You can fall many ways, and how you land can make for interesting stories. Ever hold your breath as you watched a landing progress? Find your landing is misunderstood? See a cat fall without gravity?
Our writers have crafted the answers into stories of flash fiction. Some, you might say, are flash falls. Certainly what you read will surprise you. After all, flash fiction writers know how to spin a mid-air twist with a well-landed word or line.
The following are based on the July 13, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about an unexpected landing.
Mission Impossible? by Jules Paige
It was the cat. Becky knew something wasn’t Kosher. Blinking
was she conscious? The cat had not landed the way a cat
should, well at least most of the time. Cats usually land on all
four of their padded feet from generally any height. But there
wasn’t any real gravity here …was there? Just where was here?
The spaceship battle had taken a nasty turn. Some of the crew
had been beamed out. Along with some other life forms. The
large feline tabby had not landed feet first when transported.
Just what ship was Becky on? Friend or foe?
Flash Fiction by Pete Fanning
“Malik, what is this?”
“What do you mean? It’s fifty-eight white sheets. Rush order.”
“And the hoods?”
“Why do you ask so many questions?”
“Malik. These are costumes. For the men who’ve landed in town to protest the removal of the statue at the park.”
“Why have statue for loser? Only here.”
“Malik. This is serious. They don’t like us. They call us terrorists.”
“Terrorists Cleaners, now that is a good one, no?”
“Haven’t you seen the news?”
“News. I don’t have time for news. I’m always here, washing.”
“They march. They spread fear.”
“Then they are terrorists, no?”
Landing by FloridaBorne
He lifted a slender finger, pointing toward a log cabin at the edge of their landing site. What strange beige creatures and only half his height. The indigenous population scattered into the woods, their screams amusing.
“What is this place called again, love?”
“This continent calls it Earth,” she replied.
He furrowed a grey brow. “No understanding of the universal balance. Class zero planet. Recommend eradication and repopulation.”
“Negative,” she frowned. “The universal mind says this is designated as a prison planet for incorrigible souls.”
“What happened to Mars?”
“They destroyed that in a war.”
“Next stop?’ he sighed.
The Bag Lady by Rugby843
Gripping the seat in front of her, she thought she was going to be sick. How many people actually use those bags they put in the seat pocket? She shut her eyes tight, willing nausea to go away.
The stewardess announced, “keep your seat belts fastened, and your head down!”
It was just a short jump from LA to San Francisco, looking down at land the entire trip! How could this be happening?
Panicked, she felt a huge bump, then another. She kept her eyes closed, not daring to see what happened.
“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to San Francisco”.
The Tree House by Susan Zutautas
Meg was determined to find out today what was in the treehouse. When she saw Johnny going up there she called to him. “Wait for me I’m coming up.”
“No, there’s not enough room, and it’s too high.”
We’ll see about that, Meg said to herself.
Once inside she thought, wow what a cool hideout, and took a seat on the floor towards the back.
“Meg you’re gonna have to leave, my friend’s coming up, and there’s not enough room.”
“I’ll just move back.” Pushing against a burlap curtain, out of the treehouse she fell, landing on the ground.
A Tune...by Ruchira Khanna
Victoria came running from her room towards the noise.
She was startled as she gave silent stares.
After a few gulps, she inquired, “Are you okay?” as she extended her hand towards the victim who was laying under a pile of musical instruments.
“Yes, I am.” Pete uttered as he grasped her hand to get out of the mess. Continued to justify, “I was trying to tune them for the big night when I lost control and had this unexpected landing.”
“That was a productive fall. You composed a tune there!” she tried to sound convincing.
Unexpected Relationship by Diana Nagai
Meghan adjusted her oversized sun hat as she descended into the Olympic stadium. She scanned the crowd for a familiar face as she recalled the previous year when she landed a client who irrevocably changed her. A man who stirred unexpected feelings within her, but also enriched her life beyond attorney-client privilege.
