Home > aurals, short > Drusilla, part 3 – Mayhem

Drusilla, part 3 – Mayhem

5 September 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

Don’t start in the middle, be sure to read Part 1: Meeting and Part 2: Maui before you read this part.

—–

Hearing the sound of curtain hooks sliding across a metal rod coming from the booth to her left, Drusilla stops staring into the mirror and pulls her own curtain aside. She steps out seeing Topher, to her left, examining himself in the full length mirror. Stepping up to his right side, she places her hand on his right shoulder. Before them stand a young man and a young woman, each in their early twenties. Their matching black body suits are trimmed in florescent green. The woman’s ice blue eyes sparkle with excitement from beneath her straight black hair. Standing shoulder and head taller, the man’s blue eyes, deep like the sea, show a mixture of glee and apprehension. Standing together, they smile at their choice in body suits, each one fitting like a glove, revealing their endowments and gym time effort in black curves. Satisfied with their purchases, the pair collect their bags and stroll out into the early afternoon sun, hand in hand. Before taking more than a few steps, the couple disappears into the sea of tourists and honeymooners.

Drusilla marvels at everything, the shops holding their exotic wares, the man at her side, their fortune at getting such a great deal on the trip, and especially the weather. The crowds are not as oppressing in September, and that is one of the reasons for the couples’ decision to go ahead and attend summer internships before making the trip. The weather she suspects is always wonderful here but feels a little internal confusion for such a September afternoon back home would hint at Autumn with colored leaves drifting across the roads and fluttering from their high summertime perches.

After stashing their bags in their hotel room, Drusilla and Topher enjoy a late lunch because they both know they will be too nervous to eat later, prior to the night’s activities. Midafternoon finds the couple sitting on the Kapalua beach alone. They sit in the sand, their sandals lie together, discarded for the moment, as Drusilla sits in Topher’s lap. With their arms intertwined, they stare out at the blue water and softly crashing waves, enjoying the luxury of just spending time, no deadlines, no pressing appointments, no pressure, just two people content in the others’ company.

Late afternoon brings Dru and Topher back from the beach to don their body suits and catch the shuttle out to the airfield. Sitting in the shuttle, their hands clasped, the realization of the purpose of the trip finally settles in and so do the nerves. Arriving at the airfield, they meet the other hardy soul who will be joining them on this adventure, a slightly older man named Artie, and their guide, Lisa. The next hour finds them engaged in training for the jump, parachute safety, basic skydiving maneuvers, and emergency procedures.

When the foursome emerge from the hanger, darkness has gathered around the island like a shroud. Geared in their parachutes, hands clasped tightly together, Drusilla and Topher accompany Artie and Lisa out of the hanger and across the tarmac to the small airship, moored at the boarding platform. Little more than an elongated balloon, with an enclosed cabin and propeller, the airship looks like it might be capable of taking six people, plus the pilot, but most likely without much gear. The couple board and sit on the port side bench, opposite Artie seated on the starboard bench.

Seated in the near darkness, Dru stares into the same dreamy blue eyes she fell in love with a little over a year ago, the same blue eyes she cannot imagine spending another day without. This summer was the worst yet, after having spent the previous nine months almost entirely together, being apart on separate internships for three months, so far apart that they could only arrange a few weekend visits, quickly became intolerable. She realizes in an instant that she does not need to do this any longer; She does not need the rite of passage, she is ready to say “I do” to this man, completely, wholly, without reservation, hesitation, or regret. She briefly considers telling him all this and just remaining on the airship with him, not jumping, just here holding his hands and staring into his blue eyes, but she doesn’t want to deprive him of this experience. He had selected Maui, having always wanted to go, but took a lot on convincing that the skydive was the perfect shared experience for them – the perfect leap of faith. After getting him convinced, though, he committed to it completely. She knows that he would be disappointed if she were to back out now, so she holds his hands and holds his eyes, thinking, “We can do this.” Like many times before over the past year, she knows, intuitively, that he is thinking the same thing, “We can do this,” and this comforts her.

For a moment, Dru breaks eye contact and looks up. The light in the ceiling, that was once red, is now blinking amber, and then stays solid. The time approaches for their leap of faith. Lisa, their guide, stands before them and yelling to be heard above the roar of the single engine pushing them onward, she directs everyone to stand and to hold the rails, “THIRTY SECONDS!”

