Rob Abrazado (flatvurm) wrote,
Rob Abrazado

[Terrible Minds Flash Fiction: Baby Pulp] "Adventure in the Sky!"

Chuck Wendig, at his excellent blog Terrible Minds, has started posting these "flash fiction" challenges, wherein he posts some hopefully inspirational starting point, and then you get one week and 1,000 words to write some fiction. The following is one of my contributions.

This challenge: Baby Pulp.

"Adventure in the Sky!"

The biplane rocketed upward and broke through the clouds, spitting out of the murky thunderhead like an unwanted mouthful of strained peas. Now that they'd emerged from the cloud cover, Captain Ghastly's blimp was visible just ahead, a plodding monstrosity bobbing its way forward between the crowded starfield above and the thundering storm clouds below.

The plane crested an imaginary hill and began to enter a dive. The sickening lurch that followed squeezed Jack Pendleton's stomach like he was being burped over God's own shoulder. But this was no time to spit up; Ghastly had to be stopped. The engine's buzz took on a new, more urgent timbre as the pilot committed to the dive and angled the plane into a banking turn.

Jack reflexively grabbed on to the edge of the fuselage for support as he felt the forces of gravity and the turn start their tug-of-war. The dirigible loomed closer and larger, filling Jack's vision like an angry, red party balloon. As the plane got closer, Jack could finally make out a tiny figure on the top of the airship in front of them.

"There he is!" yelled Jack, flailing his arms excitedly and bouncing in his seat. "Take us in!"

The pilot nodded and straightened the plane's trajectory. Jack hoisted himself up a bit and put his feet on the seat, folding his legs beneath him in a crouch. As the plane arced over the top of the dirigible, Jack turned to stay facing the airship and his enemy atop it. Even from here he could see Captain Ghastly's upturned face. Those cold eyes and cruel smile spoke volumes; Jack's movements were also being tracked.

Jack flipped his bib around to his back like a cape. Saying a silent prayer that Professor Bananapants had done his calculations correctly, he shouted to the pilot, "Now!"

The biplane slammed into a sudden dive, its new course barely clearing the side of the airship below. As the plan angled down, Jack, now facing backwards, launched himself from his seat, leaping over the pilot's head, and briefly landed both feet on the tail of the plane. He immediately jumped again, this time spreading his legs and pushing his hands down, leapfrogging over the plane's upright tail fin as it zoomed past underneath him. In that one precarious moment, Jack felt, or imagined he felt, the very tip of the plane's tail graze the bottom of his diaper.

Both Jack and the plane continued their respective descents, each now heading in an opposite direction: the plane back to Earth and Jack toward Ghastly's airship. As he fell, Jack reached both arms behind his back and grabbed the corners of his bib. Snapping both arms outward in one, quick motion, the bib/cape snapped out into a crude glider, allowing Jack to control his descent to the top of the dirigible beneath him. Jack mentally composed a quick note of thanks to the Professor for his handiwork.

"Ghastly!" Jack shouted as he dropped to the top of the airship and turned to face his longtime nemesis. A crack of lightning from below cast the scene in eerie shadow as Captain Ghastly turned to face his pursuer. The two foes stared each other down as the resultant boom of thunder echoed away into the distance, gradually giving way to the sound of the flapping of Jacks' bib in the wind and the distant hum of the dirigible's engines far below.

"Jack Pendleton," the Captain finally said. "I should have known you would have survived the demolition of that skyscraper."

"What can I say, Ghastly," Jack replied. "I have friends in high places."

Captain Ghastly sneered.

Jack reached slowly behind him and retrieved the rattle tucked into the back of his diaper's waistband. Ghastly echoed the movement and drew his own rattle.

"It is time, Ghastly," Jack said. "Return the Binky."

Ghastly shifted his pacifier from one side of his mouth to the other. Once again, that cruel smile played on his lips. "Never, Jack," the evil baby replied. He shook his rattle defiantly. "Never!"

Jack was suddenly swept from the top of the airship and carried off into the sky.

* * *

"Ohhhhhhh-kay, little man, play time is over," said Nancy, lifting little Jack from the playpen and heaving him up in the crook of her arm to cradle him over her shoulder. "Thanks again for having us over, Jane."

"Oh, it's my pleasure," said Jane, crouched at the playpen and tidying things up around her own son. "I like the company, and the boys seem to really enjoy their play time together."

"Don't they!" said Nancy. Jack, perched over Nancy's shoulder, started to cry. "Aww, poor guy. Don't worry, Jack, we'll come again to play another day, won't we." She turned and planted a noisy kiss on Jack's cheek.

"Come over any time," said Jane. She retrieved from the playpen a stuffed toy monkey wearing a cap and gown. "Hey, don't forget Professor Bananapants here!"

"Hah, thanks," said Nancy, taking the animal. "I swear this kid loses more stuff..." Jack continued to cry, so Nancy picked him up in both hands to play his favorite game. "Aww, ready? Airplane! Airplane! Whee!" Nancy swooped Jack through the air and made "brrr, brrr" engine noises with her mouth. Jack stopped crying and squealed with delight.

* * *

The Professor's gliding bib had bought enough time for the pilot to circle back and catch Jack's plummeting body. As the plane sped away, Jack and the Captain locked eyes across the vast distance between them. Though no words were spoken, each could read the other's expression: Jack's furrowed brow and narrowed eyes, and Captain Ghastly's taunting smile shaped around the pacifier in his mouth. Next time!
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