Friday, June 24, 2011

Found Treasures IV: Skydiving

Next in the series of lost creations that I rediscovered on old floppy disks [1] is a short story that I wrote for my Creative Writing class, in my Junior year at Box Elder High School. It was handed in on October 18, 1997. Unlike some of the other files I found, I actually remembered writing this one. But since I thought that it was lost, I rewrote it and presented it to the BYU 38th Ward Book Club in 2006.[2] It is interesting to compare the two and see how my writing changed between 1997 and 2006.

The jumper cautiously peers out into the free air and drops his gaze to the ground below him. Everything below looks incredibly small and distant. So distant that it makes him dizzy. His head swims with vertigo—quickly he pulls back to safety.

He looks around and sees others like him preparing to jump. The jumper doesn’t see any sign of fear or concern, as they leap out into open space and began to glide to the surface of the earth. His gaze follows them over the edge and he peers once more into the vastness of the open air beneath him.

The jumper watches the others floating down toward the earth. There are a lot of jumpers today. Some of them are jumping from lower altitudes, but they can’t help it. There really isn’t much choice in the matter. He identifies some of the jumpers from his group and smiles at the recognition.

A slight wind sucks him dangerously close to falling. The jumper desperately clutches to the closest thing he can reach. He isn’t ready. He holds on for dear life until the breeze settles down enough that he can let go without fear of being blown away.

It’s getting late and he’s running out of time. He’s still uncertain, so he remembers: Everyone’s afraid the first time. Take your time. Have fun. These were the words of advice given to and readily accepted by him and his fellows. But now they have to follow through.

Again he watches some of them jump and this time he notices that some of them hesitate. Maybe they’re just as afraid as I am, he muses. He’s never considered that before—they’d all seemed so nonchalant. But in spite of his fear he knows that this is an important step in his life and he has to take it.

He glances around and finds that he’s alone. Everyone else in his group has gone. It’s time for the final decision. He quickly runs through the pros and cons in his head, one more time.

And then he jumps.

Remembering his instructions he slowly lets go of all his supports and surrenders himself to the pull of gravity. The slight breeze carries him out into the open air, slowly spinning around. The wind rushes through his ears and it seems ready to tear him apart. It tears at his fragile body, searching out the weaker parts and savagely invading them. He falls faster and faster and the wind probes harder and harder. The sinking feeling in his gut is almost engulfing.

Then the acceleration stops. He remembers what he’d been told. This is free fall. He twists, turns, and tumbles through the air. The feeling in his stomach isn’t terrible—it tickles! This isn’t bad, he realizes. This is fun.

He looks around again and sees that he’s no longer alone. There are other jumpers falling around him—all seemingly enjoying themselves as much as he is. He’s not alone!

He tears his gaze from the others around him and looks towards the ground. It’s slowly rushing towards him, slowly growing larger in his view. As it comes up to meet him, he sprawls out on the soft, dying grass.

He lies on the ground in ecstasy. The euphoria of his accomplishment makes him feel like he’s still flying. He did it. He overcame his fear and jumped. He conquered his indecision and adversity, thus altering his life. He’s free now—completely free—and he’ll never be the same.

Others are lying near him and more are coming down. They land all around him and some land on top of him. There’s nothing he can do about it, though—he’s immobile. The bodies rain down and create a soft carpet across the small field of grass.

After a few moments a face appears above him and a rake slowly draws him and his fellow companions into a pile underneath the tree.


[1] You can see some of those other rediscovered files here, here, and here. P.S. I found out that the Family History Center in the Harold B. Lee Library on BYU campus has external Zip drives that you can use, so I was able to pull the files off of the old Zip disk that I found. It's contents weren't that interesting—just flow cytometry data from some failed experiments from when I worked in Dr. Kim O'Neill's cancer research lab as an undergraduate. But telling you so gives me an excuse to post this picture of the disk:

[2] You can read that one here.

Image attributions:

Autumn Rocky Mountain Maple leaf is by Ninjatacoshell, available at Rocky Mountain Maple Leaf.jpg.

1 comment:

  1. I remembered this one as soon as I saw the first few words.