

The flight attendant took the glass and walked away, her dark brown pony tail bouncing behind her. Looking out the window, Katharine sighed. She wasn’t sure where they were, but the ground below looked harsh and barren. Crevices that could have been rivers or canyons snaked across the landscape like scars. Whenever she saw the earth from above it made her think how nature replicates itself from the smallest organism to the largest. What she was looking at now could as easily be a piece of her skin looked at under a microscope, the dry and cracked dirt in her yard, or patterns on a leaf.

The flight attendant returned with the drink. The ice clinked against the glass when she put it down and the potent smell of the liquor floated up to Katharine’s nose. She loved the smell of whiskey. It was the main reason she drank the amber colored spirit. That and the 94 proof. She brought the glass to her lips and took a sip, the liquid leaving a path of fire as she swallowed. After a moment, the familiar and comforting warmth filled her belly and she relaxed slightly, closing her eyes. Behind her eyelids she saw the flesh of the earth below, but this time the crevices were flowing blue rivers, the barren land covered with lush greenery, the flat landscape rolling hills. She zoomed in closer, parachuting down slowly towards one of the wider rivers. As she got closer, she saw a canoe and in it a dark haired man in a red jacket smiling up at her and waving. Somehow she landed right in the canoe, her parachute floating down around her and in the water, the red, white and green fabric swirling in the blue. The man reached forward and unclipped her harness. She shrugged it off and the river’s current pulled the chute and harness away with it. He reached for her and pulled her into his arms. She could smell the earth and the light musky cologne he favored as she buried her face into his neck. Tears welled in her eyes as he whispered, “I’m so glad you’re here.”

A sudden bumping jarred her awake, her eyes blinking at the bright light of the cabin. The seatbelt light blinked on and a voice came over the speaker. “Ladies and gentleman, we are beginning our approach. Please fasten your seatbelts. We are expecting some turbulence during the descent as we pass through some rain coverage. We expect to land in aproximately twenty minutes, with an arrival of 6:35 pm California time, making us early by fifteen minutes.”

The same flight attendant came by for Katharine’s empty glass. She smiled at Katharine. “You got a good rest, ma’am. Would you like a warm towelettes to refresh yourself with?” Katharine nodded and took the offered towelette. The warmth was soothing on her face and the lemon that infused the fabric helped clear the fog from her head. While she waited out the last few minutes of the flight she wondered what she would face when they arrived. 

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