Flight Not Fight

**** Previous Installment of Vivid Black – Crossroads and Porch Swings



As he approached, the revolving door welcomed him with its whop, whoosh, whop whoosh and spun him into the airport. He hoisted his canvas drab backpack higher on his shoulder, listing to the right with the weight of his carry-on duffle. Ray lurched to the Frontier ticket counter and checked into his flight.

His flight wouldn’t leave for hours and while a cold beer was appealing he didn’t want to dull or diminish his thoughts; he needed his edge.  So he drifted along the wide hall scattered with travelers encumbered in varying stages of luggage, children and technology. He recognized frustration, panic, exhaustion, and glee in their faces and demeanor. As he wandered, the earthy, rich smell of coffee drifted over the mixed emotions that washed the corridor. It drew Ray in where he found the savory smell of grilled burgers. He sat at the counter and ordered a burger and black coffee.

When the order arrived, he moved to the red vinyl booth in the corner recently occupied by newlyweds still unfamiliar with the routines and behaviors of those jaded and comfortable in marriage. Watching, observing was unavoidable, the consequence of years as a cop. He saw the shabby, unkempt guy whose sallow, scabbed face and dull eyes betrayed his addiction. Ray wondered who was paying for his ticket and hoped he wouldn’t be on his flight.

When he finished his burger he collected his bags and worked his way back to the counter where he ordered and paid for another coffee, then wound his way out and headed toward the gate. He looked over the waiting area, found an empty chair in a long occupied row and crumpled into its small rigid form. Ray exhaled and breathed out the stress of airport ticket counters and invasive security which was enough, but his journey had the burden of telling his wife about Sarah Jane.

He thought, I wish this was over. Leta. Leta. Leta. Gotta get to her first. Leta was at a Monastery in San Antonio participating in a deep contemplative retreat to finishing her training as a Spiritual Director. She was isolated and completely removed from the outside world. When Ray spoke to Brother John Mary, he was assured Leta knew nothing. The dread bore a deep hole inside of him as he played every possible outcome over and over in his head.

The muscle in his jaw did a tattoo rhythm to match the twitch in his foot that bounced his knee. His eyes scanned the walls and pillars looking for a clock that would tell him his task was at hand, his mission near an end, but he knew it was just beginning.


This installment of Vivid Black is inspired by the writing prompt at Write on Edge.

This week we’d like you to write a fiction or creative non-fiction piece set entirely in an airport. Take us on an adventure in 450 words or less.


20 comments on “Flight Not Fight

  1. Lively and vivid descriptions of the hustle and bustle of an airport terminal. You really captured the chaos that goes on inside the building and eluded to the chaos that was going on inside the man. Very well done. Thank you for sharing.


  2. I agree that the outer and inner chaos are nicely matched here. You used some great sensory details, like the aromas of the airport, to really bring this to life. (Also, got your message and will get rid of the other link sometime today. Thanks for letting us know 🙂 )


  3. Intriguing! I can’t wait to learn more…

    GREAT use to details to paint of a telling picture – have to echo the above, you set the scene perfectly. I wasn’t surprised at all to find he was a cop!

    Although ALL of the details were intriguing, I think this one was my favorite: ” He saw the shabby, unkempt guy whose sallow, scabbed face and dull eyes betrayed his addiction.” – A whole story, really, in a sentence. Lovely!

    – Barbara @ de rebus


    • debseeman says:

      Ahh, thanks! Cops are a part of my world so I’ve got the behaviors down pretty good ;). Back track through the links or click the Vivid Black link on the bar at the top.


  4. Carrie says:

    This was a really intriguing scene as we were given just a few hints about the character and his life. Good build up of dread and tension over the news he has to give Leta


    • debseeman says:

      This story is still young. My installments have largely been through 100 word prompts. Hope you go back and read the rest. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂


  5. t says:

    I loved his review of the fellow travelers. I find myself doing the same when I travel, and you captured it perfectly!


  6. jeanelaine says:

    Oooh I won’t to read more. Great imagery and intrigue.


  7. jeanelaine says:

    Damn auto correct, I want to read more. LOL


  8. Wow! You’re good!!!!! I think I need to read your past post, if anything else, it will guide me in the direction I need to go w/ my detail.


  9. Tina says:

    It was the little details that drew me into the story and well, now I want to know more!


  10. I love the scene. Once a cop, always a cop, and it’s true they never stop observing and making split decision judgments about people. (Not in a bad way, it’s the part of their training that saves their lives daily)

    Minor concrit: “dull the importance of his thoughts” didn’t work for me, it seemed out of character somehow. (probably just a personal issue) I don’t know what to suggest here though, possibly “dull his ability to think” or maybe “dull the edge of his thoughts”.

    Anyway, I think you balanced the weighty situation well, for it felt heavy but didn’t drag. Make sense? Fantastic job!


    • debseeman says:

      That line keeps making me double read it. I’m going to go back and play with it some more. Got to keep it on my word limit. Thanks for the concrit. It makes us better writers if we can take it and give it.


  11. debseeman says:

    *** Authors note: I reworked the first sentence of the second paragraph. As pointed out by shelton keys dunning, it was clumsy and awkward.


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