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 thoughts on “Mayday!

  1. Chloe

    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.


    1. Tom

      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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