Parachute

By Robert Lynch

I crossed a wire. This is why you check that the capacitor is drained before you do any work on an experimental teleporter. It would have been bad enough if I’d merely damaged the machine. This was much worse.

 

The wind stung my eyes; the sound buffeted my ears so loudly I couldn’t understand what was happening at first. Slowly the realisation came.

 

I’ve never been skydiving before, but I’ve seen it in movies and stuff. I was spinning around all over the place, so I flattened out my body to slow down; eventually getting control and looking at the ground below.

 

It was hard to tell distance just from eyeballing it, but I could breathe, and I didn’t immediately pass out; so the pressure change from sea level can’t have been too bad. That also meant that I had maybe two minutes before I hit the ground.

 

I grabbed for my phone in my pocket, finding nothing, I remembered that I put it on the bench because I didn’t want any chance of a static discharge; fat lot of good that was doing for me now. It probably wouldn’t have helped anyway, with the noise I could never have heard anyone, and they probably wouldn’t have heard a thing. That’s, of course, assuming that I the air rushing past me didn’t tear the phone from my hands as soon as it left my pocket.

 

My mind raced. Falling to Earth with no parachute was a bad situation to be in, but people had survived it before. I needed to slow down as much as possible and hit something as soft as I could find. I reached down and grabbed my shirt from the bottom, pulling it over my head. When my arms reached full extension, I spread them as far as I could, turning my shirt into a really small sail against the wind. I struggled to hold my arms against the wind, but it was working, I was moving slower.

 

There were houses beneath me, so I tried to angle out toward the edge of the city. Scrub and trees would break my fall better than a house roof. If I could find a hay pile or a bog that would be even better.

 

I could make out the trees individually now. The ground was coming.

 

There was a thicket that looked like the edge of a golf course; I aimed for it as much as I could.

A shower of sparkles surrounded me, and everything got small again. I was back to the height I’d stared falling from! Someone had teleported me. Someone was helping me!

 

I crumpled as I was hit from behind by a tackle around my ribs. Hands were holding me. In quick succession, the hands strapped me to the person behind me.

 

“It’s OK,” a voice yelled into my ear, “I’ve got you.”

 

After a short freefall, the person behind me pulled their parachute, and we slowed. In a couple minutes we landed.

 

The straps came off, and I turned around. It was Professor Cartwright who had saved me.

 

“I saw you depart,” She said. “The damn machine has got me before too. We really need a circuit breaker on that capacitor.”

END

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