It was Clive’s first solo flight in a long while. The check-out pilot said he was “good to go”. The weather was ideal for VFR* and he had a solid landmark in the red-and-white ribbed smoke stack on the port side of the runway.
Thirteen minutes into his touch-and-go routine, Clive climbed into a cloud. Strange, he was sure it was a clear blue sky when he made his approach.
His heart fluttered a little but within moments he was in and out of the cloud.
There was a puff of smoke from the exhaust, followed by that dreaded clatter. The engine sputtered and the propeller whip-lashed and stalled.
The aircraft stopped, and ever so slowly dipped and plummeted. Clive was at a height of 5,000 feet and the ground rushed to him.
His instinct urged him to: Pull back! Pull back! Pull back on the control column.
His training screamed: Push down! Push down! Push down to earth!
[What would you have done?]
Clive landed safely.
He pushed down—picked up airspeed—regained control and landed.
VFR* – visual flight rules
*** Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2019 ***
As I’m travelling, please forgive me if I’m late in responding to your comments. Thank you.
Esther rang the bell again but received no response. Strange, as Magdalene was a homebody and at two in the morning should be in her flat.
Rifling through her handbag, she pulled out a heavy key chain and after several attempts, found the key to the lock. With a click, the lock gave, and she pushed in the door. The hinges squeaked, and she grimaced.
The apartment was dark with a dull glow coming from the kitchenette. Esther felt a sharp prick in her heart. Magdalene was afraid of the dark and always kept her apartment blazing bright.
And Tabby, where was she; that feline would have curled herself around Esther’s ankles by now.
Swallowing hard, she closed the door behind her and stepped into the small living room. Everything looked neat and screamed of Magdalene, the tidiness freak. Esther headed for the comfort of the light and threw nervous glances over her shoulders.
She missed the wet patch. Too late!
She slipped, lost her footing and, with a small cry, fell in a heavy heap. Catching her breath, she rolled to get up but froze!
Staring at her, at eye level, was a man, his mouth opened in a frozen scream.
Motorists annoyed Jay Walker no end. They almost ran over him twice and both times at a pedestrian crossing when the green light was in his favour.
The authorities contributed to the danger. To solve the problem of bottlenecks on the ramp from the highway about a kilometre away, they allowed a green arrow for turning vehicles at the first traffic junction into the housing estate. But they also synchronised the turning light to come on with a green man for pedestrians at the same crossing.
The traffic experts, relying on computer modelling, had not considered human factor. It became a game of chance with irate motorists cutting into the path of pedestrians.
After his two near misses and one nasty accident which he witnessed, Jay complained to the authorities and requested for traffic light cameras at the junction. They ignored him.
Helpless and frustrated, he wished he had the power to vest instant karma on the offending motorists; nothing serious but enough to awaken the miscreants to their actions.
That evening on his way home, the light turned green and Jay stepped onto the crossing. He cast a wary eye on the eager vehicles that crept up and kept inching forward, waiting for a wide enough gap for them to zoom through. Jay made a wish, knowing full well the futility.
As expected, a car zoomed past behind him and the gust of wind caught his back. Jay cursed.
The next moment he heard shattering glass. And the car screeched to a halt.
Jay kept crossing but with his eyes on the car. The driver slowed down and pulled to the side. It was not an accident. Jay did not understand what happened, and neither did the driver who stepped out to examine his car.
The rear windshield had shattered. The driver scratched his head, looked at Jay and shrugged his shoulders, expecting sympathy. He received none from Jay who glared back.
That pleased Jay, but he did not dwell on the incident until the following morning on his way to work.
This time, a motorcyclist rode across Jay’s path. Jay jumped back and shouted but the man rode on, missing him by an arm’s length.
Again Jay cursed under his breath. This time, the motorcyclist skidded and earned himself some nasty lacerations on his arms. The road was dry and clean; not wet, and no slippery sand.
The rider’s mishap pleased Jay, but he helped the man to upright his motorcycle and pushed it to the side of the road.
That evening, when a motorist zoomed past ahead of oncoming pedestrians, Jay who was waiting for his light to turn green, willed hard. True enough that driver’s rear windshield shattered. He was more surprised than the driver.
That night, lying in bed, Jay wondered whether he had gained some miraculous power. He had read that adepts in ancient India and Tibet could project their thoughts. The power of suggestion, these master practitioners claimed, was real and portent.
Jay wanted to test his theory. He looked forward to the morning.
*** Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2019 ***
I’m travelling and forgive me if I’m slow in responding to your comments.