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Above the Clouds (Flash Fiction) (690 words)

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Old 04-30-2010, 02:24 PM
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Default Above the Clouds (Flash Fiction) (690 words)


This was me just playing around with first person (for some practice). All critiques and opinions are appreciated. Hope you enjoy!


DISCLAIMER:
This is a story about terrorism. It is purely fictional, of course, but please do not read it if you are easily offended.




Above the Clouds



The man dips a hand into his pocket and removes the bomb. He holds it up, inspecting it with dark eyes. With his lips, he touches the cool metal and secures it in the briefcase.
For Allah,” he whispers.





Her blonde hair sways as she rushes past, guiding a trolley of refreshments towards the next passenger. I swig down the last of my gin, the ice clattering against the glass.

My seat tilts backwards as I recline. I push the button on the arm rest.
Ding-dong.


“I’ll be right with you, sir.” She says.


Ahh… business class.
Ding.


“Good morning,” a voice says, “I am Captain Pauler, and I will be your pilot for today. We will be taking off in approximately four minutes, so please stay seated. Thank you.”


It has been three months since I’ve seen my family, so I can’t complain that I’m coming home. And anyway, we’re leaving behind a gloomy morning in Lisbon. Baggage handlers dart about, dumping suitcases into the hold. For once the sun is nowhere to be seen, and patches of grey and black are stitched into the sky above.

The hills in the distance are usually a fantastic green, but today they are lifeless; nothing more than streaks of grey on a dark canvas. Even the grass beside the runway has a slight tint of grey to it.

The plane accelerates - putting me back in my seat.
Ding.

Seatbelt lights glow a dim blue which matches the colour of the carpet. An excited chatter fills the cabin. Kids are laughing, jumping up and down. A man in the row next to me is reading a newspaper and sipping coffee. The woman in front is listening to her headphones.

I’m sitting bolt upright, gripping on to my arm rests. I peer out of the window, only to see the world tipping up at a steep angle.
I wince.


“Is there a problem, sir?” The hostess says, walking over to me.


“No. Everything’s fine; just another gin please.”


“Of course.” She bends down.


And I must admit - suddenly, I was enjoying the flight.



Two hours later. Something’s wrong.
The crew are huddled in a group, their eyes filled with suspicion.


“…or maybe not…” The hostess says, trying to keep her voice low.


The other hostess bites her nails. A man is wiping his forehead with a cloth.


“…would be a good idea.” He says.


They disappear into the cockpit.
Ding.


“This is your captain speaking. I’m afraid we have a slight problem. It is necessary that our crew check all luggage onboard the flight for safety reasons. Please cooperate - thank you.”


I sit back. What’s going on? Has someone smuggled a mouse on board?
The crew emerge from the cockpit with stern looks on their faces. The blonde one rushes over to the first passenger in my row and starts sifting through luggage. A redheaded man grumbles as he is awakened.

I sigh and raise my glass to get the last drop of gin. Only half an hour left, and then we’ll be landing in London.

My family will be waiting there as usual. I can’t wait to see the smile on their faces when I hand them the gifts; a remote controlled car for Simon and a portable beauty salon for Shirley.

The hostess yawns as she walks over to me. Everybody else has had their baggage checked.


“Luggage, sir?”


“Sure,” I say, reaching below my seat to fish out my briefcase.


“Thanks.” She takes it and props it upon the table, opening it up.


Her face distorts in panic. She shoots an accusing glance at me.
She looks like she’s seen a ghost.


“Help!” She yelps.


“What?” I look up, startled.


The crew charge over.
Cold.
Metal. Handcuffs seize my wrists.


“Let go!” I say, frowning. “What the hell is going on?”


The hostess jumps back, and a man barges through.
He peers into the briefcase, getting a good look for himself.


“Good god…


“What the-” I say.


He swivels the briefcase towards me.
No…

I blink hard, refusing to believe what my eyes are seeing.
Impossible.

There is a bomb in my briefcase.

