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High Flyers

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Have you ever had one of those dreams where you’re floating a few inches (maybe a foot) above your bed, and just when you’re about to fall, you wake up? I have; but mine was different. How? When I woke up, I was still floating.

How? Why? Your guess is as good as mine. All I know is that as soon as I realized exactly what was happening, I fell. For a while after, I thought it had been a dream. I had had many dreams about flying before, and this one (or all the others like it before) was no different.

It was only after it had happened when I was awake did I begin to question my “dreams”; or my sanity.

I was home by myself, not doing anything in particular; just hanging around the house listening to music, digging through the cupboards looking for something to snack on.

There was a noise outside the house, like somebody closing a car door. It wasn’t unusual, my all of my neighbors were fairly close compared to some of the others in the small town I lived in. the part that caught my attention was I hadn’t heard anyone come up the driveway.

I stepped to the patio door overlooking the driveway, and saw no cars in our driveway, but a blue Ford F150 at the garage across the road from my house. I chuckled to myself quietly. Anyone I knew in the small town of Crestfield (named after the cliffs ‘cresting’ over the ocean a few minutes drive from my house) I also knew their parents names, their siblings and pets names, who their boyfriend/girlfriend was, and what kind of car they drove. Yeah, it was that small of a town. Well, technically “community” would probably be the proper name for it, but “town” was just so much easier to say.

I recognized the big blue truck parked in front of the garage across the road from my house, and the man currently talking with Sam (the owner of the garage). It was a friend of mine, Lee’s father. My guess was he had come to ask Sam to fix his lawn tractor again. The last time it broke, Lee’s father asked my dad to fix it, but my dad was away for work at the moment, and Sam was home, so he went there instead. My thought was proven right when Lee’s father and Sam took the tarp off the object on the back of the truck, revealing a shiny new green lawn tractor. I wasn’t the least bit curious why there was a tarp covering the lawn tractor on a gorgeous clear and warm day like today; Lee’s family had tarps for everything - even if it went in the shed.

I looked beyond the garage to the picturesque view behind it. My mom and dad had picked out this very spot to build our house for two reasons: a) the land had previously belonged to my grandparents on my dad’s side, and my grandparents had given it to mom and dad as a wedding gift, free of charge. And b) it was on a small hill, just high enough to see over anything trying to block the view of the other side of the river.

I had been looking at that very same view for the entire 16 (almost 17) years of my life, and it never became any less beautiful or captivating.

The river directly in front of me, trenching off to the left and the right, until the twists and turns took it out of sight. The rolling landscape with a varying amount of homes, fields and forests making the different shades of bright green stand out against the darker green and black of the mountains behind it. To the right, following the landscape as far as one could see around the curves of it, was the ocean; a sparkling blue reflecting the clear midday sky. Finally, to the left, you could follow the gleaming river as it curved around the hillside for a few miles, until it disappeared among the hills and mountains.

The sight had always made me relax to the point of wanting to lay down and sleep, but right now all I wanted was to go out onto the patio and soak up the warm sun, and let the wind brush the hair out of my face, bringing with it the salty sent of the ocean.

It was only when I went to take a step to the right that I realized something was off. I felt - different; but not a bad different, a good different. Or good-ish. It really was hard to describe the way I felt, but it was almost – light, weightless. My foot sailed though the open air, and my heart skipped a beat. It was like when you’re not paying attention to where you’re walking, and you walk down a step without realizing its there; suddenly there’s nothing underneath your foot, your heart stops for a split second, and your breathing falters. When your foot finally makes contact with the floor, it surprises you, and you catch yourself. Or you do usually; I didn’t.

As soon as my bare foot hit the floor, my knee gave out, and I pitched forward. The plate of leftovers in my hand went flying, the fork somehow catching me in the upper left arm. I was never a truly graceful person, I hardly ever tripped, fell even less, but the solidity of this fall would definitely have turned some heads and drew some snickers if it had happened in the middle of the crowded school corridor (thankfully – very thankfully though, it didn’t).

For a few minutes, I just lay there on the floor, surrounded by rice and chicken. Finally, with a shaking hand I managed to push myself into a sitting position. Leaning against the cupboards and trying to calm my frantic heartbeat, I seriously tried to piece together what had just happened. I think I knew right from the start what had happened, but my mind just kept shying away from the thought, going in circles to find another, more reasonable answer.