Hearing her name, Meghan located the source, an athlete bouncing from one foot to one carbon-spring foot and back. This veteran, who had brought the good (love when she wasn’t looking) and the bad (trauma from service), had overcome so much.
Meghan waved back, feeling hopeful.
Ready for Landing by Norah Colvin
“Are we there yet?”’
“Not yet, Honey. Look. This is us. This is where we’re going. Another couple of hours. Watch a movie. Then we’ll be almost there.”
Mum replaced her mask and earplugs. Soon there’d be others to entertain Flossie while she relaxed on the beach or caught up with old friends.
She hadn’t realised she’d drifted off until Flossie’s insistent, “How much longer?” awakened her.
“Must be soon,” she flicked on the flight tracker.
“Please fasten your seatbelts for landing.”
“Yep. Almost there.”
“DIVERTED” flashed on and off the screen.
“What! Where?” She squinted. “Home! Why?”
First Steps in the Air: 1840 by Gordon Le Pard
The men looked at the strange contraption and smiled, they didn’t laugh as that would upset Sir George.
“Climb in there Thomas.” He said, pointing at the small boat with wheels. Thomas grinned at his companions as he sat down and held the tiller.
The men took the ropes and pulled, the machine trundled across the grass, getting faster and faster, then –
The men stopped, open mouthed, the machine was flying.
As the world’s first glider landed Thomas staggered out white faced, he wasn’t laughing now.
“Please sir, I want to give notice, I don’t want to fly again.”
First Steps in the Air: 1910 by Gordon Le Pard
“I saw light under the wheels, it left the ground.”
Geoffrey grinned, “Then let’s see if it will fly properly.”
He turned back to the aeroplane, a complicated construction of wood wire and fabric. Buttoning up his tweed jacket he climbed up and nodded at his assistant.
The propeller swung and the engine started. He opened the throttle and the aeroplane bounced across the field, suddenly the bouncing stopped, he looked down, he was flying.
He rose to about fifty feet, then turned slightly.
Suddenly he had a thought – I got up here, but how do I get down?
Ground Crisis by Kalpana Solsi
The geography of Leh had many an experienced pilots short of anxiety bouts. But for
Captain Sharma this was a cake-walk.
A co-pilot greeted him,”Juleh”.
Inhaling the fresh mountain air, he checked his messages.
He sat down with a thud.
The landing and maneuvering of the giant metallic bird in a tough terrain proved to be
easier than handling his domestic crisis. His larynx ran out of fuel. The air pressure in his
eardrums had dropped low. His better half was leaving him with a bitter taste. Alimony
compounded with fear stared bleakly at him. She had enough proofs.
Flying Lessons by Michael
Chook looked at his hopeful young. They were perched on the top rung of the old henhouse attending what Chook hoped was their first and last flying lesson. He clucked, standing tall, breast puffed out giving each of them the look of his superior experience.
Two clucks and each chicken, in turn, took flight. Gladys landed on her head, Mavis on her beak, Phyllis on her bottom. Chook looking dejected decided it was going to be a long day.
He paced about as they dusted themselves off.
Their clumsiness astounded him. He was glad he didn’t lay their eggs.
Nice to Meet You (Jane Doe Flash Fiction) by Deborah Lee
The bus stops suddenly; Jane barely catches her book midair. She throws an annoyed glance the driver’s way as she rebraces her feet against the floor, gripping the strap harder.
The bus lurches again, sending her flying along with her book. Strong hands grab her, keep her from slamming headlong into the pole. Her head clears to the realization she is sitting in some man’s lap.
Her face burns. The man’s hand moves from her hip to the middle of her back, pats reassuringly. “No worries. This might be a sign I should buy you a cup of coffee.”
Torment by C. Jai Ferry
We were together six months, so tight from day one. I knew we’d be together forever.
Then a million knives struck my heart—both our hearts. We mourned our daughter.
