Saturday 6 June 2020

'Flying High'' by Lisa Marie Pais

Thirteen-year-old Riley Jones always wanted to pilot her dad’s plane. Finding herself home alone and his keys unattended, presented just the opportunity.

Taking off would be easy. Landing, on the other hand…

“Well, it can’t be that hard. After all, what goes up must come down,” Riley announced to Toby, the Toto look-alike, then snatched the keys off the hook and headed outside. No worries about him ratting her out. She peered around the side of the barn - all clear - then sprinted toward the crop duster. The ladder was already down, enabling her to climb inside with ease, which she took as a good sign. Must be my lucky day.

Although she had never ridden solo, she’d played co-pilot several times. Unofficially perhaps, but she knew what every button did and had no doubt in her ability to fly this plane. Determined to prove it, she stuck the key in the ignition. Do I really dare?

The decision was made with a turn of the key. She performed the usual safety checks and then pulled back on the throttle. The plane bumped along as it picked up speed, and then she felt the familiar jolt as it caught the wind in its upward climb.

“Yes!” She yelled, and fist pumped in gleeful triumph. Soaring higher Riley handled the plane like a pro. Below her, the town spread out like a miniature replica, the farms a patchwork quilt dotted with dollhouses. Although she considered landing in the designated airstrip out in back, she turned the craft around and made a proper landing on the front lawn of her family’s farm.

“That will teach him to forget my birthday.”

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