A New Short Story

Here’s a new original story that I just finished today. See what you think of it, I hope you enjoy!

“The Pilot”

I needed to get out of the suburbs. They were weighing down my dreams, making me feel like I was going nowhere, doing nothing. I’ll tell you, the people who have the shallowest of dreams are swimming in the deep ends of pools with martini glasses held delicately in their hands. Not me, man. I’ve got all these stories growing like weeds in my head all day long and I don’t want to tell a soul or it will make me shovel them out until I have nothing but dirt. I’ve been building fences around those weeds for a while now, just grow, grow, grow, baby and let your seeds fall in any open spaces so there will never be any dirt to be seen.
No one gets it here. When I first started on this career, I felt stupid that I hadn’t known it my whole life. I was born into this and brainwashed into thinking I couldn’t do it. There’s no money in this kind of life- I need to be a businessman, that’s what my parents told me anyway. I couldn’t do anything else, and if my father ever caught me with my notebook scribbling like a madman, he’d hit me on the side of the head and say, “what the hell are you doing” before he took it away from me. The first time was the worst, then I gradually numbed every ounce of feeling I had for the process he started. I was eight years old. What he did first was begin reading my writing. It didn’t go down well, to say the least. He grabbed my ear and pulled me into the yard, holding my journal in the other hand. It was the dead of winter with a covering of snow all around and the wind howling through the trees. When he finally let go, he pushed me away as he went into the shed. Sometimes I can still feel his hand on my ear like a cruel reminder. He came out of the shed with a shovel, and for a second I thought he was going to beat me until dead. I told myself I wouldn’t flinch, just take it. I stared him down and clenched my fists by my sides as he approached me with the shovel. I held my breath for a moment.
He stopped before me and handed it to me and pointed to the ground. “Dig. Right there.” I didn’t understand, so I stayed motionless, my breath still held in my lungs. “Did you hear me? I want you to dig a hole. I want you to dig it six feet deep.” I knew I was digging my own grave, but I didn’t want to ask. I was too afraid.
My hands were beating red from the biting winter air; I couldn’t even feel the shovel anymore. I shook with every piece of earth I dug up from the ground. He stood there with his arms crossed and watched me dig with my journal tucked under his arm. I couldn’t stop myself from imagining what he was going to do when I finished digging this hole. I couldn’t stop digging either, somehow I knew that if I did, the consequences would be worse than death itself.
“That’s good enough,” he said. Shit, I thought. He yanked the shovel out of my hands and handed me my journal. “Throw that in there.” I looked at him and wanted an explanation. “Throw it in there dammit!” he yelled, “You’re burying that thing and you’re not going to continue with this bullshit anymore. It’s dead.”
I didn’t throw my journal in there, I couldn’t do it. I needed it. I started to open it to the first page. “Jesus Christ, son.” He stepped towards me and took it from my hands and threw it in himself. “Bury it!” his voice echoed over all the glimmering snow. My tears froze on my cheeks as I pushed the dirt and snow over my journal with my bare hands. It was the saddest funeral I’ve ever been to.
I guess my father just wanted me to have more than he did; he knew that writing was not the way to afford all the nice things in life. So every time he caught me with a new journal, we went to the lawn and I dug another grave. I stopped crying at the sight of it, and I even added my own personal touch by spitting on the top of it once it was settled and buried. Back then, I used to think that one day those journals would grow into something from the ground. But after all those years, not even grass sprouted from that cemetery.
Eventually I stopped writing at home, I was tired of hiding my thoughts and then burying them alive. I began hiding my journal in the public library behind a stack of antique looking books on the second floor. The library became my sanctuary, the only place I could write anything without being bothered at all. But then something strange happened in my head- suddenly I was afraid of my life; I started to think, maybe my father was right, maybe this is all bullshit. I realized that the only person that cared about my writing was me, and I was terrified at the idea of it all being meaningless. I decided to keep it on the side, and keep it to myself.
