As he plummets to earth he thinks, maybe this was a bad idea.
It’s his first solo jump and he’s dropping through some nasty turbulence that blows him all around. He feels like a leaf in a hurricane. What was he thinking? He isn’t ready for this.
The world looks different from 12,000 feet, 11,000, 10,000. Pull the damn cord already.
Everything was so much better when attached to Samson. After all who wouldn’t feel safe with someone named Samson, right? A man with superhuman strength is your best friend when you’re falling through the sky.
Pull the cord before it’s too late.
Or no, I see cars; I’m too close. This isn’t my day.
PULL the cord.
Where is it? I can’t find it. Samson always pulled the cord. Are those electrical towers? Or God, if I can see electrical towers, I’m really too close. And are those cows?
Where’s the cord?
His fingers pull the ripcord and the chute opens. The loss of momentum makes his stomach lurch. It’s still pretty windy but he’s no longer dropping like a stone in a vacuum.
Where am I?
He’s been blown miles off the jump zone but he sees a grassy field and a large parking lot that looks like a safe bet.
As he gets closer to the ground the turbulence seems to even out. But no sooner does he think he’s safe, than a gust of wind blows him sideways towards some trees.
In a home in a nearby city, a woman puts makeup on her black eye. She wears a long sleeved turtleneck sweater to hide the other bruises. Her movements are slow and deliberate because three of her ribs have broken. The phone rings but she doesn’t answer it. She doesn’t want to pretend to be happy. She silently prays for rescue from this life.
He’s about 3,000 feet up and still headed for the trees. Samson said stay away from trees.
Dear God, let me land safely. I promise I’ll never hurt anyone again. I’ll give to charity, I’ll be kind to my mother and my wife. Anything. Just let me land safely. I swear to be good.
Another wind comes up and blows him back towards the open grass.
He steers the way Samson taught him and maneuvers towards an area that looks freshly mowed.
The world becomes more familiar with every second. He’s right over the parking lot and on track to land in the field. There’s a huge chain link fence, maybe 20 feet high, separating the field from the parking lot. He’ll clear it but wonders why it’s so high. At the edge of the parking lot is a massive sign but he can’t read it yet.
He drops onto the grass and runs a few feet before stopping. He removes his gear and forgets to thank God for his clean landing.
He’s exhilarated. He did it. It was touch and go for a bit but his first solo jump was a success. As he packs up he looks over at the sign. He can read it now.
“Wild Lion Habitat”
As it registers, he sees movement in the grass.
It takes a minute but then he sees them. He’s surrounded.
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