Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Flash Fiction Contest: "A Serene Day in Southern France" by Michael Chiara

Jon scanned the horizon for enemy aircraft. His patrols had recently been so uneventful - and the weather so pleasant - as to lull an unsuspecting pilot into an unearned sense of well-being. He hadn't lasted four years in the Royal Air Force by being careless, and he didn't intend to let his guard down now. This late in the day, visibility tended to diminish rapidly as the sky turned almost purple. Reassuring himself that all was in proper order, he noticed the bulge in the pocket of his weathered brown leather bomber jacket.

With a puzzled look on his face, he felt in his pocket, and smiled with relief when he realized that it was just one of the mallets for his glockenspiel. The glockenspiel was a gift from Lizabet, the daughter of the French politician he had flown out from behind enemy lines amid a storm of shrapnel and small arms fire. Jon found that playing his glockenspiel before a mission helped him to fend off the all-consuming fear that gnawed at his guts like a pack of hungry dogs when he flew. These days the only time he felt truly safe was when he was softly striking the chimes of Lizabet's present under the old shot-riddled oak tree by the runway.

He snapped out of his reverie and looked over his shoulder just in time to see a flicker of movement at the edge of a fluffy white cloud high above him. Could he have imagined it? He stared longer and still...nothing. Jon was letting out a sigh of relief as the German Albatross dove out of the cloud and made a beeline straight for him!


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