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Old 04-30-2010, 02:32 PM
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How did the bomb get there?

Wouldn't it be cool if he had split personalities and his alternate one put it here, lol?

Good story, overall.

I liked it.
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Old 04-30-2010, 02:52 PM
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Thanks for your speedy reply! My idea was:

The narrator visits the toilet in the airport before the flight and leaves his suitcase beside a sink, unattended. That's when the terrorist slips it into the briefcase.

I suppose a split personality thing would be cool as well.
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Old 04-30-2010, 02:57 PM
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I love crazy twists, that's why I thought of the split personality thing.

I always try to monitor things I post on and reply as fast as I can.

Keep writing!
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Old 04-30-2010, 04:16 PM
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This is very good. I usually spot dozens of SPaG problems, but yours had only one. That is a superior job. And the story was good, characterizations and dialogue. I suspect that having an unexpected bomb found in your briefcase on an airplane would be hard to explain. I guess that's why airports keep up a constant stream of PA announcements "Don't leave your baggage unattended." Good work.

Oh, the tiny small error I found was this:


“No. Everything’s fine; just another gin please.”
At least it seems to me that there should be a slight pause between 'gin' and 'please'.
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Old 04-30-2010, 10:28 PM
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Originally Posted by That_Writer_Boy View Post
With his lips, he touches the cool metal and secures it in the briefcase.

This sentence seemed to indicate to me that he secured it in the briefcase with his lips. It's past my bedtime so perhaps it's just me reading it wrong.

Kids are laughing, jumping up and down. A man in the row next to me is reading a newspaper and sipping coffee. The woman in front is listening to her headphones.

This sounds a little cliche. You are Writer Boy and have the power to make even insignificant characters interesting. It also makes me feel like I'm at a park instead of on a plane.


“Of course.” She bends down.


And I must admit - suddenly, I was enjoying the flight.

I assume he is suddenly enjoying the flight because of something about her bending down. I want some clarity does she have a robust bosom, a perky derriere or maybe just a full set of enticing curves moving in all the right ways.

Two hours later. Something’s wrong.
The crew huddles in a group, their eyes filled with suspicion.

I sigh and raise my glass to finish the last drop of gin. Only half an hour left, and then we’ll be landing in London.

The attendant looking as though she's seen a ghost is cliche, I know you can do better.

The crew charges over.

As always your writing is excellent. This wasn't my favorite piece, but it still shows great imagination and has a fun twist at the end. You always impress me. I hope my feedback is helpful. I'm sorry if I'm coming off like a teacher, but you have such potential and I don't want to cheat you.
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Last edited by B. Milliken; 04-30-2010 at 10:30 PM..
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Old 05-01-2010, 12:01 AM
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Originally Posted by B. Milliken View Post
As always your writing is excellent. This wasn't my favorite piece, but it still shows great imagination and has a fun twist at the end. You always impress me. I hope my feedback is helpful. I'm sorry if I'm coming off like a teacher, but you have such potential and I don't want to cheat you.
Who doesn't appreciate a good sentence-by-sentence breakdown of their writing? We should all be so lucky.

I do agree with Milliken's analysis that there are a couple of cliches that can be changed. However, I thought the terseness of your writing helped create a captivating sense of suspense, especially given the first paragraph.

Kids are laughing, jumping up and down. A man in the row next to me is reading a newspaper and sipping coffee. The woman in front is listening to her headphones.
Maybe I just like this because I can relate to it. I'm terrified of flying, and when I'm forced to, I tend to see things just like this; everything seems to be happening fast and I notice everyone around me, but not really a lot of details. Sensory overload, perhaps?

Very nice work. I look forward to reading more.
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Old 05-01-2010, 01:20 AM
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I don't mind criticism, so don't worry. I was going to post it here earlier, but I made some last minute (rushed) adjustments, like adding the kids in, so maybe I should have been a bit more patient and edited more :P

Thanks for your comments everyone.
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