Saturday, December 26, 2009


     The sun struggled powerlessly against a sea of swelling clouds, brushing past with the fury of the seven angry seas. Fellow adventurers chirped, laughed, shifted in their seats around me. The programmed voice announced for the twentieth time that hour, "Riders … on your marks … get set … GO!"
     The hiss of steam rising from the rain-splattered rails was lost as green turned to yellow and the red still lingered on my retinas as my neck snapped against the headrest, eyes forced shut with the sheer velocity, tearing the remaining breath in my lungs out and shoving the ensuing scream straight back into my throat. It was too fast for sound. Spiraling like a rocket ship, my fellow astronauts shrieked with a medley of delight and fright as the sky suddenly seemed close enough to touch – I reached but physics shot my arm back against the safety bar clamping me down, saving me from free-falling four-hundred feet and kissing concrete. Soaring, soaring, soaring – all of a sudden time stopped for one millisecond. The earth stood still and I was standing at the top of it. Then, the true terror began. The ground, everything, my feet, my hands, the safety bar all disappeared from sight as the scenery changed to a view of the ocean, the trees, the other roaring machines and I was released by an invisible claw, at the mercy of gravity. A faint taste of bile rose up out of my stomach, taunting me with nausea. My cheeks flapped wildly, the skin peeled back from my eye sockets, temporarily revealing my skull. My stomach sank to my toes as I realized all that was holding me to the crazy beast was a strap, buckle, and flimsy piece of metal. The safety bar rose away from my lap and I slid around like an air-hockey puck, my mass clearly not enough to hold me down as I walked on the sky. Up there, all remnants of blue shocked into blinding white. And just as abruptly as it all started, it ended. The resounding jerk. Another hiss as the great iron dragon crawled back to its lair, preparing for its next herd of victims. My whole body was injected with horse tranquilizer; the blood in my face finally snapped out of shock and remembered to keep moving. My mouth was a desert, my eyes a drought. Still shaking and with hair standing on end, I glanced at my watch. Fourteen seconds.

[Another piece for Visiting Writer Week in Writing 1. Inspired by Cedar Point amusement park's Top Thrill Dragster in Sandusky, Ohio]


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