Parallel Tuesdays

Paper Airplanes (A 500 Word Story)

Here’s a bit of flash fiction for you, inspired by writing challenges from two wonderful writers, Ozlem Yikici and Billie Jo Woods.

Ozlem Yikici’s Tritych Trials prompts:

  • Painting/Photography by an Artist: William Marlow’s Capriccio: St Paul’s and a Venetian Canal, circa 1795
  • Random lines of Poetry by Poets: Defying Gravity by Roger McGough
  • An Art Movement/Writing Genre: Mannerism

Billie Jo Woods’  Twisted Freedom prompt:

  • Independence and freedom with a twist. For this challenge you can write in any genre you wish but your piece must include some sort of twist on the traditional fight for freedom or independence story.

Paper Airplanes

paper airplanes

Avery made the last fold and held the thing in her hand. A perfect paper airplane.

She looked at the picture over Daddy’s desk. “St Paul’s and a Venetian Canal.” She traced the water, leaving a smudge.


Avery stood on the balcony, listening to the quiet. No birds. No dog barking.

She cocked her arm and swung it forward, hurtling the plane into the air. She watched until it landed in the yard. Further than any of the others but not far enough. Daddy could make them fly to the mailbox.


Avery held the purple shirt. Mama always wore it with a big silver belt and tight pants. Skinny jeans, Mama called them. Avery lay down in her bed, hugging Mama’s shirt, and closed her eyes.


Maureen stood over the bed. Her purple tunic top lay across the rumpled bedspread. She picked it up. Pressed it to her face. Smelled her daughter. “Avery.”


Sam held a grass-stained paper airplane. “Another one, Dad.”

Gary took the plane without looking at the boy. “Go start your homework.” He slipped the plane into the desk, picked up the Windex and sprayed the glass over the Marlow print, wiping away a smudge.


Maureen finished her wine. “Found my shirt in her room again.”

Gary grunted, mouth full of spaghetti.

Sam bobbed his head along with whatever music fed through his earbuds.


Gary swallowed. “We’ve been over this, babe. I–You–”

“You really think I’m doing this to myself?” Maureen slammed her glass on the table.


“There are doors between here and there, Mr Walker,” said the man in the tweed jacket.

Who wears tweed? “Here and where?”

“Many places. Some are between places. Like where your daughter is.”

Gary rubbed his temple. “Where is that?”

“Here but not here.”

“Okay. Enough. You need to leave. Now.”


Gary watched the man, the sensitive, leaving.

Tweed looked back at the house. “She’s here. Can’t find her way back. Give her a thread to follow, Mr Walker.”


Gary stood by the mailbox. Listened to the birds. To a dog barking.

Something brushed his shoulder, landed at his feet. A paper airplane.

He turned and looked back.

The balcony was empty.

Gary snatched up the plane, hands shaking. Saw smudge of pencil on the wing. Unfolded the paper. Looked at the crooked writing.

I’m still here.


Gary jerked the drawer open. Paper airplanes spilled out. He unfolded them all.

Where are you?

Please help.

I’m waiting.

Gary looked at the print. Saw another smudge over the canal.

He grabbed a sheet of paper and a pencil.


Gary stood beside the mailbox. He cocked his arm and swung it forward, hurtling the plane into the air. His watched until it vanished.

Gary ran toward the house, scanning the ground.

No plane.

He ran inside. Up the stairs. Onto the balcony.

No plane.

Gary sank to the ground. Covered his face.


“Gary!” Maureen’s voice. Almost hysterical. “The basement. Oh my–”

Sam calling, “Daddy!”

Another voice. Tiny. Sweet. “Mommy? Daddy?”


No Write Thing Wednesday Blog Mash Up. It will return the week after next.

Also, the Twitter Hashtag Hula page is under construction and coming soon!


Tell me, what do the terms “twisted freedom” and “defying gravity” mean to you? And what do you think would be on the other side of a door between worlds?

Photo Credit
paper plane by Dmitry Krendelev, on Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0

28 thoughts on “Paper Airplanes (A 500 Word Story)

  1. Incredible! I was hooked. Storytelling minimism to perfection. Wow – that was amazing and will glow in my mind’s eye for a while.
    The idea, the sequencing, the details given, the timing… I can learn lots from this magnificent piece. Thank you so much for writing it.

  2. Awesome job Sonia! I loved the little details, they really made the story. I’ve had dreams like this, being there but not there, trying so hard to find a way back. Thanks great read!

  3. So glad I found your blog via a “flash fiction” tag search. Great story, constructed in an interesting and thoughtful way, with hints of what is to come. The idea of communicating via paper planes is touching and perfect for the theme.

  4. oh wow Sonia -talk about gripping, eerie and suspense! I am literally on the edge of my seat trying to work it all out -please tell me you will develop this -I want to read more!

    I love the little hints ‘sensitive’ ‘here and there’ -very smart. A great achievement. Thank you for taking part -you did a swell job! 🙂

  5. A beautiful, and beautifully-crafted, story. You pack so much into a few words. The story is very clear about what is going on, on the surface. But there is so much the reader fills in. Just wow. I’m with the others – more please 🙂

    A couple lines I loved: _Who wears tweed?_
    Three little words, but they tells us volumes about Gary and the Sensitive.

    Gary watched the man, the _sensitive_, leaving. Tweed looked back at the house.
    Love it. A simple description and a metaphor, I think. Reminds me a bit of Raymond Chandler – And I mean that as the highest complement.

    As to your question, “what do you think would be on the other side of a door between worlds?” It depends. I feel there are many worlds besides our own: Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, Tir na nOg, Elysium, etc. I guess it all depends on _which_ door is opened. It could be good, or bad, or both 🙂

  6. You guys are totally giving me the grins! Thank you. 😀

    @Stacy: Thanks. I was thinking this might be another story in my “to be continued” file. 😀

    @Ken: I’ve had dreams like that too. Always so strange. I’m glad I was able to convey that in the story.

    @Lynn: Oooh! Thank you.

    @flyingscribbler: Thank you so much. And welcome to the blog. 😀

    @Ozlem: Thanks! I think I will be developing it in the future. I’m curious about the “here and there” too. 😀

    @Tim: Thank you! It’s be awhile since I’ve read Raymond Chandler but I loved The Long Goodbye. It’s wonderful to be compared to him! As for doors…I sometimes wonder what would happen if I went to open a closet door or something and it opened into a whole other world. I think there’s a few of my stories that have an element like that.

  7. The Long Goodbye is one of my favs. In fact, I just blogged about it a couple weeks back. I like the idea of opening a closet door that opens into another world. If you’ve written a story like that I’d love to read it 🙂 Come to think of it, it would make a pretty cool writing challenge…

    1. It’s been more of a subtle part of some stories. Just Another Day on the Job had a breach that fairytale creatures could cross through. In The Machine, a family steals a device to open a door to another world. What’s in My Head has a bit of that flavor too. And then there are a few story ideas still knocking around my brain in that same vein. I was thinking the same as you after I commented…that opening a door to another world would make a great writing challenge. 😀

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