I sat there for about ten or fifteen minutes, trying in vain to come up with an explanation. Then, out of the blue, the phone rang. Letting out a shaky laugh at myself for being so jumpy, I tried to get the quaver out of my voice as I stood up and reached for the phone.

I kind of figures that the one time I need a reassuring voice to bring my reeling mind back to reality, the person on the other end of the line is a telemarketer. After hearing the unmistakable prerecorded voice, I hung up the phone. I rubbed a hand over my eyes to try to erase the mental stutter I was having, when the phone rang cheerily once again. I didn’t jump this time, fortunately, but surprise and a bit of dry humor cleared away some of the fog in my head. The phone barely ever rings at our house, we joke that we’re so popular people are too intimidated to call us.

I glanced at the caller ID and recognized the number. I picked up the phone.

“Hello?”

“Hi, Alyssa. Is your mom there?” Jean asked politely.

“Nope, actually she left to go meet dad, they’ll be home by the day after tomorrow morning.” There was no shake to my voice. Victory.

“Oh you dad’s coming home today, is he?” she sounded so cheery.

“The day after tomorrow.” I corrected, a chuckle pulling up the corners of my lips. Jean could be a little slow-witted sometimes.

“Oh, I see. So you’re staying home all by yourself?”

“Mmhmmm.” I answered, not really paying attention. I had just noticed the mess of rice and chicken all over the floor, and the miraculously unbroken plate.

“Oh alright then. Well, if you need anything, you call me, alright?”

“Alright.” I agreed. I had gotten the same thing from my Nan about a half hour after mom left.

“Alright then. Bye now.”

I didn’t say good-bye; she had already hung up the phone. For a moment I just glared at the mess, hoping it would just clean itself up if I stared hard enough. When it didn’t, I got down on my hands and knees and started picking up the parts of chicken with bones in it.

I tried very hard to think about other things. I thought about how happy I was that dad was coming home from work across the country after about a month, I thought about how I had the entire house to myself for the next two days, and I even thought about the party tomorrow night at the beach, and how excited everyone was. But no matter how hard I tried, my train of thought kept returning to the mess I was cleaning, and how it had got there.

I strained to find a logical answer. There had to be one, there was always one. Maybe I slipped and didn’t realize it. Maybe mom had waxed the floor before she left and forgotten to mention it to me.

I had all the pieces of chicken with either bit of bone in it I could find. I threw them in the garbage, and then sat down with my back against the cupboard once again. I let out a short whistle, and heard a thump as my dog, Willie, jumped off my mom’s bed and trotted out to the kitchen. Wagging his tail, he happily began licking up the rice and scattered pieces of chicken.

A million things were running through my mind, but they all came back to the dreams. Some of them were the same, some different, but I could remember them all as if they happened yesterday.

The full moon threw shadows all over the living room as I passed through it, my bear feet not making a sound against the well worn carpet. There wasn’t a sound in the whole house, which was strange. Usually in the very least the computer would be on, emitting a low hum, but not now. It was late; the only one awake was me.

I walked slowly and quietly to the side-patio door. As I reached for the handle, something in the back of my mind balked; but as I turned the handle, it didn’t make a sound.

I stepped out onto the wooded floor of the patio, not bothering to close the door behind me. A light, warm breeze caressed my face and bare arms, gently lifting my hair around my face. I smiled. It felt good to be out in the night.

Carefully, I pulled myself up onto the railing, ad for a moment just crouched there, both feel gripping the rough edge for balance. Slowly, very slowly, I unfurled myself, standing tall. I looked below me to the ground, seeming so far away. But I was not afraid. It felt excellent, it felt right.

I closed my eyes, lifting my face to the heavens, and raised my arms to embrace the world. I could feel my loose pajama pants fluttering against my ankles, the gentle wind seeping through my thin tank top. It was bliss.

I began to fall forward, towards the ground. Gradually at first, then faster as I got closer.

It was impossible to tell when my fall began to decrease it’s rapid pace, but I found the closer I got to the earth, the slower my descent. Nevertheless, my feet came in tender contact with the cool, damp grass underneath. The sensation sending shivers up my spine. At last, I was standing on the dew-covered ground, exhilaration still fresh. I had never felt something so magnificent.

That was one of the most prominent of the dreams. Even just thinking about it brought back a fragment of the elation I had felt during the dream. And it was just that: a dream. I had woken the next morning with dry feet and in my own bed.