I started to accept that I would one day be a businessman, although I didn’t know where to go and I didn’t know how to get there. I just kept asking questions; I asked everyone who was well off and swimming in money what the hell to do. I asked my teachers and councilors what the next step was. And they always pointed me in the right direction and I always listened. Meanwhile I kept journals of all these scribbled notes I had, all these brainiac ideas I had floating around my head. But to hell with them, I said, they’ll do nothing for me and they’re worth nothing more than the paper they’re written on. But I couldn’t stop writing them down. I studied for my tests and schooling all day long and then when everyone wanted to rest their brains, that was the only time I had to write anything at all. I knew it was meaningless but I couldn’t even sleep until I sat down somewhere and wrote. I tried some nights- just go to sleep, I would tell myself. So I tried. I would lie in bed for hours and try to get those stories out of my head but it only resulted in endless tossing and turning. The only thing I could do was get up and write something for Christ’s sake. And I was exhausted. I mean after a whole day of studying economics, accounting, the things I thought I was supposed to do. But whenever I picked up that pen, I was wide awake. It was like I was on some sort of drug until it wore off in the early hours of the morning. I was possessed in my stories.
But I never told a soul.
I just knew it wasn’t right, and yet something irked at me- a deep irk, all the way down to my heart where I could feel the blood pumping out of it in my ears. It got real heavy and I felt like I was sick or something, but what could I ever tell a doctor?
I just continued on, and every day was the same. I was reaching for a goal I never even wanted.
But this is what happened. And I can’t say who knows what would have happened to the rest of my life if this one day did not arrive. I can’t say it. Because I know exactly what would have happened to me if I had stayed, and that’s the scary part.
It was a cold day outside and I shivered all the way to a business class expecting the same-old, same-old. Attendance, a lecture, notes, homework, see you Thursday. But on this one day, my professor decided on a film; it was an observational film of a typical businessman going to work in a typical business environment. It started and I had no strain or concern. However, the more we followed this man through his daily routine, the more I began to quiver. Fright then reached deep into my pupils and grabbed hold of my brain and shook it up everywhere. I looked around at my classmates and no one had any look of feeling on their faces at all. All of them sat there and let this film reassure them of this life-long path they had before them. I started to feel sick. I stood up and walked towards the door with my head down, trying to find my footing because the whole room started to go blank. In the hallway I bent over and grabbed my chest while the floor beneath me was spinning. What the hell am I doing? No one came out for me, no one was in the halls. There wasn’t even an echo in my head of a single piece of logical reassurance- all I could hear was my big fat heartbeat. I felt like the only one in this entire world just then who knew what that sounded like.
I began to feel my father’s hand squeezing my ear.
I needed to get out.
I left whatever I brought to class in there, I’m sure they’ll rot there until the whole school is set in flames. I passed people on the way back to my room and I didn’t know a soul. I didn’t care about any of them. I felt sorry for every one of them. What if they never find out?
I packed a bag in a hurry and hitchhiked my way to the airport. Of course no one in a decent looking car would pull over for a kid with his thumb out- didn’t even glance over at me. To hell with them, who cares. It was a truck driver who finally stopped for me and looked skeptical as all hell, but not in the way that I was a bad person. More in the way that I was too good of a person to be hitchhiking. Hell, I looked like an oxford wanna-be, but with style of someone who probably isn’t quite as smart. My hair slicked nice and all to the side and a pair of thick black frames around my simple complexion. He laughed when I hopped up to the seat beside him.
“Thanks, man.” I told him as I shut the door. There was an awkward silence, and all I wanted was for him to put the damn car in drive and get me to the damn airport. But he stared and kept his hand on the stick there.
“Where in the hell are you looking to go?” he let out the kind of laugh at the end that makes you feel like he actually gives a damn.
“Out of here.”
“You go to that university down that way back there?”
“Not anymore, sir. I’m headed west.”
He put the car in drive. “Figures you’re going to the airport then? I can’t pull right in there, but I’ll drop you off the side, what do you say, kid?”
I nodded my head.
He looked concerned at me, so I turned out the window. “You look too stressed out for a kid your age. You got the whole world in front of you and all the time to conquer it. The most possibility you’ll ever have in your life is right here and now, don’t be thinking it’s do or die all the time. Course, not sure how credible you’ll think of me, being a truck driver and all,” he looked right at me when he said it, “but even truck drivers have dreams.” The rest of the ride he didn’t say much of anything else, instead he got tense when he looked at the road in front of him. The yellow lines kept coming at us, one by one forever until I could see the airport off over there. He stopped the truck, “here ya are. Good luck, kid. And remember, it’s no do or die.”
It isn’t do or die. It’s more like do or float around until you die. I thanked him and closed off the door before I headed out to the airport. It was freezing and I should have run to the front doors to get to the warmth sooner, but I walked slow and let the cold bite me.
