Soft Landing? #carrotranch #flashfiction

Charli Mills latest prompt is here

July 13, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about an unexpected landing. It can be acrobatic, an unplanned move or created into a metaphor. Go where the prompt, or chickens, lead.

If you are going to be a klutz and fall over then learn to fall well. I’ve certainly experienced my 10,000 hours of tumbling to ensure my clumsiness does me the least damage. If I’ve inherited a propensity to oesteoporosis from my mum then I’m probably in for a painful third age but so far, scratches and light bruising apart, most of my somersaults end up in sharp intakes of breath from anyone watching, much hilarity if they are family members and an embarrassed leaping to my feet accompanied by ‘it’s fine, I’m fine’ from me.

I had lunch with a blogging friend, Derrick Knight on Thursday at Barton on Sea in Hampshire a few miles from where he now lives and where I grew up. As I stared out over Barton Cliffs towards the Isle of Wight I vividly recalled a winter walk with my brother and parents back in the early 1970s. Mum and dad were on the beach combing the tide for useful flotsam while I followed the Archaeologist who was more interested in cliff falls to see if any fossils had been exposed. At one point we climbed the cliffs. Just under the lip at the top we found a sort of path and followed it, peering at the sticky red clay to see what might have been revealed.

Quite what happened I’ve no idea but he was ahead of me and he had no problems with the path. However a few feet behind I suddenly found myself on a sheer cliff face without said path.

This state of affairs couldn’t continue, of course and I began to descend much more quickly than is recommended in books on Cliff walking.

On the way down and as an inexperienced cliff diver I wasn’t prepared for the spin cycle that is built into the programming. I turned two complete circles, vaguely aware of a couple of shrubs regarding me with bemused indifference as I hurtled past.

At some point I’m sure my mind turned to consider how this rather exhilarating experience might end. The denouement came quicker than I probably expected as I had glanced a line of beach huts that were rapidly approaching and noted, with something akin to disappointment that they hadn’t considered how their design could have been adapted to incorporate a system of cushioning for anyone approaching from behind via an attempt, unsuccessful as was apparent, at unmanned flight.

I stopped. Abruptly. In an aspen shrub. Said shrub was sufficiently mature to have the strength to stop me but with enough youthful sappiness to bend on impact and not impale me on its branches.

As subsequently became usual, I hopped to my feet. There is a school of thought, in such circumstances, that one should lay still while triaging oneself. But that ignores the embarrassment factor, the need to leap up and try and create the impression that, against the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, this whole thing was planned.

I looked whence I had come. The Archaeologist stood on his precarious perch, watching me. When I waved he nodded once, maybe acknowledging I had somehow dodged rendering myself a megaplegic, maybe a recognition that for once I’d done something vaguely impressive and heaved himself to the safety of the cliff top. Neither of us told our parents, not then at least. After all they might have imposed some sort of ban on fossil hunting and cliff walking and that would never do.

And for this week’s flash, Mary’s journey in search of her twin sister’s daughter continues. She is in a  quandry

Words On The Stairs

‘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?’

And if you want to know more about the family, click here

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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14 Responses to Soft Landing? #carrotranch #flashfiction

  1. Landing as listening post! Yet another take on the prompt and an engaging continuation of the story.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. davidprosser says:

    A pity no-one had the foresight to film the greatest freefall artist of the age.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Annecdotist says:

    Wow, you were lucky! And such an eloquently described descent.
    And so the saga of Mary and her family continues. You’re so creative weaving the plot into the prompts week after week. Interestingly, I chose the same interpretation of landing for mine … Great minds!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. That’s an interesting take on ‘landing’ for your flash – I know it wouldn’t have occurred to me! And a ‘Wow!’ and a laugh out loud moment for your spectacular free-fall! The things we survive as kids 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This version of the tale you told us, Geoff, has benefitted from embellishment 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. HAHA! I love you way you tell a story Geoff. Although it must have been rather terrifying for you (and your brother watching), I was roaring my head of at mention of ‘spin cycles’ and ‘cushioning.’ Where you and I differ is that when I fall down or hurt myself, I do a bit of wallowing in self-pity nursing my injuries,rather than leaping up as if nothing had happened!


  7. Charli Mills says:

    Oh, wow what a lucky fall! That aspen formed the perfect unexpected landing. I like your alternative use of it to include Penny in the discussion between her parents.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Pingback: Unexpected Landings « Carrot Ranch Communications

  9. Norah says:

    Sorry, Geoff, I’m siding with your family and laughing at your fall. I’m sure I wouldn’t have laughed at the time, but your telling is hilarious! I could imagine every bit of it. This is a masterful piece of writing. I think Mary will have to follow up on the possibility of her niece being alive. It’s important to her family.

    Liked by 1 person

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