The other dreams varied in location, but were basically the same thing. All included slow descents to the ground or floor; some of them even included rising to a platform, or beam in the roof. Either way, they were all about the same thing – flying. And I had no idea what they meant.

My thoughts turned to the more recent past. Willie had cleaned up all of the rice and chicken he could find, and was now sitting with his nose on my lap, looking up and me. His tail started wagging when I looked down at him. In his eyes was the clear request of more food. I deeply wished that everything was as simple as a dogs life.

Even though there was no trace of food on the floor to be seen, I headed for the mop and bucket anyway, just for something else to do. I went through the motions of propping the mop against the wall, digging around the cluttered shelf for the bucket, putting cleaner in the bucket mechanically. I was just starting to put water in the bucket when my phone vibrated.

I reached into my pocket and pulled out my phone, flipping it open without even thinking about it.

Dude, morrow nite gona be so sickk !! XD

It was Erin, one of the instigators of the party on the beach. Her reason: she wanted to get smashed. Very ambitious. Keeping an eye on the rapidly filling bucket, I typed back a message.

Duno if i can go, not feelin too good :(

I took the five pound bucket out of the sink, spilling some of the water back down the drain and I tried to maneuver it out from under the tap. I grabbed the mop, and headed back for the kitchen. Willie had probably taken back his domain on moms’ bed, I assumed. My phone vibrated again. I wasn’t really in the mood.

NOO ! u have to go ! ill be stuck with Kelly all nite if u don’t! D:

I was sure she would find someone else suitable to hang with all night with or without me, but I appreciated the thought.

Ud b fine with/without me. Still duno yet, tho.

i duno, i want u 2 come ! would be a BLAST !

i no, i sill might come. But if i don’t, u no y.

It took her a moment to answer back this time. By the time my phone went off again, I was already a quarter done mopping.

alright. g2g, ttu l8r :)

I put my phone back in my pocket. This time, it stayed silent.

I tried to focus on mopping the floor, but my thoughts kept straying. That latest dream had been the most vivid so far. I could’ve sworn I was awake. But obviously, since the impossible had occurred, I hadn’t.

A small voice spoke softly in the back of my mind; what if it wasn’t a dream after all? How wonderful would that be?

It would be pretty awesome. How many times had I wished on a star, caught 11:11 on the clock and wished with everything I had that I could fly? More times than I could count.

My reverie came to an abrupt stop. More than just me had wished for the power to fly. My bet for every two little girls that wished for a pony, one of the wished to fly. Why would I be the one to have my prayer answered? And the oh-so-famous question I had read in countless fantasy books: why should I be so special?

I sighed out loud. The voice came back again, this time a little louder.

What do you have to loose?

“Fine!” I said loudly to the empty house.

With way more force than necessary, I slammed the mop handle up against the wall, where it slid sideways and banged off the floor. I ignored it.

Not even caring enough to more to a dry spot on the floor, I sat down right where I was and crossed my legs.

There’s nobody else home to make fun or laugh at me, why not get this done and over with now? Then it’ll be out of my mind and I’ll be able to focus on reality.

I put my hands on my knees, closed my eyes and took a deep breath. A small feeling that felt like dread curled in my stomach, but I paid no attention to it. I took another deep breath. For a second, I was at a loss of what to do now. Did I just think “up”? How was this supposed to work anyway?

I scolded myself. It wasn’t supposed to work, that was the point. All the same, I tried to concentrate and visualize what I wanted to happen. That’s what they did in the books, right?

It wasn’t hard to concentrate on the prospect of flying; I had been trying not to think about it for weeks now, ever since I had the first dream. Needless to say, the thoughts of it filled my head immediately.

At first, nothing happened. As soon as I started feeling smug, however, something changed.

At first, I didn’t feel anything. Then, gradually, I began to feel like my skin was buzzing, like there was electricity in the air. It felt…good. Exotic. The feeling spread, all over my arms, my back, around my waist and down the length of my legs. Despite all, I was completely relaxed; nothing filled my mind but the feeling of electricity, everything else melted away.

Vaguely, I noticed something was off; an odd feeling that I wasn’t used to. Ever so carefully, I opened my eyes, trying to keep that feeling of electricity from escaping. It took me a moment to comprehend what was going on, but when I did, I crashed back to the floor.

Oh my god.




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