Cleared to Land

Image copyright: Marie Gail Stratford

Image copyright: Marie Gail Stratford

The flight attendants are doing their thing. Up ahead, the single runway, visible from miles away. Reassurance from Air Control. Below, the lights of the city. Three hundred passengers fastening seatbelts.

Yesterday’s chemicals still in the system.

Everywhere are lights, all colours, popping, flashing. His eyes focus, refocus, focus. In his headset, voices garbled, high-pitched. His brain somersaulting.

Now, several runways, twisting, shifting, entwining rods of light. Voices incomprehensible.

Behind him, violent creatures, half-man, half-ape. The cockpit fills with water. The windows melt.


He looks out at the ground crews off-loading baggage. His co-pilot relaxed.

Momentarily, he considers rehab.


This was written in response to this week’s Friday Fiction 100 word challenge.

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46 Responses to Cleared to Land

  1. Wow, his really spinning out. Absolutely brilliant descriptions, Patrick!

  2. MissTiffany says:

    Thank goodness for the co-pilot! You had a my heart racing there for a second…I think he should more than consider rehab! Very well done.

  3. Nan Falkner says:

    Dear Patrick, WOW – how exciting and scary. Very well written story and I want to know the airline this guy works for and make sure I’m not one of his passengers! Ha, ha – nothing to laugh about really, but your story is great!
    Thanks, Nan 🙂

  4. Amy Reese says:

    For a second I thought it was a tsunami taking over. Brilliant take. I like the brain somersaulting and this, “Now, several runways, twisting, shifting, entwining rods of light. Voices incomprehensible.” Very effective.

  5. Patrick, Thank goodness for the co-pilot. It looks like the co-pilot was used to this behavior. That pilot really needs rehab. It sounds like it’s more than just a problem with alcohol. He really flipped out. Great description. I think we all experience it with him. Creative use of the prompt. Well written. 🙂 —Susan

  6. That had me gripping my mental armchair, heart in mouth, to mix metaphors.
    Brilliantly done!
    (It reminded me about the movie in which Denzel Washington flies drunk, and the astonishing landing he makes, despite the mechanical failure, in terms of the pilot being high as a kite.)

  7. margirene says:

    That got me in. Love how you shifted the tone sentence by sentence until I didn’t know where you were heading. Great ending. It all fitted together beautifully.

  8. hafong says:

    You paint a very vivid picture. Good thing there’s a co-pilot!


  9. britlight says:

    Remind me not to board a flight with you.

  10. subroto says:

    I think this pilot is a high flyer. He will go somewhere.

  11. I don’t know what I find more frightening, that he is only considering the rehab or that the co- pilot is grinning. Scary stuff so cleverly written.

  12. wildbilbo says:

    Im laughing now, I don’t know how I’ll feel next time I get on a plane… Great stuff.


  13. Dear Patrick,

    Step One-We admit we are powerless….yep, I’d say it’s time for him to get to rehab. 😉 I certainly don’t want to be aboard his plane. I’d say your imagination is unmanageable. Well done.



  14. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Patrick,

    Fly Marginal Airlines, right? This was clever and well written. One of your best. I loved that you let your passengers down gently, but kept your pilot still in the seat, ready to fly high some more. Outstanding.



  15. I was sure this was going to end badly, well, it still did really, but I liked how you pulled us out of the crash just in time. Unexpected ending.

  16. You give a great “visual” ride given by one crazy pilot.

  17. Great rendering of your imagination into story, Patrick.. The “momentarily” scares me, however.


  18. Adam Ickes says:

    The most frightening part is the last line… that he only considers rehab for a mere moment.

    • I’m afraid it is only for a moment. I would have written something about how he cleans himself up, but Rochelle W-F has restricted the number of words, so we have to live with his bad behaviour forevermore.

  19. Momentarily is a beginning…

  20. Hope he’s not flying my plane to Rome! I especially like ‘entwining rods of light’. It could have been going slightly sci-fi, then you bring us down (a safe landing) with a neat prosaic ending. Very good.

  21. I’m happy not to be flying in the near future.. wonder which carrier he’s flying for.

  22. Sandra says:

    I think I may have flown with that guy… Nice take on the prompt Patrick.

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