Sunday, November 15, 2015

Story Cubes 11: To the Rescue (fiction)

I couldn't sleep again, so I got up, took a pill, and let the cat out. Then I stood on the back porch, puffing a cigarette and gazing up at the star-spangled sky. The bulb in the porch light had fizzed out, so I had my flashlight with me. I dropped the butt, stamped it out, and was about to go back in the cabin, when I heard on odd sound off in the woods. It was a faint "ahhhh" sound, and for a crazy moment, I thought it sounded like the bleating of a sheep. Then I realized it seemed human, someone wailing weakly off in the trees. Somebody in trouble.

I have a hero complex, so I set off in the direction of the moaning, if that's what it was. I crossed the rickety footbridge over the stream and trotted into the woods. My flashlight made eerie shadows as I hurried down a path, and I started to worry about bears. I kept hearing that disturbing "ahhh" sound, louder and closer. It seemed to emanate from above, not just ahead. Finally it seemed to be coming from directly overhead. I stopped at the trunk of an enormous tree and pointed my flashlight up.

There was a man there, suspended by cords and fabric from the branches. What the hell, I thought, and then realized he was a parachutist. The missing pilot -- the one they couldn't find after the plane crash. But that was on the news a week ago. "You okay?" I yelled. No answer to my question, just another "ahhh." I didn't know what to do. He was way up there, higher than I could climb. I pulled out my phone, thinking I'd call 911, but there was no signal.

I lit a cigarette, closed my eyes, and tried to think. But then -- it was very odd. When I opened my eyes, I was back on the porch, without knowing how I'd gotten back there. The cat was in the yard, coughing up a hair ball and making "ahhh" sounds. I really, really have to stop taking Ambien.


(The bold-faced words are interpreted from the images on Rory's Story Cubes)

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