Adam Trodd is one of the two runners-up in our recent Happy Ever After? short story competition. Here’s his story…
Finian wrestled with the kite in the rising wind. It was almost as big as him. He threw it with as much force as he could muster but it blew straight back like a paper airplane and wrapped around his legs.
â€œWhoa, hang on there. You have to face the other way and let the wind get into it before you launch it!â€ his grandfather cried, racing to untangle him.
Finianâ€™s mother and father laughed and yelled encouragement from their viewing spot on a hill as seagulls wheeled china-white and screeching in the cobalt sky above the cliffs.
â€œI donâ€™t think itâ€™s a perfect day for kite flying, granddad.â€ he said as the old man applied his workerâ€™s hands to the knotty string.
â€œSure all we need is wind and a kite! Youâ€™ll get the hang of it soon enough,â€ his grandfather replied.
Once free of the tangle, Finian looked up at him for guidance.
â€œShow me,â€ he said.
â€œRight. Turn towards me and let a fair bit of string loose there. Now, Iâ€™ll walk back a few steps with the kite until the wind rises up again. When I hold it up, the wind should take her and weâ€™re flying.â€
The pair faced each other like gunslingers on a deserted street at high noon and waited for a strong wind to come over the brow of the cliff. A faint breeze ruffled Finianâ€™s hair and made his hazel eyes squint. He flinched.
â€œWait for it. Not yet,â€ his grandfather instructed.
Another puff came but it was still not strong enough.
â€œNot yet? Would the kite crash?â€ Finian asked.
â€œLike a stone,â€ his grandfather replied.
The next gust hit them with a cool blast of fine sea spray that made Finian gasp.
â€œThat felt good enough!â€ his grandfather called out, holding the kite up.
Finian began to release more string as he jogged backwards.
â€œThatâ€™s it, faster now, faster!â€ his grandfather yelled breathlessly, just managing to keep pace with the boy.
â€œOkay, Iâ€™m letting it go!â€
Finian screamed with unfettered joy as the wind held the multicoloured butterfly with invisible force at the end of the taut string. He unwound more from the spool and it gained altitude.
â€œWe did it!â€ he shouted as the kite was buffeted about and mobbed by the gulls above them.
His grandfather walked slowly back to him, the tangy sea wind making his steps falter.
â€œDo you think granny can see it?â€ Finian asked.
â€œIâ€™d like to think so, Fin.â€
â€œItâ€™s like weâ€™re sending her a message that weâ€™re all okay, isnâ€™t it, granddad?â€
â€œAye. Thatâ€™s just what itâ€™s like,â€ he said, squeezing his small shoulder.
Adam Troddâ€™s fiction and poetry have appeared in publications such as The Irish Times, The Incubator Journal, CrannÃ³g, Banshee, The Molotov Cocktail, The Launchpad and The Caterpillar as well as the Bath Flash Fiction and National Flash Fiction Day anthologies. He won the inaugural Benedict Kiely Short Story Competition and the Book of Kells Creative Competition and was a selected poet for Irelandâ€™s first Poetry Jukebox installation in Belfast. Â He is a Best Small Fictions 2018 nominee and part of the XBorders:Accord project with the Irish Writers Centre. He lives and works in Dublin. You can follow Adam on Twitter @A_Trodd and at http://blankpageworrier.blogspot.ie/