High Flier

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Commercial Fiction  |  House: The Imaginarium

The second story featuring Jessie, Tessa and baby Joe.

Submitted: November 30, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: November 30, 2017



High Flyer


Did the accident with his invention put Jessie off? Not a bit of it. He just got a bit more security conscious and even more secretive. Just as many hours were spent alone in his room, and when he did come downstairs his head was still firmly stuck in a book.


I guess it could have brought us a bit closer to each other again, working on solving that massive problem. For a few days I even kind of hoped it would. But not at all, Jessie went back to being my superior-brained big brother and I went back to being....me. The middle sister, Miss Average in every sense of the word.


Joe seemed remarkably unaffected by the entire episode. For the first few days I anxiously watched him, looking for signs of after-effects. I couldn’t shake the feeling that he might suddenly start growing again or something, but the following day he was back to being Joe, my sometimes lovable, sometimes naughty  baby brother.


Mom might have wondered why he’d suddenly started saying ‘Bam’ so much. If she did, though, she did not ask. She probably presumed it was from a cartoon of some sort on the television. Also Joe started trying to walk so much more, but that she encouraged and was delighted by.


All in all, it seemed we’d had a lucky escape from what could so easily have turned in to a disaster.


* * * * *


As with all toddlers, Joe seemed to get more adventurous each day. He did not want to be confined to a small area, not for long, so we had to put a lot of effort in to keeping the house as toddler-safe as possible.


Once, I came home from school really late and really cross. I put my bag down by the sofa and went up to my room, forgetting all about my little brother and his prying ways. I was probably gone for ten minutes at most before I realized what I’d done. I remember clearly, dashing down the stairs to find him sitting on the floor with the contents of my bag scattered all around him. I’d breathed a sigh of relief until he turned round to look at me.


My Sharpies were scattered there, caps off. He’d done a good job of decorating himself and his clothes with them; he’d even added to the carpet pattern. But I drew in a breath when I saw his hand reach for my expensive text book. Think!


Look, Joe! Look at the window. See the pretty birdie?”


I didn’t like it, the fact that I had blatantly lied to a toddler, my brother, even; but desperate times call for desperate measures. I saved my textbook but I was too late to save my English essay. Two hours it took me to rewrite it, but it was at least partly my fault.


The strange thing was that from that day Joe seemed to develop an interest in things in the sky. Not just birds, but butterflies, bees, helicopters, planes – anything that flew – now became his favorite things.


* * * * *


A couple of times I tried to talk to Jessie about what he was currently working on. He wasn’t very forthcoming though, generally responding with comments along the lines of ‘you wouldn’t understand.’ I’d hear him moving around sometimes, but like before, his way of working was more-or-less silent and I had no idea along what lines he was working.


And then one day, quite out of the blue, he approached me. “Tessa, I’ve got something to show you later. This afternoon, when Mom and Dad are out, okay.”


Sure, Jessie. Is it.....”


Later, Tess. I’ll show you then.” He’d not given me a chance to ask more as he’d dashed up the stairs back to his room and his work-in-progress.


Joe was not his usual self. Mom wasn’t too happy about taking him out for hours and as she thought we’d done such a good job of caring for him before, she was leaving him with us. “Everything you need is there ready. The food is all prepared, Joe’s drinks are ready; all you need do is watch him and keep him out of trouble.”


Is that all, Mom?’ I thought, but smiled and said, “No problem. I’ll look after him. You go and have a good time.”


Thanks, Tessa! Oh, and don’t forget to make sure he has a nap.”


Sure, Mom. Now go, or you’ll be late.”


* * * * *


Not long after they’d gone, I heard Jessie running down the stairs, out through the back door and in to the garden. I considered whether I should follow him but decided that if he wanted me there he’d soon let me know. For a while I carried on stacking wooden blocks for Joe to knock down with a ‘BAM!’


It didn’t take long for Jessie to call. I scooped up Joe, along with some of his toys, and walked out in the garden. I don’t know what I expected to see as I honestly did not have a clue what he’d been so busy working on, but what Jessie was proudly standing next to looked like nothing more than a 1 foot square piece of .....something.


Err....That’s great, Jessie,” I said. Perhaps the previous episode had more effect on him than I’d thought. “What is it exactly?”


