At thirteen-thousand feet Nick feels like a God. He is an atheist, but looking down on the world like he is God seems to be a fitting title. He is reminded of himself as a boy, towering over antbeds with his magnifying glass. He cast down fire and destroyed cities with a quick kick of his boot. Surely he was seen as a God and perhaps even worshipped, if ants were capable of such a thing. He thinks of all his troubles. All his problems were now two miles below and yet, he was about to dive right back into them, literally. To this he shakes his head. “Ten seconds!” the pilot yells. Nick inhales deeply to calm the butterflies dancing around his stomach. Over five-hundred successful jumps and he still is hit with a wave of anxiety. The seconds expire, he exhales and takes flight. As he picks up speed the humming of the plane dissolves and he is sailing through the wild blue. A device on his wrist displays the altitude, among other data. Nick assumes proper flight position and keeps a close eye on it. At first he thought he was approaching a stray cloud. As he aims for it and falls closer his eyes confirm, it is not a cloud nor is it a snow goose, the only other plausible explanation. Nick attempts to slow his approach as much as possible and maneuvers as close as he can. “What the hell? Are those wings?” he asks the wind. The wind doesn’t respond and Nick is abruptly snatched from his descent. They absolutely were wings, and they now enveloped him. Confusion soon gave way to disbelief. Initially Nick was blinded by the intense white light. His eyes adjusted, and he saw it was emanating from the chest of the man holding him. The winged man looked to be middle aged, with dark hair and crystal blue eyes. “My name is Hansel.” His voice was booming and deep. Nick was frozen. Hansel gripped Nick’s arm tighter and spread the wings out completely so that they went into a slow glide. They circled now, riding the currents like a huge white vulture. Nick finally thawed enough to stutter “Are you an ang, ang, angel?” Hansel smiled and nodded. “Its beautiful up here is it not? I never get tired of it.” For lack of a better response Nick asked him “But you have wings, so you can see this anytime right?” Hansel’s gaze was still upon the horizon. “Why yes my dear boy, but I still never get tired of it.” Now Nick was getting a little too comfortable with the situation “An angel?” he scowled. “Give me a break.” He quickly realized what he said and stuttered again “No offense, it’s just that I’m an… ” Hansel interrupts “An atheist, yes I know Nick.” ” How did you know that? ” Hansel’s eyes had now shifted to a green hue and his face stern. “Because you are dead inside. I know everything about you.” Nick closes his eyes and juggles different explanations. After ruling out hallucinating, he settles on the fact that he must be deeply embedded in a rather vivid dream. This conclusion calms him. They soared in silence for a bit, Hansel calmly watching the man deep in thought. Nick, comfortable in his dreamscape, breaks the silence and attempts to amuse himself “How long have you been flying around up here? And when do you plan to land?” The angel looks to be almost exhausted. “Well boy, I have only been up here a little longer than you, I will come down when I tire myself out. ” The angel bows his head then, and it could only be from shame Nick thought, or guilt. He doesn’t ask, and he didn’t have to. “You see my dear boy, the truth is I am no longer an angel, not in God’s eyes. I am cast out for eternity. I will now call Hades home, and serve a new king. I am one of the fallen now, so here I am, falling.” Nick is amazed at his imagination for composing such grandiose nonsense, but he continues to listen to Hansel “When it is ruled that you are one of the fallen you are expedited to a final blessing, and your wings are then cut. They then stand on the edge of heaven just as you stand on the edge of the plane, and they jump. I was lucky, I couldn’t escape the blessing but I got out with my wings. But I am still on my way down, keeping my wings just bought me some time, but I will tire my boy. And when I become too fatigued to remain in flight, I will come to land with honor down below.” And with that, he released Nicks arm and folded his wings in a bit. Nick was now picking up speed quickly, as was Hansel. Nick checked his device and prepared to deploy his chute. “I must ask you now my boy, now that you have seen and touched a genuine angel, where does your faith stand now?” Nick threw his head back laughing.”It stands nowhere Hansel, I am in the most lucid dream I have ever had, end of story.” They were both rapidly approaching terminal velocity now and Nick had to yell over the wind. “You said you already knew everything about me, so why are you asking me this?” Nick didn’t care to hear Hansel’s reply and he pulls the ripcord, nothing, failure. He hastily pulls the emergency chute…nothing. Hansel, holding a large knife, grins wide and yells back at him “That’s why.”
Phillip Matthew Wendt is a proud native of the great state of Texas. Wendt has been writing short fiction from the age of eight, always of the horror genre. Regretfully Wendt was always too nervous to submit anything. Now, at the age of thirty five, Wendt’s first submission “Watercolors” was recently published in the anthology titled “American Cult” by Madness Heart Press, released July 2019. Wendt’s flash fiction piece “Maydays” is published in Dream Noir magazine and “Adrenaline Anonymous” is to be published in an anthology by Running Wild Press early 2020. Besides writing Wendt’s other passion is the outdoors, the solitude is essential.