Up, Up, and Away! November 18th, 2015
This short story was originally written as a response to a reddit.com writing prompt.
I'm re-posting it here to collect all my stuff together.
"You're one of the people who get sucked out of the airplane as the cabin explosively decompresses."
It sounded like a bomb. I don't know if it actually was, or if that's just what these things sound like. I blame the fat guy. If I weren't waiting for him to finish, I would have been inside the bathroom as opposed to waiting just outside of it.
I didn't see what happened. You know how it is on airplanes, you don't look much at the other passengers. One moment I was standing surrounded by a seemingly solid cabin, the next thing I know, I feel the cold wind rip past by face. The dark cabin went bright, and everything was sky blue.
It seemed strange, like I was standing still and the plane flew up away from me. The wind hit me hard as it blew from below, and this terrible sense of doom broke into my thoughts.
They say when you're about to die, your life flashes before you. Some think this is your brain searching your past for something it might apply to your current predicament.
As long-dormant neurons fired into life, my brain began to feed pictures of things I'd seen long ago; not the things you'd expect, but seemingly random pattern matching. A documentary on the Falklands War, an episode of Mr. Bean. The episode of Seinfeld with the whale and the golf ball.
Images of my childhood rose up within my subconscious. I relived my college graduation. My 7th birthday, and the party we had where we watched Superman II. Cake, candles, balloons. Yet nothing I could use to help me.
The solution was suddenly here. Superman could survive this fall. Superman can survive anything. Here there was nothing but me, sky, and the bright sun racing through the thin atmosphere. This high up, I'd be exposed to the yellow sun's rays in a way I'd never been exposed to it before. The power from the yellow sun could surely save me.
I didn't hesitate at all. I kicked my shoes off and the high winds immediately ripped them away from me. The next part was tricky. I had to pull my underpants down, one leg at a time. First the left side, down the inside of my trouser leg, and around my foot.
My gaze caught the ground below me, and it was advancing by the second. What had seemed like a patchwork quilt before now was turning into fields and farms.
The other leg wasn't so hard. It turns out it's actually easier in mid-air to do this, as you can't fall over. My hands were so cold, but I did not falter. With my last strength I removed my underpants.
The ground was almost here. The blueness of the high air had gone now, and I could see the spot where the earth and I would meet.
I pulled my underpants back on, except this time on the outside of my trousers. I struck a pose; my right arm thrust upwards to the sky, and my left by my side.
"Up, up, and away!", I cried with my remaining breath.
For that last moment, I was Superman.
Written by Richard Mitton,
software engineer and travelling wizard.
Follow me on twitter: http://twitter.com/grumpygiant