Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Short Story Mystery

Look Before You Leap by Elizabeth Ludwig

Part 2

The radio erupted with a crackle. Jerry nodded in approval. So far, everything was going according to plan. Now, for the trickiest part. . .

He reached up and with a sharp tug, removed his bulky sweater. The Velcro released with a rip, just as intended. Around him, the passengers on board the small airplane gaped. The parachute strapped to his back was plainly visible now.

Jerry fought not to laugh. It was always the same—the shock on the passenger’s faces when he pulled the gun, the anger as they realized he intended to rob them, and ultimately, the resignation as they accepted there was nothing they could do to stop him.

“Why, you’re not chubby at all!” the stout woman at the rear of the plane exclaimed. “It was all a disguise.”

Snagging a pair of goggles he’d stashed inside his pocket, he slid them over his head and covered his eyes. Jerry held up his bag of loot, stuffed full with valuables snitched from the wealthy passengers. “You’re absolutely right,” he said, laughing. “It was all part of my plan to swindle you good folks out of your millions. Now, if you don’t mind. . .”

Before any of them could react, he reached for the handle on the cabin door and pulled. It released with a whoosh and Jerry swung out of opening, into the clear, night sky.

Wind roared past his ears, flattening his cheeks and making it hard to breathe. Darkness closed around him, pressing and black. Good thing he’d made this jump, or rather, ones like it, before. He counted the seconds, waiting for the perfect moment when he’d release his chute and drift lazily to the ground.

Below, a ring of flares blazed brightly. His landing spot. Jerry managed a grin. Good ‘ol Buck. He could always count on his partner. He flung the booty away—south of the landing spot—where they’d find it, easily.

Reaching back, Jerry found the rip cord and pulled. His chute opened, jerking him upward. Once he’d stabilized, Jerry directed the landing straight for the center of the glowing flares.

Only. . .something was wrong!

Fear built in Jerry’s chest. He muttered an oath, sucked in a breath, and then squeezed his eyes shut as a shower of sparks erupted all around him.
FOR DISCUSSION: What happened to Jerry?
Stay tuned next week for Part 3 of Look Before You Leap.


Lisa Karon Richardson said...

I think he ran into power lines. Poor crispy cirtter.

Cathy S. said...

Could he have forgotten July 4th was so soon and landed near a town shooting off fireworks?

Elizabeth Ludwig said...

There's no fooling you, Lisa. But how, and why, I wonder, did he fail to account for the power lines? Hmmm...

Lisa Karon Richardson said...

Can't wait to find our for sure!

I think that his partner on the ground found that it was no fun sharing the loot and so he simply moved the landing zone a little from the place they had scouted out. Coming down in the dark the thief would never know the difference--at least not until it was too late.