by David Hobdy III
Today I set out to grab a cloud. I’d tried before. I’d failed. But today I was going to do it.
I looked at the sky for ages, trying to pick the perfect one. Finally, there it was. It looked sort of like a stingray or a butterfly, maybe.
It was a high one. But it was the one I was gonna grab.
I readied myself for the leap, pretending I was someone who could grab it effortlessly. Someone strong. Someone with poise and grace who weighs more than 140lbs and has a good relationship with their seratonin receptors.
Just someone that wasn’t me, I guess.
At any rate, the time to jump had come. I squatted, low to the earth from which I came. I closed my eyes, focusing all the energy I could muster into my calves and commanded my legs to thrust me as far into the air as they could.
And like that I was off.
I felt my body shooting through the atmosphere, flying true like an arrow. I passed treetops then skyscrapers and planes. My cloud grew larger and more detailed. I reached my hands out as I flew though all the parts of the atmosphere that I had studied in class and long since forgotten.
The air grew thin. Eventually I couldn’t breathe. But that was fine. I was higher than I had ever gotten before.
It was so quiet up there. No cars, no buzzing phones, no voice in my head telling me that it didn’t matter even if I grabbed the damned cloud.
Just a boy, flying through the air.
For a moment, the cloud was within my grasp. But my ascent began to slow. Certainly I would still make it. I was only a stretch of the fingers away.
My ascent slowed still. And then ceased entirely.
I fell. Fast.
The wind whipped and tore at my skin.
“Of course,” I laughed to myself as I fell. “Of course I couldn’t.”
I passed the same rooftops and trees I shot past on the way up. They laughed. I smiled.
I crashed into the earth. I felt my skull cave inward and my ribs crack like toothpicks.
My arms bent at odd angles and my windpipe was crushed. I spat thick, burgundy blood out as I rolled over onto my back and looked at the cloud I brushed with my fingers just moments before.
It hung still in the air, taunting me. Still, I smiled a sanguine, broken toothed smile.
“Tomorrow,” I said. “Tomorrow, I’ll jump higher”
David Hobdy III is a sophomore at Loyola University New Orleans studying Philosophy Pre-Law with an English Writing Minor. He has won various writing awards from the Scholastic Writing Awards and the Alabama Writer’s Forum, and his first piece of published writing will be running in this year’s issue of From Sac.