A few months ago I featured some writers on my blog while I was away on holiday in Wales. The spots proved to be both popular and fun. I had been mulling over the best way to make this a regular feature on my blog for quite some time and finally decided on a monthly featured writer post.
Cynthia Robertson was one of the very first blogging friends I made when I started out posting my ramblings on my writing journey all those months ago. I have always wanted to spotlight her through one of my featured writer posts. Her blog is full of interesting bits about writing with a little bit of life sprinkled in. If you have not already had the chance please go and check it out … after you read the rest of this post of course.
I would like to thank Cynthia for agreeing to be a featured writer on my blog and also for today’s post. Cynthia was gracious enough to send along a flash fiction piece so we can get a little feel of her writing style. A word of warning, you might want to hold onto your seat.
By Cynthia Robertson
When they unlatched and rolled up the cargo door Quinn stopped hoping they were taking him somewhere. There was only one reason to open that door at 20,000 feet and that was to jettison cargo, and he was the only cargo on this flight.
They reached for him and he shoved himself back against the bulkhead and lashed out with his feet which, unlike his hands, had been left unbound. But he was wearing eight thousand dollar loafers of soft expensive calves skin, and even when he made contact it didn’t have the desired effect. They pushed aside his flailing feet and one of them rapped him in the head with the butt of his gun, making Quinn’s vision go black momentarily. He felt himself being rolled and hauled toward the windy open hatch. He latched onto one guy’s leg with both bound hands and pincered his thighs around the guy’s ankle. If he was going out he’d take one of these fuckers out with him.
Quinn felt his lower body grabbed by the slipstream and pulled out the door. Santiago’s goons kicked viciously at his head and hands trying to dislodge him and he felt his grip falter and slip down the guy’s pant leg. Then he was out the door and dropping fast away from the plane, the guy’s loafer clutched in his hands.
Curled in a tight ball, he tumbled through the air, vaguely aware of having pissed his pants. His stomach roiled and heaved with vertigo. He forced his arms out above his head and spread his legs and the tumbling came to a stop. He faced down. The wind ripped past, tearing at his clothes. His hair, freed from its ponytail, streamed out behind him. Far below the Atlantic glinted and shimmered.
Quinn scrunched his eyes closed.
A woman’s face passed through his mind. Not his wife Aribella, but Melissa, the girl he’d loved in high school. Long before meeting Santiago, and all the money and houses and cars. And strangely, the thought of her calmed him a little.
Then he did think of Aribella. Had the bitch known about this? He didn’t think so. She was self centered and greedy, but still loved her meal ticket. She could have left him long ago, but she grew up with a taste for drug money, and didn’t have any qualms about fucking him now and then for her BMW and beach house.
He opened his eyes. He was still clutching the shoe. He didn’t want to die with some asshole’s shoe in his hands. He made himself release it. It whipped away from him on its own trajectory.
The ocean was choppy little whitecaps. He could smell it. Briny. Elemental. It looked soft, yielding even. But he knew it would be as hard as stone when he entered it. He closed his eyes and thought again of Melissa…how she’d looked in the lavender dress she’d worn to prom…his parents had wanted photos of the two of them…his dad had lent him his Buick to drive for the night, holding the keys out to him with an extra folded up twenty in his palm…the sweet smiles on his parents’ faces…Melissa’s hair falling in shining waves down her back…the way she’d laid her head against his shoulder when they’d slow danced…
He could smell it, and hear it now. Even over the rushing wind. He could hear it. A deep liquid surge…like a heartbeat.
Quinn opened his eyes.
And here is a little more about Cynthia Robertson…
Cynthia writes in multiple genres, most notably: historical, literary, mainstream and horror. She lives in Arizona with her husband, two children, and a five pound Pomeranian named Zeus. She’s the founder of the Arizona Novel Writers Workshop, and is at work polishing her historical fiction novel Sword of Mordrey. She can be found on her blog, Cynthia Robertson, Writer, and on Twitter, @Literarydaze .
I can’t say that I’ve ever read from the perspective of someone falling out of a plane sans parachute. Original and gripping!
Me either but her pacing within the writing made me really “feel it”.
Oh my, Cynthia. I was holding on to my seat the whole time I read this story. Your first flash fiction? Well, it certainly did not disappoint. You are one talented lady! Thanks for hosting Cynthia, Billie Jo! What a treat.
Thanks for stopping by and reading Melissa. I am so glad she agreed to do a flash piece. It was fabulous!
Cynthia, that rocks. Loved it.
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Thanks for the sweet comments, Melissa, Prudence & Walkingthepattern. And Billie Jo, thanks so much for having me. Good luck this month with the Nano, Billie Jo!
I’ve tried my hand at flash fiction but it wasn’t worth publishing. I envy the writers who make it seem as effortless as Cynthia does. Great story!
Love it, Cynthia. And it’s rare we get to enjoy your fiction work. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks so much, Suzie. I’ve always admired people like Billie Jo who can write these very brief stories, so it was fun to try the medium. My stuff usually tends to sprawl.
Thank you, Leah!
Thank you both for taking time and stopping by on your Sunday 🙂
Fantastic, gripping story!
I have a question: I’m visiting the stories and blogs posted on “The Writers’ Bloc”, and this is the second story I’ve read that was left open-ended. Is this a characteristic of what you are calling flash fiction, or just a common trend?
In any case, I am impressed with the quality of the writing I’m finding here.
Here’s my humble offering. Any critique or comment any of you might offer would be appreciated.
Flash is often a complete story with a proper and clear beginning, middle and end. However those of us who write novels often write flash that leaves the reader wanting more. I have been known to do it myself because it is hard for writers that are used to writing big stories and use many words to get their stories down to so few words. I think we tend to keep the novel writing style when we do flash which is paragraphs, chapters and novels with an open end, hooking the reader to keep reading. I will pop over and check out your link now.
Thanks, Billie Jo. That makes perfect sense to me, seeing as I do write novels, and can relate to what you say. I might add that the story I left with my original comment was originally 1700 words, and I pared it to 500 to meet the criteria for a contest. I almost always have to do that when I enter a short story into anything, and am actually enjoying the process. Since I began blogging, seven months ago, I have begun to write shorter pieces a lot, and I’m enjoying it, and learning from it, too.
Thanks a bunch for the response!
Thanks for reading! I ended it right before the moment of inevitable death. And I too wrote this story much longer, and then had to pare it down to what I hoped were its essentials. I thought of his descent not so much just the actual fall from the plane, but his descent from his normal life and upbringing, into the world of drugs, and I hoped to convey a tiny spark of his realization of it at the end. But that’s perhaps too ambitious for flash fiction. Or for a first piece, anyway.
Will follow Billie Jo over to your site and sample your story. 🙂
Thanks, Cynthia! I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing something. I find these sites and blogs through other blogger friends, and I’m new to blogging, so I might ask a lot of what seem like silly questions. But I also want to learn y way around, as well as get to know other writers. I’ve been writing for about seventeen years, but who knows if I’m doing it right!?!?
That was marvelous!!! Very well done!
You kept me hooked for the whole wild ride; thanks, Cynthia!