Author’s note: I wrote this for the Lascaux Flash Fiction contest, but then decided I didn’t like it. At least, not enough to consider it worthy of submission.
It was love from my first glance skyward. She danced along breezes above my head, her smile beckoning. I climbed to the top of the tallest oak in our yard, but still couldn’t reach her.
I built my first flying machine at age eleven. It barely passed the farmhouse roof before the gears slipped and I plummeted. It took three months for my broken arm to heal. Trapped in bed, I saw only her delighted smile as I had ascended.
We couldn’t afford college. I would spend my life tilling our fields. But I spent every free moment in the barn, tinkering. Our neighbor’s crop duster gave me hours of happiness, dancing in her contrails. But I was sealed inside, and the engine drowned out her words.
I took out the engine, rebuilt it and strapped it to my back, the fuel replaced with clockwork. While my village watched, I turned the key. Up I flew, high into the sky! She came, dancing, with reaching hands and welcoming smile.
I don’t know how long I stayed aloft, lost in her eyes. But there was a screech of metal on metal, and I was falling, watching her concerned face fall away. I knew I would not survive. I closed my eyes.
I felt a soft touch against my skin. I opened my eyes and saw her, lifting me as my heavy body fell away, encumbered with machinery. I needed it no longer. “Come,” she said. We danced away, two intermingled zephyrs.