Okay. I’m not going to tell you but just prepare to be amazed at your brother’s brilliance.” Saying that Jessie stepped up on to the square, pressed his foot on a button that I’d not noticed before and then the strangest thing happened. The square lifted several inches up in to the air where it hovered. Jessie pressed the switch again and it gently lowered itself back down to rest on the ground.


Wow! That’s pretty impressive. How does it work?”


An inventor never shares his secrets, Tess, you know that. Do you want to try? You’ll have to make sure to get your balance.”


He’s not going to have to ask twice. I take a quick glance at Joe who seems quite happy in a world of his own and step on to that square with both feet. Jessie tells me where to press and I find myself being gently lifted at least 8 inches above ground.


How come I’ve gone so high?” I call.


It’s calibrated to my weight. You, being lighter, have been lifted that bit higher. Just press the button to the left of it when you want to come down.”


I’m thinking I could get used to this, especially as a way of travelling. I step off and Jessie pulls a folded piece of paper from his pocket.


There are pressure sensitive points that steer it, too. Look on the drawing because they are not easy to see on the pad itself. Look.....here and.....”


Birdie!” Joe’s voice! He loves the birds now. I look round to where he’s playing and he’s not there. I look back to Jessie’s invention and that’s not there either. Dare I look up? Not really, but I force myself to and there he is, there it is, both too high for either Jessie or I to reach.


Jessie’s gaze follows mine. “What the....Joe, get off there....err, no, sit down, stay there. Don’t move!”


What are we going to do?” I hate the helpless wailing tone my voice has taken on. Last time was bad but this time it’s so much worse. There’s a whole big sky up there for him to get lost in. And he’s found the pressure points too. He sits there swaying from side to side and Jessie’s invention goes first left then right.


Now all we have to do is figure a way to get him back down.


* * * * *


Jessie and I desperately try to come up with a plan. Neither of us could reach him and although we’d stopped him steering it around, the wind was playing its own games. We were going to have to come up with a solution, quickly.


Joe, birdie!” I looked up again, how could I have taken my eyes off him? There he was, standing in the middle of this small square and flapping his arms up and down as though they were wings.


Joe, stop!” I shouted. Bad move! Joe does not like to be shouted at any time, but suddenly he’s realized how far away from us he is and he’s starting to step forward...... “Sit down, Joe. There’s a good boy. Now look for the birdies. Can you see any?”


He’s still crying, I can hear him, but at least he’s not going to fall. “Jessie.” I hissed. “What are we going to do?”


I don’t know, Tessa. I invent things, you solve these problems.....”


Well, not this time, I don’t.”


Tess, we’re going to have to think up something now. Right now! It’s heading straight for that tree.”


* * * * *


No time to think now. I have to act. I’ve got a plan, a crazy plan, but it’s the only thing I can think of. I just hope I can carry it off. And I’m running, running towards him, I just need to get close enough and then I shout, “Joe, jump!”


Tessa, are you crazy?” Jessie can’t believe what I’m doing but there is no choice. If Joe is still on that platform when it hits the tree, he is going to come crashing down. At least this way there is a chance.


Shut up, Jessie, let me concentrate.” I’m in as good a position as I’m going to get. “Joe, come on! Flap your wings and fly to Tessa!”


And he does. He moves off the edge, pumps his little chubby arms up and down, and I catch him but the impact knocks me flat. I’m okay. Not hurt, maybe a bit bumped and bruised. Joe has crawled his way up me to look in my face. He’s fine, he’s okay......


Joe, birdie!” he gurgles.


Jessie, meanwhile, has climbed the tree and rescued his contraption, although from the look of the state of it, ‘rescued’ is not the right word. He looks towards us, sees that we’re fine, and makes his way back up to his room.


This is going to sound real corny but time really has flown. Joe, now back to safety, is worn out. As I carry him indoors he can hardly keep his eyes open. I settle him down into his bed and sit beside him, thinking not for the first time how troublesome he can be.


But he’s safe now. Mom and Dad need never know. Jessie won’t say and I won’t say but Joe.....”Joe, birdie,” he says when he wakes up. For a moment I hold my breath, look at the ground, then I hear them laughing.


Joe, you’ve got such an imagination.”





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