“Don’t look down.”

“What’s the point in being up here, if I don’t look down?”

“Fair point. But..”

“Fuck, sorry. Oh fuck. Fuck. FUCK!”

“I told you not to look down.”

“I think I’m going to throw up.”

“That should be interesting for those on the ground.”

“It’s not funny. I need to sit down.” The silence and space were overwhelming. “Please stop rocking the basket.”

She took another tentative glance over the edge and stumbled backwards. “How did we get so high?” 

As she tightened her grip around one of the ropes tethering the basket to the huge balloon above, her mind drifted momentarily away on the clouds. How had they got so high? How had they ended up here at all? 

The answer lay teasingly at the edges of her consciousness but as she reached for it, a sudden roar jolted her attention back to the long drop below. The basket lurched and she closed her eyes against a new wave of panic. “What are you doing?!” 

Opening her eyes again, she could see the young man standing in the centre of the basket, tall and slim with black hair that hung in short curls to frame his handsome dark features. His smile was familiar, but not yet known, exciting but not yet safe. There was something about the smile; something about his eyes. Something… with the sun shining directly upon them, she was reminded suddenly of a horse in the moments before it bolts. 

“We need to get higher”. He grinned now, it seemed in her new awareness, without smiling. “Much higher.”

“Higher? Why?” 

“Because we need to avoid that.” 

He pointed, and turning too, she saw directly ahead an impossibly tall spire, spiralling through the wispy clouds like an inverted lightning bolt. 


“We just need to get higher”, he called over the noise of the burner. Again, the balloon lurched uncomfortably. She let go of the rope and grabbed the edge of the basket instead. “Don’t look down”, he laughed as she involuntarily did exactly that, and gagged. 

“Here, have a drink.”

Letting go of the burner control, he poured a glass of champagne from the bottle that had been resting unnoticed in the ice bucket on the unstable floor. He held it out to her, but he was too far away to reach without entrusting balance to her legs.


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Rod Webb
Aug 4 2021

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A dark vicious circle without hope of escape. A very well written, gripping fantasy.

Agnes Mika
Aug 21 2021

Wow. What a brilliantly, crafted story from start to end. The vivid descriptions and excellent dialogue had me hooked throughout. Amazing ending that tied up the story in an unexpected way that was pure genius! Some real truth to the ending too. Brilliant writing.

Lainey Hesketh
Aug 20 2021

Wow really powerful writing. I particularly like the dialogue style. Very much enjoyed this.

Amy Jones
Aug 15 2021

Wonderfully surreal.

Tony Spencer
Aug 8 2021

That was a real roller coaster!
I loved the journey into Alice in Wonderland. Only to bring it back down with a thud to painful reality!!
Nonita x

Nonita Thomas
Aug 7 2021