Kilimanjaro

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The young woman stepped over to the drop-off of the crest, just overlooking the edge as she glanced back at her acquaintance. "Meet me at the usual place, and don't take too long!" she issued. Her partner nodded in response. The young woman tilted back steadily for one moment, and gently pushed off of the surface.

Glacia watched as she figure remained airborne, dipped, and disappeared from her view from behind the cliff face.

She waited, taking her time before her descent.

It was quiet on the tall edge of a mountain. The sky was painted a dull, lazy, but inviting hue of blue. It was hot and sticky, but there was a soft rustling wind at the height of the summit. Bird noises and creatures themselves were almost exempt at her altitude. All she could hear was the sound of her own controlled, but slightly accentuated breathing and the motion of the clouds shifting.

Glacia waited, both for herself and the world waiting below.

She pulled on her old gloves, hard, stiff leather with a rigid bumpy underlayer for grip and support. She flexed, one hand at a time and admired her nostalgic paraphernalia.

Glacia glanced at her boots and once again, sporadically, bent down to retie the strings and buckle each strap a little tighter. Then she straightened up and fidgeted with her thick-clothed vest, damp with previous perspiration of her climb. She tucked the bandana into her pockets and let the rare, mild breeze caress her sticky neck. The sun still shone undauntedly, and until it declined, she had time to spare.

She glanced toward the sky, squinted in the glare of the sun, and rewetted her thirsty and wind-chapped lips. She waited for time to pass and the brightness, biting into her eyes at first, to gradually lose its intensity with the fall of day.

Finally, the sun was slowly wading into fog of resting clouds. It was time to go.

She roughly slid the sky-goggles over her forehead positioned them until they were snug above her cheekbones. She twirled a loose hair, dancing in the augmented breeze of the wind, around her finger and tucked it under her pliable helmet.

Knowing her mission, she approached it with both familiar routine and brisk anticipation. It was a flight all the same, but all flight was flight.

She fingered the straps that extended down her front, attached to a utility pack down her back, and carefully clicked the switches of the levers on each strap.

The wings flapped open. They were at half-length, bound with a cord until the time for their use arrived.

She gently tugged on the levers of her utility pack, testing each wing and checking for malfunctions, holes or tears. When she was satisfied, she sheathed both wing flaps inside her pack and readied herself for the launch.

She always took as long as a time to set up as possible, but Glacia was one to appreciate the journey during, before, and after it was taken. A descent could be repeated, but each flight only happened once. She wanted to savor every moment and to perfect all conditions before she initiated.

Naively, but casually, she glanced below at the world several thousand meters below her. A shiver of anticipation and even childish hesitation filled her excited and jumping heart as she studied the intricate swirling of the lazy mists, the tall canopies only flurries of green in perspective.

She felt powerful and vulnerable, standing on top of the world, but all alone by herself around a world so majestic. A low, empty croon emitted from the groans of the mountain and nature, ushering her on. The time had arrived, and her mission was to be fulfilled.

Heart beating with excitement, she loosened the string that bound each wing flap to each other. This time, when she clicked the switches, the wings opened to full length, the red flaps standing proudly in the sky.

She took each lever and held them in her tightly-gripped gloved hands. Without a second look, Glacia bent slightly on her haunches and coiled herself for release.

With a deep breath, she dived down below.

The jungle awaited her.





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