Icarus lived. Response to a contest prompt.
And I know it's hard when you're falling down
And it's a long way up when you hit the ground
Get up now, get up, get up now
Word count: 496
No bounce, no roll. I just lay there, looking at the clouds, the sky, and the burning sun. The fall was slow; the feathers drifted away one by one. Ahhh...but the ascent, the burst into the heavens. One step from the cliff and I was pulled upwards, higher and higher. I felt the sun on my face. I rose to greet it, to know it, to be its friend. I closed my eyes letting the invisible force draw me to the source of all light, life. I basked in the radiance, the warmth, the promise of freedom.
It was a great idea my father had-a few feathers, a little wax, and shaved tamarisk branches. My father stole the shape of the wings from the gull, feathers from the Griffon, and wax from the bees. My father was brilliant, but cautious. "Don't fly too high, don't fly too low. The sun will melt the wax. The sea will suck you in. Do as I do."
What's the fun in that? Dad, you are an old man. You have no sense of adventure, no love of life, no need for freedom. I crave freedom, I demand joy. My quest is for what no man has known, no man could know. You gave me power, then told me not to use it. You gave me a gift I should never unwrap.
I am your son, I am not you. I had to tear off the ribbon, shred the paper, rip off the lid of the box. I had to know. I almost did. I almost did.
The weight of the wings pins me to ground. I can raise my head, but little else. I close my eyes. I can't bear to see my father shrink into nothingness as he glides away. He may have been right, but I was not wrong. I have known what he never will, I have been where he will never go. I have been free.
As the ground warms, the wax softens, the feathers fall away. I can raise one arm, then the other. I smash the tamarisk branches against the rocks. When I free my hands, I unfasten the harness. I look at the cliff. It's a long way up, an impossible climb. There is no choice, soon the tide will return. It is climb or drown. I climb.
The rocks cut into my hands, pull the flesh from my feet. The hours pass, hunger comes, thirst stays. The gods are punishing me. I almost knew what they know. I was almost one of them. I could have been one of them. There will be another time, another escape. There will be freedom, there will be.
It could have been worse, it could have been splat!
Word count: 496