When his fist landed in my chest, he was still hurting. I couldn’t breathe. He’d kill me, he said, then himself.
The cops asked how it started, what I did. I wanted to explain, make them understand. He was in pain. But they just wanted facts.
I needed him gone. But now his life’s ruined. What have I done?
I love him. I just wish I’d never met him.
The Coming Storm (from Rock Creek) by Charli Mills
Wind gusted and cottonwoods along the creek groaned. A nightfall storm closed in. Sarah hadn’t meant to stay so late in the company of Nancy Jane, but venison stew and friendship offered made Sarah linger. How long since she’d had a friend?
A branch cracked and Sarah screamed, escaping the limb’s descent. A man hollered at her to get out of the trees. Topping the gully, Sarah recognized the young stock-tender who rarely spoke. Hickok led the way as trees began to snap.
Hickok’s dugout provided an unexpected landing from the raging storm. And an unanticipated reaction from Cobb.
Landing by D. Avery
He did not want to take the old man fishing. He had few enough days to relax, dreaded the criticisms that would roll around the boat like rattling cans.
In the cove they drift cast.
Here we go, he thought. “Fine.”
“You deserve a day off. You work hard.”
Then quiet except for one-word utterances, “Nibble.” “Hit.”
Nothing stayed on the line. The old man told about their first time fishing this cove. “We got ‘em that day.”
He had only been four, but he remembered.
Today no fish were landed. “Can I buy you dinner, Dad?”
Flash Flood Warning by Anthony Amore
A rising wall of black water hits hard, enveloping and sweeping fast away all the carried things they lugged from the parking area three quarters of a mile up canyon.
The roaring rush scoured laughter and relaxation with silenced desperation and raging fear.
A father holds fast to his baby and a bending tree.
A mother is found but not a teen boy who reached deep for his cousin and two others.
Nine lay dead.
The experienced steady themselves and prepare to accept the worst.
A rescue worker vomits seeing feet protrude from a deep bank of muddy debris.
Words on the Stairs by Geoff Le Pard
‘I don’t know, Paul. I really don’t.’
Penny listened to her parents from the shadows on the landing, her face pressed to the balustrade.
‘It can’t do any harm to ask him to find out if your niece is alive, can it? I mean if it’s another dead end, that’s it and if not…’
Penny noted her father’s tone; almost pleading. He wanted Mary mum to continue. Her mother’s voice, in contrast, sounded flat. Emotionless. Penny stood and walked downstairs. She held her baby sister in her arms. ‘We want to know mum. And you do too. Don’t you?’
The Diver by Bill Engleson
The high board is a steep climb. Always. But I can do it. I’ve done it a zillion time.
That first time was a killer. I was six. My mother, who wouldn’t even stand on a kitchen chair to brush the cobwebs and spiders off the dining room fan, was like a crazed cheerleader, yelling, climb! Climb! CLIMB!
So, I climbed.
I’d already mastered the low board.
Cannonballs. Loved cannonballs.
But not as much as diving.
The jump. The spring. The flight. The spin.
And then, the landing. A bullet… and, surprize, surprize, an Olympic rocket into the pool.
Down at the Beach by Pensitivity
I was terrified.
One minute she was sailing happily through the air over her private obstacle course, the next she’d somersaulted over the groyne and landed on her back.
I couldn’t get to her fast enough, visions of My Baby lying screaming in agony, totally paralyzed.
Heart beating painfully in my chest, I reached the barrier and could see the other side.
Maggie was happily swimming in a little corral none the worse for her adventure and double tuck diving technique.
Me? I was a nervous wreck needing oxygen.
Hubby was in hysterics, saying she did this every day!
Pay No Attention to the Woman in the Parachute by Joe Owens
Sally never expected to be here. She even took steps to correct her errant ways, joining a group formed to assist those with impulse problems.
