January 13, 2015


Each Tuesday, rather than a POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAY, I'd like to both challenge you and lend a helping hand. I generate more speculative and teen story ideas than I can ever use. My family rolls its collective eyes when I say, "Hang on a second! I just have to write down this idea..." Here, I'll include the initial inspiration (quote, website, podcast, etc) and then a thought or two that came to mind. These will simply be seeds -- plant, nurture, fertilize, chemically treat, irradiate, test or stress them as you see fit. I only ask if you let me know if anything comes of them.

Filip Møller took a deep breath and held out his arms to catch the wind roaring up the jutting spike of stone called Trolltunga as it jutted over a branch of Hardangerfjord in western Norway. It would the jump of his life and make him the youngest boy to do it. His guardian had signed off, the law had been called, and on his thirteenth birthday, Filip would do what he’d dreamed of doing.

Jakob Sjöman was Filip’s best friend and figured it would have been better for him to wear a diaper than have skipped eating for the past week. At least he wouldn’t be trying to crap his pants with nothing in his stomach. Instead, the cramps wouldn’t leave him alone. He KNEW Filip wasn’t trying to kill him. He KNEW he was eighteen and legally capable of signing his life away as Filip’s guardian, but this was crazy! There had to be an easier way to let someone know...

Filip shouted, “This is it! Let’s go!” He ran and leaped from Trolltunga jutting out into nothingness.

Jakob closed his eyes, took a breath, nearly puked his empty stomach out and ended up only gagging, then ran at the cliff edge. He closed his eyes when he reached the point where his father shouted, “Jump!” He did and fell into nothingness.

He might have passed out if he didn’t hear Filip scream just then. Jakob’s eyes flew open behind the goggles in time to see his “little brother” disappear into a roiling gray cloud. “What’s wrong?” he asked the wind roaring past his face at a hundred and sixty km/hour. “Slapping my face, more like,” he said, tipping the wingsuit a fraction to follow Filip. The cloud was wet, exactly like fog. “If fog moved instead of just sitting there.” He shot free of the cloud and started. There was no water beneath them. Instead, pine trees marched endlessly to all the horizons. What was going on?

Filip slowed until they were flying side-by-side. “Where are we?” he shouted.

At least that’s what Jakob thought he shouted. He pointed down with his chin. No point talking up here. Landing was the only way they could do anything. Still horrified by the whole thing, he also didn’t want to die doing this. He’d worked harder at the training that Filip had – the kid was crazy when it came to jumping, but he had a pretty normal thirteen-year-old’s sense of reality. He figured he could do anything. After the car crash that killed his mom, Jakob was absolutely certain there was nothing HE could do about anything except push it all back and figure whatever happened, happened.

The ground was rushing toward them. It was close to the time to deploy the chute. That was when he saw the airfield. Beside it were open fields, just starting to turn gold at this time of year. He jerked his chin toward them and Filip tweaked his flight so that he was alongside but a ways away. Jakob frowned. Were those bleachers alongside the fields? As they swooped lower and lower, they roared over a small town as they yanked the ripcords of the parachutes in unison. They billowed out overhead and before they knew it, they were running as they glided into a landing.

Of course, Filip landed without a hitch. Jakob tripped over his feet and fell, rolling as a gust of wind ballooned the parachute and dragged him along for several moment until he was hopelessly tangled. By the time the laughing Filip had released him a crowd of people stood around them.

Jakob, trying to regain some sense of dignity, stepped up to the person closest to him and said, “Where are we?”

The older woman said, “Jeg snakker ikke norsk.”

He switched to English, which he could speak, though badly, “You speak that...”

She laughed and said, “Min norsk er veldig rusten.”


Filip elbowed him and said in Norwegian, “It’s an American idiom.” Then he turned to the woman and said in English, “My friend doesn’t speak English very well, either. Forgive him. My name is Filip...um...” his self-assurance suddenly deflated as he said, “Where are we?"

"Why, we called you here, silly child!"

Names: ♂ Norway, Denmark ; Norway, Sweden

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