FALL OF THE SPARROW

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FALL OF THE SPARROW

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        I had a great idea for Halloween night.

        It was going to be a beautiful clear night, not really spooky, but there was going to be a total eclipse of the full moon to set the festive Halloween mood. The “blue moon” this October would turn into a “blood moon”.

        I was going to fly my new Carlson Aircraft Sparrow Ultra-LTA around all night, cloaking the Sparrow with gossamer fabric to make it look like a bat.

        The new Sparrow Ultra- LTA was designed as a low-altitude personal conveyance. You could fly it to work but you couldn’t shop with it, not yet anyway (because of the added weight and all). It was more like… sky surfing.

        The Sparrow resembled a hang-glider. The big wing and the suspended mini-fuselage below were made of ultra-thin neoplastic containing the Helium-Honeycomb technology. The suspended mini-fuselage was mainly a place for me to stand and guide the Sparrow. The Sparrow basically worked like any lighter-than-air (LTA) craft. “Heavy” atmospheric air was taken into special cells and so the weight of the craft was increased for descent and landing; expelling the “heavy” atmospheric air allowed the pure helium in their special cells to lift the craft. The Sparrow was propelled forward by Push Technology ultra-light ultra-fast thruster compression cells along the big wing. Of course it was solar powered but you could charge the compression cells for night flying.

        When the full moon came up so did I. I was thinking that it was too bad I couldn’t carry candy to drop from the sky but then I thought I’d probably knock out some little kid. Puncture his little pumpkin. Jack his lantern.

        Of course, some drone hobbyist kid was probably going to send up a drone to demand a treat from me.

        The Sparrow rose slowly and silently up to 100 feet. I leveled off there and proceeded to “surf” the evening atmosphere. I was once again “Luke Skylicker”. Except that tonight I was disguised as a giant bat for the people below. “Bat Mensch”, maybe?

        Actually, my fellow engineers called me “Mary Poppins”.

        The evening below me was beautiful with the constellations of streetlights and houselights. The full moon continued her regal promenade above the eastern horizon.

        As I surfed high over the local neighborhoods I started to notice faint squeals from the trick-or-treaters below.

        The eclipse of the moon began. The bright moon began to molder in the corner as the earth’s shadow crept upon her.

        I began to notice patches of mist passing me but there was no breeze to speak of.

        I continued to surf airspace. I had enough “wing” stored to stay up three hours and witness the entire progression of the moon’s eclipse.

        So far no drones had harassed me.

        Hmmm, I wondered if I could order a pizza to be delivered by a drone to me up here.

        The earth’s devouring shadow upon the moon turned to a russet color like dried blood.

        I noticed the moving patches of mist with increasing frequency. I figured it must be some mild condensation phenomenon at this height. But I tried to hypothesize what could be moving them. Differences in density?

        The patches of mist appeared to be in a vortex around me. What the hell? Suddenly I was engulfed in mist, in a fog. I got nervous. I couldn’t see any lights besides the orb of the moon that was being bitten by the shadow of the earth. It was time to descend slowly and safely below this weird fog. Talk about trick-or-treat!

        As I slowly descended the fog appeared to stay around me. Was this fog all the way to the ground? Where the hell had it come from? Was it a toxic cloud?

        I could not see so I had to descend hoping that I would finally touch earth and not some tree or chimney or power line… I was truly frightened.

        I touched grass, thank God.

        Just as I was about to disembark my little fuselage I heard a squeal, then a growl, then a roar! There were shadows racing around me in the fog. Did I land in a zoo? There was no zoo near where I lived!

        I shouted out, “Hey! Where am I?!”

        Something was running towards me!

        Suddenly a pig fled past me, squealing and grunting.

        My mouth fell open.

        I thought I saw a dog approaching but as it passed me chasing the pig I saw that it was a black jaguar!! I fell back against the fuselage in shock.

        Then I heard the rumbling and the ground shuddered and there came a horrifying scream.

        I was the scream!

        I swear a huge hideous dragon undulated past me. A monstrous scaly scraggly dragon like dragons you have seen a hundred times in fantasy pictures.

        I had collapsed in the narrow fuselage. I had soiled myself.

        I looked up. The moon was in total eclipse and entirely the color of dried blood.

        I came to what was left of my senses and I initiated lift-off of the Sparrow to slowly rise straight upwards. I just wanted to be away from that nightmare. I thought that perhaps the fog was a toxic expulsion after all and that it must have affected my brain chemistry. I had to have been hallucinating! Yes, my mind must have tricked me!

        I thought with sobriety, “So now I’m going to be a hundred feet in the air and hallucinating…”

        What had I done? What could I do?

        And then within that fog still somehow swirling around me I began to see figures…and… oh, God, faces! Men and women and children with mournful faces and open mouths. They were trying to tell me something but I couldn’t hear them or understand them.

        And who tries to understand a hallucination?!

        I heard myself screaming again.

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        They find my body roasted hanging in the power lines above the fallen charred Sparrow. There is a gathering of appalled men and women and children dressed in their festive costumes, looking and pointing up at me. The power company engineers and the firemen and the police are trying to retrieve my smoldering corpse.

        I am up here, above my death, a patch of swirling mist, a miasma, sucking upward into the blood moon.

        I see that I am not drawn alone.

        So how was your death?

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#

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