by Jake Cake
The irony of coronavirus lockdown for various characters within the same story.
Once the winnings had cleared by direct bank transfer, she immediately booked two weeks abroad for a soon as she could which was April. The family hadn't had a decent holiday for years, and this one was going to be the holiday of a lifetime.
He had finally set up his home office. The new contract allowed him to pack in the day job and go full time from home with his true passion. No more being stuck in rush hour traffic or having to be in the office by a certain time and be told when and for how long he could have his lunch, or when he could go home. One thing he was looking forward to enjoying most of all was watching the traffic out of his window - everyone else rushing around in the rat race. But not him.
The first thing she was going to do when she got released that morning was to sit in the park with an ice cream, do some people watching and enjoy the freedom to move about without restriction. The main thing she looked forward to was no longer being limited to outdoor exercise just once a day.
The module had been locked into earth orbit. With communications having been knocked out for weeks, Captain John Cortney had been given up for dead. The isolation of space had nearly driven him insane, but after 72 hours of repairs he was ready to make a final attempt to get home. There was only enough oxygen left for a few more hours. He flipped some switches and the thrusters fired up successfully. The module lurched downwards and began its re-entry into earth's atmosphere.
Looking up from the back garden into the sky she imagined a plane crossing overhead - the one she and her family would have been on. The winnings sat in the bank, but they didn't mean much right now. Her attention was caught by a speck in the sky, and a sound like a distant lawn mower. She squinted at the object as it moved slowly in circles against the blue.
Looking out at the empty quiet street below on this Monday morning had burst his bubble. A woman in a nurse's uniform got in her car and drove off without so much as having to use her indicators. Next door he could hear his neighbour through the thin wall chatting business to someone on skype. He opened the window for some fresh air and heard a buzzing noise high above in the air. Looking out and upwards he saw a tiny winged silhouette moving slowly through the clear sky.
When they let her out through the main gate a car was waiting. The probation officer greeted her and briefed her on the situation. She would be driven to her nominated address where she had to remain indoors with the exception of exercise once a day and shopping for essentials. They both looked skyward as a distant high-pitched engine noise emanated from a gently swirling object a long way above them in the air.
After having crashed landed into the sea not far from the shore, Captain John Cortney floated in on an emergency self-inflating raft. He was going to hug the first person he saw. But the beach was deserted. He saw a lone figure walking along the promenade and ran towards the stranger who noticed him approaching. The stranger ran off it in the opposite direction, holding a hand over his mouth. Bemused, the captain stopped and looked around. Everything was still apart from what appeared to be a tiny light aircraft circling in the air further inland.
The world was always peaceful from this high in the air. The only sound was that of the microlite's engine. Banking round and taking in new panoramas the pilot sucked freedom into his lungs. This was the kind of distance from everyone he enjoyed. The world below was as still as it looked - the roads empty and the parks clear of speckles of people and picnic blankets. As he approached the open field where he took off, he noticed two police cars had parked up, and a couple of officers stood apart watching him descend.