Yet, here she was with her hands on the opening of a small aircraft tasked with delivering her to the ‘jump off’ point of her first skydiving attempt. While staring at the checkerboard of specks below she thought about the disapproving visage of Mr. Elliot, the group leader.
Her face screwed into a look of terror when she remembered the ‘drop in’ picnic for her group in the park below. There was no escape!
Soul-Bird by D. Avery
Raven, protector, prominent on the totem pole, reminds all to live correctly. Raven who found the first People in a clamshell. Raven who keeps the tide, who balances night and day.
Do not fear this soul-bird even when Raven comes for you unexpectedly. Yes, you will appear as dead to those who might see Raven bear you away; you might feel that you have drowned in the bottomless pools of Raven’s eyes, feel the winging ascent as soft whispers of spirits. Raven will land you on the moon, where you will be warmly received, where you will be rebirthed.
His Sister’s Keeper by Kerry E.B. Black
Mud squelched as Ward knelt beside his unconscious sister. “Please don’t be dead,” he repeated like a prayer. She’d tried to keep up with him, but his agility and speed had outstripped her crippled gait. He’d relished the freedom of flight, enjoyed the thrill of exerting muscles habitually held in check to match her pace, tired of being his sister’s keeper.
Her scream halted his progress and his heart. She’d slipped down the hill. He had rushed to gather her to his chest. Frail, thin, with tendons protruding oddly, Nina groaned. Ward wiped a tear of regret and relief.
Post-seizure by Anne Goodwin
Like stepping back from a pointillist painting: distance gives sensation shape. On a scale of one to ten not the worst I’ve suffered: I might have wet myself but I’m uninjured, and I’ve come round in my own bed. The room whirls, but only slightly, as I get to my feet.
On the landing, my vision blurs again, the carpet a kaleidoscope of colour. Brushing the wall for balance, I stagger towards the bathroom and a reviving shower. Ouch! My shoulder dislodges a framed photo. That’s not my family staring out of the picture. This isn’t my house.
Black Hole by Reena Saxena
Have I landed in Ayn Rand’s Atlantis, like Dagny Taggart? I did not aspire to meet the love of my life, not with my age and appearance.
The mirror in the hallway belied my assumptions. I looked young and ahem … pretty, just like that painting on the wall.
Whhaaaat? My picture in this place ………..?
Instinct drew me to a picture perfect bedroom with lace curtains, and I saw myself knitting. But I prefer reading anytime, anywhere.
Looks like I have landed into a past life, through a black hole. And my folks out there are placing ’Missing’ ads.
Almost Ready to Fly by Liz Husebye Hartmann
After a crackling-hard winter, she was relieved to drag the Adirondack chair out of the shed. Morning sun dappled through the leafy canopy overhead, warm enough to make morning coffee outdoors feasible, but not enough to waken mosquitoes.
This vision had carried her through those brutal months before retirement. Leaning back, she stretched her bare toes into the dewy grass and smiled. Too early for ticks, too!
“I left the nest! God-willing, may all my mornings be blessed like this.”
A nestling sparrow plummeted through the trees and onto her lap. He glared up at her through sparse fluff.
Roosting Time by D. Avery
“Aw, fricassee! I ain’t never seen chickens ‘round the ranch before. We gonna have to herd them too?”
“If Shorty says.”
“Chicken’d go nice with carrots.”
“I doubt the chickens end up in the pot. She already thinks they’s ladies in petticoats for gosh sakes.”
“Wouldn’t surprise me none if Shorty got ‘em to scratch out 99 words in the dirt for her. They’d scratch out some egg-citing tales, alright.”
“Bah, what stories do chickens have?”
“Some speak of the coop, some the road.”
“Shorty says she’s done crisscrossin’ roads for awhile.”
“Yep. That chicken has landed.”
All together a fine kettle of fish you’ve landed there, Charli Mills. A satisfying feed.
Agreed! A great introduction to a fabulous collection.
Ooh, these are so good!