My First Attempt at Flash Fiction

Standing in the doorway of the plane, the jumpmaster looked out at the ground below.  In a few minutes they would be over the drop zone.  Looking back over his shoulder he saw the rows of faceless Soldiers with their gear, waiting for his signal to stand up and hook up their static lines.

As the jumpmaster, he was allowed to use alternate methods of exiting the plane.  One of the methods was to jump without using a static line and free-falling for a while, then manually deploying his chute.  That idea sounded good to him today.  In fact, it was the best idea he had in a long time.  A trickle of sweat ran down his forehead as he smiled to himself.

A day earlier, he heard the rumor:  He was going to be banned from jumpmaster duties at the hearing scheduled for tomorrow.  All because of that one little incident.  Sure, it was just a rumor, but from a pretty reliable source.  After twenty years of service (most of those years spent among the elite Soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Division), the word Honor meant more to him than most folks would imagine.  And now?  Well, now he was faced with losing that honor. 

But still, it was just a rumor.

It wasn't really his fault.  The kid had hooked up his static line through one of the loops in his gear.  As the jumpmaster, he was supposed to catch that mistake, but with so many jumpers all exiting the door so quickly, he missed it.

The kid jumped out, and his static line didn't deploy the chute.  Instead, it dragged him alongside the plane, battering him against the fuselage.  Before anyone could cut him loose, the kid made another mistake, this one fatal.

He pulled his reserve chute while still attached to the static line.  The outcome wasn't pretty.

And now, standing in the doorway of the plane, he looked at the rows of Soldiers waiting for his signal, looked back at the ground, and back at the Soldiers again.  He was over the drop zone. 

Decision time.

He gave the signal, the Soldiers stood up and connected their static lines, and began to walk toward the door.  One by one they slid their static lines toward the jumpmaster as they exited the door.  When they were all out, he looked down at the white canopies.  He always thought they looked a little like clouds.  Today was no different.

At this altitude, he knew he had about ten seconds before hitting the ground.  He knew he was supposed to deploy his chute no later than four seconds from leaving the door.

Decision time.

Stepping out of the plane, he began to count.

Uploaded 09/30/2011
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