Dru looks back at Topher, his eyes there to greet her, like a hug after a bad day at work. She melts again, he always does that to her. With fear shining in their eyes, he mouths, “I love you” and she returns the whispered, “I love you,” though the whisper is immediately consumed by the engine’s roar. Bending his head, he leans in and they kiss briefly as Lisa begins yelling again.

“JUST LIKE WE PRACTICED. JUMP, COUNT TO TEN, THEN PULL YOUR RED HANDLE,” touching the red handle dangling from the left shoulder of her jump harness. “SHOULD ANYTHING GO WRONG, THE BACKUP CHUTE WILL DEPLOY AUTOMATICALLY. YOU WILL BE FINE. TRY TO ENJOY YOURSELF!”

A buzzer sounds from overhead as the amber glow is replaced with green. Lisa pulls the sliding door open. The roar of the engine, though louder with the door opened, is immediately forgotten to the void of the wind swirling around them. Lisa motions to get into position at the door’s edge. After a little coaching, Drusilla stands behind Artie, then Topher and finally Lisa.

With a slap on Topher’s shoulder then continuing the chain of slaps to Drusilla and she to Artie, the group files out of the cabin into open space. Over the thunderous roar of the rushing wind, Dru can only hear her own scream, as “down” instantly becomes something much more abstract than it was a moment before. Remembering the training, Dru spreads out her arms and legs to gain her orientation. The sensation is kind of like standing in rushing water, except without the water.

The night that was dark and soft like velvet has been replaced by streaks of light all around her. The lights resemble the Aurora Borealis, but this aurora is red and pink, gold and yellow and descending toward the ground, almost like a fiery mist. Instinctively, Dru pulls in her left arm and leg to swerve to the left, barely missing the first parachute inflating below her. She rights herself and thinks, “Has it been ten seconds already? I only remember five. I’ll wait a couple more.”

A couple of seconds pass and Dru pulls the red handle, deploying her own chute. Out of the corner of her eye, she sees movement. Whipping her head to the right as the chute catches the wind and jerks her hard, she catches an image of tumbling and flailing before her breath is knocked from her. As if in slow motion, which she will always remember, Topher’s face is visible to hers only for a moment and their eyes lock, the unspeakable panic in those eyes will haunt her forever. The panic softens some as he recognizes her, then….

Holding tightly to the handles of her chute, Dru shakes her head and tries to figure out what just happened. She recalls tumbling, then Topher’s face and those eyes. She whips around trying to see where he is, then, with dread filling her soul, she looks down to see the form of her love plummeting toward the ground. “TOPHER!”

She recalls Lisa’s words, “SHOULD ANYTHING GO WRONG, THE BACKUP CHUTE WILL DEPLOY AUTOMATICALLY.”

“The emergency chute. WHEN will it deploy automatically?”
Then, she sees a glint of white fabric fluttering below her, but the chute doesn’t open like it was supposed to. Instead, all she can do is watch in horror as Topher continues to tumble and the chute wraps around him like a blanket instead of inflating to slow his descent. After a few more seconds, seemingly like an eternity, Dru loses sight of Topher – black body suit against a black background.

Several seconds later, dreading it, Drusilla feels more than hears the thud. The wail that explodes from her soul, continues until her feet finally touch the cursed earth again. Swiftly disengaging her harness, Dru follows the blinking emergency beacon to Topher’s body. Dru falls to her knees and begins to unwrap Topher from the emergency parachute, meant to save his life. Once his face is uncovered, she cradles his head in her lap and stares into the perfect face of the man she loves.

Ignoring the shouts of voices from somewhere distant to her and her misery, Dru cries, “Why didn’t I call it off? We could have just stayed on board. Damn it! This is all my fault. Me and my damned rite of passage. I love you! I wanted to marry you! Why didn’t I just call it off up there. We would be disappointed, but we’d be alive and together!” The anguished wail, that accompanied Dru to the ground finds her again and she descends into a place so black that she wishes she could die right here, with him.

Hands pulling at her, bring her back from the blackness. She wishes that she could just die here, with him, but knows that he would hate that. He would want her to live on and be happy. How can she ever be happy again? Paramedics have arrived and are loading Topher into the ambulance. Drusilla follows along and climbs into the back to sit next to Topher. She vaguely recalls the efforts of the paramedics, in their vain attempt to bring life back to her love. He was gone and it was all her fault.

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Categories: aurals, short Tags: ,
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  1. 7 September 2008 at 18:51

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