“Why don’t you take the kite out?” says dad. I look at my brother, who shrugs. Outside, trees bend in the wind. We have been moping around the house all morning. The novelty of the summer holiday has worn off. My brother and I are in the grip of a lethargic funk. In the first week of the holiday we built a Lego city that sprawled across our bedroom floor. It had alien-looking, flanged and twisted skyscrapers that teetered up to shoulder-height. Now we build monoliths and throw marbles at them from the couch. “Do we even have a kite?” says my brother. For a moment my mind is blank, then I remember. “It’s on top of the wardrobe.” After another minute of dumb silence we slide off our chairs and go to the bedroom. A corner of yellow fabric sticks out from on top of the wardrobe. I feel ashamed. How long has the kite been lying up there, watching us build Lego cities? We put on our boots and head outside. The wind tries to knock us off our feet. We tromp through the fields. Every few steps we pirouette to catch a glimpse of our ever-receding house, or kick at the thick thistles that snap with a satisfyingly wet pop and keel over like dead soldiers. Step, step, kick, pirouette. We must look like a pair of lost automatons. Cinched under my arm, the kite flutters happily. We take it to the Edge, a ten-foot drop between one field and the next. Deep hoof marks score the ground where tubby cows have clambered up and down. I hand the kite to my brother. It almost escapes, squirming out of our hands. My brother grabs at it, catches the tail. “Buggering thing,” he says. We take twenty steps back and rush at the Edge, me in the lead with the bobbin and line, my brother behind, holding up the kite like a sacrificial offering to the sky. We jump. For a quiet moment all is air. We tumble through green then blue then green then blue. Something tugs my hand. The line is taut.
Flash Fiction by Tobias Baudry
Published in Spring 2017