Gritted teeth and tightly closed eyes didn’t reduce the pain in my legs.  I was losing blood and consciousness.  The aircraft was losing altitude.

With no idea of my location, I reached for the lever.  Five seconds later I floated earthward under my parachute, thinking the desert looked much larger now.  I landed in a crumpled heap then cut large pieces of parachute to bandage my perforated legs.

At first I heard, but couldn’t see the approaching helicopter, so, pistol drawn, I prepared to die fighting as I tried to focus.  When I saw the British insignia my tears flowed freely.

The end


4 comments on “Mayday!

  1. Hi Tom, I really like your first three sentences here. They create the scene with great economy of words. If I was to suggest one thing it would be to perhaps vary the beginnings of the sentences a bit more. Even reading in my head I was really aware that the sentences in the last paragraph all started the same which made it sound a bit like bullet points rather than narrative.

    I find this length the hardest to write. Shorter stuff (like txtlit) I think is a different skill and with a few more words you can do a lot more. This length is very tricky – well done! I’d love to see you develop the tension of who’s flying towards him in a longer story too. Building up the fear of the enemy in the reader’s mind. Let me know if you ever write it!

    I think you created a very vivid picture.


    • Many thanks Chloe. Your input was invaluable my friend. Apart from the first three sentences I’ve edited the remainder. It has the same number of words and I think maintains the suspense and the imagery, but it no longer reads like bullet points… although in this story that would have been appropriate…


  2. I think you capture the ‘moment,’ and the subsequent sense of relief really well in this piece. As a writer it takes huge self-discipline and skill to write a story of this length so effectively, both of which you demonstrate here, and of which I admit to being a little envious of..


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