Flight Stories is a funny new thing I'm doing. Basically I go to Twitter and say "gimme three words" and I'll write a story with them.
I did that.
And they responded with numerous suggestions, from which I chose three: Family. Jetpack. Dinosaur.
I outlined something roughly into my notepad in the terminal and hit the ground running once I was allowed to turn on electronic devices.
The idea of this particular writing experiment was to tell stories of different families as the Jetpack-Dinosaur apocalypse crumbled the world around them.
I'll be updating this in real time as I finish new entries.
So here you go: Flight Stories #1
The following was found scribbled hastily on the back of a cereal box in Austin, Texas. It is dated 12/31/2146.
The full name of the man who wrote it was never revealed. History remembers him simply as “The dude who could write really small.”
The skies were darkened forever on the day that Brachiosaur took flight.
This is the official record of the events that lead to the fall of mankind as the dominant species on the planet. The event would eventually be known around the world as “JPDD-Day,” or “Jetpack Dinosaur D-Day.” This was despite the cries of grammatical contrarians insisting that the extra D did not stand for anything at all. (The International Nomenclature Division would eventually go on record that the extra D simply “sounded scarier.”)
Civilization fell in waves.
Hindsight is by nature clarity at an inopportune time, and the clarity that equipping vicious prehistoric hyper-intelligent cloned dinosaurs with the technological know-how to mass produce rocket-propelled travel will have a negative impact on the economy; insofar that all major financial institutions invested in the frivolous air-travel of their eventual murderers.
In time, people will complain that the previous sentence is too long.
After the fall of the international economy, the wars, numerous and bloody wars known as the “Cretaceous Wars,” began in the air over Scotland and quickly moved across the surface of the world. The soldiers of the world, bound together in a new world army known as the New World Army, assembled the peak of modern weapons technology to fight their airborne adversaries. Their bravery was remembered. Their ingenuity was celebrated. They united the world under a single flag and lead the march into battle.
And they totally got their asses kicked by flying dinosaurs firing lasers and shit at them.
It was bad, bro.
As the New World Army dwindled into a splintered resistance, families torn apart by the savage atrocities forced upon them bandied together and went in search of a land unperturbed by flying Ankylosauruses, spiraling Velociraptors, or the scientific abomination known to the unexploded as “Tankodactyls.”
Thousands set out in search of a fabled land where flying dinosaur could not reach. Less than a hundred of us remain and we have agreed to give up hope.
This will be the official record of the fall of man.
I will be dead by morning. The rhythmic pounding of Ankylo’s beating their tails against our roof—a roof that will certainly give way within the hour—has become a deafening eulogy. I put my girls to bed, swaddled in Bose Noise-canceling headphones as to not awake for the end of us.
The end of everything.
Our hubris has collapsed upon us.
I am relieved my wife is not here to see my weakness.
My name was Steve.
Our reckoning was consigned to us in stupid T-Rex baby arms.
A leather-bound journal was found floating in a wheelbarrow a hundred miles outside of Seattle. It was signed with the name “Becky Harvest” and contained sixteen separate entries. What follows is the fifteenth entry in the journal.
My brother still believes in Hawaii.
My other brother doesn’t believe in much of anything anymore.
My brother is like glue, always holding us together.
My other brother cries when he thinks we aren’t watching him.
My brother is named Carl and he’s thirty-three.
My other brother is named Wesley, and he just turned forty.
I’m afraid they’re going to kill each other if I turn my back on them for long. But I cannot ignore what is chasing us across whatever is left of the United States. I cannot ignore the towering dinosaurs, bloodthirsty and aggravated, as they rocket across the sky and rain down their unprovoked vengeance on whatever remained standing.
I find that I don’t much have the stomach to stand anymore.
Wesley believes it is time to lie down.
But Carl still believes in Hawaii.
Carl believes that the Hawaiian Islands are geographically the one place on the planet that the dinosaurs cannot get to. It’s all conjecture or folklore cribbed from all over to pretend hope is a thing that still has merit. It’s an odd thing hoping for hope. Though, I suppose it is no different than running away just to live long enough to run away again.
Perhaps there is something to all of the conjecture. Maybe Hawaii is a safer place. Maybe their jetpacks can’t get all the way across the ocean, or maybe they just don’t know it exists at all.
It takes the combined effort of twenty-seven 767 engines to lift a Brachiosaurus into the sky, hell, it takes fives just to get the tail off the ground. They may have improved all of the technology required to send a terrestrial vertebrate into air-based battle, but it still takes fuel to move them around.
I never thought about it that way.
They’re destroying what little remains of the planet’s fossil fuels in their attempt to exterminate us. One has to wonder if they know what fuel is made of. One has to wonder if they know they’re burning up their ancestors in the endless pursuit to eradicate all living things.
I can hear Wesley yelling at Carl in the other room. By noon one has always managed to pull a gun on the other one. It won’t be long before one of my brothers forgoes the platitudes and murders the other.
I should intervene.
But which brother do I side with?
Maybe it is time to lie down, to strip away our airs and admit that there is no winning this fight. We’re all so tired and family road trips always have a way of making everything more dramatic than it actually is.
Carl is begging Wesley to hope; to believe in hope. There is no amount of effort to him that cannot be justified by surviving. He believes hoping to survive is all anyone could ever want.
We earn our time here.
I have to decide if I believe that or not.
They’re already made up their minds.
Also attached is the sixteenth, and final, entry into Becky Harvest’s notebook. It is widely believed she simply threw it away after her brief final entry.
Today I killed Wesley.
I believe in Hawaii.
A body was found under the wheelbarrow and is believed to be that of Wesley’s.