DOWN: The origins of human flight

Testor unfurled his wings;
this would be their first high-altitude test.
He remembered the Old Russian expression Grandma would use:
“Не пуха, не перя” –
no feathers, no down
it means “good luck”.

He jumped, flapped once, twice –
Caught a draft and soared.
Carbon nanofiber “feathers” gripped the air like magic.

Banking sharply upward, something snapped –
Pain in one of the appendages.
Dozens of ground tests had failed to prepare Testor for this,
and as he hurtled down,
trying to stabilize,
He recalled the traditional reply
(Grandpa’s line, usually):
“К черту” –
“Go to Hell”.

This flash fiction in 94 words is crafted for Flash in the Pan


  1. I love it …i think maybe we both spent some time thinking out physics and maybe the spiritual aspects of down?
    This is great. …i smiled when i saw the post:)

    • Thank you! Actually it’s a funny coincidence – I got to thinking about the different definitions of the word, and then I thought of feathers, and then the expression. Then I thought about characters with feathers and remembered a podcast about physiological augmentation in the future and the rest sort of flowed in and I hashed it out through my blender / brain spewer. 🙂

  2. Terrific flash! Leave a link to your blog in The Green Room at the top of M3. I will send you a care package. Welcome to FTP!

  3. I love this.
    You know, when I graduated high school I went to get a tattoo of Icarus on my back. That Landscape and the Fall of Icarus was my favorite painting, my favorite poem that inspired it. Luckily I gave it up as a bad idea otherwise I might have learned to hate ol’ Icarus!

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