I bought a ticked to Nevada, where there’s dirt everywhere and mountains all around. On my way to the gate, I noticed a woman dressed in a nice blue blazer and skirt with her hair all curled. She was pretty. And she had a pretty smile as she stood there with her friends. They all laughed as they looked at her before they hugged her. Dammit, I really wish I knew what that kind of feeling was like. I watched the genuine tears falling from their eyes, and they didn’t even wipe them away. As if they could care less if everyone saw them crying about their friend. As I walked by I heard a glimpse of their goodbyes, I’ll see you soon, and a good luck with your interview, and snotty jerks of breath where there were no tissues. She was walking behind me to the gate now, and I could hear her trying to pull it together as her high heels click-clacked on the floor. I lost her somewhere in security and forgot about her a little while as I made my own way.
At the gate, everyone looked tired, straight faces and plain eyes as we waited to be boarded. We were all going on this adventure together, soaring through the air in the clouds and reaching a destination, and then we would all disperse and never see each other again.
A loud speaker came on, a lady with a tired voice- she’s been doing this her whole life and it wasn’t getting any more exciting for our single god damn flight. She welcomed us aboard and smiled at no one as she scanned their tickets.
34B. 34B. All the way towards the back. I checked my ticket one more time to be sure- middle seat. Shit. I waited behind the line of people trying to figure out where to put their carryons and how to get situated, paying no mind to the line behind them. My seat was in sight and I started to sweat a little when I saw that girl by the window in 34C. I sat down beside her and she gave me a warm smile for an instant and then gazed back out the window. I kept my carryon by my feet; it made me nervous to keep it where I couldn’t see it, my journal inside and all.
Another loudspeaker came on from a bored pilot nowhere to be seen. Welcome aboard, he told us. At that moment the plane taxied to the runway. They ran through the safety procedures and everything was normal, the sun was even peaking through the clouds now. I didn’t listen to the instructions on how to buckle a seatbelt, or how to head for the exits. I looked outside at the golden sun and hoped the girl couldn’t feel my occasional glace at the side of her face. She never said a word, I never said a word.
The plane was rushing down the runway and picking up speed. It was so quiet in the plane that I had to look around to see what was up. People were holding hands with their lovers, people were clasping their own hands with their eyes closed, maybe praying. I saw a few people clutching the armrests and pinching their eyes tight together. The girl looked out the window as we launched into the empty air.
We were elevating and elevating until we reached a steady height where the plane was almost flat out in the sky. I could see all the little houses below us and all the little cars rolling by like ants. It all seemed peaceful from up here, looking down upon it. The houses were neatly arranged with squares of trees and brown grass behind it like checkerboards. Everything was moving so slowly as we cruised along miles higher in these big white, fluffy clouds.
Suddenly the plane started to shake. It felt like normal turbulence at first and then worsened real quick. It felt like the plane took a small dive in the sky and my stomach dropped like hell- I don’t even like those damn roller coasters in the park, so this was real hell for me. I looked around for my reassurance and everyone was fine. You’re fine, you’re fine, I said over and over in my head. But the plane kept shaking and then went for a second dive, this time it was longer and more extreme. I was grabbing anything I could to hold on, my hand went to grab the armrest when the girl had the same idea. My hand being in the way, she held it and squeezed it tight. I was so terrified I didn’t think anything of it and I grabbed her hand right back. I looked around and suddenly everyone seemed nervous.
The pilot came on the speakers, “Everyone remain calm, everything is going to be okay. We’re just experiencing major turbulence, just… remain calm!” Just then the plane shook forward and the nose was pointing down. People were falling forwards toward the chair in front of them, but then restricted by their seat belts.
The girl turned to me, “Everything is okay, isn’t it? We’re going to be fine, won’t we?” She was shaking like a dog and worried as hell. I didn’t know what to say to her, I didn’t know myself.
The man next to me on the other side was clenching onto his arm rests real tight and said in a determining voice, “The pilot said everything was going to be fine, so everything is going to be fine!”
Everything was not going to be fine, I knew it. We were plummeting in the air now and the pilot was a lying son-of-a-bitch. I closed my eyes tight for a minute, I hope my journal is not set in flames, as long as that journal survives then I will live on, too. Dammit. Dammit.
I looked out the window at the houses getting larger and larger, the clouds were way above us now. I knew this was it, and I cared more about that journal than my own body. The sun was shining in on my face and I knew it wouldn’t be long before we hit the ground. I relaxed a little in acceptance, holding onto that sweet girl’s hand. She will die. I will die.
But please, somebody find that journal.


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